The holidays are almost upon us. As soon as summer starts to wane, the year seems to pick up the pace and no soon as Halloween has gone by, we’re in full holiday mode. Decorations start appearing in streets, lights are switched on, and even family homes begin to decorate. The shops are already filling up with festive treats and gifts, and many of us are already starting to think about shopping if you haven’t already got some gifts in hiding.
This is wonderful. Christmas is a magical time, and it’s great to start getting excited about it. Walking down a street lined with lights and decorations, sipping on a festive hot chocolate and enjoying all of the sights and smells that come with the time of year is a highlight of the year for many of us, and it can be even better if you’ve got kids buzzing about.
Children are already starting to think about their lists for Santa, looking in catalogs and planning what they would like, and most parents are saying things like “Santa can see you” “I’ll tell Santa if you don’t do as you are told” at least twice a day. Many of us are also starting to worry. As the lists get longer, panic can begin to set it. How are you going to pay for it all? How can you possibly save enough with only a few precious weeks left to go? How can you give your family the holiday that they deserve without getting yourself into serious financial trouble?
Of course, in the ideal world, we’d avoid borrowing altogether. But, if you do need to borrow money, it’s better to plan it carefully, find the best options and borrow the correct amount. Don’t just rely on high-interest credit cards, assuming that you’ll pay them off after Christmas. You might not. You might still have these debts this time next year. Instead, look at installment loans for bad credit and make a plan to repay it before you’ve even borrowed it.
Gifts aren’t the only festive expense that you face. Decorations and food are also expenses that we can’t all afford. Crafting is a fantastic way to save money. Make your own decorations, bake mince pies and other festive treats and save as much as you can by doing things yourself.
As well as saving money, crafting is a brilliant way to add more magic to period. Put some of your favorite holiday music on, make some easy salt dough decorations and have fun painting and making fun Christmas decorations together as a family.
Make Deals with Friends
Is your Christmas shopping list massive? Do you buy for every member of your family and all of your friends, and their families? Why? Usually, when we buy for so many people a lot of what we buy is largely unwanted. Ask yourself how many giftsets you’ve received over the years that never got opened or that you didn’t really like?
Instead, why not make deals with your family or friendships group? Agree not to buy each other gifts, to only buy for children or at least to have a price limit on anything that you do buy. Other options include all chipping in for a day out together, instead of gifts, running a secret Santa, so everyone only buys one present or agreeing to wait and buy each other New Year’s gifts in the sales instead.
Start Planning Homemade Gifts
Making gifts is a beautiful way to keep the magic alive while spending much less. Homemade truffles, jams, and gingerbread are easy and thoughtful gifts that can be made cheaply. However, finding the time to make gifts, around everything else can add to your festive stress, and may seem like more trouble than it’s worth.
Fortunately, most edible homemade gifts are freezable. Start buying ingredients and preparing recipes now. Then, as December begins, start making your items and freezing them ready for the big day. Then, get the kids to help you make some colorful packaging.
Aside from money, one of the main struggles for parents is storage. Our kids get bought so many toys every year, and it’s hard to find space to keep them all without our homes becoming wholly overrun.
Many of us use these few months before Christmas to start clearing things out. We throw away any broken, old or unwanted toys, and donate anything that we can to charity. Why not take this further and use your big clear out as a chance to make some extra money to find your own Christmas shopping. Don’t just clear out toys, go through clothes, appliances, homeware and anything else. Then have a yard sale or find online selling sites and apps.
Find Free Activities
Another costly part of Christmas is the activities. Kids want to go to visit Santa. They want to go to Christmas crafts sessions and on festive train rides. We’re entirely surrounded by ways to spend money, and our children want to do it all. But there are plenty of ways to have fun and enjoy the festive spirit without spending too much.
Crafting and baking are fantastic. But you can also take wintery walks in the park. Go on a scavenger hunt, walk through town to look at the lights and have fun making Christmas cards for your family. You could also go to your local library to pick up some festive stories and print Christmas coloring sheets from the internet.
Remember What’s Important
It can be so easy to get sucked into the commercialism of the holidays. We’re surrounded by advertisements, things that we should buy and special offers. It can be easy to feel as though you’ve got to compete. As though you need to buy the best that you can. But, you don’t. Remind yourself of what Christmas is really about. Whether you are religious or not, there is always more to it than gifts and money. It’s about spending time with those that you love and creating your own kind of festive magic.