Christmas is a difficult time of year for families on a tight budget. Our society encourages buying on credit and spending lavishly at Christmas and our children beg for the latest and “best” dolls, games or toys. It takes self-control and sensible thinking to not go into debt at Christmas.
Many of us spend more than planned because we want to fulfill our children's most wonderful Christmas dreams. Giving our children too much can spoil them as well as threaten the family budget. Let reality determine how much you spend. Children are realists and can understand more than we think. Don't promise them something you can't afford.
Look for gifts at yard sales or second hand stores. Many bargains are available. Buy a number of inexpensive small gifts. For young children the enjoyment of Christmas often has to do with the number of gifts rather than their monetary value. You can also buy small items the child will need anyway. For example, wrap up as a gift art supplies, sports equipment, crayons, scotch tape, a glue stick, or new hair barrettes.
The gifts on Christmas day are only one part of Christmas. Learn to make the preparations and the anticipation as much fun as opening gifts. A happy, excited attitude as you shop, wrap, trim and bake will be contagious. Include the children in the preparations. This will help them enjoy it as well as teaching them to give. Children love to bake cookies and they can help with gift wrapping and tree trimming. Encourage your children to give small gifts to others. They learn the joy of giving as they plan to surprise parents, grandparents, brothers or sisters with small gifts they make or they pick out.
Enjoy Christmas entertainment. During the Christmas season there are many programs for children at churches, schools and civic organizations. Television also offers many Christmas specials. Sit and watch these with your children. Your time and attention is what they will remember, more than any gift.
Create family rituals or traditions around Christmas that you repeat every year. For example, read a favorite Christmas story and sing Christmas carols when the children hang their stockings on Christmas Eve.
Most important of all, teach your children the reason for Christmas. Christ the Lord came to earth as a baby to reveal God’s love for us. This is the best gift of all and has eternal significance.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. “ Isaiah 9:6
Have a blessed Christmas,