Ah Christmas Ė A time for festivities, friends and family, but also for many a time when the wallet takes a severe bashing, with increasing pressure to buy extravagant and expensive gifts.
A recent study in the UK found that almost a quarter of the children surveyed had an Apple product at the top of their list; our kids are developing expensive technological tastes. If youíre planning on bending to the little darlings desires then youíd better get saving.
Alternatively, you might like to encourage some frugality and appreciation of the finer things in life. There is truth in the old adage "quality not quantity," with quality not necessarily equating to expense or designer labels, but rather with the meaning associated with giving a well thought out, handmade gift.
5 alternatives for saving money this Christmas:
- Donít buy Christmas decorations Ė make your own, from something as simple as a pine cone strung with a ribbon to hang on your tree to making your own Christmas wreath for your exterior door. To make a wreath grab some wire (a coat-hanger will do) and shape it into a circle. Collect evergreen leaves, ivy, holly, or some mistletoe (essential if youíre planning to score some Christmas kisses) and wind them through and around the wire. Much nicer than shop bought decorations, and fun to make too.
- Have you ever thought about re-using your real Christmas tree? When you buy your tree make sure that it still has a section of root intact. Then when you have it inside the house over the festive period, keep it planted in some soil in a tub, it will need a little water but not much. When Christmas is over, dig a hole one and a half times the width and depth of the root mass, place it in the hole and then carefully pack the earth around the trunk. All being well, youíll be able to dig it up and use it again the next year.
- Skip the wrapping papers. Discarded wrapping paper has to be the biggest contributor to the bulging sacks of rubbish left outside our doors after the Christmas period. Sure, wrapped presents look pretty under the tree, but do you really need to spend all of that money on paper thatíll just be ripped off and in the trash in a matter of seconds? Colorful magazine pages are just as good for wrapping paper. Once your family gets used to the idea, theyíll actually enjoy the time spent choosing carefully themed pics from old magazines.
- Avoid buying gift tags, and instead recycle last year's Christmas cards (or even this years, if you have too many to display in your house). Take a pair of patterned edge secataurs (just a pair of regular scissors is great if you donít have these) and cut out sections of the card. Use a hole punch to create a hole for some string or a ribbon, and voila Ė you have beautiful and individual gift tags for everyone.
- Why not make your own presents? Seriously, despite the fact that people are pining for these technologically advanced and expensive presents, nothing says "I love you" or "I value you" quite so much as a present that has been made by hand, or better still, made by your own hand! Maybe youíre a whizz with pickles, chutneys and jams, or a dab hand at cake or cookie making. This Christmas Iíve infused some almond oil with lavender picked from the garden. Iím going to decant it into tiny glass bottles for delightful Christmas gifts for my loved ones. They can pour a few drops into their bath for relaxing, or drop a little onto their pillow for a good nights sleep. Itís the simplest things that can mean the most.
Happy Christmas gift making everyone Ė if this hasnít motivated you to buy less, at least it might give you some ideas to save some money in order to make those extravagant purchases.
This article was written by guest contributor Sam Murray in association with Door Stop, a composite door manufacturer in the UK, providing money saving energy efficient composite doors for homes.