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Chicago Parent Panel: December Issue

I'm part of the Parent Panel at Chicago Parent Magazine. Every month, we're given a controversial question to answer. I've been posting the questions here each month to hear what you all have to say.
This month's question was:
With the economy still sluggish, many families cannot afford as many holiday gifts this year. How do you let the kids know without ruining the holiday?

My response was:
I would wrap activities that we could enjoy together. A box of brownies we could bake (and devour), a map to a hiking trail to explore, a tie dye kit and a shirt.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Laurelann (December 7, 2010 at 8:33 AM)  

I'm not a parent yet but I am the half-sister of four (FOUR!) very spoiled children ages 13, 12, 11, and 6. When I was young, I got just about everything I asked for at Christmas. Why? Because I wanted it. My husband and I have made concrete decisions to focus more on giving than getting and to make birthdays a more special time for personal "I Want" presents than Christmas. We believe that Christmas is about family, not about material presents. We make an effort to give handmade gifts and special mementos at Christmas to those we love.

Rebecca (December 7, 2010 at 9:39 AM)  

I agree with Laurelann COMPLETELY! This is how it was at my house growing up. Christmas was about giving and family. I love the idea of wrapping activities, as well. I think the best way to combat the "gimmies" is to focus on the giving. Make that the fun part, the special part of the holiday. It really is better to give than receive, and I think many of us forget that at times.

Jennifer (December 7, 2010 at 1:08 PM)  

I think that's a great idea! I told my husband this year came with a rule -- no gifts. Stocking stuffers got a green light but I told him we needed to start spending money on experiences instead of things... b/c the games and fun and laughter will stay with us forever =)

Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

TheBabyMammaChronicles (December 7, 2010 at 1:56 PM)  

You're so smart! I wish I could say I would have come up with something so creative and fun!

FRANKIE HEARTS FASHION (December 7, 2010 at 2:02 PM)  

Jiye, I think your suggestions are perfect. I find that when you give SO many presents the kids get overwhelmed and end up only playing with one or 2 things. I'm all for giving things that the family can experience together. It's definitely important to teach them the value of things and fortunate we are. xo

H is for Hillman (December 7, 2010 at 4:00 PM)  

I love your response. What a great idea!

Anonymous –  (December 7, 2010 at 8:04 PM)  

I'm not a parent but I'd probably get my child their MOST WANTED item then focus on doing a lot of fun activities at home.

When I was young I got a ton of presents but what I remember are the moments with family.

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