So often we hear the phrase, “It’s not the cost of the gift, but the thought behind it that counts”. Yet this Christmas many people will deliberately overspend on a present in case they might be seen to be mean or stingy.

With the easy availability of plastic card credit, many will spend beyond their means and regret it later. Some will even attempt to repay a lack of care and attention during the year by giving an expensive gift. While this action may offer the buyer a feeling of personal satisfaction, no amount of money or presents can ever replace love.

As kids we decided at a family meeting what the upper limit would be for us siblings to spend on each other’s Christmas present. This took all the worry out of wondering whether we would spend as much as others had spent on us.

Putting a limit on the cost of family presents can open up a whole new shopping experience as the kids eagerly sought to obtain the best value for money. It also makes the giving and receiving of presents just as exciting for the giver as the receiver and enables everyone to have some money left over to enjoy the holidays.

Of course, kids are smart, and they will be quick to point out that spending limits are fine for them, but parents should be exempt from such restrictions when shopping for Santa’s gifts for them.

I’m Peter Mack and that’s life.

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