At some point in November, children across the globe sit down and thoughtfully pen their letter to Santa. For many parents, this is a moment of horror, when the desires of our children are laid out. Particularly in tough economic times, a dollar-demanding list can be a cause of high anxiety. Given that we naturally want our children to have what they want, many parents will get into debt this Christmas trying to meet their children's requirements.
To try and prevent such a crisis, there needs to be some ground rules. Naturally, your children are not to know these are ground rules as such - after all, Santa is making the toys, you're not buying them - but the spirit is the same. Before they make their list, tell your kids that Santa is very busy this year and only has time to make a set number of presents. Allocate each child the same number, and tell them they have to stick to it, with one alternate.
Children may not like this, but it's necessary if you want to avoid debt following the Christmas holiday. It also teaches children a good lesson in channeling their desires to get what they really want; something which will come in useful in later life. Of course, if you find you have a little more cash than you'd expected, you can always add gifts. By asking them to prioritize, you can be sure that more effort and thought will go into the list than if they had just written down everything they could think of.
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