Did you ever hear the term "Give until it hurts"? It seems as if a lot of people take that term literally around the holidays. How many people do you know who spend so much money holiday shopping that they spend the next year paying for the holiday gifts. Some people spend money that is supposed to be used for household expenses to buy holiday gifts. It's okay to tell your love ones that you can't afford to buy a gift or you can only afford to buy a small gift. If you are someone who believes in giving until it hurts, you should try living with only a debit card or your checkbook.
Parents, listen up!! You are doing a great disservice to your children by buying them things that you cannot afford. You need to be honest with your children about money. When you live above your means, you are living a lie. Your children are given a false sense of security. If you can't afford it, it's okay to tell your children that you can't afford it. By being honest with your kids about what you can and cannot afford it helps them learn about money.
There have been several articles about great people going into Kmart and Walmart and paying off customers layaway balances. I think these people are very special people and they should be commended for their actions. Here's my problem........Why do you have hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of stuff on layaway when you don't have any money? We need to stop creating a sense of entitlement for our children. By purchasing things for children that we cannot afford people have the mentality that their children deserve and are entitled to nice things. The bottom line is that they deserve to have what you can truthfully afford and it's okay that they know that.
At my children's school we purchase Christmas gifts for needy families. Call me cynical and a Scrooge but I was a little taken aback with the requests of items from these families. If you are poor, do you have the right to ask for expensive gifts from people who want to help you during the holidays? Ummmm, no! There were requests for video game systems, itunes gift cards, make-up, high heel shoes, etc. These are luxury items! When you are asking for help, you take whatever people are willing to give you. You and your children are not entitled to anything! When people help the needy, their goal is to satisfy some of their basic needs plus maybe a little extra but not to provide the needy with nonessentials. There should not be a nasty taste in your mouth after giving to the needy. When people ask you to give them something that they can't afford themselves, the nasty taste has arrived. I don't mind giving people things that they need but when you put your wants before your needs, I have a problem with that.
In addition to buying gifts for needy families, my family donated groceries to needy families. I think giving food to needy people will continue to sit well with me in the future.