Americans spend $942 on Christmas gifts on average. Chocolate, cosmetics, and perfume are top gift choices for adults, while children typically receive books the most. Getting your children involved in Christmas gift shopping for other family members is a great way to get them excited about the season, as well as get them thinking about others. You can even sneak a few money management lessons in there, too.
Although it’s important to teach your children money management skills, the holiday season isn’t so much the time for this to be the overt focus. So, before you start gift shopping, talk to your children about the true spirit of Christmas and what the gift-giving tradition means for your family. Play down the materialistic aspects of the season. By highlighting the spirit of giving, your children will better understand that it’s the thought behind the gifts that matters most. In fact, gift giving releases just as much dopamine in the brain as when we receive them. Your children will soon discover this happy buzz for themselves as they choose (or even hand-make), wrap, and present their gifts.
Christmas gift shopping is a great time to teach your children about the benefits of comparison shopping. For example, online shopping provides instant access to numerous retailers, making it easy to find gifts to suit every need and interest. By shopping around, children will learn how to find the best sales and prices. You can also discuss advertising and marketing with your children in a way that’s age appropriate. For example, you can explain that advertising should be used as a way to find out about a product’s features along with best available prices, rather than allowing it to control your buying decisions. Comparison shopping can even become a game between your children to find the best prices. Ultimately, you want to encourage your children to think critically about advertising and empower them to become smart shoppers.
While kindergarteners can’t understand in-depth money management principles, teenagers will likely already have (or soon have) their own bank accounts. So, any Christmas budgeting lessons should be adjusted to suit your children’s ages. Simply saving cash up in a clear jar and using it to pay for gifts lets small children understand things cost money and making purchases involves transactions. As for older children and teens, they can be given the freedom to take care of the shopping on their own, but answer any questions they have. You may even want to teach older children about budgeting with spreadsheets. In fact, children of all ages can be encouraged to save up throughout the year.
Getting your children involved in Christmas gift shopping is a great way to get them excited about the season. By teaching them about the spirit of giving, comparison shopping, and age-appropriate money management, you can make gift shopping a new holiday family tradition.
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