Christmas is finally on its way, the stores are filling up with boxes of chocolates, snowflake covered PJs, and the masses of ornaments that range from cheesy to classy. No matter where you are in the world, as Christmas approaches people goes into a frenzy of shopping, whether they start buying new decorations for their Christmas tree, or start on their gift shopping.
In the UK the average family spends over £300 on Christmas, $550 in Australia, and over $900 in the US. And whether you will be spending this amount or not, the time for buying has begun. Getting an early start will help you to spread the cost however large your budget, but sometimes it can be hard to know where to start.
Making a list of the people you need to buy for is your first step, then figuring out how much you are willing, and able, to spend on each person is the second. For the decorations go through what you already have and ask yourself whether you really need new things. And for dinner, finalize your plans and plan accordingly.
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Shopping for loved ones can be tricky, particularly after years of buying them the same things. You can ask for Christmas lists and ideas, but buying them exactly what they’ve asked for isn’t as fun as gifting them something perfect and unique that will completely surprise them. Figuring out what to buy someone starts with figuring out what they like. You might feel inclined to buy them something they need, like socks or hairspray, and where those gifts might be appreciated, some gifts should be what someone wants, not needs. Think about what they love doing, what makes them laugh, or what they enjoy the most, and use that to help you figure out what to get them.
If you’re still stuck for ideas you can look online for help – giftbeta stocking stuffers for men, or great gift ideas from him to her, are some great examples of where to find some ideas. As ever, the internet can find anything, so when you search for ‘gifts for a tea-loving grandad’ you will find some great ideas.
You don’t have to spend money to give a unique gift, and there are many amazing gifts that you can make yourself, surburble handmade gifts for men are some great examples of how you can make a gift for your loved one.
After the fun of gift giving is over, then you will have to find somewhere to put it all. You will find that you have replacement presents, or your children have a million new toys. So you might need to think about having a clear out to make space for the new. But don’t throw away perfectly good things, donate them to a local charity or put together gift shoeboxes for refugees at Christmas.
Decorating for Christmas can be fun and frustrating at the same time. Some people have a go big or go home attitude when it comes to Christmas lights on the house, and that can make for some excellent shows, and for some record-breaking electricity bills. But when it comes to shopping for new decorations there are a few things to think about, and the first thing is; do you really need to?
Most households have gathered decorations over the years, starting with the basics and hand-me-downs and then growing into a more substantial collection. If you have children, then you will probably have ornaments and decorations made by them that are more precious than any you have brought. Go through what you have and ask yourself whether you need anything new? You might need to replace something that has broken, or you might have some things that are quite outdated. In those instances, you might want to do a little shopping.
If you are buying then perhaps think about acquiring a couple of pieces each year rather than all at once. If you do this, then you will be able to keep your decorations up to date and satisfy any shopping urges at the same time. It would also mean that your decorations won’t need replacing all in one go.
You can also look into upcycling or DIYing to keep the costs down and create some really unique decorations. Hula hoops are a great base for a wreath, old vases can be filled with old baubles and fairy lights, and ever greens are the perfect holiday addition to the home. Christmas decoration ideas can be found all over the internet, and you never have to spend millions to have a Christmas-ready home.
When you figure out what your Christmas dinner plans are, you can start planning for the actual event. If you’re having family come to yours for dinner, you can keep costs down by introducing a new tradition. Each course can be spread out across the family – you cook the main course, someone else brings the starter, and someone else the dessert. That way you don’t get lumped with the bill. And next year you can swap houses and courses.
If you live close to your family, then you could try a safari Christmas. This means that you go to different houses for different courses. It might not be the most traditional of Christmases but it’s a great way to spread the cost and the boredom that follows the rush of present opening – it also means that you can spread the gift-giving out over the whole day.
If you’re cooking Christmas dinner, then plan ahead; are you hosting family for more than one day? If so, leftovers will be taken care of easily over the next few days. If not, and you know you’ll have more food than you’ll be able, or want to, eat – because who wants to eat turkey three days in a row? If this happens, then find your local homeless shelter and let someone less fortunate have a Christmas dinner too.
All The Extras
Christmas is one of the most expensive times of the year, and there are so many extras that make it even more pricey. Take away the gifts, the decorations and the food, and you still have so many things to pay out for.
Winter wardrobes can be a pricey affair as you try to stay on trend and warm. Cut costs down by shopping wisely – first off, is there anything you have from the year before you still want this year? And if you are heading to the shops, then try to bag a bargain. Buying your winter wardrobe the year before in the sales will cut costs for the winter ahead, and using bargain sites to root out a great deal is so much better than heading to the high street.
Christmas meals will always crop up with friends, colleagues, and extended family. And the different outfits for each occasion can come with a big price tag. But there is no need to constantly buy new outfits. Winter-up summer outfits with boots and scarves, or mix and match a few items to create different looks at each event.
Travel is an unavoidable cost over Christmas. If you need to travel around to visit different people, then suggest car sharing or meeting halfway if you’re travelling a long distance. Look at using public transport over driving – it might not always work out cheaper, but often it does. Even things like flying across the country can be the cheaper option.
You have the gifts, but you still need to wrap them up. Buy wrapping paper in bulk, and always pick up rolls on offer. You might think you only need two, but picking up the third one will either be used this year or next. Also, think about the patterns – if you pick up generic Christmas prints, then you can only use it for that one day. But if you choose some slightly less Christmas paper, then you can use it year round.
There are some great DIY options for wrapping, like using paper to create gift bags, or swapping out traditional wrapping paper for magazine pages, newspaper and books for a quirky look to your present pile.