How to… have a very merry recessionista’s Christmas

Talk of the economic crisis and job losses and the recession do not seem to be quieting, so another Christmas rolls around and the spectre of the debt incurred by spoiling loved ones with lavish gifts rears its ugly head – again! But do not fear my lovelies, for I am here – exactly a month before Christmas Eve – to tell you how to have a splendid and sparkling Christmas without blowing your budget:

1. Last year I devoted a whole post to the idea of making your Christmas gifts – all of what I said there still stands true. Check it out and see what fabulous ideas you can glean from there.

2. I always go a little overboard when it comes to Christmas cards as I know how much I love to receive them and put them up all around our flat but the cards themselves and the postage costs can all get pretty expensive. So, why not send e-cards? I’m not a huge fan of this – for the above reasons and that I think it is a little impersonal but that’s just me and for those who do do it, great!

3. If you’re like me though and it just doesn’t feel like Christmas without writing out your Christmas card list and sitting down to write them, then why not make them?

4. Shop the sales – I don’t mean the January sales (really, who is that organised?!) but most stores seem to have sales on throughout the year. For stocking fillers and “extras” I check the sale racks, particularly the jewellery and accessory parts as these often offer the best value for money and no one can resist a lovely scarf at Christmas or a pair of sparkly earrings.

5. Host a Christmas party for close friends and bake special Christmas treats – often the effort that is put in to such a party will suffice for a gift. This year I actually plan to attempt to make my mince pies – with a little help from a jar of mincemeat and some ready-made pastry.

6. A bottle of something sparkly. For parents/grandparents/uncles/aunts/employers this seems like a perfectly acceptable gift.

7. In a similar vain, you could buy a girl friend a cocktail glass and mini versions of the components for her favourite cocktail.

8. Learn to knit – obviously this is probably something that you’d have to start for next Christmas but just think of the joy of giving someone a scarf that you had made yourself.

9. Organise a day-trip for someone – maybe buy the train tickets for them or a ticket to a museum or an exhibition that they want to see – it doesn’t have to be expensive but the recipient will no doubt be surprised and pleased by the gesture.

10. Candles. Always appreciated and if accompanied by a lovely holder they are all the more welcome.

11. Finally, if you – like many I know, myself included – you collect Boots Advantage Card Point, Nectar Points and Tesco Clubcard Points, remember these at Christmas and use these to purchase gifts. With the help of these points you might even be able to splurge on something special for someone that you might not have otherwise bought. Alternatively, use the points for your everyday spending needs and save the money you’d normally spend on these for presents.

How do you plan to celebrate Christmas this year? With the usual extravagance that goes with the event or with a little extra care?

*If you’re still having problems finding gifts for your girl friends this Christmas, check out my How to… Give thoughtful presents for your girlfriends.

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