Christmastime as a Parent - By Dr. Alexander

As a big kid, myself, I enjoy all things Christmas! Our house resembles the Griswold’s from the movie National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation! We have the entire house decorated including miniature villages, and an electric train. We even have six inflatables in the front yard!

As a parent, it is easy to get caught up in the frenzy and possibly doing things that are not in the best interests of your child or family. For example, we have a tendency to want to give our children more at Christmas than we received when we were children. This is fine to an extent, but when we reach the point where we are living vicariously through our children, we have gone too far. 

It may be a little late for this Christmas, but I suggest that the family have a budget for Christmas presents. That budget should be divided up evenly among all family members, or at least among the children. It is not fair for one child to receive an expensive gift and not do this for the other children. I am not advocating expensive gifts; I am just saying that the gifts need to be equitable. [Even today, with our children grown, married and with children of their own, my wife agonizes that each person receive the same number of presents of the same value.]

Financial planners would tell you to not exceed your budget and not to be snookered into buying gifts you cannot afford because you don’t want to be considered cheap. Give practical gifts. Give things that last. Give of yourself. Teach your children giving, by volunteering to help others during the holidays. Instill the concept of sharing with others in your children. Help them to understand that not everyone is as blessed as they are and that blessing does not translate into entitlement. Do things as a family and create positive and lasting memories. 

The greatest gift you can give your child this Christmas is the understanding that giving of one’s self is our most noble sacrifice. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Bert Alexander and Henry Rocancio

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