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November 13, 2017 What Do You Want For Christmas?

By Liz Larson, NDSU Extension Service Morton County

Dates to Remember:

Nov 17     Medicare Part D enrollment help session by appointment
Nov 21, 28 and Dec 5    Design Your Succession Plan, Mandan 6:00-8:30p.m.
Nov 30     Medicare Part D enrollment help session by appointment

 

What Do You Want For Christmas?

If you are like most people, we all have a vivid memory of a holiday season, probably when we were younger, when we had our heart set on a particular item. Or, you might remember our pal Ralphie from A Christmas Story? It’s that time of year when kids (and perhaps adults, too) are making their wish lists. It can be a stressful time of year for everyone. Adults are trying to stay within their holiday budget while kids are bombarded with commercials and conversations with peers about the latest gadget or best items. A few tips to keep in mind to decrease the stress and potential disappointment for all involved.

1)     Planning ahead – Having a plan and strategizing will keep you from getting caught up in the spirit of the season and spending more than you had wanted.

2)     Create an overall holiday spending limit – Don’t forget to include other items besides gifts such as travel costs to visit family, extra holiday parties or meals out.

3)     Make a list of people you need to buy gifts for – this may include your child’s teacher, the mail carrier, or other family/friends. Go over your list with a spouse, trusted friend, or other relative. Build your budget around these and stick to it.

4)     Prevent impulsive purchases – A great suggestion includes leaving your credit card at home for at least the first shopping trip. This will keep you from charging and spending over your available budget.

5)     Do some research – Get online and see if you can compare store prices. Planning ahead is important in this step because it will give you time to ‘shop around’ and know if the online deal or the in-store deal is better.

For kids the holidays can be stressful too. It isn’t the same type of stress parents are experiencing, but those urges to buy and request items bring along strong emotions too. Perhaps you are looking for ways in your family to build new traditions or bring the holiday focus away from just gift receiving. Have the important conversations with your kids up front. Make sure they have realistic expectations about what type or how many gifts they will receive. This is a great opportunity for some life lessons about giving, receiving, and having healthy limits. Do things such as finding a time to volunteer as a family. There are many opportunities around town to help at a food pantry, community meal, or helping a neighbor next door. One tradition I’ve read is that families give gifts with the following motto: Something to wear, something to read, something you want and something you need. That might mean a shirt, a magazine subscription, a new toy, and a great pair of mittens (because they may have already lost the first pair).

If you’re trying to avoid more toys in the house or perhaps you’re a family member wanting to gift something that will last a bit longer, check in to some of these non-toy gift ideas:

  • Their own work tools or outdoor equipment - gardening tools, fishing rod, or a simple workshop tool they are ready to learn how to use.
  • A sleeping bag – not only can it be a new place to sleep, but it can be the top of a living room fort, a place to escape to read books by yourself, or a special item for those first nights away from home at a friend’s or relative’s home.
  • Art and craft supplies – give them the opportunity to create! Things such as googly-eyes, pom-poms, funky scissors, or sparkly paper.
  • Homemade coupon books – “A trip to the local coffee shop with just Mom,” “Stay up 30 minutes past bedtime” or “Impromptu Movie Night!”
  • Games – a well-designed board game can provide hours of entertainment for the whole family.
  • A watch – not only does having a watch help them develop a sense of time, but it also gives a sense of independence. Knowing what time an event will happen or that they have 15 minutes to complete an activity gives them the responsibility and empowerment to do it on their own.

If you’re interested in more non-toy gift ideas there are many blogs and lists online. Also, our upcoming Parenting Tips & Times newsletter will have a few more ideas and will be available around Thanksgiving. If you want more information about the Parent and Family Resource Center, parenting classes, or to sign up for our newsletter you can contact Liz at liz.larson@ndsu.edu or call the office 667-3342.

 

 

 

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