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Teach your little ones about holiday gift giving

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MADISON, Wis. (12/15/08)--Even in good economic times, holiday gift-giving can be a bust-the-budget enterprise. Year-end holidays often encourage runaway expectations that bring out the worst in all of us. And what we do, our children mimic, often for a lifetime. Turn your holidays into a fun learning experience for your child by showing what makes a gift special—not its price tag, but its meaning. Philip Heckman, director of youth programs at Credit Union National Association, Madison, Wis., offers these tips:
* Help your child make gifts that don’t cost money. Thrive by 5 (creditunion.coop, click Thrive by 5 logo) is a free website for parents who want to teach their preschoolers about spending (or not spending) and saving. One of the activities contains ideas for no-cost gifts suitable for young children to make. * Establish inexpensive holiday traditions that involve your child. Decorating, baking, and visiting special people can result in feelings and memories that last far longer than the latest hot toys. * Spend quiet time alone with your child. Nothing is more precious than the gift of time, says Heckman. Regularly schedule a few minutes before bedtime for you to sit together with your child. Read, sing, and tell stories about your childhood, bringing your fondest holiday memories to life in another generation.