As families struggle financially as a result of furlough and redundancies, many will be tightening the purse strings this Christmas, while fighting the guilt of letting their little ones down. Dr. Amanda Gummer, Founder of the Good Toy Guide and research psychologist offers her advice on managing children’s expectations when you’re on a tight budget without dampening any seasonal sparkle:

Why not try talk about the real meaning of Christmas and encourage children to make gifts for friends and family. This not only helps children develop their creative skills, fine motor control, and concentration it also gives them an understanding of altruism and helps them develop empathy.

Home-made gifts can be as simple as a picture painted for Grandma or Christmas cookies of which there are loads of recipes online, with only a few ingredients. A gift made with love goes a long way.

Young children don’t understand the value of products quite yet but really enjoy the unwrapping process. Wrap up things that you would have needed to buy them anyway – new clothes, toiletries etc. and really go to town on the bells and whistles. The more you can build the unwrapping experience, the better!

Start a discussed with older children about saving up for something big if it’s out of budget – asking for money towards something that they can buy in the sales and then helping them earn money towards it over the Christmas period. Whether new trainers or the latest must have game – they then have something to aim for and you have started them on their savings journey.  You could even get them to make their own piggy bank or savings jar and have a thermometer that they fill in as they work towards their target.

Another simple idea which will get the whole family excited it to make a voucher booklet of treats that they can cash in over the year – a pizza party, film night, extended bedtime, favourite dinner etc. If you make it colourful and personalised they can pin it to a notice board and be reminded of it for months to come.  Not only will this help with cash flow but is the gift which keeps on giving!

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