Mom Defends Going Overboard on Christmas Gifts for Her Kids

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The scene from the classic movie, "A Christmas Story," where the kids are ripping open gifts galore, is a scene most parents try to avoid recreating.

But one mother of two is buying her kids whatever they want this holiday season. And she doesn't feel bad about it because all year she says "no."

"Walking down the toy aisle is really hard because she wants everything," Lyz Lenz told ABC News of her daughter, Ellis. "I see how excited she gets, and as a parent, you just want to give your kids everything."

For 364 days a year, Lenz and her husband, David, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, teach their two children - 2-year-old Ellis and a 5-month-old son, Jude - to appreciate what they have and the importance of helping others.

So Christmas is the one day where she gets to say "yes."

"I don't think a princess castle will ruin her," said Lenz, a writer and blogger. "We have a very specific dollar amount that we spend on both of our children and it has to fit within that and I know that amount will change as they get older."

"If your whole year is about restraint and lessons and valuing and experiences over things, then, you know, Christmas might be a nice time to have gifts," she said.

Other families have their own holiday-giving strategies.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle have said they allow Sasha and Malia to ask for three gifts a piece.

And "Full House" alum Candace Cameron Bure takes her kids to a homeless shelter to serve food.

"What's really important is for families to think about, 'What do we really want to focus on?" said parenting expert Dr. Karyn Gordon. "Is it empathy? Is it gratitude? Is it compassion? And then what are the strategies we're going to have to instill that in our kids?"

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