This post discusses giving and how to eliminate the financial stress the accompanies creating the magic of the holidays. If you’ve come here from the podcast looking for the free holiday budget you can download it using the download button below.
Here’s a quick 3 minute video on how to use the budget.
Creating the magic of the holidays can create a lot of financial pressure for parents. There is always the drive to create the perfect magical holiday, the one that the kids will remember for ever. How do you recreate the perfect Christmas, all that euphoria, each year? Is it possible and at what cost?
Often times parents can feel guilty if they aren’t out buying what ever it is that will create those feelings for their kids.
Little Kids – around 2-8 years
This is the age where they really believe in the magic of the holidays. The benefit to parents is this age group really DOES NOT associate the dollar amount of the presents with the magic of the season.
Often times as adults we project our own thoughts and values onto the worth of the gift. It needs to have all the cool lights or features or have the best reviews.
They don’t care if the toy is the best reviewed, most expensive or from the most reputable company. It could come from a clearance bin at a discount store. All they care about is how the gift makes them feel.
Our thoughts about the gift don’t align with the thoughts of little kids.
Middle Aged Kids
Shankar Vedantam has a really great podcast called The Hidden Brain. In an episode titled Christmas he explores the different thinking between the giver and the receiver. He used the example of buying a gift card to a restaurant.
The giver wanted to get a card to a nice restaurant that cost a lot of money and that was a bit exclusive. But the receivers were just as grateful and happy with a gift certificate to a local cheaper restaurant as they were to the more expensive restaurant.
If your daughter asks for a ski coat for Christmas you may go out and do a bunch of research and decide there is a $100 coat that would work or a $1,500 coat with all the extras. It might be tempting to think that she’d only like the $1,500 coat.
However, she may be thinking, “I really want a coat but mom and dad have been bugging me that I’m not getting out enough this year so I probably won’t get one.” Then when she opens the $100 coat she is really excited. She hasn’t even entrained the thought about the price difference.
Or if you did buy the more expensive coat she may open it up and decide she hates the color and will never wear it.
Givers can not control the thoughts of the receivers. That piece of truth lets us buys gifts that we feel are appropriate and not feel guilty about the purchase.