Christmas is the time of giving and sharing. Shop aisles are filled with beautiful and funny pieces that remind us of someone you care about. Everywhere you look, Christmas foods are being sold, whether it be party foods, turkeys or mince pies. I find that Christmas can become very materialistic and almost force us to put on show what we can afford. The size of your tree, the amount of presents under it and the variety of food on your table on Christmas Eve/Day… We are shown all these things on TV, in shop windows or in magazines in huge quantities and scale.
But not everyone can afford this and, to be honest, we shouldn’t have to. Christmas is about so much more than how many decorations you have or how big your turkey is. Depending on your situation and where you celebrate, different things might be accessible to you. So instead of focusing on what money can buy, here are a few tips on how to spend an amazing holiday on a budget.
Make a budget
As silly and simple as it sounds, writing down an overall and/or per-person budget can help you avoid spending money you don’t have. I find it quite helpful to also write down gift ideas on that same list. That way you can see if your budget and your presents match or if one of them has to be slightly tweaked in order to fit the other. When you buy a present, write down how much you ended up spending on it and see whether you can spend more than expected on someone else’s gift or if you’ve gone slightly overboard and need to redo your budget in some places.
Buying presents is expensive. Even if you decide to stick to a £10 budget per person, it can quickly add up to a large sum of money that you might not have to spend on gifts. I’m a firm believer that the price does not make the present. On the contrary: giving meaningful gifts is what the season should be about! Whether it’s an inside joke, something to fuel their secret obsession or just something that will remind them of you, putting thought into a present gives it much more personality and shows you truly care about that person.
You can also opt to give them something that isn’t necessarily tangible – concert or cinema tickets, a date or simply some quality time doing something they love with you. Homemade gifts are also great because they are fun to make but they also enable you to customise it and make sure the person will like it. It also mean more to them because you’ve put a lot of effort into it. However, beware of the DIY trap: buying all your supplies can quickly add up so make sure you plan it in advance and find something that fits into your budget.
Many people have to travel to see their family for Christmas, some further than others. I live in different countries than my family, and all my closest family members now live in separate countries due to different circumstances. For some sad reason, transportation around this time of year is quite expensive. So if you don’t have a large budget available to spend on travels, there are different options for you. You could celebrate where you live with close friends or travel with someone you’re close to and see their family – if it’s a cheaper trip for example. You can also decide to host Christmas at yours and have all your family members come over to your home.
Although Christmas is often associated with family, I like to use the term more loosely and attribute it to anyone in your life that you care about. So although you might be sad because it’s your first festive season away from home or you haven’t been able to see your relatives for Christmas in years, enjoy the people that you have around you. Don’t use this time of year as the only excuse to see your family. Plan a trip to spend time with them during the off-peak season and start saving up for it now!
This year is the first time I sent Christmas cards to loved ones. And it was honestly a lot of fun. Writing Christmas cards is also a good way of showing someone that you’re thinking of them, without breaking the bank. It also feels really special to send handwritten cards – just think of how excited you get when you receive a card in the mail! Sending sweet little cards is a budget-friendly way to send some love and put some joy into other peoples’ lives.
This time of year is about spending time with others. So don’t underestimate the strength of a video call or a quick visit. If you can’t see someone you care about, give them a quick call and let them know how much you appreciate them. Some aren’t lucky enough to have people around them, so if you know of someone who might be spending the holidays alone, go bring them some food and biscuits or invite them over for dinner. Being able to spend some time with others will make their day. And of course, be present and enjoy the time you get to spend with the ones you care about.
So here it is, my short post on not letting your budget stop you from having an amazing Christmas. I hope that you all had a lovely time with your loved ones and I look forward to speaking to you again soon! I apologise for the shortness of this post, I went away for a very short trip to Ireland which required about 14 hours of travel and I haven’t slept last night. So fingers crossed that there are no typos and that everything makes sense! Thanks for understanding.