With so many of us feeling the pinch in our wallets this year, especially with the ongoing cost of living crisis, dealing with the sparkle and indulgence of Christmas becomes increasingly stressful for some. Thankfully, if you're trying to keep Christmas down to a set number of decimals without sacrificing the cheer, Gransnetters have got some excellent suggestions on how to keep the damage to a minimum while still enjoying the festive season to the fullest.
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Your budget is entirely personal; the main thing is that you are fair and communicate it well. Don’t even consider giving less to a grandchild who is part of a blended family, eg a step grandchild or fostered or adopted - that’s a fast route to total family breakdown. However, it’s fair enough to say you aren't over-18s or kids who have their own partner now, or have left home… you get the picture. Whatever you decide on who you’re buying for and how much you are spending, let everyone know in advance so they don’t embarrassingly buy you an enormously generous gift, leaving you to scrabble in the bottom drawer for out of date bath salts.
A token gift is fine, too, if you’re buying for big numbers. Perhaps buy everyone a nice box of chocolates, or a calendar, or a Lottery scratch card! With close family, have a conversation well before the big day about what you intend to do. If things are tight, you could all just buy for the kids, or hold a Secret Santa so everyone just buys one nice gift and receives one themselves.
"For many years now, we have only given to our very immediate family - I'm talking daughter and son and their partners, my grandson and my in-laws. That's it. Makes the whole thing so much simpler - not to mention cheaper." BlondieScot
“Use the cost of living increases as a very valid reason for cutting right back and suggest they do the same - you might find they are really rather relieved, as it should reduce their expenses too. There’s so much heartache and angst over present buying these days, which it shouldn’t be. We’ve stopped present buying altogether this year, letting the family know well in advance and emphasising that we don’t want them to buy for us either. We will just send a nice card. Relief all round, I think.” Ziplock
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Sitting down before you hit the shops (or the laptop) and working out your spending limits is an excellent idea. There’s nothing less jolly than a credit card bill you can’t afford in January. Write down everyone you need to buy for and allocate a top spending limit for them then add it all up and see where you are.
If the books aren’t balancing, work out where you can make cuts and chat to the people involved. There may well be friends or relatives who will be only too pleased to say ‘let’s leave it this year’ and save on both money and stress.
"I start buying in the January sales, with specific people in mind. I cannot resist a bargain. I have a big box and often dip into it for Christmas presents. Due to health issues, I can no longer trail around the shops, so buying online suits me." MaryDoll
“I have always budgeted for it, and stuck to it. But we have never gone in for either OTT competitive gift-giving or giving the children everything they asked for.” M0nica
Homemade gifts can be so much more than “it’s the thought that counts” as long as you work within realistic parameters and are sure your gifts will be well received. Comestibles, it’s hard to go wrong with (and who can’t bung a few sloes in some decent gin in late November, eh?). Needle-felted artwork of your dog may be a more niche gift, however. Remember, like offence, with a gift it’s all about how it’s received; not how it’s given. If you’re in need of inspiration, try any of these homemade gifts.
"I don’t get many homemade gifts but I love homemade jam and chutneys. I never think twice about who made it as I've worked in restaurant kitchens. And it can't be as bad as that.” Bluebelle
“I have knitted a few scarves as gifts but I always buy really nice wool to make them with not cheap scratchy polyester stuff. They have always gone down well and are worn often.” NannaBilly
Remember that it’s not about the money; it’s about the memories.
“I love love love the whole Christmas day experience. My daughter and family cone over for the day. I place presents under the tree, about six or seven each, maybe more. The tree is 6ft tall, decorated by all the family with Christmas music playing, drinks and mince pies. The presents range from £ to ££, it doesn't matter, to me it's all about creating memories of fabulous, loving, happy, fun Christmases. I wrap maybe a cabbage or swede up, or maybe a bag of sprouts and take photos of their faces when they rip the paper off. Ohhhh, and I dress for the day as an elf..... Hahaha.” Serendipity22