Christmas is by far my favorite holiday of the year. It’s a time to not only reflect on what God did for us, but also a time to spend enjoying family. I love buying gifts for my kids, and I know our family loves it too. But there is a time to stop and say, “please don’t spoil my kids at Christmas!” I’m serious….just don’t!
At Christmastime it’s easy to go overboard buying everything on your kid’s lists, but I have found that getting them all that they want, only makes them think they need more. You would think it would “quench their thirst,” but from what I’ve seen with my kids, it just seems to cause them to not feel satisfied.
In past years, when my brood was a bit younger, they were beyond excited to get socks and underwear in their stockings, and a few presents under the tree. Finances have always been pretty tight, so my parents would send their gifts (when we lived out of state) so that on Christmas morning the tree would be full. But now, as they are getting older and their wishlists have evolved from Barbies and art supplies, to computers and iPhone’s, it’s getting more challenging to satisfy, and not spoil them.
This year we have made it a point to spend only sixty dollars per kid, and to get them only a few items they will really like. In past years my goal was make the tree look full…but this year my goal is to just feel satisfied being together. Not that there won’t be gifts or stockings, but the joy of Christmas doesn’t come from the presents, it comes from the understanding that God did something so amazing that day, when He gave us His Son. It comes from just being with family and those you love.
Tips to Avoid Spoiling Your Kids at Christmas
- Make a budget, and stick to it. Some people want to limit the number of items, and others the amount of money. Whichever you prefer, set a limit and force yourself (sometimes it’s really hard!) to stick to it.
- Teach them what giving feels like. Giving feels better than receiving does…and this is the perfect time to teach them how awesome giving feels. You can tell them that you’ve decided to let each child spend twenty dollars (or whatever amount works for you) on a needy family. There are so many charities at Christmastime especially, that it should be easy to find one you all like. We love Operation Christmas Child, Cure International, and World Vision.
- Ask family members to put money in a savings account, instead of getting them gifts they really don’t need. Teaching a child to save, is an invaluable lesson they will use throughout their life.
- Practical gifts are always a good idea. You don’t have to get piles of toys to make them thrilled on Christmas morning. Getting a few toys and then a few practical items like clothing, shoes, organizational items, lunch boxes, etc. can save your budget (and sanity), because it’s things they need and were going to have to get anyways.
- Purge the toy room and bedrooms before Christmas morning! Getting rid of items they don’t really use, have outgrown or no longer work, will not only free up space for the new items they are going to get, but it can also we a way to make some money just in time for Christmas.