With Christmas just around the corner, there’s no doubt the kids will be excited at the thought of what presents Santa might bring. But if there is one gift that will keep giving this festive season, it’s using Christmas to teach your kids about money. Yes that’s right – the most wonderful time of the year can also help kids understand some important life lessons. So make yourself a cuppa and grab a mince pie, then get ready to read our top 4 valuable lessons to teach your kids about money this Christmas.
1. Setting a Christmas budget
The festive period often comes with increased spending, making it the perfect time to introduce the concept of budgeting to your kids. If you help them get to grips with budgeting from a young age, it could set them up for responsible money management long into the future.
Start by setting a clear budget for Christmas by including everything you’re likely to spend money on, including gifts, decorations, special meals, or even a visit to Santa’s grotto. Make sure to get the kids involved in the budget setting process and allow them to share their ideas for where the money should be spent.
You can take this as a chance to explain that there is only a limited amount of money available and that’s why it’s important that they choose wisely. Connecting the budget to real-life examples will help your kids to understand that every pound represents a choice and will encourage them to think carefully before they make a spending decision. This will help them to build practical budgeting skills and will give them a sense of responsibility and awareness about the value of money over Christmas.
2. Creating a Christmas wishlist
All kids would love a big sack of presents from Santa to open on Christmas day, but as parents, it’s important to manage their expectations.
Asking your kids to create a Christmas wishlist is a great way to teach them about prioritising for the important things. Rather than asking them to cram their wishlist full of all the latest toys and ‘must have’ items, explain the difference between wants and needs. Using real-life examples, such as the latest gaming console vs essential clothes, will help them understand the difference between items they desire and those that are essential. You can then encourage your kids to rank items on their wishlist based on importance, which will help them to learn the importance of making considered choices.
To manage their expectations, it might be worth having an upfront conversation with your kids on why they might not get everything on their wishlist. Depending on their age you could explain that Santa also has other children to think about, so he might not deliver everything on the list this year!
3. Get the kids involved with Christmas shopping
One of the best ways to help your kids make smart spending choices is to get them involved in the Christmas shopping. The festive season often brings tempting and enticing adverts, so it pays off teaching your kids to make wise spending decisions.
Why not get them involved in the supermarket shop to help you get everything you need ahead of the big day? You can talk to them about how comparing prices for different items can lead to savings, why impulsive purchases will eat away at the budget, and why it’s important to take a moment to decide if you really need that item before you buy it. Whether you’re simply shopping for a few mince pies or going all the way to land the Christmas turkey, these lessons can be applied any time you’re at a store.
If Secret Santa is more your thing, give your child the responsibility of buying a present for someone in the family. Clearly explain the budget they have to spend, then help them to price-check different gifts to find the best deal. Encouraging them to think carefully about the recipient will also help to shift the focus from quantity to quality – an important lesson to find a meaningful gift.
4. Get creative this Christmas
The festive season is more than just handing out presents, it’s also an opportunity to create lasting memories and traditions with the family. With a little creativity, you can come up with all sorts of Christmas ideas and activities that don’t need to break the bank.
When looking to plan some fun for the whole family, you could try a festive-fuelled movie marathon, a mini games tournament (no arguments over Monopoly please!), or dependent on the weather, a snowman building session in the local park. Often it’s the simple things that are the most fun for kids and by focusing on the joy of shared experiences, it will help to teach your kids that the true spirit of the holidays goes beyond gifts.
To really crank up the creativity, you could even try your hand at making some DIY decorations and crafts that you can proudly display at home. For more ideas, check out our guide on Christmas craft ideas to keep your kids entertained this winter.
These are just a handful of lessons to help your kids learn more about money over Christmas. Pick the ideas that work best for your family and you’ll be able to teach your kids valuable money lessons that will last long after the wrapping paper settles and the decorations come down.
If you’re looking for other top tips to get set for the big day, check out our handy guide for parents to enjoy a stress-free Christmas with your kids.