Christmas can be a challenging time for families financially. If you're a parent, there can be pressure to buy the best presents for your children. This pressure can come from adverts on TV, from your children's peers, or your friends and family members, but it's hardest to resist when it comes from your children.

Christmas on Female First

Christmas on Female First

Katharine Hill, Director of Family Policy at Care for the Family says: “When you’re feeling pressured by your children to spend more than you can really afford, remember you aren’t alone.

"Almost every parent feels the same way, but it is possible for you to manage your child’s expectations without disappointing them. And it is possible to have a happy Christmas without spending an absolute fortune," she adds.

Here are five things you need to know about pester power this Christmas, put together by family charity, Care for the Family:

1. Don’t give in to guilt

In the run up to Christmas the adverts on TV get louder and more persistent, and so, it seems, can our children! But it is possible to delight the kids and stay in control of your budget. Encourage them to make a list of presents and to prioritise which ones they’d like the most, but explain they probably won't receive everything they ask for.

2. You can club together with other family members

If your child has set their heart on one big present and you simply can't afford to buy it, you could ask for help from other relatives. Many parents share the load with their extended family and pool their gift money to make things easier.

3. You can put pestering into perspective

Christmas is a good opportunity to teach your children important values. By encouraging your children to get involved in a good cause, such as donating toys to a 'shoebox' appeal - for children who wouldn't otherwise receive a Christmas present - you can help them put their own 'wish list' into perspective. It's one way your children can learn that Christmas is about so much more than just receiving presents.

4. You can be honest

You don't have to pretend to your children that you have all the money in the world. If you give them an idea of your limit, their expectations might be more realistic. Teaching children that spending money on one thing means it can't be spent on another thing will help them understand how money works.

5. You can have fun for free

Many parents find that developing a family tradition can be fun and inexpensive. You could play a certain game, go for a walk, make something together or take it in turns to think up a surprise for the whole family. A free activity that everyone looks forward to can become a favourite part of your family Christmas, and one that doesn't add to the financial strain.

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