No, I am not insane! (just organised!). There is only 87 more sleeps until Christmas Eve!
That’s 12.4 weeks or 6.2 pays for those of us who get our dosh per fortnight. This means you need to start getting organised NOW to ensure you won’t be caught up in the rush. Follow my simple rules and I promise you will have a much more easy-going Festive Season this year and you will probably save some money too (which is nice to know, since we all could do without the January heart palpitations when the credit card bill arrives!).
Right. So off you go and grab a pen and paper (It’s OK, I’ll wait!).
Make a list (and check it twice) for all your necessary items…..
Who do you need to buy for? List everyone here. Make life easy for youself and don’t spend money on people just because you feel you HAVE to. Compliments of the season can be given in much more heartfelt and less expensive ways!
Stick to a $ budget for ALL gifts!. They add up fast so keep it low! Try writing your amount next to the recipient on your list. E.G: Nan – $15 tops!.
Think outside the square!! Who says you have to buy the most expensive gift known to man?? Do you really need to buy somone more “stuff”? Parents of littlies especially will probably thank you for NOT buying more toys or junk. Put in some cash for the babies, buy a movie ticket or two or give them a homemade gift voucher for a day out Ice Skating or Indoor Climbing or to a Museum or Fun Park. You can even buy gift cards these days for Bowling Alleys for 2 games & shoe hire etc.
Shop ALL Year! Keep an eye out for gifts everytime you are in the shops. You can pick up bits & pieces on sale throughout the year and stick them away in a hidey hole. It will save you a stack of money!
Handmake items instead of buying them. Everyone appreciates a handmade gift. Can you cook? Start Baking or make Chutneys, Sauces & Cordials. Home Brew Expert? Put together a 6 pack of your best brew! Handy with a sewing machine? Whip up simple useful gifts like kids clothes, aprons, bags or dolls’ blankets. All of these things can be matched with a small, inexpensive gift or two and hey presto! You’ve got a home made hamper!!
What about living gifts? Pot Plants, Dwarf Fuit Trees and the like make great gifts. You could also make up a small pot with a selection of edible herbs. The gift that keeps on giving!!
Add a few extra groceries to your list each week. My mum always did this and its a great way of slowly stocking up all the things you will need for the big day. Everything from bags of lollies to napkins and nuts and even booze. Just grab one or two things each time you do the groceries and squirrell them away in the back of the pantry. (I have a “Xmas Box” and woe betide anyone who nicks from it!!).
Save extra cash every week to help cover addittional items. I put away $20/wk (auto paid from our regular bank) into our bills account every f/night to cover Xmas costs (basic gifts and food for our little family). If you don’t end up spending it at Xmas you can use it for a few days’ holiday away or stick it on your debts.
Share the load! Just because you may be hosting Christmas does not mean you have to buy everything!! In our family we have a great rule. Everyone brings Alcohol for themselves PLUS 2 bottles of soft drink PLUS 2 bags of lollies/chips PLUS an item allocated to them (salad, prawns, turkey, dessert etc).
Kris Kringle/Secret Santa – Yes even for the kids! Since I come from an enOURmous family (I’m the youngest of 7 children) there is a cast of thousands every Christmas! (Just to give you an idea – that’s 7 children, who between them have 18 children and 2 of THOSE have 4.5 kids of THEIR own. So with 7 kids, 18 grankids and 4.5 great grankids, I’m sure you can all understand why Kris Kringle at our place is such a great idea! N.B – The .5 is due 3 weeks before Christmas. What a great gift!). We have a rule whereby everyone over 15/16 is included in the adults KK. (The older ones started to revolt!!). The kids are simply allocated another child to buy for and the adults play a hilarious game which never fails to impress. It goes like this:
Each adult buys 1 x non-gender specific gift. It can be useful, funny, whatever you like. Its wrapped with no card and all the gifts get put together in a large line (in random order). All the names are put into a hat and one person draws out a name. The first person opens gift no 1 (the first gift in the line). This is the gift they have to keep (hence why no one wants to be the first!) The second person can then choose gift no. 2 OR they can take the gift from person no. 1. If that happens then person no 1. can open gift no. 2. (and so on). Everyone wants to be the last person chosen of course as they have the power to choose from ALL the gifts!!. Its an absolutely HILARIOUS game and never fails to crack us up each year. People hide the good pressies under chairs and the like in the hope the people left won’t find them, and those with the dodgy pressies do their best spruiking to try & get someone else to take it off their hands!!. There have been some interesting gifts over the years (many a re-gift too from some cheeky buggers!!) and it ensures most of us spend the whole year trying to find “THAT” gift that everyone will want (or try & get rid of!!).
Boredom Busters! We are normally in the pool on/around Christmas lunch however I do like to try & have some cheapie activities ready for the little ones (who tend to get bored realllly quickly). Things like bubble blowers, sparklers and even cheapie colouring books and a stack of pencils can help keep them out of mischief. Add one or two to your groceries this week – hehe:)
Whatever you do this Christmas! Make it Fun!!!