Create a Memorable Christmas for Your Children – on a Budget
Christmas is traditionally a very expensive time of the year, especially if you have children. In these times of economic uncertainty, Christmas can also be a very stressful time for parents whose children ask for expensive gifts. Of course, no parent wants their children to be disappointed but it’s also not a good idea to go over-budget or into debt if you are facing economic difficulties.
The good news is that there are ways in which you can make Christmas fun and exciting for your children even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend.
In the run-up to Christmas, involve your children in every aspect of the preparations. This will help them to feel that their contributions are valued and it will increase the sense of anticipation. Instead of buying new Christmas decorations, make simple decorations with your children using materials that you already have. From paper chains to paper plate angels, plenty of ideas and inspiration can be found for free on the Internet.
You could also ask your children to decorate an inexpensive roll of brown Kraft paper using coloring pens. It can then be used as Christmas wrapping paper, exhibiting your children’s artwork to family and friends. Children can also make and design their own Christmas cards and gift tags and such essentials as Christmas crackers can also be handmade.
If you bake Christmas cake, mince pies, cookies and other delicacies before Christmas, let your children help during each baking session, even if it means that the kitchen becomes very messy. When the sweet treats are in the oven, you can encourage the children to help clean up the mess by promising them a freshly baked reward!
When shopping for Christmas presents for your children, set a total budget and keep to it. Try to look for good, less expensive substitutes for some of the presents on their wish lists. For example, if your son would like the latest Buzz Lightyear toy, look for a less expensive Toy Story toy that he would like just as much, or, if you are comfortable with giving him a good quality, second hand toy, look on the Internet or in thrift stores for such a toy. In addition, buy a selection of small presents inexpensively from Christmas fairs, eBay and thrift stores.
Do not be afraid to buy your children items that they need for Christmas. For example, if your daughter has just grown out of her winter coat, it is fine to buy her a new one as a Christmas present.
Make Christmas Day more exciting by hiding each child’s presents in different parts of the house and organizing a treasure hunt. You can tell younger children that Santa Claus left presents in all kinds of places and gave Mommy and Daddy clues so that they can help the children to find them. You could give older children written clues to follow by themselves. This makes the whole process of gift giving much more exciting than sitting down by the Christmas tree and ripping open all of their presents in five minutes flat.
Do not become upset or feel guilty if your children complain that they did not receive what they wanted for Christmas. They will be learning the valuable lesson that a happy, joy-filled family Christmas is a much better gift than a roomful of expensive presents. If possible, involve your children in some charitable activity at Christmas, such as sending gifts to children in orphanages in developing countries. This should help them to realize that there are some children in the world who have very little and who are grateful for even the smallest gift at Christmas.
So, keep to your budget, involve your children in all of the Christmas preparations, organize a fun-filled Christmas Day and, if possible, encourage the whole family to participate in a charitable project. This should ensure that your children will have a joyful Christmas that they will remember for the rest of their lives. This is a much better gift than a pile of expensive toys and designer clothes.
You may find additional creative Christmas ideas here