It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
It really is isn’t it?
Spirits are high and everyone is getting involved in the festivities. It’s a time for celebration, spending time with loved ones, tying up your loose ends of the year and looking forward to the year ahead
However, at some point in the Christmas madness, most people get bogged down by budgets for Christmas presents. Christmas present buying is the main culprit when it comes to over spending. I happen to be on a tighter budget than usual this year for Christmas due to saving, so I completely understand!
Of course we all want to buy those closest to us the special gifts that they deserve, and a lot of the time we think that means we have to spend a lot of money on the perfect present. Sometimes a present that has taken a little more thought and is a little more personal can cost less than extravagant gifts like expensive jewellery etc. but that’s okay and maybe be more appreciated.
Before you go out and start spending you need to consider who you are buying for. There’s always that ‘if I buy this person a present, I’ll have to buy that person a present’ thought niggling away at you. Limit yourself to close friends and family or the list will be never ending. I’m sure your cousin’s husband’s step-brother won’t be offended if you don’t send him a present.
Once you’ve condensed your Christmas list, it wouldn’t be a crazy idea to set a budget for presents for everyone to stick to amongst your friends and family, a price that suits everyone’s budget. Then the only thing left to do is stick to it! It’s all too easy to get carried away once you’re out in the shops (I say this from experience!) so write a list of everything you want to buy that day, where you need to go to buy it and just visit them stores.
In terms of presents, you don’t need to buy big, expensive things to impress somebody.
For example, think back to conversations you’ve had recently where they’ve said they could really do with this or that, or they’d really like one of those. I say these things time and again and then never buy it for myself but it’s always nice when someone else buys it for me. It’s thoughtful, it shows you’ve been paying attention to them, and it’s likely to be something they actually want or need. Whether it’s a piece of clothing they said they liked, or a book they’d like to read, or that their favourite hat had a hole in and they need a new one.
Alternatively, play the nostalgia card and frame a photograph of you and the person in question from a particularly memorable time, in a novelty ‘friends’ or ‘memories’ photo frame. It’s nice to take a trip down memory lane sometimes, and framing an occasion that stands out for you will show somebody how much you value the time you spend together.
Homemade gifts are also an excellent way of keeping your spending costs down at Christmas. Baking a Christmas cake, cookies or cupcakes is going to go down a treat –pun intended- with most people. Who doesn’t love goodies at Christmas? It’s the only time of year it’s really acceptable to stuff yourself until you can’t move, feel no guilt whatsoever, then take a nap. Making personalised cakes or cookies, maybe with people’s names on or made with their favourite flavours for example is a nice touch.
Amongst groups of friends it’s not uncommon for a ‘Secret Santa’ to be used as a way of buying gifts. You could suggest doing the same with your family. If you spend Christmas together as one big family, suggesting Secret Santa will not only cut your spending massively, but may also relieve other family members or friends of the worry of spending money! Good deed = done.
It goes without saying really, but flash sales and discount vouchers are absolutely everywhere at some point in the holiday season, so if you know what you need to buy, keep an eye out for discounts or sales that include the item and buy it then.
That old saying ‘It’s the thought that counts’ couldn’t be more true at this time of year. For children it’s all about toys and what presents they have to open. For adults though, it’s about being with our nearest and dearest, sharing good food, good wine, good music and the best company. So put a little extra thought into gifts to make them more personal and the receiver will not be disappointed.
See http://redwigwamblogs.com/2015/11/23/diydecorations for tips on how to save on Christmas decorations.
Written by Katy James