In accordance with one of my resolutions this year we have started working towards our Christmas shopping. I am chipping away at our gifts this week since we’re buying most things online I decided it would be best to do that sooner rather than later. I realise this isn’t possible for everyone, our plan had been to save a little each fortnight toward it and reduce stress when December came, but I’ve decided to sacrifice our disposable income this fortnight and just rip off the band-aid… Something I’m aware not everyone can do, but if you set up a direct debit of $100 per month you would be surprised by the time you get to the silly season with $1200 to go towards presents, and food for the big day or days depending on your celebration style. The gifts we’re buying for each other will have to wait until next fortnight but we pretty much already know what they be and still have the time for ordering online if need be.
Ideas for Presents
- Catch of the day – they have great ideas for cheap stocking fillers, they have gimmicky presents, and they have cheap/discounted items to look at too. So far I bought my husband a stocking filler, his birthday present (which is close to Christmas) and bought our nieces a trampoline that they have already received approximately 3-4 days after I ordered it.
- Gift vouchers – while I always thought this idea was a tacky option because it shows little thought, it is good for experiences for people who have everything, they can book the experience when it’s convenient for them and gives them something to do that they might not normally have the money to do but would love to do. I am thinking for this year I might get my brother a voucher for dinner and a movie and a handmade voucher for child care for the night of their choice while I’m off work over the Christmas break
- Ozsales – similar to catch of the day have some great sales and gift ideas
- This is why I’m broke – is a website that has a lot of gimmicky items, great for finding secret Santa ideas, or for that quirky uncle or cousin
- I find the traditional clothes and toys are easy to find at the department stores if that’s what you’re looking for, and if you have the time I would get in now and get it done, I am doing my best this year to avoid that Christmas madness of December and so far I’m on track
- Don’t be afraid to buy joint presents for individual families’ kids. As long as it’s appropriate I don’t see a problem with this. We went halves with parents and bought a trampoline, and I’m thinking about the same for water play for my nephew and his step-siblings. I think it’s something they will all enjoy this summer, it’s cost effective for me, and they will enjoy it. Of course, this will depend on the kids and how they get along I guess, but they will have so many other presents it might be a nice contrast.
Ideas to Prepare for the Big Day
- Plan meals beforehand – my family has already made plans for the food part. We are spending Christmas Eve with hubbies family and I have strict instructions for gingerbread, I think even a gingerbread house, but I think I will throw in some rumballs and find some other nice little finger food goodies recipes, I might even offer to make a dessert and take the Thermie with me. With my family I have been asked to bring salads, so since I will be coming home Christmas Eve night (2.5hr drive), I will make sure I have the ingredients in the fridge before we go to hubbies family and get up early Christmas morning to prep it all and take it over.
- Decorations – these are a big expense. We have spent close to $900 this year. Insane!!! I have 4 cats so that’s the biggest problem, we bought a tree and decorations then the cats killed it so when hubby was disappointed and angry at them, I decided to try a different plan and bought a “stick” tree with branches that sit a bit higher, they have already killed one of my decorations but we’ll see if the novelty wears off, all they can do to this one is knock it over. We bought a few lawn ornaments this year, some extra lights and a projector. But, my advice is chip away at it, it’s so easy to go overboard, and I love Christmas. We are trying to decorate our house inside and outside (including a patio out the back, balcony out the front and the small grass strip we have next to our driveway. We have made a plan that we will buy a few more things each year, and next year we won’t need new decorations for the tree because we now have a white and green option, but we usually go to Myer and get 1 or 2 tree ornaments, so that years in the future we will have a collection of quality options. The same goes for our yard, we bought some lights last year, the projector and one set of lights this year, and 2 lit up solar reindeer.
- Make sure you take advantage of the sales after Christmas (if you still have any money left after being through the experience of gift buying, meal prepping and decorating), I think this is the best way to get them but last year this wasn’t an option for us on one income.
- If Christmas isn’t your thing and makes you stressed out and anxious about the rushing and expense, maybe downsize your plan. We have downsized the gift buying as we prefer the atmosphere of Christmas rather than the materialistic side of it. Maybe make a plan just to buy for the kids in your family, and the rest of you are happy just to get together and have a chilled relaxing day, after all, is that not what the holidays are all about.
In an effort to fight materialism and consumerism (as much as I feel like we sold out on the decoration part) we are trying to downsize Christmas. We are trying to make it more about spending some quality time with family and friends, and less about the present aspect. Buying mainly for the kids and my husband and I for each other, we are trying to capture what Christmas really is, excitement for the kids and a chance to get together with loved ones.
“We don’t need boxes wrapped in strings, designer love and empty things”
Goo Goo Dolls – Better Days
We’re trying to remove the anxiety, stress and anarchy that comes with Christmas, between the shopping, the cooking and meeting the expectations of others we want to go back to a simpler time. Christmas is getting bigger and bigger, dearer and dearer, and everyone complains about the sales starting earlier and earlier every year. OF course, making Christmas simplistic isn’t only for those going to someone else’s house, you can ask everyone to bring something to chip in, work smarter at Christmas not harder. Shop online if you can, decorate a little earlier, wrap presents as they arrive and organise everyone to have a job early. And then ENJOY!