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  • Dave Kinzer

You Don't Have To Have Give Your Kids Expensive Christmas Gifts

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

(If you'd rather listen to this post, click HERE to listen to it on my podcast, "Money on the Brain".)

Have you ever found the perfect Christmas gift for one of your kids, but then put it back on the shelf because it wasn’t expensive enough? Or did you buy the gift but then think, “I’ll get this for him, but I still need to buy another gift because this doesn’t cost much money.”?

While it’s smart to place limits on how much you will spend on gifts, I hope you don’t also feel like you have to spend a minimum amount of money on gifts as well. If you find the perfect gift for your child, and it is within your planned gift-budget, then buy it. Don’t feel guilty because it didn’t cost a lot.

Michael Scott, the paper company manager from the tv show “The Office”, said this about giving gifts at Christmastime: “Presents are the best way to show someone how much you care. It is like this tangible thing that you can point to and say… ‘I love you, this many dollars worth’”.

Sometimes, cheaper gifts are better.

Don’t be like Michael Scott. Just because you love your kids a ton, doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money on them at Christmas. Spend less than your kids want you to, and spend less than you think you need to. Everything will be fine.

One year, I gave my kids a set of Lincoln Logs I bought at a thrift store for two dollars. Brand-new, they cost $40, so it was a heck of a deal. They were in perfect shape, and my kids have gotten hours and hours of fun out of them, building hotels, houses, towers, cities, etc. They don’t care that they’re used.

And they did receive several other gifts, so don’t worry. I’m just saying every gift doesn’t have to be new and/or expensive.

What if you want to splurge and buy your kids some expensive gifts every now and then? That’s fine, as long as you can afford it. Just be careful. The average American consumer would do well to dial it back a bit when it comes to buying gifts for Christmas and holidays.

CNBC’s recent report on holiday spending said the average American will spend over $1,600 on Christmas gifts this year. When you consider that many people will charge those purchases to their credit cards, you can see how Christmas shopping can wreak havoc with one’s finances. No wonder holidays are so stressful.

To find a gift for kids that is fun and unique, yet still affordable, sometimes you just have to think outside the box.

Or, give them an actual box.

One of my friends on Facebook posted a picture of her four-year-old boy sitting inside a gigantic box, all smiles. There was also some scotch tape, a ream of printer paper, and a bottle of Sprite sitting in front of him. My friend said that this odd assortment of items was everything he wanted from Santa that year.

He used the box for a hideout for months. His mom said that he loves to use his imagination to create, so the printer paper was like a blank canvas for him to create hundreds of original pieces of art. I think the tape was to hang up his artwork, and the Sprite… well, I guess he just really likes Sprite.

The total cost? $6.83. In his mom’s words: “He was sooo excited!”

Good for them! The five year old didn’t ask for the moon (or at least a pony or something similarly outrageous), and the parents didn’t feel obligated to spend xx amount of dollars to be sure that the present “counted”.

If you want to give your child more than a refrigerator box and scotch tape for Christmas, that’s understandable. But the point is most kids don’t really care how much their gifts cost. They just want their present to be something fun.

And if your kids do have unreasonable expectations for expensive gifts, then it might be time for a conversation about that.

This Christmas season, I encourage you to look for fun and creative gifts for your children that won’t break the bank. Your kids will still have fun at Christmas, and they’ll still love you, I promise.

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