I work on the basis that it is never worth spending more than I can afford for Christmas. People are more important than things.
Just a few ideas for reducing the financial load.
- Many Christmas items are much cheaper in advance. My younger children like chocolate coins: these were half price in October and had a long best by date. The same applies to boxes of biscuits and supermarket pyjamas.
- Children don't need loads of presents and certainly not more than can be reasonably afforded. Some of those presents can be useful items: we often give pyjamas as part of the present. Usually they are an item which would be needed anyway.
- Children can learn to make presents or manage a small budget. We have found that pound shops can be a useful place for children to buy presents with pocket money.
- Gift labels can be made from the previous year's cards. I make these when I take the cards down. Scissors which make a zigzag edge are an advantage but not essential. A hole punch and some ribbon or wool complete the tag.
- Wrapping paper doesn't need to be expensive-it is only going to be thrown away or recycled. I have tried to make my own but my level of creativity isn't high, again, the pound shop has come to my rescue.
- Postage is expensive. Sorry, Royal Mail, but in recent years, we've sent fewer cards and more Christmas letters as e-mails. No, I haven't written the letter yet! We still send cards to people who are not on line or who might especially, appreciate a card.
- Decorations can be home made. There are numerous ideas around for salt dough and clay tree decorations. Some of the most beautiful decorations I have seen were made with evergreen boughs. We try to make our own wreath from items from our garden.
- Chicken often tastes better than turkey as well as being cheaper. If there is a turkey enthusiast, in the family, then a turkey crown can prevent waste and having "I'm trying to use up the turkey" dishes.
- Don't forget to make stock with the bones. The stock can be frozen for future use.
- Some things just aren't necessary: crackers just seem full of tack that will be thrown away in five minutes-is my middle name Scrooge?
Anyway, over to you. How do you save at Christmas?