5 tips to stop a spiralling Christmas gift spend

Bonfire night has been and gone which only means one thing: we’re into the Christmas countdown

Whether you’re having a low key Christmas or a fully fledged village sized event, the pressure to purchase is never higher than in the run up to December. Staying within your budget when it comes to presents often feels impossible, so here are some ideas to help stop the Christmas gift spending from spiralling.

1. For big purchases: plan ahead

The arrival of Black Friday and Cyber Monday from our American friends has, for many, increased the consumerist focus of the festive season. On the flip side, these retail events in the run up to Christmas have added to the pressure on brands with fierce competition for our money, meaning that often big purchases can be found at a discounted rate over the Thanksgiving weekend. The key here is to plan ahead: make sure you know what items you are looking for and set up alerts on major retailers so you’re first to see when the sales start. This isn’t the time for impulse purchases, but with foresight you can bag a good deal.

2. Try out second-hand Santa

A few years ago, my family started a tradition which has become central to our Christmas gifting and not only is sustainable and cheap, but hilarious. The idea came from the fact that present buying had become more of a habit than a thoughtful process - and an expensive one, too. The idea is that the adults gift each other something second hand which they own and have enjoyed (such as a book or piece of art) which they believe the recipient will also enjoy. Thoughtful gifting, with zero cost and sustainable too!

3. Look local (plus support your community)

Another approach for Christmas present shopping is a theme: shopping locally is a great idea to limit your spending potential and more importantly, support independent retailers and stores which are continually facing pressure from online retail giants. Whilst like for like products may not be cheaper in independent shops, setting yourself the task of buying everyone a gift from your nearest town will limit the gift options and overall, you are likely to spend far less than an Amazon trawl or a John Lewis haul. Plus you will be able to chat to the owners of the stores who you are supporting, which is reason enough to stay local.

4. Spark your creativity

Often the most thoughtful gifts aren’t the most expensive, but the gifts where time and effort have been poured into creating them. If you have a penchant for baking, pottery or any craft then you can consider making the most of your skills this Christmas and gifting your friends and family homemade presents. Personally I’m a complete foodie so the prospect of receiving homemade cakes or chocolate truffles make me extremely happy! Yes, they do require more time than a quick online order but loved ones always appreciate knowing that a little extra thought and work has gone into a gift.

5. Wrap up an IOU

Stick with me here. As an adult, Christmas is far less about the gifts - mostly, it’s about quality time to relax with friends and family (as well as all of the food, obviously). Whilst giving gifts is still an integral part of Christmas for many of us, I’ve found that receiving presents on Christmas day has become far less important and I have an appreciation that financial situations can often make the pressure around Christmas gifts challenging. It may not work for all but where the timing of presents is less critical, consider writing IOUs to your loved ones in the knowledge that sales will go full scale on Boxing Day and you can purchase their presents with less stress on your bank account.

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