Setting a budget for a happy holiday

U.S. & World

(NBC) – The holiday season can be filled with pressure to spend beyond your budget, especially when it comes to your kids.

But Dr. Frank McGeorge explains why mental health experts say it’s a good idea to avoid overspending on gifts.

“We all are really loving by nature, and we want to give. So it’s very easy to overspend at this time of year because the spending can really be love.”

But clinical psychologist Dr. Donna Rockwell says you can show that love without going into debt.

“Any little gesture is so appreciated, so we don’t need to spend the big bucks on a big present. We can give from our heart in little gestures,” she said.

And while your kids may have wish lists a mile long, often what they want most isn’t on the hot toy list.

“It’s interesting because we focus on giving them presents, our children, but what we really need to focus on is giving them our presence. Being present. Listening. Not being on our devices. Being actually eye to eye and person to person is the greatest gift we could give them at the holiday season,” she said.

And in a season of things to do and places to go, learn to focus on where you are right now.

“And you can always practice and learn to be more present, so we’re not distracted by external thoughts and this worry and that worry. We need to be able to put that stuff aside and pull up a chair at the holidays and actually be here,” said Dr. Rockwell.

Finding time to do this may feel difficult in a packed holiday season, but mental health experts say you can starting by setting aside just 15 to 30 minutes to play a board game or read with your children can make a huge difference.

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