DFW's surviving Christmas support thread!



  • I have four sisters, about 8 nieces and nephews, some great nieces and nephews and 7 grandchildren, and three children of my own and three of OH's. I sent a round robin a few years ago suggesting to my sisters that once the young people passed 21, we stopped sending presents, just cards and good wishes. Obviously we give something to our own children, but not to everybody else's.... Mostly they agreed, though I have caught them cheating occasionally.

    One of my daughters and I have given each other half a strimmer, and sorted Christmas between us that way. The other, I gave her something she really wanted when she wanted it, and we've agreed it's a Christmas present.... I don't give anything computerish to my grandsons as I haven't a clue what they want or how to get it or whether they've got it already, so I give them a small practical present (re-usable handwarmers a success one year, shake torches another, and so on, thank goodness they are still under 12) plus some money, about £10, to spend as they wish.

    One way and another, we are all combining to shorten the present list and play down the children's expectations. I do exchange presents with a few friends as well as sisters, and more and more we are moving towards things you can eat, drink or burn (candles!), not things that clutter up the house and are not needed.

    If someone gives me a specially nice candle or a bottle of delicious olive oil, I am happy, and I hope they are too.

    The children I see most of seem to understand that the Christmas hype in catalogues and adverts is nothing to do with them, and they don't seem to nag and fret, and they do seem innocently happy with what they get. Maybe I'm living in a fool's paradise, but I hope not.

    In-laws, as we gradually gather them, do try too hard at first, but they gradually pick up that we don't expect big presents, and that exchanged hospitality is as welcome as anything.
  • http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.html?p=6744510#post6744510

    Just posted chocolate fudge recipe here - it really is yummy & I dont even like fudge! Plues dead east to make & you could get the kids involved!
    Nerd no 109 Long haulers supporters DFW #1! Even in the darkest moments, love and hope are always possible.

  • Ali_UK
    Ali_UK Posts: 302 Forumite
    Thankfully my mum laid down the 'no presents' rule early this year! OH is worried about turning up empty handed although we aren't as we will take wine/beer etc which we will all drink and I'll probably take some food but of course will be trying hard not to buy things just 'because it's Christmas'! My Dad was also firm on this point as we are travelling to see them this year so petrol and ferry etc. It's a huge relief although I wish people would stop making me feel like a freak when I say we aren't buying anything!

    Mentioned no presents to best friend in an email the other week and am hoping she will take the hint (I tried last year and it failed because she'd already got me something!) and cleared with OH that we won't do pressies, neither of us can afford it.

    Only thing now is the office secret santa - last year it crept up from £5 to £10 (praying no-one is silly enough to put it up again!) and I noticed that lots of the lazy (minted) people had clearly spent around £20 probably because they couldn't be bothered to look for a present within the price limit. ARGHH!
  • Here's another idea: last year my sister-in-law bought a load of cheap frames in Ikea on sale and had her 8 year old draw family members in felt tip pen on A4. We each recieved one framed pic of us and some homemade muffins for Christmas - and we were all over the moon! It's interesting to see how an 8 year old sees you too as every characteristic is exaggerated, and our pic is on our living room wall and always provokes comment from visitors.
    :j :j :j DEBT-FREE JULY 2015! :j :j :j
  • tealady wrote: »
    Stress? tell me about it. I LOATHE shops when they are crowded, hate the overpriced tat which masquerades as "gift ideas". In fact I wish people would just send me a card and have done with it. Then I can go out in January in the sales and spend the money I didn't spend on buying things for people they may not like want or need.

    i am totally with you on this one!!!

    it never ever feels like christmas anymore-- just greedy kids rubbing their hands in glee at what they are getting and will probably get it before christmas cos the little darlings cant wait!! STRESS TELL ME ABOUT IT:mad:

  • whoops jst noticed it is the DFW board, sorry to blow off!!

    anyway while i am here- i have a box full of gifts in the attic which i bought last year( either 3 for 2 or something else) anyway i have them left over- why?? because i never had a plan or a list and just bought without any thought about who the pressies were suitable for!!!!!!!! and got stuck with them..
    hopefully i will use some of them this year ( as long as i keep away from shops in the meantime!! hee
  • PigginSkint
    PigginSkint Posts: 2,706 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    What a great idea for a thread!

    I survive Christmas by doing the following:

    · I buy presents gradually through the year (certainly from summer onwards) so I don’t have to buy everything in December. I do Avon so I get a lot of my presents from them – I earn commission on everything which makes them even cheaper.
    · I set a strict budget for each present – this year is £30 for OH and I to spend on each other, £5 a head for everyone else.
    · DS (aged 13) gets one main present and lots of little ones, which I gradually accumulate.
    · My stepsister did not buy me or DS a present last year (they are skint too!) so that cuts 3 people off the present buying list – SS, her DH and her DD.
    · I spend as little as possible! Some presents cost less than £1 but you would never know it!
    · I home-make a lot of stuff including cake, pudding and mince pies.
    · I re-use lots. I know people who buy new Christmas decorations every year – I don’t! When I was little, we had the same Advent Calendar every year!
    · I hand-deliver wherever possible, or get someone else to take presents to people, to save on postage.
    · I post everything else 2nd class.
    · Presents that have to be posted are deliberately chosen so they are small and light to save on the postage.
    · I have drastically reduced my Christmas card (and present!) list.
    · I do not use credit cards for any of my Christmas purchases, or if I do, it immediately gets reimbursed from my emergency savings account.

    This is my 2nd DFW Christmas and if last year is anything to go by, it’s a lot more fun! I don’t have the guilt and the worry of having spent more than I should have and I have to be a lot more creative. I actually feel really proud of myself when I have managed to get a good present for someone for not much money!

    The things I find stressful about Christmas can be summed up in 2 words – (a) crowds (b) housework!

    Actually, thinking about it, I should add two more things to the stress list (1) finding presents for those awkward members of the family (you know, the ones who are really difficult to buy for) and (2) Christmas parties – they can be so expensive when you consider drinks and everything else!
    PigginSkint's debt free diary
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  • Nanaof2
    Nanaof2 Posts: 104 Forumite
    I am in the lucky position that I do not have a large list of people to buy for.
    However for last 30 odd years have been exchanging calendars with old school friend in New Zealand.
    Now though I buy a charity present & send card saying what I have bought. This year Cancer Research have started selling them so bought cheapest at 6.00 which pays for 200 glass slides for research. As cheap as a decent calendar, just an airmail stamp for postage, afree card & all for charity. Great all round.
    P.S. I love reading this thread. So many good ideas
    Sealed Pot Callenge No 074
  • Hi, I would just like to say on the subject of expensive card buying for special friends and family, what we have done this year.

    I found a carrier bag full of last years old cards in the attic and looking through them I thought there were some lovely pictures or 'stick on' things that could be cut out or removed easily and used again. So I sat with the kids one afternoon in the holidays and we made lots of special cards of our own. I found a box of 50 white cards with envelopes, that were buy one get one free, so that made 100 plain cards and envelopes for £7.50. Using the pictures and extra glitter that we found at home, we made our own special cards that have cost us 7.5p each for the card and envelope, the another 3p perhaps for glue? Special cards ready now for 10p each.

    Then we also had the idea of keeping some of the pictures from the front of cards and making swing tags for presys. By making a small hoe in one corner with a pair of pointy tweezers and using some lovely shiny thread that is often wrapped around other cards, we made the loop for fastening the tag onto the presy with. They came out great and are nicer than the ones we bought last year.
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  • inkie
    inkie Posts: 2,609 Forumite
    Mortgage-free Glee!
    I was having a conversation with a friend last week. He waits right whilst the last minute (Christmas eve) and only buys for 3 close relatives and spends a max. of £20. Goes to midnight mass and then comes home and wraps the gifts, has a lay in on Christmas morning.
    He added that in addition to the above the best christmas was when he had the house to himself - eventually got up, had a plate of pasta for lunch and emulsioned the ceiling in the afternoon! Sound ideal. Wish I could do that.
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