Years ago, when I was a young financial advisor in Philadelphia, a friend shared with me a simple idea for the holidays. He'd heard it from his in-laws, Sam and Trudy, who were concerned about the gift-giving extravaganza overtaking their family Christmas celebration--and especially the impact it was having on their grandkids.
Sam and Trudy's solution: counter the "it's all about me" focus with a simple act of gratitude.
In addition to one gift, each grandchild also received a "share check." The share check was for $25, signed by Sam and Trudy, and almost filled in. The line for "pay to the order of" was intentionally left blank.
The goal: each grandchild had to give the money away to a charitable cause they were passionate about.
And the best part--it worked! Sam and Trudy's grandkids used their checks, along with their own money, to make a difference in the world. And now that they're adults, they use share checks to teach the value of giving to their own children.
Share checks are a simple but elegant way to counter the gotta-have-it-now feelings of the holidays. Give them a try!