Keeping Christmas Budget Friendly
Christmas is coming and no doubt you are already feeling over stretched, both mentally, physically and financially! Between all the activities, Christmas prepping, shopping and wrapping you are probably already worn out and it’s not even December yet.
We all know that Christmas can be very expensive, some people manage to save and prepare and then there are those that despite their best efforts find that Christmas has once again appeared without any warning, despite being the same date every year.
We all need to take a moment and remember, alongside the Christian element, Christmas is meant to be fun! Think, spending time with friends and family (you like!) and generally having a great time. This doesn’t have to mean spending all your money and more and getting yourselves completely stressed out.
Below are our top five budget friendly ideas to make Christmas magical without breaking the bank:
1. Remember what makes Christmas magical for you
When you think about your favourite Christmases gone by, I bet the memories centre around being with your favourite people, being cosy and spending time together, presents normally appear much further down any list. If you ask a child what they received last year, most can’t remember a thing, never mind the whole sack! If you are concerned about the size of the pile, instead of an extra toy that will be discarded come Boxing Day, consider adding things they will use anyway, bath foam, toothbrush, toothpaste, socks, underwear, pens and paper or give the gift of time in voucher form such as a film night at home, dinner of their choice or skip their chores coupon.
2. Look out for free Christmas Activities in your local area
During Christmas there are often lots of free or low-cost activities on in the local area. Keep an eye out for light switch ons, school fetes, nativity services at your local church. Don’t discount the excitement value of activities like tree decorating, or a wintry walk followed by a hot chocolate.
Writing the all-important letter to Father Christmas can be a special Christmas activity to undertake together, potentially steering the expectation of gifts too.
In the letter, let Father Christmas know what they would like for Christmas so he can add it to his list.
Write the address on the envelope carefully and stick a stamp on it
Put their full name and address in your letter so Father Christmas knows where to reply
Post it by Friday 9 December and they will receive a response.
If you know a child who would like to receive an accessible letter, the jolly elves at RNIB are working closely with Santa to help him produce letters in accessible reading formats – be that braille, audio or large print – bringing extra seasonal joy to hundreds of visually impaired children. All you need to do to is visit RNIB’s website and complete their online form.
3. Set a budget and stick to it
Over-spending at Christmas is easy, download one of the many free budgeting apps and you can make sure you don’t forget anyone you plan to buy for and what you have bought and how much you have spent.
Consider giving the gift of an experience rather than things. Instead of an expensive advent calendar, full of things you will stand up and inevitably end up in the bin, stick to the more affordable chocolate variety or create your own with activities you can do together like a free light walk, Christmas film of their choice,
You may find it easier, to avoid the expectations of very expensive presents from Father Christmas to set the story in your own home as he brings the stocking rather than the gifts.
Vinted, Ebay and charity shops will have a whole host of bargains for Christmas this year, save money and help the planet. Win, win!
4. Trade materialism for memories
Home can be a really special place to make some magical memories that don’t need to cost the world. Make your own list of fun for the festive season!
You could have a North Pole breakfast on 1st December, this can be the arrival of the advent calendar, or even the arrival of the dreaded elf, chocolate for breakfast is something no child forgets easily.
Hold a weekly Christmas Film night – add festive snacks for the perfect evening, this can become an annual tradition and encourage spending special time together as they grow older.
Plan a games night, switch off the tv, get some snacks and finally play those games that have been gathering dust.
Think about arranging other activities for Christmas Day, so that it’s not all just about opening and then playing with presents. Add in a walk, phone call, games, film and a special lunch. It means that if you aren’t buying them that much, they quite likely won’t even notice.
5. Share the load
Where possible share the load! If you have a partner, make sure they are doing their fair share of the Christmas donkey work. Allocate tasks. It’s also always ok to say no to things too, or agree not to exchange gifts this year, you won’t be the only person feeling the pinch. Don’t overwhelm yourselves by trying to keep up with other people’s perfect ‘Instagram lives’, a lot of fun can be had when slowing down.
Christmas is a busy time, so make sure you are being kind to yourself and allowing yourself to enjoy the magic too!