Celebrating the holidays can sometimes bring financial stresses. It is easy to spend, spend, spend instead of being thoughtful about options when it comes to gift-giving.

SunTrust Bank {Kids Activities Blog sponsor} is spreading holiday cheer with the message of being meaningful within your means. They have easy-to-implement ideas for indulging in the currency of kindness mixed with tips and tricks for mindful giving. Their Budgeting, Made Simple download is that…budgeting, made simple! It is a tool that can be used all year long, but their holiday budget and meaningful gift guide worksheets will come in very handy over the next month.

It all inspired me to think about how it is easy for kids to get caught up in the receiving part of the holiday, when the giving part is the most fun! I remember how helping my mom create the holiday gift list was a creative challenge that I enjoyed. Watching friends and family open those gifts was pure merriment!

Leading kids through thoughtful giving within a budget can be a valuable lesson that will last longer than Christmas toys.

How Kids Can Get Involved in Budgeting for Giving

Deciding how to get kids involved is going to depend on their age and experience with budgets and money. Here are some ideas for general age groups, but choose the experience that will work best in your family…

Young Kids – Kids love a surprise! Get kids involved in figuring out what to give a friend or relative. Younger kids will do better if you separate each person into a task and tackle them one by one.

Set a budget for a gift that they can get involved in and then let them see, touch and count that amount of cash. For instance, if it is $10 to buy candle-making supplies for grandma, then take that cash to the craft store and let them hand the money to the cashier. For kids who can do simple math, they can help decide what size or type of supplies might be the best deal. Have them gather the items and see if your budget will cover the expense.

Once the shopping is done, let them help out with making the gift, wrapping the gift and creating custom gift tags.

Older Kids – The holiday gift list is the perfect time to get older kids in the middle of budgeting and planning with a spirit of fun. Sit down with kids and make a masterplan of gift-giving with a set budget. Then work through the list with ideas. Once the list is completed, go back through and look at the suggested numbers with a dose of reality. It is unlikely Aunt Sarah will get a dog sweater for her poodle with a budget of $7. But homemade dog treats might be the perfect solution for a fraction of that price.

Allow kids the freedom to shift money along with ideas and then participate in the fulfillment of the gifts. Make sure they have a budget for wrapping paper and bows or find ways to create festive giving within what they can make.

When it comes down to it, it really is about thoughtful gifts. We all have so much “stuff”! It will be refreshing for those on your list to receive something that was carefully planned.

Giving as a Goal

Don’t leave charity off your Christmas gift list. This is one area that kids can really understand. Whether it be a food bank visit and donation or decorating a local nursing home for the holidays, kids can chip in with effort and elbow grease. Challenge them in the gift list process to have some left-over money to donate to a favorite cause and then let them deliver that in person. It is a holiday memory that they will want to become a tradition.

There is a bonus for the entire family when kids get involved in holiday budgeting. They start understanding the financial cost that goes into the festivities which makes it easier for kids to make wise money choices in the future and understand why the $400 Death Star LEGO set may not be under the tree.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. They want to help you reduce holiday stress through tools, advice, and inspiration that encourages you to make your holidays meaningful by spending within your means and focusing on meaningful experiences.


To get started visit    suntrust.com/holiday


Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending.  Download here.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

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