This is the first Christmas that I’ve really managed to cut out any of the unnecessary costs I’d usually associate with the festive season. Up until this year I’ve always felt the need to ‘top up’ gifts, stocking, decorations etc with what is quite frankly – ‘tat’ and it honestly feels amazing to have not done it this year!
Here are 12 simple ways that you can have a more minimalistic and budget friendly festive season:
1.Secret Santa – This is popular in offices and between large friendship groups but try it with your family and smaller friendship groups too! This year we’re giving it a go with my immediate family so rather than spending £20 each on my Mum, Dad, brother, sister and sister in law, I’m simply spending £40 on one of them (shh it’s a secret!). That’s immediately cut the cost down from £100 to £40 and means that we’ve all put a lot more thought into that one persons gifts!
2. Say what you want! – Don’t feel rude telling people what you or your children would like for Christmas, especially if they ask you! I would personally much rather know that I’m getting someone something that they’d really love, want or need than making it a surprise and being way off!
3. Don’t round up – If you’ve spent £20 on one friend and the thing that your other friend wants only comes to £17, don’t feel the need to spend that £3 just to make it ‘fair’. Focus on what your loved ones will actually want, love or need and as long as those things are within your budget, don’t worry about making sure they reach the top of it!
4. Opt for experiences – Rather than physical gifts why not get someone a membership to their local farm, zoo or theme park? You could get a National Trust membership if they love walking, treat them to tickets to go and see a show, go iceskating, rock climbing or to the cinema. If you have a group of friends you could all go out for a lovely Christmas lunch, night out or day with the kids rather than getting gifts for everyone!
5. Kids turn! – Set a rule so that once you’re friends/nieces/ nephews/ grandchildren etc have children of their own, you get gifts for them instead. I personally didn’t mind at all when my aunties and Nan started doing this as my enjoyment on Christmas Day comes from seeing them happy anyway!
6. Joint gifts – My children are both getting a couple of joint gifts this year, a CD player for them to listen to audiobooks on and a car track to play with. It’s also great to give families joint gifts such as baking or craft sets. I’ve also had a couples spa break as a gift before which was just lovely!
7. Use brown paper – wrapping your gifts in brown paper is not only better for the environment but it’s much more cost effective. You can buy it from most post offices and I’m sure Amazon too and I think it makes for a very beautiful and minimalistic style. I’ve wrapped mine with raffia before and added some sprigs of Christmas tree and we’ve also decorated them with the boys fingerprints and doodles!
8. D.I.Y cards – Making your own cards is not only fun and lets out your creative side but will be much more cost effective. You could simply use plain paper or card or buy refolded white cards with envelopes that you just need to decorate. I found a pack of ten plain cards in Sainsburies for £2 which although is more expensive than making our own out of a pack of plain card, it’s still much more cost-effective than your typical £1-£2 cards.
9. Buy multipacks – If your little one wants to get something for every child in his class or you have a lot fo friends that would like similar items then search for sets that you can split! Packs of pencils with funky erasers on them; sets of three books, boxes of bath bombs or soaps that you can separate and gift to different people will save you a lot of money!
10. Shop around – Rather than simply looking in your high street stores try looking at websites such as Shpock, gumtree, eBay and Marketplace on Facebook. I brought one of Jenson’s gifts brand new and sealed for almost have of the retail price and only had to travel two minutes down the road to pick it up! It’s also worth looking for deals like the Argos 2 for £15 offer however only if you already plan to buy two items – otherwise it’s just clever marketing!
11. Give what they’ll want, love or need – Try to steer clear of novelty gifts that YOU think they’ll like and opt for ones that you know they’ll want, love or need. If it’s for someone that you don’t know what they’ll like go for something pretty foolproof like a candle as you can’t really go wrong there.
12. Re-gift – If you have an item that you know someone would want, love or need – why not give it to them? I’m re-gifting two of my own items to my boys this Christmas, a packet of high quality colouring pencils for Jasper and an old camera of mine for Jenson. They’re things that the boys will love and rather than simply giving them to them on a random day and then spending the money on something brand new I thought it made so much more sense to simply re-gift!
What are your top tips for a more budget friendly and minimalistic Christmas?
Thanks for reading,