From the Wall Street Journal:
Every year at this time, I wrestle with the tendency to overindulge.
As a parent, there’s a certain joy in giving, in seeing the packages pile up and in surprising the kids. But excess also runs counter to the message we try to send all year, that money doesn’t fall from the sky and we should buy and consume thoughtfully. The challenge is particularly acute this year, when many of our budgets are tighter and we are, or feel, poorer than just a few months ago.
So how do we enjoy the season, keeping both the joy and our morals intact? Here are some suggestions for parents:
…..In addition, “you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a happy Christmas,” says Tim Kasser, a psychology professor at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. He says his household gives a lot of coupons, like vouchers for extra TV time or promises to do cleaning chores or wash dishes. The coupons are so well used that Dr. Kasser sometimes wishes he instead bought his wife earrings and spared himself the extra household work.