Whilst most of us love Christmas, it can be an expensive time of year with heating bills going up, presents to buy on top of all the food, drink and festive activities with the kids. (Not to mention the cost of all those batteries for the new toys!)
But some of the most wonderful Christmas traditions are those that cost the least.
Here is a collection of tips for spending less over the festive period, some of my own money-saving tips with some lovely Mumbler family traditions that don’t cost a lot mixed in!
There are local nearly new sales and school Christmas fairs coming up where you can get gifts for a fraction of the price you’ll pay at the bigger retailers, plus it’s an opportunity to support your local community too. (Find details on our Events Calendar.)
Artificial Christmas trees can be bought for very little at the supermarkets – plus there’s no needles to hoover up and they will last for years to come
Stocking fillers. Think practical – hairbrush, bubble bath, toothbrushes, funky tissues – lots to open and saves you buying again. The pound shop is great for stocking fillers!
Reuse old Christmas cards as gift labels – you’ll be doing your bit for the environment by recycling too! Use pinking shears or craft scissors to turn them into lovely tags.
This is one of my absolute favourites: “I do an activities advent calendar which include things like write cards, make teachers presents, make reindeer food, feed birds, drive round to see Christmas lights, have hot chocolate, visit Santa, go to a Christingle, go to Panto etc!” (If you are looking for a Panto, check out Dick Whittington at Harrogate Theatre)
Lists! If you are serious about not going overboard on the spending, make a list of what you really need to buy and how much you’re going to spend and stick to it (easier said than done, but come January, you’ll be glad you did!)
Trips to the park with your little one can seem less appealing in the cold Winter weather, so if you’re looking for an alternative to costly indoor activities, the majority of local libraries run a free weekly storytime for pre-school children.
Secret Santa! Buying for everyone is expensive (& takes a lot of time!), why not start a secret santa with your family or friends and set a maximum budget – that way you only have to buy once and will receive a really lovely gift yourself, too!
If you’re taking the kids to see Santa, there are lots of local community events that are a lot cheaper than some of the bigger ones. Have a look at our Places to See Santa guide for inspiration.
Ask the kids to make Christmas decorations – not only are there pennies to be saved but it’s a great activity too: “It’s really old fashioned but I love paper chains at Christmas! I remember making them as a kid with my grandparents and I still love how they look draped around the house. Looking forward to making them with my little one when he’s big enough!”
Is buying for everyone really necessary? Limit to kids or stick to small keepsakes for other family members and friends (find inspiration for lovely keepsakes on the Local Retailers page!).
When it comes to presents, use the internet to shop around for the best prices and look out for voucher codes and flash sales.
Discount supermarkets are your friend – stock up on tins, jars etc. in the run up to Christmas to spread the cost, plus they often have amazing offers on toys!
Hosting Xmas dinner? Ask each guest to bring a dish, cutting the cost (and stress!) for you.
Board games! Hours of fun and you probably already have a decent stash in the cupboard (the classics are the best!) These can be bought very chealy from charity shops
Christmas Eve doesn’t have to be expensive: “I’ve started a tradition with my little boy of opening a book on Christmas Eve to read before bed, Christmas themed – inexpensive and easy to do”.
“Reindeer food to sprinkle outside on Christmas Eve to help guide the reindeer. Oats and glitter in a bag”. Don’t forget the mince pie for Santa
Local carol services make for a lovely free activity on Christmas Eve.
A Mumbler told me about the mantra ‘Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” which the Pinterest lovers amongst you may have seen. “It really changes the meaning of gift giving I think”.
Finally, remember that Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with your family, and that the best memories are priceless.