Sorry, couldn't resist! It’s officially the festive season for me as I've received the annual ‘keep yourself nice and don’t grope people at work functions' email from the HR department. It was sent to the whole company by the way, not just me!
I use it as my e-Christmas card to all my ex-company colleagues who are now working elsewhere. Saves money on cards and postage!
My tips for spending less at Christmas:
- Unless you’re a card person and have been doing them for years and love them, I'd skip the whole process. I read and hear so many people feeling guilty about not getting their cards out.
- Do you need to buy presents for that many people? Cull your list of non-essential gifts. Do you really have to get something for your dry cleaner and dentist?
- Buy one decent present instead of lots of gifts for people that you do want to buy for. Even go so far as to ask them what they might like if it’s appropriate.
- Alternatively, can you give the gift of your time and/or expertise?
I've really culled my Christmas spending over the last few years. My sister and I pushed for the extended family to adopt the ‘Secret Santa’ concept for the adults a couple of years ago and it’s working well. Before that, as the only single I was buying twice as many presents as everyone else!
Now my nephew pulls the names out of a hat in November each year and my sister emails everyone (or calls Nan/Great Aunt) with their person. There’s a $50 limit, so everyone gets something nice, but it’s no strain to anyone (I've put it out on the family grapevine that I’d love a SodaStream).
My nephew, being the only kid in the family at the moment (before he came along the youngest person at the ‘kids table’ was 26!) is excluded from this of course, so everyone buys for him. My sister has got him into the family tradition of the ‘Christmas list’, and he's still young enough to think 'How did we know?' when he gets something from the list that wasn't from his Mum or Dad.
Apparently he’s been cutting out pictures from catalogues for a while now, and if he sees something he particularly likes he’s turned to my sister and said “we’ll have to tell Aunty Debtdieter about this one”. I know I shouldn't laugh, but I think it’s hilarious.
My sister and I used to joke that when he was a baby we should take a photo of him every year on my knee holding one of my credit cards instead of one with Santa.
That doesn't seem quite so amusing these days…