Christmas, Money

I’m dreaming of a cheap Christmas…

I’m dreaming of a cheap Christmas 
Just like the ones I used to know… 

Wait, those aren’t the right lyrics, are they? But Christmases certainly weren’t so insanely expensive in the past, I’m sure of it.

My view might be a bit skewed as I’m reading so many blogs with “gift guides” right now. So many of those seem so expensive and it terrifies me!

Last Christmas and the one before, I think we went a little overboard with the spending – although still nothing compared to what I’ve seen others do.

This year, I’m cutting back drastically. (When I say “I”, I do of course mean “my husband and I”. It’s just that as the one at home right now, I’ll obviously be doing more of the work for it.)

I love to spoil my loved ones. Gift-giving is one of my biggest “love languages”, so this might be hard. But I think it’s important.

Why do we want a cheap Christmas?

Firstly, I’m the primary breadwinner in our family. But I’m on maternity leave right now. So, yeah, money’s going to be tight by the time I go back. I’m trying not to think about it. Despite this, we are committed to my taking a full year off. (Of course, as I started my maternity leave quite early, I’m already a fairly hefty portion of the way through!) But this does mean that we are going to have to cut back significantly. Christmas is a good place to start!

Secondly, we’re Catholic. To me, Christmas is about more than handing over a debit card or unwrapping gifts. It’s so easy to lose sight of that these days, but now that my daughter is here, it feels more important to try and refocus a bit. I don’t want her to grow up expecting Christmas to be a massively materialistic holiday. I want her to know its religious significance more than anything.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if she grew up and recognised Christmas as a religious festival, and also a time of year where we show and share love amongst our friends and family? Rather than a time of year where she starts demanding the latest plasticky crap? I want her to experience the joy of giving, but that doesn’t have to necessarily involve the Argos catalogue! It could be spending time on a nice painting or making some food for Grandad to show how much he means to her.

I know, at two weeks old, I can’t make plans for the rest of her life. But I can have aspirations for her!

Some of my plans for having a cheap Christmas:

  • I’m cutting back on who’s getting gifts. This sounds incredibly Scrooge-like, I know. But there are people that we never see, family members that actively dislike us, and every year there’s this pressure to still buy them some small trinket that they’ll probably open and then re-gift to someone else the next year. What is the point of that? I’m cutting them off the list.
  • On a similar note, if I won’t be seeing someone around Christmas time, they’re not getting anything. Yes, there are some people I always post to (mostly kids) and they’ll get something. But I’m not carting gifts around in my car for months on the off-chance I’ll see an old school friend.
  • I’m not buying for the sake of buying. Boots 3-for-2 deals are great. But it does mean that I feel the need to go there more often and always get things in multiples of three. The plan this year is to give things to the people we love that we think they’ll love. Not just buying something because it was on offer.
  • Homemade and crafty things! Lots of family members will be getting baby photo related gifts this year, I think. Food products will also probably feature quite highly.
  • Baby is having a really cheap Christmas. We’ll be giving her some things that technically she already has but just doesn’t know about! She’s only going to be a few weeks old; she has no idea what Christmas is. (But I do feel the pressure to make sure she has something to be photographed at least, so she has one fewer thing to complain to her therapist about in the future!)
  • The rabbits will be benefiting from the trick we learnt last year. They like boxes, so they’ll get boxes – the boxes from the humans’ gifts. They won’t mind that they’re re-gifted!
  • We’re vegetarian, so that cuts down on food costs. We are absolutely not offering to host anyone this year, either. A nice quite Christmas on our own is the plan.
  • I won’t be buying loads of new decorations this year. The past couple of years have been a bit more expensive than I’d like as we moved into our “new” house in 2015, so we’re still putting together our Christmas collection. We’re nearly there now, and if the house is a bit sparsely decorated this year, who cares? Baby dressed in a tiny elf outfit is going to be the best decoration of all!

I hope you all have a lovely cheap Christmas!

I think we can do it!

Am I the only one planning a cheap Christmas? (Some days it feels like it!) If you are too, how are you planning to do it?

2 thoughts on “I’m dreaming of a cheap Christmas…

  1. We’re having a low budget Christmas this year. After Christmas I’m working a grand total of 12 days before my Mat Leave starts so not only will we have the traditional six week wait between pay slips, there’ll be a little less than usual when the January one rolls around.

    Like you, we’re cutting back on who gets presents this year and how much we’re spending on those who do. We’re making use of things we already have and are going small or simple for ourselves. We went away for Christmas last year and set ourselves a £50 budget for gifts between ourselves which worked well so we’re doing it again. I’ve also had my husband’s birthday to buy for but since I won an Amazon voucher at work, that only cost £7-something for his presents.

    Our focus this year will be on spending quality time with each other and our family before the newest member comes along. Next Christmas will look very different in our household!

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