Question:We have two questions about Christmas and our teenage daughter. When do we stop paying for Christmas gifts our daughter wants to buy for her friends or other family members? Also, our 14 year old has informed us that she does not want to participate in any of the family, neighborhood, or work related Christmas parties during the holiday season. She says they are boring and she would rather be with her friends. What are your thoughts?
I remember as a child how simple and non-complicated the Christmas season was for me! My suggestion would be to give your daughter a one time amount of money for the purchase of gifts for the season. This way you are teaching her the wonderful and often painful lesson of budgeting. Sometimes my kids think that all we have to do is stick a magical card into the ATM machine and there is an abundance of $20.00 dollar bills in there just for me.
You can make the budgeting process an excellent learning experience. Have your daughter write out the names of who she will be giving gifts to and placing the dollar amount beside their names. Your daughter may find that she doesn't have enough money and then she may explore an even more meaningful way to give gifts and that is making special gifts for those on the list. As she gets older, you will probably want to allow her the privilege to pay for her own purchases. Its called learning responsibility.
I think your second question is very similar to your first one. Look at all the Christmas activities as a family before the season starts and budget your time commitments. Discuss the importance of each activity and help her understand the importance or lack of importance for each event. I would still make the family celebrations pretty much non-negotiable and discuss the others with decisions, expectations, and opinions. Who knows, if your season is too busy you may decide to shorten or cut out of a couple of those parties as well. We are spending more time focusing on a few key Christmas traditions and less busyness, and I think we are enjoying the season more.