We’ll soon be getting to that time of the year when the Christmas ads bombard our screens and our minds. They’ll be full of perfect festive scenes with giant Christmas turkeys, tables full of food, fancy presents and wonderfully decorated Christmas trees that reach to the ceiling. Though this looks fab, it can create a lot of anxiety to those who don’t have much money. You might wonder how you could possibly create a magical Christmas out of the meagre sums you have available.
Well, Christmas doesn’t have to cost the earth. Here are a few cash-saving tips…
Most kids won’t count up their presents to see who’s got the most. There’s a temptation to buy more… and more… and more… because you feel not doing so will somehow make it less magical. If you instead focus on just getting them a few special items – the thing they most want as well as a book, something creative and the continuous joy of an advent calendar, they’ll be just as over the moon. The chances are they’ll be getting heaps of gifts from other friends and family too, anyway.
There are many ways to ease the December spending. Start shopping now and spread the cost over several months. You’ll also be able to take advantage of sales before the Christmas rush begins. You could inform relatives that because things are a little tight this year, you’d prefer to have a spending cap (you never know, they might be grateful to hear that!). You could also make a big batch of jam from blackberries picked from a nearby hedge, or bake some lovely treats to give to each family member as part of a home-made hamper.
You can make lovely decorations yourself out of coloured card and paper, as well as spares you might have lying around the house. If, for instance, you have some baubles you’re not using, you could place them in a bowl to add some colour. Fairy lights are also inexpensive and always give the room a festive feel.
There’s no need to serve up enough grub to feed an army. Think of Christmas dinner as a Sunday lunch with a twist. Try to include one thing each family member really loves and include it as a side. For instance, if your child adores macaroni cheese (they all do!) then serve up a bowl (you don’t have to eat it yourself!). And instead of Christmas turkey, roast up two yummy roast chickens – chicken is a more tender meat anyway!
Charades costs nothing. Nor do Christmas movies and books, if you get them from the library. BBC iPlayer will have a great choice of festive films too. And Spotify and Youtube are your friends when it comes to Christmas songs – put on a ready-made playlist and your background entertainment is sorted for free!
Christmas is no fun for anyone if you’re feeling under pressure. Your kids will pick up on your mood if you’re anxious. Decide what you’re going to do in advance, make sure it’s comfortably within your budget, and have a great time together.