Helping kids avoid "the gimmies" this holiday season

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EAU CLAIRE, WIS. (WEAU) -- Matt and Jessi Irwin's kids are still too young to understand the meaning of the holidays, too little to see the big picture.

But when it comes to gifts, 3-year-old Noah knows how all that works.

"He's really into trains, he'll say "I want one of those," said Jessi Irwin, Noah's mom.

She says Noah has discovered the shopping ads and knows Santa will be coming soon.

"We don't try to discourage him from wanting toys, but we also don't promise him he will get everything he wants," she said.

But even at their young age, Jessi wants her kids to know this season is not all about giving, but giving back.

She is part of the Eau Claire Mom's Club South, the group just finished making blankets for homeless students in the school district. The moms did the sewing; it was the kids who gave them away.

"I think if a child were to think about that, you know our kids have plenty of blankets, they have one every night, so to think that's something another child doesn't have and they're more excited to have that than a toy," Irwin said.

"It's a stressful time also for parents in saying our kids can't have what so and so has, we would like to provide but we just can't," said Pastor Jim Page of Trinity Lutheran Church in Eau Claire.

He says the economy has hurt some families too, making the "I wants" even tougher.

He echoes the idea of showing children how to give gifts rather than just receive them.

And speaking from the perspective of a father of three, he says figuring out how to handle "the gimmies" should be done sooner than later.

"So as a parent you really have to be thinking about the decisions you're making because if you make the decisions now, it's gonna come back 3 months from now, 6 months from now, and their birthday comes around, and it’s the same conversation," she said.

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