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Dear TinySprouts®: My Kid Wants an Expensive Gift for Christmas!

"Our 9-year-old is asking for a Christmas gift that costs more than $300.00. It's not that we can't afford it, but we're a little shocked that he'd ask for something in such a high price range. How should we respond to this?"

Alrighty. You have several options here.

You can tell him:

1. Due to the covid-19 and quarantine restrictions, Santa is under strict travel restrictions and unable to travel to other people's houses bearing gifts.

2. Due to the pandemic, Santa had to let go of 80% of his elves. His manpower is limited, so is his budget.

3. Amazon has recently acquired the North Pole, so Santa is now unemployed.

But all the silliness aside, here is what you can actually do:

Ask the child to deliver a PROPOSAL.

On the proposal, he must clearly state:

1. What the item is

2. The terms of daily/weekly usage: people, duration & location

3. Pros & Cons of the item (by searching online reviews)

4. Find five (5) other items that are priced the same

5. Compare the five items with the wanted item

6. Why he believes this item is worth purchasing and possessing

7. How his life would be different with and without this item

8. The cost of maintaining this item

9. List three (3) other items that can replace the wanted item

Guide the child to search reputable online reviews and analyze the worth of the item quantitatively and qualitatively. Teach him to use PowerPoint or Google Slides to make his proposal if his school hasn't done so already. Ask the child to formally and verbally present the proposal in a family meeting.

The purpose of having the child coming up with a proposal is to teach him how to manage finances smartly. You will be teaching him how to analyze rationally an item's true worth. Even if you are wealthy enough to buy him something that is worth 100 times he's asking for, it's best to understand the difference between a "want" versus a "need," instead of just getting him whatever he asks for. Since this item is something the child really wants and wishes for, this is the perfect opportunity to train not only for a healthy outlook on finances but also logical reasoning.

Lastly, if his proposal looks good to you, sign a contract with him: each party is responsible for 50-50 (or any percentage that is reasonable to you). The portion from the child can come from allowances or money from odd jobs that he has earned on his own accord. This money should never come from getting a good grade or doing house chores. Schoolwork and house chores should be his own responsibilities and should not be used as incentives.

We have prepared these Item Cost Analysis Worksheets for you to download to work with your child on this unique project together.

So have fun. Be like the investors in Shark Tank and hear his reasons out. You will be surprised what this experience will bring to your child in the years to come. We've known people whose parents have used the same proposal tactics for their first cars or their first personal computers. Decades later, they still treasure their hard-earned item that they so "laboriously" vouched and earned. They feel more grateful not only for this unique experience but also to be more appreciative of what they have already.

Or, to make things simpler, you can also tell him:

Due to the pandemic, Santa is actually seeking donations of clothes and toys to be sent to children whose parents have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

Tell us what you'd do if your child asks you for an expensive Christmas gift?

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