Christmas, for many, is the most expensive time of year, which causes stress and anxiety even when financial times are good. With the ongoing credit crunch affecting England, America and beyond ,now is the time to reassess and change the way we behave at this time of year.
Credit Crunch Christmas Presents
When times are good many people spend thousands of dollars on Christmas presents but it is the thoughtful gift that strikes a chord in the receiver’s heart and is remembered forever.
- Suggest to all adult friends and relatives that presents this year should be just for the kids. Letting people off the hook could be the best present they get all year and will save everyone a lot of money
- Get cooking. For those who really can’t get out of adult gift buying edible gifts can be cheap, personal and a beautiful gift. Make chutneys, jams, pickles or cookies. For special people make a hamper of a selection of edible homemade treats and add a bottle of olive oil infused with herbs or garlic
- Children under 5 years old may want every toy they see but most just enjoy unwrapping presents so get a few stockings full of $1 treats or make presents such as home made dressing up outfits
- For spouses or lovers make them a voucher book. All that is needed is a small blank notepad and a pen and the giver can writer their own vouchers for his or her partner to cash throughout the year. A home cooked 3 course meal, a day without the kids, a guilt free night out with the boys/girls, and then there are the bedroom vouchers!
- Find an old photo frame and make collage for grandparents
- Get a nice notepad and some felt tip pens and write a book for a young child, complete with pictures
- Make hampers. $10 worth of food or toiletries can look like $50 when presented or packaged nicely
Finance Friendly Food and Decorations
Christmas dinner can be an expensive affair. Some of the below may soften the blow:
- Cancel Christmas dinner. Really! Even for those who religiously have the whole family round for dinner on Christmas day. This is the year to start a new tradition. Instead of cooking for 12 explain to the family that this is going to be a quiet year and instead invite them round for late afternoon drinks and Christmas nibbles. This will give everyone the chance to still have a Christmas day get together but will mean that the hosts spend a tenth of the money that they would have spent
- Instead of an expensive turkey buy chicken breast fillets, hammer flat, wrap around stuffing and chestnuts and wrap in bacon. Either serve one per person or to make them go further slice them to create smaller pretty circles
- For those who buy new decorations every year then this is the year to realise the beauty of recycling. Enjoy the tradition and routine of unpacking treasured favourites every festive season.
- For those who are already using old favourites add some popcorn tinsel dipped in glitter, cotton ball snowmen and old or broken jewellery to make new tree trinkets
- Invest in a Christmas scented air spray. That way it will feel like Christmas no matter what decorations are used
- Make crackers using toilet roll tubes and wrapping paper and insert chocolates or toys for crackers which will cost a third of the price of store bought ones.
- Make a star for the top of the tree out of carboard and silver foil or dress a Barbie doll in her best party dress for a funky fairy tree topper
- For families with kids go wild with a toy themed tree. Get the children to gather any toys smaller than their hand then tape cotton loops onto their backs and dip them in glue and glitter.
Angelic Attitude – Time for a Reality Check
Ok. Now for the reality check. For a great Christmas and to take the sting out of scrimping here are some things to think about when trying to stop worrying about money.
- Count blessings. Presents and parties are great but they can’t replace happy healthy friends and families or a nice home or country to live in
- Go for a walk and enjoy the scenery, sights and noises
- Sit in a coffee house and watch the festivities and decorations
- Take up a hobby, listen to music or meditate
- Do some baking
- Enjoy an old movie
- Have a duvet day – stay in pajamas all day, bring a duvet down to the sofa, eat unhealthy food, drink warm drinks and read a book or watch a Christmas movie
- Go to a Christmas church service or go carol singing
- Help out a charity or at a soup kitchen
- Have a jumble sale or clear out the house and make some money on eBay
If all else fails then make like a bear and hibernate until January!