Christ­mas on a bud­get

Your Family - - Relationships -

‘We’ve had a re­ally tough year. My hus­band was re­trenched, we’ve been sur­viv­ing on one salary and our re­la­tion­ship has taken strain. How do we make sure it’s not all doom and gloom, and give the kids a happy Christ­mas, de­spite the fi­nan­cial and emo­tional trou­bles?’

Shel­ley re­sponds:

‘It’s heart­break­ing as a par­ent not be­ing able to af­ford de­sired things. On the bright side, it can serve as a good re­minder that Christ­mas can still be as joy­ful without ma­te­rial goods. Most of the time, all chil­dren want is for the day to be spe­cial and memorable, and there are ways to go about that without it cost­ing a lot of money. Firstly, it might be worth­while to man­age ex­pec­ta­tions by hint­ing to the kids that this year you’ve de­cided not to make Christ­mas about presents. You’ve de­cided to rather spend the money on a fam­ily ex­pe­ri­ence that’s fun for ev­ery­one (within a lim­ited bud­get). Get the kids in­volved by ask­ing them to come up with their best ideas for a fun day to­gether. Ev­ery­one can put sug­ges­tions into a hat and choose one that gets the most votes. Never dis­count the imag­i­na­tion of chil­dren and the col­lec­tive cre­ativ­ity of a group of peo­ple. When ev­ery­one is in­volved and in­cluded in mak­ing the fi­nal de­ci­sion for “the best ever fun Christ­mas day”, it might be the

be­gin­ning of a new fam­ily rit­ual.’

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