Here are a few more suggestions to help your family prepare now to keep the upcoming holidays less stressful and remain a celebration:

3.) Make a list and”estimate” it twice: Everybody needs to make a list of those people they want to give a gift to this season. Next to the name, estimate the cost of that gift. Add it up. If it is above your means, start to think creatively about gifts.

Literal translation: Grandparents love to get coupons that promise a call or a visit on a certain date. For teachers, a coupon for “help!” on any project. For anyone, baked goods. I cannot tell you how much banana bread I have made with my girls every holiday season. They love to do this and everyone loves to receive something sweet.

4.) Brainstorm ways to come up with a little extra cash: Ask for ideas on ways to save so more of the family budget can be applied to giving.

Literal translation: Walking or biking versus driving saves on gas. Library visits for books and movies and magazines save the prices of purchasing or renting.

5.) Name one must-have gift: For kids, that might mean a present that they have been pining for since last Christmas. Or it may be that the must-have gift is time with you!

In my family, the day after Thanksgiving is a bigger deal than Christmas. That’s the day we trim the tree with my mom and dad and make gingerbread houses together. My girls are now 17 and 15, and they would be crushed if we did not do this. This is what they want the most from the season.

So ask your kids to be involved this year. Have them help you set priorities for how the family will spend its resources of time, talent and cash this holiday season. Make sure they know, that even during these wild financial times, you are there and your family will all be together no matter what the budget looks like.

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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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