Teach kids about holiday gift giving

Dad and son.

Plan with your kids to help eliminate frustration and last-minute overspending during the holidays.

Avoid last-minute shopping

You may know the scene all too well. You and your kids are in the store at the last minute. The store is crowded and you’re caught up in the feeding frenzy. You and your kids settle for an impulse gift, and you may overpay just to get out of the madness.
What have your kids learned? Nothing.

Planning ahead is vital

Change the narrative and teach your kids to proactively plan for appropriate gift giving. A gift should say, “I care about you,” not “See how much money I spent on you.” Consider these steps for holiday gift planning:

  • Have kids make a list of all the important people in their lives to whom they want to give gifts.
  • Help them calculate a budget for each gift from the money they have (hopefully) saved.
  • Match their savings, if you want.
  • Consider having them pool money with other family members and siblings to buy one gift for each person on the list.

It really is the thought that counts

The most meaningful gifts show how much thought went into them. Nonmonetary gifts can be the most thoughtful. When the kids are visiting Grandma and Grandpa, have them discover their grandparents’ special interests. Kids can give a homemade gift certificate for a non-monetary gift, such as cooking a special meal or helping to clean the house.

Kids can be creative and come up with their own ideas. My favorite gift one year from my kids was for a No-Bickering Zone. Every time they started to bicker, I produced my gift certificate and they had to stop. It worked for a whole year. The next holiday, they gave me the same gift, but this time, they included an expiration date!

Holidays can be learning experiences

With a little thoughtful planning, holidays can be great learning experiences for your kids and can bring more joy and calm for all…especially if you’re at home with family on the eve of the holiday and not in a store. 

Happy holidays!