There are times when the whole idea of buying Christmas gifts can seem like a requirement. We give gifts to our family, gifts to our friends, gifts to our neighbours and sometimes even gifts to work colleagues. We may not always have a lot of money to spend and if we have a lot to buy for, all this shopping for gifts can put a strain on our finances. It is completely forgiveable for anyone to feel stressed or grumpy about it. However, there are many ways we can save money on gifts.
- You can agree with your family that this year, everyone will only buy for the children.
- You can have what is commonly known as ‘Kris Kringle’ or ‘Secret Santa’. Put all the family members or work colleagues name in a hat and everyone picks one name to buy a gift for.
- Use your loyalty cards! Throughout the year, use your loyalty cards to rack up points so you can save money on gifts. Here in the UK, Boots or Sainsbury’s are good ones to have. They sell great gift sets come Christmas at 3 for 2. Last year, I was able to get a few gifts for free with the points I earned.
- Sign up for e-vouchers and check your email every day for bargains. You can even sign up to receive emails from your local Theatre. I got tickets one year for only £10 a piece.
- You can make gifts. Now, I know this may be a bit stressful but if you like crafting, a few DIY gifts will save you some money. If you think you are not creative enough or have enough time, think again and stay tuned for a future post on great DIY gifts!
- Offer to give a gift of service. Who wouldn’t want the promise of having snow shovelled in front of their house for a week or free babysitting?
- Change the tradition. Invite people over after Christmas and take advantage of after Christmas sales for their gifts. Or give the kids stocking stuffers on Christmas day and bigger presents on Epiphany or Three Kings day or Orthodox Christmas.
- Shop at pound or dollar shops…it’s not as crazy as you think! I bought a beautiful glass jar and a child’s apron each for 99p at the 99p shop. I plan to decorate and fill the jar with cookie mix and give to a little girl of a friend of mine along with the apron so she can have fun baking cookies with her mum or dad.
- Make your own Christmas hamper (or basket). Find an inexpensive basket or decorate a box and fill it with either home-made goodies or inexpensive (but tasty) items from your local supermarket. You can even make it a theme, such as body potions and lotions, movie night, chocoholic, comfort box for ‘rainy’ days…whatever you can think of.
- Buy couple gifts whenever possible. If you have a couple to buy for buy them a joint gift such as something for the house or cinema tickets or a shopping voucher.
To keep yourself stress-free, plan ahead of time and keep a journal with all the names of people you are buying for. I like to keep the journal for a few years so that every Christmas I can look up what I bought so they don’t get the same sort of gift two years running. It is also so important to try and have a positive perspective on things. The giving of Christmas gifts can be seen as representative of God’s greatest gift to mankind-His son Jesus. We in turn give gifts to those we love. It is a beautiful way of showing others how much we care.