Cut your costs this Christmas

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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BOSTON, Mass. - It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year but when kids don't get the gifts they want it could go into meltdown mode.

"It can be a little overwhelming," admitted parent Connie Ribera.

As a parent of three, Ribera has learned to set limits.

"What [parents] really have to do early on is really try to budget and talk to the kids, depending on their age, about what's realistic and what's not," said Dr. Kate Roberts, a clinical psychologist and parent coach.

For teens, Roberts suggests letting them know their budget, and have them give you their top five choices, knowing they will get some, not all of them.

"Teens need to understand that these things don't just come out of thin air, parents have to pay for them," Roberts said.

When it comes to tweens, have them give you choices and start early in the season setting realistic expectations. Don't just set a cash limit, but also set a gift limit, like one big gift and three small ones.

"Try and really focus on other things besides, you know, possessions and materials items at the holidays," Roberts said.

Keeping a smile on the little one's face is a bit easier, and Dr. Roberts says it's the perfect age to begin setting limits.

"They can ask for anything they want as long as it is safe and age appropriate but honestly most of that stuff I am not buying for them," said parent Elizabeth Wayland-Seal.

If relatives and friends overindulge, make be sure to take time opening gifts. Dr. Roberts says this will help them slow down and enjoy each individual gift and allow you time to enjoy the season as well.

Additional Information:

This holiday season, try not to focus on materialistic items and gift giving. Instead, focus on giving back and spreading cheer to your community. Think about volunteering or donating to your local charity. It is important to remember the holidays as a time for family and giving, rather than simply the gifts. Spending time with family and relaxing after a hard-working year is key to a successful holiday season. (Source:

Gifts for Kids: As the holiday season approaches, sit your kids down and explain to them that they may ask for gifts, but should not assume that they will receive all of them. Let them know it is okay to not receive everything on their wish list and explain to them the rewarding feeling of giving rather than receiving. Some really cool gift giving ideas for children are ones that are on their list and things they will actually use. Warn them in advance not to become upset if they receive a gift that they do not want. (Source:

Gifts for Teens: When it comes to buying gifts for teenagers, it is crucial that both the parent and teen come to an understanding about the holidays. Teens tend to lose sight of what the holidays are really about, and to avoid family drama, set ground rules for asking for gifts. Make sure they understand to ask for reasonable items, and like children, allow them one big gift and a few smaller gifts. (Source:

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