Christmas Crisis

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  • Rachel021967
    Rachel021967 Posts: 1,015 Forumite
    Great thread YorkshireLass and great responses. We need to cut back this year as my husband may be made redundant in January (a quarter of the workforce has to go but nothing is decided until January). Since I've had kids and a mortgage I've always hated Christmas just because I'm expected to spend until the cows come home and worrying how we and my relatives are going to pay for it in the New Year. There is lots of interesting ideas on this thread that I will be taking on board.
  • I only buy for the minimum family (nephew, 3 younger cousins and parents) and limit to about £10 each. Last year I took inspiration from the special occasions board and made sock monkeys (cost about £3 each for materials) and snowman or reindeer poop (choclate in a bag with a poem - take a look on the thread easier than explaining).

    Anyway, i thought that the kids would hate them but turned out that they loved them and all the adults were giving me socks to make monkeys for them. My nephew asked me yesterday could he have more monkeys this year cos he still plays with the last one!

    Just because to us oldies (ahem!) the item is cheap(er) or home made does not mean that the kids feel the same. They have no idea of cost until they are taught about it!

    My sister spends a fortune on my nephew but he always comes to me because i spend time ;)
  • Just had to post to say when my dds were growing up, we had no money, we were really broke, and just about got by. They always used to claim that all there friends had everything, latest trainers, clothes etc. They never actually went without, just never had expensive stuff. That was 20 odd years ago. Now they are grownup, when they talk about their childhood & growing up, they always talk about "when we did.." or "when we went..." they remember all the fun times, and daft things we did, and places we went. (ln this country, couldn't afford abroad).

    They never say "remember when you got me those expensive trainers/shellsuit (or whatever). As you say, its the time you spend together as a family and the things you do that is important, not how much you spend.

    katiex
  • Spirit_2
    Spirit_2 Posts: 5,546 Forumite
    Combo Breaker First Post
    Can you share the cost and preparation of important festive meals with friends?

    They provide starter, wine, pud whilst you take care of the main course it is sociable and money saving.

    Rather than gifts invite people round for Christmas evening to play cards. A neighbour did this last year - it was fun, no hassle (wine,beer nibbles - no prepared food (everyone is full)) suited all age groups from 8 to 80 a lot better than veging in front of the TV and memorable. We were a mixture of their extended family, granny, and 2 sets of friends including us.

    We felt honoured and 'special' to think that they would want to spend part of their Christmas with us.
  • lizguil
    lizguil Posts: 12 Forumite
    Completely agree with Spirit. I am lucky enough to spend Christmas Day with my parents, brother and my husband's parents, sister and boyfriend; no arguments about who's going to who's house makes life much simpler! This year we've agreed that we'll all contribute to the Xmas dinner; one bringing the turkey, another a starter, someone the dessert, someone else with some wine and another doing the trimmings. This way no matter whose house we end up at this year or in the future no one is burdened with the whole cost of the meal.

    Hampers are another great idea. I'm getting together with my best friend and we've worked out 14 people we each would like to buy for. Together we've written a list of treats and yummy things we'd like to get in a hamper - from homemade chocolate, lemon curd, cookies, cheese straws, christmas cakes, chutney, jam, flavoured oils etc etc - and by making them together we save on the cost. We've also decided to theme some of the hampers - some for chocoholics, others breakfast hampers or a purely 'Christmas' theme so not everyone gets the same thing. We also get to spend some time together which can be a rare thing throughout the year.

    Ikea has got some great A4 sized boxes you can use for the hamper. When I went in last week they were just 69p each, which makes the idea of giving one a lot more cost effective! And because they're plain brown cardboard you can decorate them... if you get the time!

    It's good to know there are so many people who are focused on the spirit of the season rather than the gifts and the sparkle!
  • I make everybody a christmas cake for their christmas present. I use blanched almonds on the top in a pattern so i don't have to faff around with marzipan and icing, and I wrap it in glossy cellophane that you can get from garden centers for floristry. I've been doing this for a few years, and my original £10 roll of cellophane is still going strong.

    The cakes are not that cheap to make, I'd say they cost about £7 each. BUT, when one cake is going to a whole family, it works out very cheap indeed. I also make them a pudding, as that doesn't cost very much as it doesn't need so many blanched almonds.

    You could make shortbread biscuits, florentines, whatever your speciality is.

    As for my children, well, for years, I got depressed on christmas day, because we'd buy them loads, and after the initial high, it just always seemed like a complete anti-climax. So one nice present, and that's it.
  • MeNikki
    MeNikki Posts: 657 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited 12 October 2009 at 11:28PM
    I made some arts & crafts boxes for the kids in my OH's family. I bought a few cheap large sealable food boxes and stuffed them with crayons, pencils, pavement chalk, finger paints, etc. Then for the boys I added a couple of little metal cars and for the girl a pink little fluffy handbag. Then I bought lots of paper blocks (white and colours) and put the boxes on top of them. I wrapped them in christmas hamper nearly transparent plastic (bought from eBay) and added lots of colourful ribbons. The boys got a dinosaur toy added on the outside, the girl a big bright smiley flower. All the items were bought in a pound shop and things like the pavement chalk and others were large bundles that I broke up into smaller sets, enough for each child. I had calculated I'd spent about £7.50 on each child, but the present looked massive due to the wrapping. That year I also made hampers for the parents and OH father etc. I had collected freebie samples for the women, added a few CDs won in competitions, bought some nearly new books to suit everyone's taste. Few bits of chocolate and a nice bottle of mulled wine. Got some nice feedback on those hampers too as I'd tried to cater for everyone's individual needs.

    Good Luck!
    Life without string would be chaos.
  • Brilliant ideas on this thread!
  • dancingfairy
    dancingfairy Posts: 9,069 Forumite
    I said this on the other thread but thought it was worth repeating.
    The best bits about Christmas are:
    looking at christmas lights around the neighbourhood
    carol services
    putting up the tree and decorations
    watching the lights being turned on in town
    making christmas decorations - paper chains etc.
    opening advent calenders (even old ones - is still fun - with or without chocolate).
    putting the carrots and mince pies out and sherry (for santa and the reindeer)
    listening to christmas music :T -all those favourites
    You can also do the whole tracking santa around the world if you remember.
    local panto - if cheap?


    etc etc - these are all really, really cheap/ free and so much fun.


    Have fun
    df
    Making my money go further with MSE :j
    How much can I save in 2012 challenge
    75/1200 :eek:
  • dancingfairy
    dancingfairy Posts: 9,069 Forumite
    Oh and for something really different - you could always try volunteering at a homeless centre/crisis centre over Christmas and my OH always used to spend time at Christmas doing a meal for old people, and doing entertainment for them with his church - carols etc - he spent his day/ part of his day making sure others enjoyed christmas and weren't alone.
    df
    Making my money go further with MSE :j
    How much can I save in 2012 challenge
    75/1200 :eek:
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