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We all want to be generous this time of the year, but there may be a smarter way to do that: Instead of indulging in every trendy item on your child's list (which she'll tire of by New Year's), invest in something that's fun and educational—like art lessons or a guitar class. That expenditure is gift that keeps on giving, and it's actually an investment in your child's future.
Or, buy one indulgent present and allocate the rest of your gift budget to a 529 educational tax savings plan that will go toward college tuition. "The money will grow tax-free," says Karla Dennis, a tax expert and mom of four boys. "And, when your child is ready to go to college, you'll have a nice nest egg to send her on her way."