December is a rush of emotion and frenzied activity for many of us – especially those of us with children.  So much importance is placed on this one month.  The “success” of the season seems to hang on whether or not we get the right gifts and enough gifts.  There is real pressure on everyone and it is hard to untangle oneself from the mayhem.
 
Many of you know that I have two girls.  Allison, my oldest, just started college.  I started Money Savvy Generation when Allison was in first grade.  Amanda, is about to turn 17 and is a junior in high school.  I have taught them to be givers.  Of course they approach every season with a list, a budget and the understanding that not all gifts are purchased.  In fact, my favorite gifts sit just under my scarves in my dresser drawer – letters and coupon books from holidays gone by.
 
Just last week, I took a look and found one of Amanda’s holiday coupon book creations.  I received one coupon for 1 hour of alone time, but with her caveat, that this coupon was not useable on Christmas Day!  Other coupons included a massage from her and one kitchen clean-up on a day that she was not assigned kitchen duty – also noting that this coupon was not valid on holidays!
 
Another treasure came one year when both girls and my dear husband each wrote a letter to me about why they loved me.  Can you imagine the grace in my life that those letters were to me that holiday?  And the value – well, as they say in the TV ads – priceless.
 
This holiday season focus on gifts that keep on giving long after the presents are opened.  Letters, coupons books, baked goods.  How about a coupon book from you to your child?  This year I plan on giving Allison “time” with me that she can count on when she is home on her breaks.  We both win with this gift. I am also writing a letter to my girls and giving them Greg Ip’s The Little Book of Economics.  They are old enough now to start to build a library of important books of knowledge they will need to know in order to survive and thrive as adults.
 
Yes, we will also have a number of presents under the tree.  But I guarantee you the stand-outs will be those coupon books I make and the letter I write.  Wishing you a holiday with your loved ones filled with stand-out gifts that cost nothing but a little time and creativity!

Susan Beacham
Written by Susan Beacham

Susan Beacham founded Money Savvy Generation in 1999 after almost two decades in private banking and investment management complemented by considerable time teaching at the elementary level.

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