Tips to Tame the "Gimmes" During the Holidays

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No matter what your tradition, the holiday season can be a wonderful time to connect with family and friends - as long as your family isn't overwhelmed by the "gimmes." The onslaught of advertising during the holiday doesn't help. Here are some tips for curbing materialism and maintaining focus on what matters during the holidays:

  • Set the tone. Start the holiday season with a family meeting. Brainstorm how each member of the family can save, share, and spend some of their resources for the holiday.
  • Tone it down. If you feel like gifts have gotten out of control, suggest that friends and family give more modest presents.
  • Limit screen time. The fewer commercials that children see, the less likely they are to hunger for new items.
  • Talk about the brain. Talk to your child about their "seeking brain" and have them visualize how they can resist cravings for "stuff" before they go to a store.
  • Take power out of advertising. Talk to your child about the power of advertising and take a look together at how advertisers try to trick you into thinking you need more stuff.
  • Expect giving. Expect and support your child in sharing with those in need.
  • Practice gratitude. Create traditions and rituals that encourage your kids to express gratitude for what they do have. Before meals or bedtimes are great times to have kids count their blessings.
  • Discuss needs vs. wants. Talk with you child about the difference between needs and wants. Have your child help pay for or work towards a special gift purchase.
  • Try one in, one out. If your house is filled with unused toys try this: For every new toy that comes into the house, pick one to donate.
  • Make gift. Try making homemade presents for family members.
  • Send thank you notes. Make sure your child sends thank-you messages for gifts.