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Four Key Strategies for Family Financial Planning at Christmas

December 8, 2015

Many kids have parents convinced that life will just be a bust without the latest video game or hottest smart phone. With a tight budget though, some parents are struggling to shelter the children from their financial and employment woes, yet bestow upon them a memorable Christmas.

As parents withhold their concerns, their children continue to up the ante for this year’s Christmas take. The risk is either a disappointing Christmas or overwhelming New Year’s bills.

The challenge is for parents to resist the incoming tide of subtle and not so subtle expectations.

To reduce the risk of Christmas gift disappointment and overwhelming bills, try some family financial Christmas planning with these strategies:

  1. Be honest and forthright with teenaged children about your financial and employment concerns or status, without trying to instill fear. Let your children know of your plans to survive financially including cutting back on the Christmas gift-giving budget. This may actually put children to ease despite their upset at the impact of the current financial situation too.
  2. Inform your children of your budget and ask them for their gift preferences in line with the budget. When expectations are clear on both sides, there is less room for disappointment.
  3. Involve your children in cost-cutting decisions and making plans for Christmas celebrations. It just may be that if included, they come up with some good ideas. Being part of the planning process, they will then likely enjoy what you mutually determine and be more accepting and appreciative.
  4. Pool resources. You may not be able to afford that one special gift yourself. However, if you go in on it with a few relatives, it may then be affordable. So the answer may not be how many gifts are given and received, but how many people contribute to that one special present

Children typically respond and adjust better to change when they are part of the process. Financial hardship is real and discussing it with them can help them to cope better and you to feel better. Children may be initially disappointed and that would be normal and reasonable. However, they too must learn to live within their means and make the best of life and circumstances. A memorable Christmas may just be one where everyone comes together with a workable plan to enjoy the day.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

https://garydirenfeld.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/gary-feb-12.jpg?w=200&h=301

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
http://www.yoursocialworker.com

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

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