12/04/2013 05:54 pm ET Updated Feb 03, 2014

He Knows if You've Been Naughty or Nice -- So Do Your Kids

Of course I'm referring to family money matters. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and we are in the thick of the 2013 holiday shopping season. Shoppers have their own, distinct, shopping personalities -- the way in which they get their shopping done.

What is your shopping personality?
  • RE-GIFTER: the ultimate gift recycler.
  • ONE-STOP SHOPPER: the person chooses one store and doesn't come out until they have bought the gifts for everyone on the list.
  • SHOW-OFFER: the person who has to impress with the most lavish gifts, even if it means overspending or going into debt.
  • FRUIT-CAKER: the person who thinks "If it's Christmas, there must be fruit cake." The FRUIT-CAKERS tend to supply the RE-GIFTERS, 38 percent are given away. I believe the rest are used as doorstops and paperweights.
  • LAST-MINUTER: everyone knows one of these -- the person who waits until Christmas Eve, buys whatever is left on the shelf, gets completely stressed out,= and spends too much. This is the manic version of the ONE-STOP SHOPPER -- the person who thinks the Duck Dynasty ChiaR Pet is perfect for his wife, because she likes to garden.
  • CREATIVE-ER: the thoughtful giver who likes to give something handmade or a gift of time or service.
  • PLAN-ER: the person who makes a list and checks it at least twice -- may even shop bargains and specialty shops throughout the year.

Naughty or nice, Santa knows your shopping personality. If Santa is watching, so are your kids. What kind of shopping personality would you prefer to be? What personality do you want your kids to have? As with most lessons, your children learn from example. When you're among the hoards stuck in a department store the week before Christmas and staring into space every year, do you tell tell yourself "I'm not going to do this next year?" Don't.

With just a little tweaking, you can modify your behavior and teach your kids healthy shopping habits.

  • RE-GIFTER: It's OK to re-gift, but you have to be open and honest about it. Suggest to your friends and family that you will have a re-gifting party. You can also make good use of unwanted gifts by donating them to a charity -- someone else will be very happy to have them.
  • ONE-STOP SHOPPER: Be brave and venture out of your comfort zone. If you must limit yourself to one store/one trip, plan ahead. Put some thought into your gifts, make a list and go in knowing what you're looking for. You are probably the best candidate for cyber-shopping -- you can sit at your desk and have the gifts come to you!
  • SHOW-OFFER: Remember that gift-giving is an expression of gratitude, love, friendship and thoughtfulness. Teach your kids that giving a gift is not to be used as a way of showing off -- there is no need go overboard.
  • FRUIT-CAKER: Let's face it, no one wants your fruit cake unless they're entering a fruit cake tossing tournament. If you already bought the ingredients, donate them, unopened, to a food pantry where they can be used for something edible.
  • LAST-MINUTER: Here's a news flash -- Christmas comes on December 25th every year! Buy a calendar if you have to, or set a reminder on your smartphone. Resolve to change. Take baby-steps. Start your shopping mid-December. Otherwise, you will spend way too much, not get what you want and probably end up in tears.
  • CREATIVE-ER: this is a great idea. Tell family and friends that you each will think of a non-monetary gift to give, like; a special meal including the recipe, lessons for an instrument or sport you play, help scanning family photos onto a thumb drive, or weeding or planting a garden. There are endless ideas and all have the benefit of bringing family and friends together, and creating memories.
  • PLAN-ER: everyone should have a bit of the planner incorporated into their profile. Make a gift budget, make a thoughtful list of possible gifts for each person on your list, and shop early. You can designate space as your "gift closet" to house the gifts you buy all year long.

These personality shapers are sure to take some of the stress out of your gift-giving season and show your kids that holiday shopping shouldn't make you dread the holidays. But, whatever your shopping personality, be sure to include giving back. There are many who are less fortunate, and holiday time is particularly difficult. There are many clothing, toy and household item drives that are desperate for items. Organizations such as Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped gifts to be distributed to underprivileged children in the community in which they were donated.