Happy FamilySo, you have completed your Christmas budget, and decided how much you want to spend on the holidays. To make it fit with your other goals, you have decided to spend less than you have in the past.  So, how do you tell the kids?

(Haven’t done it yet? Find it in Renegotiating the Rules)

One of the big challenges that parents face is managing expectations around the holidays.  The messages from media and community are so often about gifts, stuff and spending, especially with Black Friday sales moving north.  Parents particularly feel caught between their desires to give their kids what they want and spending what make sense in their household.  And then Santa comes into the mix, and the pressure is on.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Teresa

presentsHere are 4 helpful tips in how to manage expectations for the holidays.

  1. Talk about how Santa works.  You can set the expectations of what Santa might bring by talking about what he has in stock, how busy the elves are and how Santa has a budget per family just like you do.
  1. Remind the kids of a bigger family goal – it might be a family holiday, a renovation to your home or replacing your car.  You could even make a little card for each child reminding them that part of their gifts is more money going towards your big family goal. The kids will benefit from learning delayed gratification, especially if the goal is something every wants.
  1. Create an invitation to a family outing as a gift.  Make a plan to go skating, tobogganing, or hiking with hot chocolate. Or maybe for a walk in the park and a picnic with popcorn and movies back at home. Kids want time with you more than things and when you make it an event, it feels like a special gift even though the cash outlay is low.
  1. Ask family and friends, especially grandparents to be reasonable with gifts to keep the balance with what you are doing.

Enjoy your holiday preparations and stick to your bigger goals. If you have other ways that you have managed expectations, talked to the kids or the in-laws, or had a great holiday on a budget, share them with us below.

© 2013 www.karencollacutt.com

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Personal finance expert, Karen Collacutt is founder and CEO of Make Friends with Your Money.  Karen works with ambitious people who are making good money but are wondering where it all went at the end of the month. She helps her clients to get clear on their money life challenges and opportunities, matching their money to their goals.  They build a plan, confidence and peace of mind around their money.

Certified Money Coach and Certified Financial Planner, Karen brings over 15 years of finance and business experience to her clients. Coach, speaker, author and change catalyst for those ready to create a positive and empowered money life, Karen delivers a fresh perspective on how to make friends with your money.  www.karencollacutt.com.

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