Christmas is probably the most expensive time of year for most families but it really doesn’t need to be. The media is full of stories about families going into debt, paying for Christmas on credit and generally making it a big thing that they really can’t afford… myself being one of these people in the past. However, there’s really no need for Christmas to be all about how much you spend, and what on, so I thought I’d share some tips on how not to get caught up in the cost of Christmas.
If we were still buying presents for all of our ‘close’ family members then I think we’d be buying for about 14 or 15 people. The cost of buying presents can quickly spiral out of control especially if you don’t have any kind of plan. Window shopping can be dangerous as it’s easy to see something you think someone will like and the next thing you know, you have bags full of shopping that you didn’t actually need.
With large families, or any size family for that matter, I find talking about budgets is really important and it can help save everyone money… as long as everyone sticks to the amount agreed. Having clear and strict budgets is a great way to cut the cost of Christmas.
Another great way to make Christmas less about the money being spent is to take part in Secret Santa. Again, with a big family to buy for this could mean buying a lot of presents and costing a lot of money. Secret Santa is a really fun way of giving gifts and much more fun than buying all of your uncles boring socks that they probably don’t need. I would love trying to guess who got me the gift and maybe as you’d be buying less presents in general, you could maybe spend a little more than normal on this one present instead. Of course, it’s always good to set budgets for Secret Santa though so no one feels like they have spent too much/ not enough as that’s not really in the spirit of things.
If we think back to the ‘real’ meaning of Christmas then we should be thinking about doing something nice for family and friends just because we want to. One of the original stories of St. Nicholas is about a man spreading his wealth to those less fortunate just because he wanted to do something nice for someone else and I think this is important to remember.
Homemade items can be a really thoughtful way of giving gifts and they can be as big or small as you like. If you like baking then Christmas cookies would be lovely, or maybe you’re arty and can make your friends and family handmade prints or pictures this year. We’ll definitely be making some handmade gifts from Erin this year and teaching her what the real meaning of Christmas is.
Spend time with family and friends
Buying presents for people is lovely and of course, people love receiving them but how often do you actually see some of these people? Instead of maybe overspending and buying gifts this year organising a get together instead could be a much better ideas. A meal out with old friends or a takeaway night at home with family could be money much better spent. Instead of spending money on gifts, this way you’re getting to spend some real quality time with friends and family, which is what Christmas should be about.
Don’t feel the pressure
I know that this is easier said than done, especially with all of the gorgeous displays in the shops and the advertising on television, but try not to feel the pressure of Christmas. It gets harder and harder each year when Christmas is forced upon us on October and we see Christmas presents and other products for months on end.
I also think the pressure can get to you if you have children. The cost of toys is really quite crazy now and it’s still a thing where children go through the Argos or Smyths Toys catalogues looking for what they would like and the cost just builds and builds and builds. It was only the other day I saw something advertised that I thought Erin would like and when I looked it up I couldn’t believe that it cost £44.99. I remember when that was the price of a ‘main’ present when I was younger (I know I’m showing my age now).
I know that some of this is easier said than done but taking small steps each year to change something will really help you feel less pressure at Christmas and take back control of a holiday that could end up costing more than it should.
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