It is best, to be honest, and understanding when it comes to Christmas with relatives. The average household can spend over a whopping £700 in total for Christmas presents and foods. It takes a huge amount of time and stress in the lead up to the day and what we really want is just to have a chilled day off after such a difficult year. The good that has come from this year is that there is more understanding between us, as well as an eye-opening revelation of what is really important in the world and family and loved ones, have topped the list for many of us.
If you have everything you need already then let each other know it will loosen up a lot of pressure if you agree on a gift-free Christmas. However, giving up presents definitely does not work for everyone especially with younger children but there are ways to be more budget-friendly around the big day. A lot of things such as gifts and decoration can be homemade and that can be an enjoyable activity to do too and the food doesn't have to cost the earth or alternatively buying second-hand is more cost-effective and better for the environment too.
We here to offer advice on how to make this year more special yet budget-friendly, do share with us your tips too we would love to hear them!
Most of us have been getting somewhat creative during lockdowns 1 & 2 and unlike our poor attempts, we hope you have come out with a brand new skill that you excel at. Whether you’re now a macrame master or a pottery professional, we advise you to use this time and your new-found skills to make your friends and family handmade gifts. It doesn't have to be something practical it can be something edible instead. The thought that goes into that is huge and will definitely pay off. Once you have made your gift why not sustainably wrap it too. If you carefully unwrap presents each year, save the wrapping for reuse the following year. As well as saving and cutting up old Christmas cards to transform them into gift tags. Not a penny spent.
Gift Tips and Ideas
DISCOUNT CODES - Search for discount codes online first, The Lifestyle Guide will also keep you posted on great deals - also our dedicated page will follow soon!
SKIP IT - Agree to skip Christmas presents altogether this year and do something nice instead.
IOU - Give out promises and IOU’s of things to do that year, it can be fun and silly, like a foot massage or a picnic in the park. It is thoughtful and makes the present something to look forward too.
SECRET SANTA - Do Secret Santa with your friends and family, meaning you only have to buy the one present for whom you are allocated rather than for each individual, we wrote all you need to know about Secret Santa on our blog here.
XMAS CUPBOARD - Start a Christmas cupboard, we know we already think about Christmas far too early and now here we are asking you to think about it non-stop. But honestly, if you see a bargain pick it up all year round, store it in the cupboard until the time comes when you need a gift to give to someone, you’re already prepared.
The Tree - Although it may seem like a steep cost at first if you buy an artificial tree, chances are it will be much more cost-effective as you get used year after year and unless you have a mischievous cat it’s unlikely you will need to replace it very often.
The Decor - Christmas decorations can be snapped up as hand me downs from relatives, or when browsing the charity shops, you will find all sorts of treasures to help cosy up your Christmas home and anything you no longer use you could sell online. Again with decorating, they tend to be used every year and you don’t have to buy them all at once you can start a collection of items that you add to each year.
Homemade - Whilst making your homemade gifts, why not make some decks too from as little equipment as paper and string or other items you may find in the recycling bin. Get the whole family involved for a 'crafternoon' making snowflakes and paper chains. Get creative. Get outside and pick branches and berries from trees (not other peoples gardens!) and either leave them natural as table decor or spray paint and preserve them to use again. We will be making our own wreaths this year look out for our blog on 'how-to', start with the basic shape available from Wilkos and get adding.
In the lead up to Christmas, there is no need to spend so much on entertaining and keeping up the excitement by spending copious amounts of money on festive-themed days out. You can do some of these activities that cost nothing but are lots of fun.
Take a drive around the neighbourhood to spot all the Christmas lights
Make a cosy den in the front room and watch a Christmas film on TV
Deck the Halls - Get home-making those Christmas decorations
Track Santa as he takes his massive journey across the globe on NoradSanta.org
Explore the local area with a winter walk, take homemade snacks and flasks of hot chocolate for a mid-walk energy boost
If it is snowing there is lots of fun to be had such as building a snowman or if the weather doesn't work out, why not make an inside snowman out of recycled items
Some Christmas Grottos are free to attend too, look out for our list of where to find Santa coming out in December
Sadly, the only way you make this somewhat free is to go out and catch dinner which we don't recommend as it can be time-consuming and messy. To slim down on the Christmas Dinner spends why not buy turkey breasts instead, such as this delicious one wrapped in bacon. There is no need to fork out on a full bird when it is to be cut up anyway. Most households overdo it, buying huge amounts of food to feed way more than they need. Find out who's coming and who eats what so you can plan wisely. You can also look out for our upcoming blog on what to do with leftovers where we will help you minimise any wastage. Try your hand at making canapés instead of the ready-made fancy ones from the shops that come at a price. You may even have some of the ingredients in your cupboard already. Check out the cost-effective Christmas Range from Iceland which ticks all the boxes.