We brought home a Christmas tree last night. There were only three remaining at the shopping mall lot near our house, and no more were expected.
We were grateful because we have a couple of toddlers spending the holiday with us. And there is nothing as magical as those sparkly lights, ornaments and the sweet smell of evergreen in the house.
The gift-giving ritual, of course, is part and parcel of it all, but when it comes to holiday gifts for kids and teenagers, I tend to use it as an opportunity to give gifts that have the potential to last for years.
Let me explain what I mean.
While parents understandably feel a pressure to give their young children toys and games, my husband and I, who don’t have kids, but a passel of nephews and nieces, realized long ago that one of the best holiday gifts we can dole out is a money-smart one.
Read: This simple investment can earn you more than 6% with no risk
Here are seven last minute money-smart ideas to consider depending on the ages of those on your list:
Cash. My Great Aunt Gladys gave me and my three siblings each $25 dollars every Christmas when we were kids. All these years later, I still smile at her gesture and remember her generosity.
My nephew, Mike, reminded me of the power of cash when he was around six, I recall. He urged me not to spend money guessing on something he might want.
Cold cash is never a bad gift, trust me. Mike will back me up on this.
Although I admit now that our “kids” are in their 20s and 30s and are launched, we’re giving gift cards to restaurants in the towns where they live, so they can treat themselves for an experience.
A money basics book. A friend at the dog park asked me this morning for a book he could give to his teenage daughter to get her started learning about finances. I didn’t hesitate to answer. Two of my go-tos are Beth Kobliner’s books “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties” and “Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not).” Beth is an authority on personal finance and a former colleague of mine at Money magazine.
A subscription to a financial publication. This is spot on for a young person who is starting to show some curiosity about money matters. I recommend Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine. The annual subscription will run you $29.95 a year.
I savings bonds. …….