Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Preparing for Christmas: Gifts and Money

Our last Christmas prep post focussed on how to get your home organised and food planned for the festive season.  This time we're looking at gifts and the means to pay for it all.

Home-made gifts

There is still plenty of time to produce some lovely home-made gifts if you're that way inclined.  If you're making your own Christmas pudding or cake, it only takes a little extra effort to make two or more.  Elderly relatives or neighbours will always appreciate a good Christmas cake!  Home-made sweets are a great one to get the children involved in, and will always go down a treat presented in a pretty jar with decorative flourishes.

And don't forget some booze; we love this Limoncello recipe, and just look at the food you can make with it too!  Of course home-made gifts don't have to end in the kitchen, crafty types can get beavering away with the sewing machine, knitting needles or crochet hook to make some lovely gifts.

Present shopping

Personally I'd rather spend most of December doing the fun stuff, mooching round the Christmas markets, attending the carol services, and delighting in all the Festive fun, rather than dashing manically from shop to shop grabbing an 'it'll do' for everyone on my list.  I'm never over-keen on crowds of people and the maniacal frenzy of mid to late December is my idea of Hell!  But on the other hand, I'm not keen on the shopping from January onwards and having it all done by September.

My plan for the next few weeks is to spread the shopping out as much as possible, to save carrier bag fingers and debit card burn, as well as avoiding those crowds. Apparently Tuesday and Wednesday are the quietest days to shop.  Of course stage one is to write a list of everyone you have to buy for and assign a realistic amount for their gift, then figure out what they might like.  Rather than drifting from shop to shop I do a fair bit of online browsing and research first, then head out with my narrowed down list.

I also think experience gifts are delightful and so much more appreciated than another something to clog up the home, so an RHS membership for my mum, or opera tickets for my cousin will always go down very well.  This year she's getting tickets to the wonderful new ENO production of Monteverdi's masterpiece Orfeo in Bristol.  Just hope they don't read this post...

To save money, buy as you see things on offer now, lots of stores are doing 3 for 2 on gifts, cards, wrapping paper etc.  (Or wait for Black Friday on 28th November and Cyber Monday on 1st December when many retailers will be discounting heavily and there will be many a bargain to be had.  (Follow us on Facebook for lots of great offers and discount codes.)

Paying for it all

Even if you haven't put a single penny by yet, there are still ways to economise and even save a few pennies.  If you still have some of October's pay left, put as big a wodge as you can manage away in an instant access savings account.  Add to it things like this month's Child Benefit, and try to save a few pounds each week too.  When you need to dip into your account for the big present or food shop in a few weeks' time there will be a fair bit there.  And you know what they say, every little helps!

Use reward schemes to your advantage

You can currently exchange your Tesco Clubcard vouchers in store, with every £5 doubling up to spend in a whole host of departments.  We always use ours in the toy aisle, and have had some great deals in the past.  Sainsbury's are doing the same thing with Nectar points at the end of November, you can read more here.

Get organised, do some planning, then relax and have fun!

Look out for all our other Christmas posts to help you find out what's out there, and how to get it all done, too.

1 comment :

  1. I have half of my gifts so far and have only spend about £20, I managed to earn and save lots of vouchers by doing surveys online which has really helped with the cost of christmas


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