Thursday 12 December 2013

Frugal festivities

This can be an expensive time of year. Christmas is to remember the birth of the Lord Jesus but we also enjoy a time with family and friends. Still, the added extras can spiral.

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?
Frugal Family 2013


  1. I have some fabric bags that we use for gifts. I bought Christmas fabric cheap one year and made a bunch. I use some paper and stamps to make the gift tags. We are doing less gifts usually pj's and one or two items plus the stocking.

  2. I know of other people who have done this-a really good idea although one I've not managed!

  3. I buy next years cards and wrapping paper in the sales, as well as any gifts I can find. I know it means keeping them all year but it helps. We are going to make a few 'foodie' gifts this year too. Oh, and saving up nectar/tesco/whatever points during the year can really cut down on the cost of gifts in December. I also buy from October onward- as you say, it is cheaper!

    1. You sound very organised! I like the idea of buying gifts in the sales.