Christmas is just around the corner and, with the many online and high street sales being promoted, you’re probably already making your shopping list. Whether you’re a grandparent to one youngster, have a large family, or are thinking about gifts for friends - finding the perfect present can be tricky, tiring and expensive.
Once upon a time, Christmas was all about coming together and having a jolly good time - not giving extravagant gifts. So here are 3 simple ways you can get creative this Christmas and give cracking gifts everyone will love, on any budget.
1. Start a Secret Santa
If you were to ask friends and family what they’d like for Christmas, many would say they have everything they need. You may like to give a little something anyway, but families don’t want bags full of gifts, toys and treats that may be wasted.
Instead, wouldn’t it be better if everyone received just one, meaningful gift to treasure? These gifts won’t just be meaningful, they’ll also cut down on purchases, paper, plastic and other resources, reducing your Christmas carbon footprint!
Setting up a family Secret Santa is a really good way to reduce the cost of Christmas, while making sure everybody gets a wonderful present to enjoy. If you’re stuck on what to buy your recipient, you can always ask other friends and family members for ideas, there’s no way you’ll “double up” on the perfect item!
How to run a Secret Santa
- Firstly, decide if you will have a spend limit. This is common practice for Secret Santa’s ensuring a loved one doesn’t overspend or give a lavish gift while others have been conservative with their spend. This will make everyone feel comfortable and excited about how to spend their budget.
- Put everybody’s name in a hat and draw out one name each (or use a handy online picker if you live far apart). The person you pick will be the recipient of your gift.
- Everyone buys a gift for their chosen person, but they must take care not to reveal the identity of their gift recipient!
- The gifts are distributed on Christmas day, with a big part of the fun being the detective work trying to figure out who had who! Will you work out who your Secret Santa is?
2. Have a crafty Christmas
Another way to give cracking gifts on a budget and reduce the cost of Christmas is to get crafty! Whether you love to crochet, grow plants, whittle spoons, paint portraits or write poems perhaps – there’s sure to be a creative way you can share your talents with the family. Plus, the beauty of a handmade present is that it is often considered much more meaningful than something bought from a shop.
Gifts you’ve made yourself are bursting with personal touches and show your recipient that you love to spend your time and energy on them. These gifts are also completely unique!
So what can you make for your loved ones this Christmas? Here are just a few, creative, crafty and money-saving ideas to get you started…
- Recipe jars
Do your family go nuts for your baked goods? Why not give them the gift of a pre-mixed secret recipe? Layers of pre-weighed ingredients (flour, sugar, nuts, chocolate chips etc.) look really attractive in a decorated Kilner jar. Add some instructions to the label and you’ve got a thoughtful, scrumptious gift - perfect for keen cooks. Want to try something different in you jar? Why not create your own bath salts - the perfect gift for winter!
- Cross-stitch art
These little “needle and thread” patterns are very popular as quirky interior decorations right now. If you’re a cross-stitch clever clogs, why not whip up a design featuring your recipient’s favourite things? From food and flowers to portraits and festive decoration, the only limit is your imagination! These designs look great in an embroidery hoop hung on the wall, or even used as soft furnishings like cushion covers.
- DIY spice rack
Are your loved ones keen foodies? If you’re handy with a hammer and nails, spice racks are very simple to make - and very useful too! Your recipient could use this gift as storage for pretty much any small item including makeup, jewellery and even art supplies.
3. Use discount websites
Some family members will love handmade gifts, but others will always crave “the latest thing”. If your recipient wants something specific, there are a few ways to cut down on the cost when you’re shopping online.
- Voucher sites
There are many voucher websites available online which flag up potential shopping deals. You could save money and pay a discounted price, just take a look at sites like vouchercodes.co.uk to see what’s on offer.
- Cashback sites
These websites will help you collect cashback each time you make a purchase. This means that, over the longer term, you’ll make back some money on what you buy. Quidco and Topcashback are the two biggest names in this area.
- Compare prices
Buying a gift on Amazon? Did you know that prices on the platform fluctuate wildly? Websites like "Camel camel camel" track the price of your chosen item and can notify you by email when the price drops, saving you a potential packet!
The cost of Christmas can become very high, with many British households routinely overspending over the festive season. Tis the season of giving but this shouldn’t mean at the expensive of your happiness, so try cutting the costs and you may have a worry-free Christmas this year.
Christmas is the perfect time for relaxing with friends and family but, if you currently live far away, it can be difficult to keep in touch. Did you know you can connect and communicate online for free? Online services like Skype are a great way to speak with friends and family, especially at Christmas!
Whether you’re spending time with loved ones this Christmas or simply having a Skype chat, have you considered moving closer for next year?