Christmas Gift Giving for Kids

Christmas gift giving for kids - because it's not just about receiving! Do you encourage (or require) your kids to give gifts to others? How much do they actually participate in the whole process? It will vary with age, of course, but any child that is old enough to get an allowance, is old enough to understand buying presents for others.

If you are the kid or the teen reading this, how involved are you in gift giving? Do you plan to give gifts - and have a budget to go with what you want to buy? Even if you are not footing the bill, you need to have a plan to cover the expenses without breaking the bank.

Christmas gift giving: for the parents
Similar to the holiday budgeting ideas that are good to follow for your overall Christmas spending, you should have a specific list for the gifts that will come directly from your kids to others. These are gifts for their friends or teachers. Or even for other family members if there are individual gifts (and not just gifts from the whole family to Aunt Millie).

How do you help your kids with Christmas gift giving? Start by making a list! Make sure the list covers:

  • Names
  • Reasons why the gift is being given. This isn't to try to put more importance on some people instead of others. It is a head start on what gift might be good to give that person (and it might not always cost money).
  • Ideas on what fits that person. Did you or your child get special help from a teacher? A nice note thanking them specifically for the help can mean a great deal...maybe more than a mug with an apple on it.
  • A dollar amount for what can be spent. A total dollar amount is a good place to start. Then, it can be split between the recipients on the list. This money can come from allowances or the total family holiday budget. That may depend on the age of the child and the type of gifts on their list.
  • The final gift selection for each person on the list. This is really the review of everything you did above. And it's the final list you and the kids will use for their Christmas gift giving.

And, don't forget to consider what other children are doing. In our area, most younger kids don't buy presents for their friends. My kids make stuff to give to their friends - notes, pictures and the like. Frankly, they do this all the time, so it's natural for it to be the same at Christmas.

Christmas gift giving: for kids and teens
As the kid or teen making out the list, you might be feeling very generous. Very generous, at least, until the budget hits the list. Feeling anxious or uncertain about how to move forward? Take a deep breath, look at the hints for parents and then look at these other thoughts:

  • Consider the number of people on your list. Not to be a Scrooge, but commercialism is rampant during the holidays. Just because the TV and Internet tell you that you should be buying gifts for nearly everyone, use your own judgment. You know your friends best.
  • Reconsider the definition of gift. It is so easy to fall into the trap that each person on your list would love a $25 iTunes gift card. I know I would. But, if you've got 5 people on your list, that's a cool $125. Consider something more personal: a framed photo of you and the friends at a local hangout, for example.
  • Make it fun! Consider a holiday get together and a white elephant gift exchange. The holidays are about celebrating friends and family. The cheesier and crazier the gifts in this case, the better. And they can be free - just bring that singing fish you got last year!

Remember - whether you are the parent, the kid or the teen - make it fun, make it meaningful. This is a great time of year to show others how much they mean to us - but we don't have to break the bank to do it.

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