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"If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money."

Abigal Van Buren

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Know

The turkey has been consumed, the pies have settled in comfortably around our thighs. Embarrassing accounts about over-served relatives abound. And now it is time to focus on the jolliest time of year: gift-giving.

Yes, shopping season is upon us.

Recently I took a minute to clear the closets which have been bursting with ....stuff. Just stuff. I cringe to think about the money I spent on all this stuff I was certain I couldn't live without. And now it is time to buy more stuff. Yet, my grown daughters have begged me, no more stuff! (Cash, please...) I will dutifully obey. (Pretty much...)

Here's what I want you to know as you embark on your shopping odyssey(s):

Your kids want to spend time with you.

Not just during the holiday season, but all year. Sure, driving them around from activity to activity requires time spent together, but that doesn't really count. (Unless you use that time to talk about sex, but that's another newsletter.)

Here are a few reasons why spending time with your kids matters. I mean really matters.

▪ You are modeling what healthy relationships look and feel like.
▪ You are helping your child build skills and attitudes to ensure their success.
▪ You are teaching them that people are what matter in life, not things.
You are modeling what healthy relationships look and feel like.
You are helping your child build skills and attitudes to ensure their success.
You are teaching them that people are what matter in life, not things.

So, this holiday season, ask your kids what experiences they would like to share in the upcoming year. Rather than tossing aside toys they only played with once or twice, they will have activities they can look forward to throughout the year. Not only that, experiences don't have to cost a fortune. How about planning a walk or a picnic in the local forest preserve as each season changes? (Think of the learning you can incorporate! But don't tell them that part.)

Make this holiday season a memorable one. Nix the plethora of gifts and embark on a year of adventures.

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