• Milagros S. Johnson

An Inexpensive Yet Valuable Holiday Gift

Every holiday season we spend money buying gifts for our loved ones, young and old. We spend countless hours shopping at brick-and-mortar stores and online searching for that perfect gift. More often than not, we exceed our budget or break the bank just to make someone else happy. When we can’t find that perfect item, we opt for cash or a gift card. However, we seldom gift the most inexpensive yet valuable holiday gift, that being financial literacy. It is a thoughtful and lifetime gift for anyone.

While our daughter, Nina was young and still believed in Santa Claus, my husband and I did not want to cheat her of the excitement and joy. Instead we led her to believe that the smaller and inexpensive toys under the Christmas tree were from Santa Claus, and the bigger and more expensive ones were from us. We always told Nina that Santa Claus was not rich but crafty, and that he and the elves had to make toys for all of the children.

Nina used her allowance to buy gifts for her grandparents and teachers. When we shopped, Nina spent her money wisely, stretching her dollars and pennies to the max. It’s fair to say that our most valuable gift to Nina was financial literacy, one she treasures and continues to apply today in her daily life.

I recall the money-savvy Christmas toy gifts we bought Nina when she was young: a cash register, shopping cart, play kitchen set with groceries, and (play) money. Her favorite playtime was shopping and buying “marked down” items. Little did I know that I was teaching her a lifetime lesson while playing and engaging with her during our quality time together. My mother-in-law also had a significant role in all of this, as she home-schooled Nina during the summer months, concentrating on math skills.

Regardless of our financial status, we need to talk to children about money. In fact, I find that the less money we have, the easier it is to discuss it, and to include them in our family discussions. Let’s not deprive children from learning financial literacy. If you are uncertain as to where, when or how to begin the dialogue, there are many books of all levels available at your local library or bookstore. Begin with an easy read (saving money, starting a budget) before getting into the more complex ones (investments, stocks and bonds). Currently there are many educational and informative Podcasts on financial literacy you can listen to at your leisure. I consider these new resources to be perks since they didn’t exist when I was growing up.

If you have someone on your holiday list who you feel can benefit from a lifetime lesson on financial literacy, I strongly encourage you to gift them a book on the subject. Age doesn’t matter, so be sure to include children, teenagers and adults. Ask your local librarian or bookstore clerk for a recommendation, or you can search on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. If you need assistance or some guidance, feel free to drop me an email at milagrossjohnson@gmail.com. I’d be happy to answer any questions or make recommendations. Remember that you don’t have to spend a lot of money when you “present” someone with the valuable gift of financial literacy.

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season, and a financially-thriving 2020! And don’t forget that, “Every penny counts!”


Milagros S. Johnson

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©2019 by Milagros S. Johnson