Christmas Without Cash

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Manage Kids’ Expectations

Child drawing Santa and an elf on a sleigh

At a time when the financial reality requires that it has got to be the love and not the stuff that matters, let your kids know that you’re opting for a simpler, more heartfelt holiday season. They can handle it. But don’t say, “We can’t afford it.” Say, “We’re choosing to keep it simple and creative this year. We’re going to focus on being imaginative about gifts and emphasizing togetherness, not shopping.” If you believe it, they will, too (even if they do groan and roll their eyes). Help them gain perspective by volunteering as a family (actually having contact with the people you’re helping is the best form of give-and-take there is). Collect donations for food banks or give time at an animal shelter. Show them how much you believe in their giving little hearts and prepare to be awed!

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