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Money saving tips for Christmas

Christmas shopping list
As we all know, Christmas can be incredibly expensive. As much as you might look forward to it, you might also dread it a little too – and that’s a shame. We asked wellbeing author, award-winning blogger and children’s therapist Becky Goddard-Hill to help with advice on how to save money whilst making special Christmas memories.

Christmas can be overwhelming when you start thinking about all the expenses ahead: food and entertainment, gifts and parties, visits to Santa, wrapping paper, new outfits, school fayres, Christmas Eve boxes and advent calendars.

But it doesn’t have to be like this! It’s perfectly possible to have an absolutely awesome Christmas without overspending.

Here are five fabulous ways to make Christmas special whilst saving money.

 1. Presence over presents

You can make Christmas really special by giving your family big dollops of your energy and attention. Playing games together, decorating the tree to Christmas songs, making Christmas crafts and going for family walks to look at Christmas lights are the kind of things kids remember forever.

Being present wins over giving presents every time. A happy, connected and engaged parent makes for a happy child, and giving your time costs nothing but makes a valuable deposit in the memory bank.

It’s been repeatedly proven that experiences bring more joy than possessions, so the more involved you are in experiencing Christmas (rather than simply paying for it), then the happier you and your family will be.

2. Get creative with your card giving

A lovely, thoughtful festive email with family news and photos can be sent to all your family and friends. This replaces the need for cards and stamps and endless post office queues. It is a lovely way to reconnect properly with loved ones and catch up. It saves you both time and money.

You could also check out Pinterest and get great ideas for creating a family advent calendar together, or you can make free advent calendars online with your own fun family photos and videos.

3. Making, baking and creating

Handmade gifts are infused with love and care and family members adore receiving these. Get your kids baking shortbread, making paperweights out of stones and potting bulbs. Making gifts keeps your children entertained and saves you cash, too. 

Kids could create unique decorations like a Christmas garland from forest finds or mini-pinecone tree ornaments. Simply paint pinecones green and attach pom poms for baubles!

4. Remember that fun can be free

Christmas has so much free fun potential. From carol singing and nativity plays to community light events and wondrous window displays, there is plenty of cost-free entertainment to be had.

Spending a fortune on two hours at a pantomime is not necessary – why not put on your own instead?

And, instead of pricey Christmas Eve boxes, why not make new traditions like playing charades, watching a movie on Christmas Eve with homemade popcorn or reading The Night Before Christmas. It will cost you very little and be just as special as a box full of expensive stuff no one really needs!

Don’t just jump on the Christmas bandwagon: it can be costly. Instead, think about what your family loves and create fun experiences you know they will enjoy without the price tag.

5. Consider long-lasting gifts

When buying your gifts, think about how long they will actually last. Ask yourself if the gift will entertain your child long term or be a one hit wonder. Value for money is important.

A stash of drawing paper and pens will keep them busy long term, but the latest fashion accessory might be out of favour within weeks.  A Rubik's cube can puzzle them for weeks (or years if they're anything like me!) but a duvet set featuring their favourite pop stars may soon feel old.

Christmas can still be very special without the added cost. You just need to think a little bit outside of the (Christmas Eve) box!  

Low-cost Christmas activities

Becky's book, A Year of Craft and Play, provides an activity a week for the whole year. It encourages kids to get outside and play games or make items using completely free things that you can find in nature. This is an example of a gift with long-term play potential.

You can also download free seasonal activities on TheSchoolRun. 

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