As we approach Fall and the inevitable craziness that will come with the Holiday season I’m already starting to think about gifts and budgeting. It’s also a good time to evaluate any major purchases to take advantage of those Black Friday sales. When we head into Q4 it’s easier to see if we have any extra money left for the Holidays or larger purchases. As it happens, this year we didn’t do a great job saving for the season. This means we are trying to cover additional expenses within our current budget. However, we aren’t giving ourselves a pass on Holiday giving to those in need this year. I’m hoping to start instilling the importance of giving at a young age. If we begin early we’ll be able to teach little lady about the importance of Holiday giving without setting high expectations for the things she’ll get.
My philosophy on gifts
Growing up my mother never made a big deal about holidays or birthdays by giving lots of gifts. She repeatedly told me “she bought for me all year long” so we never placed a lot of importance on receiving gifts at specific holidays. Of course, when I was little I got a gift each night of Hanukkah. One of them was usually a larger present. As I got older gifts became less and less relevant. This philosophy stuck with me. While I always get my husband and daughter presents for holidays and birthdays, I’ve felt less inclined to make them a huge deal by spending a lot of money. We go shopping for clothes when she needs them. We go to fun events and activities on the weekend. If I see a book or a toy she’d like, we pick it up and save it for special occasions. I definitely think my mother rubbed off on me in this aspect – in a very good way.
My mother bought for me all year long, so we never placed a lot of importance on receiving gifts at specific holidays
Although I’m not a fan of big gifts, I think it is important to recognize friends and family on special occasions. I love sending cards and getting small trinkets or gifts I think loved ones will appreciate. I definitely like the idea of buying for someone when you see something they’ll like versus force fitting a gift that fits your budget around a certain time frame. My goal is to teach my daughter that it’s possible to celebrate these big occasions and without attaching (too much) importance on monetary value or what she’ll be receiving. Giving during holidays is just as important as receiving!
Our plan for giving during holidays this season
This year we told our friends and family that we’ll be donating all our Holiday money to those affected by multiple natural disasters. Unfortunately, there was no shortage of hurricanes, earthquakes, and massive fires this year. We’re consolidating funds to give back to people who have lost everything. Luckily none of our close friends or family is legitimately in need. Once we’ve established a tradition of giving, we’ll be able to continue the practice as the little lady gets older.
How we plan to instill good habits around giving
Now that she is aware of new toys and gifts, we’re planning to do two things as she gets older to instill the importance of giving:
- Let her choose one or two toys to donate after each birthday or holiday season to children who need them
- We’re going to allocate an amount during the Holidays toward special circumstances like natural disasters or to buy toys for kids in need. As she gets older, she’ll pick the charity or place we donate.
Instilling good habits early is critical if you want them to stick as your children grow up. There is no one right way to teach your kids about generosity and holiday giving. What are the ways you teach your kids to think about others?
P.S. Please feel free to use the links below to donate to any one of the natural disasters that have occurred recently in the world. Although it’s been a couple of months, Houston will be rebuilding for years, Florida was hit with one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded, Puerto Rico is still without electricity and water, over 300 were killed in Mexico’s latest earthquake, and Californians are just now being allowed back into their homes after the worst fires in history this Fall.
Irma: Hurricane Disaster Relief & Donations