Tough economy takes toll on holiday; how do you tell your kids?

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How do you tell your kids that this Christmas, they may have very little gifts to open under the tree?

Certified counselors and psychologists say that it's healthy to talk to your kids and tell them that these are tough economic times.

Mark Walker is a licensed clinical social worker at Chandler Regional Medical Center and knows first-hand how the economy is taking its toll on people.

"We live in a stressful environment," says Waller, "and there are stressors everyday that we encounter."

Retirement plans have plummeted.

Foreclosures are an epidemic and companies laying off employees have skyrocketed.

All of this begs the question: How do you tell your kids that this holiday season might be a little different than years past?

According to Mark Walker, you just have to tell them.

"Children are resilient," says Walker.

"We can tell children just about anything as long as it's truthful and as long as it's age-appropriate."

Walker says that tip number one is to talk to your kids.

Tell them things might be scaled back, but by the same token, comfort them.

"What a parent can do is really explain to them that they are loved and this is just a temporary place where we're at right now," says Walker.

Walker says you shouldn't feel guilty about scaling back on your gift-giving either.

"We have become a society that focuses on gift-giving and parents feel guilty if they can't give kids what they think is entitled to them."

He suggests instead of gifts, maybe start a new holiday tradition that kids participate in.

"Children will look back, years down the road. They're not going to say I only got 1 or 2 gifts.They'll say we didn't have a lot of money and this is what we did."

Finally: Walker says don't stress out because stress leads to overindulging.

"Overindulging is eating, drinking or maybe shopping too much and they all have negative consequences."