Dear Deborah

0 comments Posted on April 27, 2012

Expert Financial Advice

Dear Deborah,

Our children are accustomed to getting what they want for Christmas, but we’re struggling to make ends meet right now. How can we get through this tight time without disappointing them?

Spending on gifts can be a major budget-buster for many families.

If it has been easy to overspend on gifts during the holidays, this may be an opportune time to include gift-giving in the family budget. Gifts are often purchased on impulse, with little thought as to whether they are truly affordable or not. Decide not to buy any gifts on credit. Set aside a workable dollar amount for gifts, and determine to stick with it.

Inform your children that it’s likely they won’t be receiving as many gifts this year as they have in the past. Find out about the items they would really like for Christmas, then give them one or two of those things they especially want. Supplement the gifts with a few inexpensive items and toys, choosing some gifts that can be used throughout the year.

Families don’t need to spend a lot to have special times during the holidays. Family members can make lots of memories celebrating the season. Children can be reminded that the Christmas season isn’t only about receiving; it’s about giving, as well.

Spend fun times together trimming the tree, making Christmas cards and decorating the windows. Cut out snowflakes from white paper or coffee filters. Make cookies using cookie cutters with holiday themes, then decorate the cookies with red and green icing toppers. Share cookies with neighbors and friends.

Some children might enjoy performing in a Christmas play. There are lines to memorize and songs to learn. Maybe they can play a traditional Christmas carol on the piano or violin for others. Watching our young and growing children celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ adds to the joys of the season.

Deborah Nayrocker writes on personal money management topics, showing others how to take control of their financial future. An award-winning writer, she is a guest contributor with and a finance columnist with

Deborah is the author of The Art of Debt-Free Living and the Bible study Living a Balanced Financial Life. Her Web site is

If you have a financially-related question that you would like to ask Deborah, click here.


Submit Comment