Sunday, October 5, 2008

Keep a cool head when Christmas shopping for your kids

I know someone who bought a laptop computer and cell phone for their six year old kid for Christmas last year. The problem is this that this child has so much stuff already, there is really nothing much left for her to want for. So she asked for a laptop, she got it, and mom and dad even threw in a cell phone to boot, so they could contact her when she is not with them (huh??).

I don't have to tell you how ludicrous this sounds to most of us, especially those of us on a limited budget. I'm thirty-something, with a J-O-B, and I just got a cell phone about 5 years ago and my first laptop last year (and I paid for both myself).

I admit that I've been guilty myself of going overboard for my kids during Christmas, but a cell phone for a 6 year old is just over the top.

Okay, so most of us agree that if the kids are happy at Christmas, then we are happy. But a lot of the stuff we buy is to make us feel good, like we have done enough. It's stuff the kids didn't even ask for (remember, this kid asked for a lap top, not a cell phone. I wouldn't have bought either one.).

The best thing we can do is to set limits with ourselves and stick to them. If your child has a long Christmas list, buy a few things on the list, don't try to get them all. Leave them something to shoot for, something to work for. It builds character and patience. Let them do some extra chores to earn it later in the year. They don't need everything all at once any way. Most of the stuff they get for Christmas won't even get touched for days or weeks or months, if ever.

Just use some sense and restraint when Christmas shopping, especially for your kids because that can be a weakness, we want them to be happy on Christmas day. But you don't have to spoil them to make them happy.

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