The Christmas season is officially here! People are making their lists and checking them twice when it comes to who they are buying presents for this year. Prior to having our own kids, I remember often feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused as I stood in the toy aisle, looking for gifts for my nephews and nieces. It isn’t always easy knowing what to buy kids and ensuring your money is put to good use.
My goal when it comes to buying presents is to stay within budget and buy something the recipient truly wants/needs. It’s a win-win. They love their present and I feel good about the money I spent without worrying that I bought gifts no one wanted. Kids can be particularly tricky at Christmas since their immediate response when asked what they want for Christmas isn’t always the things they truly want.
How To Determine What Kids Truly Want this Christmas
Helping your kids create their true list doesn’t take long and those buying your kids gifts (yourself included!) will appreciate their holiday shopping becoming a little bit easier.
Step 1: Identify Everything They Want
I know. I know. Everything they want? Okay, that may be a bit extreme, but you do want them to create a very robust list now because we will pare it down later. Take out all those toy flyers that have been filling your mailbox and give them to your kids. Give them some time to familiarize themselves with the flyers and have them circle the things they want. Ideally you want your kids to have circled twice the amount of gifts you expect them to receive. So if you expect your kids to receive 8 gifts between family, friends and Santa, then have them circle 16 items. Before they start, set a price range as well, so they don’t pick gifts no one can afford to buy them. Give each child 30 minutes to look through the flyers and circle the things they want.
Step: 2: Narrow the List Down to What They TRULY Want
It was probably pretty easy for them to find toys they wanted, but they also picked a bunch of toys they liked or sort of liked or not really liked but if Mom is going to buy it for me, then I won’t complain toys. This is where you weed those toys out. List out each toy and have them compare one toy against the other to decide which toys they like best. “If you had to choose between this toy or this toy, which one would you rather have?” Go through the list until you have identified the 8 gifts they truly want.
Bonus Holiday Tip: While kids definitely like tangible gifts, don’t forget about experiences either, especially those of you on a tight budget where you’ve had to eliminate some fun activities. Here is your chance to bring back some of those activities. Instead of asking only for toys have your kids ask for gift certificates to movie theaters so you can catch the next big blockbuster or for tickets to a local sporting event or concert. Or gift certificates for Park and Rec activities, the Zoo, a museum or the bowling alley, etc.
Look For Teachable Money Lessons
Don’t overlook opportunities to talk about money with your kids while you’re helping them create their lists. When you give them the price range explain to them why you set it (i.e. people earn different amounts of money and have different budgets. It’s another great place to talk about saving goals too.). When your kids are choosing which items they truly want, help them figure out what really makes their heart happy by asking them “why” one item is better than the other. Express your gratitude for all the things you have.
Bonus Holiday Tip: I am forever grateful that my husband and I are able to give our daughters a magical Christmas, but I know not every parent has that luxury. Kids receive so many new toys at Christmas so consider starting a new tradition in your home where one old toy gets donated for every new toy received.
The True Magic of Christmas
Gifts are a part of the Magic of Christmas, but they make up only a small part of it. Throughout December, I’ll be sharing how we make Christmas magical in our home.
Image courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net.
The Heavy Purse Store is now open! My new downloadable Money Club Workbooks—based on age or level of expertise—are now on sale. Each workbook provides five targeted lessons to help you grow Money Smart Kids. Please check them out in The Heavy Purse Store.