Single Thought of the Week: Christmas

Jess McGlynnDecember 19, 2012

I’ve seen a lot of posts buzzing around the blogosphere this week all to do with Christmas traditions.  We’re a young family so we haven’t had much time to build up any traditions yet but we’re starting a few this year and I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for more exciting ones we can implement.

It’s too late this year but my favourite so far is to have a basket full of Christmas books which we get out each year.  I will definitely be getting a stash together for next year!

So, when I decided to do my ‘Single Thought of the Week’ post around Christmas I couldn’t really think what I could write about.  After much umming and ahhing I thought I’d put down my top tips for not blowing the budget at Christmas.  This may be a little late in the day seeing as Christmas is next week *panics* but maybe it’ll help someone…or maybe next year when I’m sitting down to write my lists I’ll be reminded of these tips!

We fell into the trap with Meg’s first Christmas of over buying.  We wanted to make it special, we wanted to take lots of photos and use it as an opportunity to spoil her.  We really shouldn’t have bothered.  Whilst I remember getting annoyed at people commenting that she would just be interested in the cardboard box or the paper (she wasn’t, she knows what the good stuff is!) we really didn’t need to go quite as overboard as did, and to be honest, our purse strings didn’t really allow for it either!

Meg’s first Christmas

By Meg’s second Christmas we’d learned our lesson somewhat and tried to be more restrained in what we bought for her.  I still couldn’t help myself though and was out buying ‘those last few bits’ on Christmas Eve!  

Meg’s Second Christmas

So by the time Eli’s first Christmas arrived we’d pretty much got a handle on how to have Christmas without blowing the budget.

Here are my top 5 tips:

1. Make a list.
Decide on how many presents/what budget you have and write a list which keeps within those parameters.

2. Stick to your list!  
So many times I have entered a shop with my list in hand and then gone into panic mode, seeing all kinds of Christmassy treats on offer and just bought far more than I needed to.  This year I’ve done all my shopping online so I can’t be tempted!

3. Buy pre-loved toys
We love buying pre-loved toys.  Not only have we got some brilliant bargains but also, it means I’m not tearing my hair out when Meg decides to add some colour and uses her crayons on a £50 toy garage (that we actually only paid £10 for) or when the kids take a shine to the same toy and end up snapping or damaging it.  I know it sounds scroogey but the cost of toys these days is astonishing, consider pre-loved if you’re looking to save some pennies!

4. Don’t go overboard
It’s so easy to do, especially when you have small children, and especially when it’s a first Christmas but there really is no need.  Last year Meg was so spoilt and had so much to open that she ended up in this wrapping paper frenzy just ripping it off left, right and centre.  She even managed to open some of our presents!  This year we’ve been much more reserved, and I bet she’ll be happy opening one or two things and actually being able to play with them there and then.

5. Wait until the sales
This year, we have borrowed an idea from my brother and his girlfriend and are not buying each other presents until the January sales.  To be honest, Christmas for me now is all about the enjoyment of watching the kids opening their presents and loving the magic of Christmas that I’m not so interested in gifts.  I’m looking forward to having some money put aside to grab myself some January bargains!

And most importantly of all Christmas is all about family fun – so make some memories.  My favourite part of Christmas Day is spending time together as a family with no interruptions – just us, good food, good TV and good family times!

Merry Christmas 🙂

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