No matter how you slice it, the holidays are an expensive time of year for everyone. So what if instead of buying out the shelves of Toys-R-Us and Target for your own kiddos, your entire family got just one present this year? You know, you could all spent some QT together sunning your buns on a beach vacation! Sounds sun-sational to us — but would the kids feel ripped off by this one-for-all gift?
Not according to Jessica Lippman, PhD and Clinical Psychologist. She suggests that giving one family gift rather than a bunch of individual ones is actually responsible parenting. Dr. Lippman says that by choosing a family gift and down-playing the material aspect of the holidays, parents can teach kids from a very young age that the holidays are about what you can do for others, rather than what’s being done for you. Who wouldn’t approve that message?
So — you want to give it a shot? Here’s what can you do to make the family gift go down smoother for your kids:
- Present the idea at a family meeting. Talking about why you’re focusing on one present this year may be the key to getting everyone on board.
- Encourage teamwork. Of course you will have to make the final decision, but let your kids know that their (reasonable) suggestions will be taken into consideration.
- Propose realistic options. Don’t throw out a family vacay if it’s not doable this year. A new DVD player can be just as valuable when it comes to spending time together as a family.
- You can still give gifts! There’s nothing wrong with giving each child one special gift that’s all theirs to open. It’s the excess we’re suggesting that you don’t get wrapped up in.
- Stay focused on doing good. Yes, it’s fun to get stuff, but the holidays are about how you can help others as a family. For good deed ideas, check out Doing Good Together.