This list of ‘Don’ts For Christmas’ is designed to keep more money in your wallet and more nice in your life.
The 12 Don’ts of Christmas – how to save money this Christmas
1. Don’t get yourself into debt.
Children like a happy home. It’s not a magical Christmas if you are being evicted or you have to stress over paying credit card interest. Really. Don’t do it.
2. Don’t increase the amount of food you cook exponentially.
It’s a fact, if you cook a meal for four people you may have the right amount of food but if you triple it for twelve you will have too many leftovers. The more people there are the less food each individual eats (too busy talking perhaps?) Unfortunately this rule doesn’t particularly apply for alcohol.
3. Don’t go nuts about wrapping.
So you saw it on Pinterest, yes it’s gorgeous but in order to replicate it you need to buy supplies off eBay, spend ages doing it … wrapping ends up all over the floor in a matter of seconds. Do yourself a favour and keep it simple and preferably recycled or re-useable.
4. Don’t buy ‘just in case’ gifts.
OK make a few extra truffles or gingerbread biscuits in case of unexpected drop-ins but buying presents without being thoughtful is bad for your wallet and the environment. It’s time to break the culture of pointless consumerism.
5. Don’t buy physical gifts if virtual will do.
Really- it’s the thought that counts. You know who you can send e-cards to instead of buying a physical card, who could you give a charitable virtual gift to? Every year we make a donation to “buy a well” or goat or whatever which goes towards improving the life of third-world villagers, I buy a carefully chosen one for my gran and the boys had fun through the year seeing what the “gift a month” was from Gran – we got to talk about why people needed wells and mosquito netting. Really none of us needed any more physical goods, but others are less fortunate and could do with your financial help.
6. Don’t feel like you need to decorate the house straight out of a style magazine
It will cost a bomb and the kids will want to contribute the strange decorations they have made at school and daycare, which are all the wrong colour and look a bit threatening and will ruin the theme. But they are free and the kids are proud of them and Christmas decorations are really for children after all.
7. Don’t go overboard.
Really, the children will get overstimulated, there will be too much food, everything will go wrong and you will end up mega stressed (or if you are like my mother – drunk and having a panic attack before midday). Not the makings of a magical Christmas. If you do manage to pull it off you have set expectations high and will be expected to meet them every year.
8. Don’t lose sight of the important things about Christmas.
For a lot of people Christmas is losing the plot and not only is it not remotely anything to do with celebrating the birth of Christ it is about over indulging, getting too much useless stuff and having fights with relatives. Even if you are not a Christian make sure that Christmas stays enjoyable and focus on being together as a family.
9. Don’t buy everything on the Christmas list.
One or two main Christmas presents will keep the children interested, more than three and they just sort of pile up and the kiddies won’t appreciate them.
10. Don’t mindlessly follow tradition.
I am the only one who eats dried fruit in things so there is no point in Christmas cake, mince pies or Christmas pudding. No one here eats ham or turkey so there is no point even trying to rustle up a traditional Christmas lunch. Make sure everything you buy and make for your celebrations will be appreciated and less food and money will be wasted.
11. Don’t buy a puppy or kitten for Christmas.
They cost a lot more than a rescue pet and it smacks of them being a “thing” not a family member. If you really want a pet, take time as a family to choose one who you know hasn’t been bred as a seasonal gift, someone who needs a home with no regard for the time of year.
12. Don’t just buy mass-produced gifts.
There is no excuse to not get some seriously lovely stuff online or from craft markets or make it yourself. This supports smaller businesses many of whom are work at home parents who in turn support their local economy. Also, handmade stuff is so much nicer and more personal to boot!
But DO have fun!