Misguided charlatans? - mediums
Sneaking away - goodbyes
Not going out - ageing
With so many of us feeling the pinch in our wallets as the year draws to a close, 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.
"We have nine grandchildren between us, so we sometimes can't be as generous as we might like. We are quite careful to keep things equal between the families but not obsessive about it."
"I spend the same amount on all of my grandchildren for birthdays and Christmas. The teenagers prefer cash, so I always wrap it in with a tiny gift so there is something to open. I was always grateful for the £5 an elderly aunt used to put in my birthday card when my children were little. For years it was a life saver!"
"The littlest grandchildren often get a smallish gift and money put into their savings account."
"I always spend around £30 on each family member, although we have an agreement that only the children receive presents at Christmas."
"As times are a bit hard this year my darling daughter-in-law has suggested a £15 limit on Christmas gifts, or even trying to find really good second-hand/charity gifts and toys. This has proved to be both fun and fruitful."
"Last Christmas, we adults did Secret Santa among ourselves instead of all buying for everyone - it worked brilliantly!"
"Charity shops are the source of the most wonderful clothes and gifts. I have been an ardent shopper for both for years. They can provide hours of retail therapy with none of the usual guilt!"
"I love eBay. Last year we bought our son a Thomas track that would have been £60 new. We bought it for £10."
"I often travel to a few of the 'richer' villages near here and look in their charity shops as the folk in the locality seem to pass on clothes that have hardly been worn. I get loads of bargains!"
"Car boot sales are also a good source of toys - many hardly used and some still in the box."
"I bought loads of Christmas presents and cards half price in January this year. The presents are all piled up in my bedroom waiting to be wrapped up!"
"Go and have a look at all the stuff to do with making greetings cards [in a decent art shop] – even pop-up ones – which help give a professional finish."
"There are loads of ideas and patterns on the net. Some of them are on sites where they want you to buy their supplies, but it is free to look - then decide what materials you are going to use."
"Decorated Santa sacks are easy if you buy cheap red pillowcases and sew on letters cut out from scraps to make names, or glue on pictures of Santa (from last year's cards). You can also decorate with tinsel or cotton wool."
"Our version of homemade gifts is sloe/bullace/damson gin and green tomato chutney."
"Decoupaging terracotta flowerpots and planting them with spring bulbs can make useful gifts. Just use old seed packets and wrapping paper, don't spend money on expensive decoupage papers."
"I started to gather bits and pieces to make up a hamper each for my two adult children (and partners), each one personalised according to tastes. I shopped around Ikea food, Lidl, Christmas markets, village markets, Heston from Waitrose, homemade (by me) chicken liver pate in a nice ceramic dish, etc."
"Chunky jigsaws where the picture is a photograph of themselves, their pet, their house - only needs thick cardboard, glue, and a stanley knife."
"The gift itself is important as far as I am concerned - not the value of the gift."
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