This year more than others you might be faced with the dilemma of not being able to spend as much on Christmas. This can be especially hard for children to understand. They might remember getting up to tons of presents under the tree years prior and are probably expecting the same thing this year. It’s a good idea to talk to them this year and explain to them why there might not be as many presents on Christmas morning. Talking about it beforehand will lessen the disappointment on Christmas morning. Talk to them on their level. Younger children will be satisfied with a simple answer while teens and tweens might need more explaination.
For very young children you might be able to provide the same number of presents under the tree if you buy less expensive items. For young children it’s a shock to see lots of presents under the tree no matter how expensive they might be. What is really important is that you explain the meaning of Christmas and that they understand it isn’t about getting presents but more about seeing the joy when you give presents. Showing them that donating their used toys will make lots of less fortunate children happy is a good place to start this learning process. You can even explain to them that Santa has lots more children to deliver toys to this year and there might not be as many for them. When they write out their Christmas list have them tell you what they really want, their number one choice. Getting this one item will completely negate the fact that there aren’t lots of presents. They will be so excited that they probably won’t even notice less presents under the tree.
For older children it is a good idea to give them a heads up about less presents under the tree. They might be at an age where they still believe, and you can use this to your advantage. Explain that there might be less toys under the tree this year in a way they will understand. Tell them that there are many other things that Santa has to take care of this year. Explain to them that it is not their fault, and it’s not just them, lots of kids are getting less presents this year. As a family you can volunteer or donate toys to charities. Get the real meaning of Christmas in their heads. Tell them that the more the can give to others the more it will come back to them when they need it one day.
Teens will appreciate you being upfront with them. They want to understand why things are the way they are. They might have started a part time job, and know way hard it is to make a dollar, and what you get for that dollar. Have an alternative Christmas where you choose one person to buy for rather than spending a lot of money. They will understand the truth more so than younger kids will. They have to be understanding and know that the present shortage is probably only temporary. Donating to coat drives, and toy drives will allow them to give to others, and help to realize that it’s not all about getting, but about giving to others as well. Homemade gifts, and inexpensive gifts with meaning work well for teens, especially for them to give to others since they probably don’t have a lot of money as well. A family vacation instead of lots of presents might be a good way to go. Teens are at the age where they will remember your trips, and they will be the envy of their friends when they get to take off school for someplace warm, and relaxing. The memories will last a lifetime, and you can get very good deals and hotels and airfare online.