Sense & Centsibility Blog

Secrets of Holiday Shopping With Your Kids

kid throwing tantrum

Yes…you read the headline correctly.  That is holiday shopping with your kids!  During this busy holiday season most parents cringe at the thought of taking their little Kris Kringles within 50 feet of any store.

But smart parents know holiday shopping is a great opportunity to teach children financial skills that will serve them for a lifetime.

Ssssshhhhh… get ready. Here are the Secrets to Holiday Shopping with Your Kids:

Secret #1-- Set Expectations Before You Shop

Let your kids know that this shopping trip is not about making their own Christmas list.  Remind them that unless you have another child on the list you won’t be seeing the toy aisle! 

Secret #2-  Make a List

Santa's no fool. He has a naughty and nice list. But, he also has a gift list, and he sticks to it. Show your kids the list and let them know exactly what you are looking for and how much you plan to spend. This teaches your children that holiday shopping is easier and less expensive with a shopping list.

Secret #3-  Engage them at Checkout

You’ve made it this far without a store tantrum! With your gifts selected make sure that you are talking to your kids about how you will pay for the items. If you are using a credit card, let them know that you will be responsible for paying for that gift when the bill comes. Engaging kids at checkout also helps distract them from noticing the gum, candy, and little toys they are usually begging for while in line.

Secret #4- Emphasize Giving

The holidays are about giving and reaching out to others. In addition to holiday gift exchanging, make sure to show them volunteerism is also giving. Plan to donate time as a family to a local food shelf, your church or favorite charity.

Now you know the holiday shopping secrets to help make this a joyous holiday season. And more importantly, your children will learn a few lasting financial lessons in the process. 

piggy bank

For additional tips on staying financially fit during the holidays or for additional resources on raising money smart kids call LSS Financial Counseling at 888.577.2227 or visit our website at '

Author Cherrish Holland is a Certified Financial Counselor at LSS Financial Counseling.