"Given our current economic woes, some parents may find their holiday budgets tighter than ever this year. So how can you get your kids to cut back their wish lists and expectations? Kiplinger’s Personal Finance deputy editor Janet Bodnar offers these 4 tips:
· Set (or adapt) your own customs. Every family has unique traditions. One idea is to set a rule that the kids get one special gift from Santa and several smaller ones from Mom and Dad. The kids are happy to accept that.
· Ask the kids to make choices. If you have to cut back, use this as a learning experience for your children. Once they've made their holiday wish list, have them pare it down to the top five things they most want. Older kids can even compare prices in catalogs or online.
· Be creative. Encourage the kids to consider alternative holiday gifts. Perhaps one big family present for everyone—say, that new flat-screen TV you're willing to splurge on. Or thoughtful gifts of service or time: taking over little Johnny's dog-walking duties for a month, or a one-on-one movie date with Mom or Dad.
· Get Santa on your side. Tell the children that you and Santa are a team (his investments have no doubt gone south, too). He's not about to go against your wishes by bringing a gift that you'd rather they not have." -- source: Janet Bodnar’s “Putting Santa on a Budget”