There has been quite a lot of talk on blogs, twitter and other social media, about cutting down on presents for Christmas.
Jen Gale from my make do and mend life blog wrote this article for the Daily Mail about why she is not buying anything new for Christmas this year.
A new study from the Money Advice Service showed that, in Yorkshire, 36% of people will go into debt this season in order to buy presents.
I know how hard it is to avoid going over budget at Christmas. Although we have three children it is actually the spending on other people (distant family relatives, teacher’s presents etc) that I find can break the bank. It’s silly really because we’re just buying things that other people don’t really need. Yet it takes a brave soul to say they are not giving presents this year, and it’s something I know I need to work on.
In the meantime these are my present-giving resolutions for this Christmas:
- Make a budget. Stick to a budget. This is something I’ve got better at as I always budget for Christmas. The money is saved into a separate account and I try to withdraw this and spend as cash as I find this is easier to budget with. I have strict limits on the amount of money I spend on people. With the girls this is fine but, as I said, it’s the damn gifts for distant relatives, teachers etc that I struggle with.
- Don’t give. Gosh this makes me sound like Scrooge! Over the past few years my husband and I have come to an agreement with our siblings that we only buy for each other’s children. This has saved such a lot of stress and money. I now need to work on this for those cousins, aunts and uncles that we rarely see.
- Do Give. It’s really important for us as a family to donate some funds to a local cause (usually the Julian House charity based in Bath).
- Make. This year I bought £2 bath bombs from Lush for teachers and assistants to say thank you. However in previous years the girls and I have made gifts such as bath salts, tree ornaments, chocolate biscuits and homemade hot chocolate sachets to give. The girls also tend to make small presents for their friends.
- Buy local. This is a new resolution for me. I will not be buying from Amazon this year but instead will be physically walking into shops and buying from as many local suppliers as possible. Ironically this will make sticking to a budget harder as I know prices for books etc will be higher. But I feel Christmas is the time of the year when we should support local businesses.
- Buy second-hand. Of course! Last year I wrote here and here about our second-hand Christmas. This year I bought some new fairy lights (not strictly for Christmas as we’ll use them all year) and for the first time in ten years we will be buying a new, real Christmas Tree from the village (to go with our new look lounge). However all the old charity shop and homemade decorations will be on display:
I will also be scouring the charity shops for presents, in good condition, to give to close family members. The girls always get a selection of second-hand books for Christmas (and never notice the difference).
For us playing board games is an important family tradition. We picked up this mint condition game of Risk for £4 a couple of years ago:
I would like to find a second-hand ‘Mastermind’ game as my youngest enjoyed playing it over the summer. I am also ‘re-gifting’ some presents, i.e. saving unwanted gifts and passing them on to someone whom I think will appreciate them more.
What plans do you have for cutting costs and ‘thinking outside the box’ when it comes to Christmas gift giving?