Christmas about heart not money
Christmas can be filled with love and not end up being too expensive, writes
Christmas has never been a cheap affair. Just ask the wise men. I can’t imagine gold, frankincense and myrrh can be bought with spare change.
It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialisation of Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I like expensive presents as much as the next person. But that’s not what the festive season should be about, and if you do some planning Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank.
Bakers can turn piles of flour into culinary works of mouthwatering art. Photographers and artists can turn empty walls into vibrant art galleries. Use your hands to make gifts filled with love, and don’t be afraid to look outside the square. If you’re the lemon curd king, ask your community on Neighbourly if anyone has any lemons going – and offer them a few jars of lemony goodness as payment. Every grandparent loves framed art made by their mokopuna, so ask around for old photo and picture frames that can be painted and repurposed.
Potlucks are the new fivecourse banquets. If you’re hosting Christmas lunch, ask everyone to bring a plate. Sharing the responsibility of feeding a commune not only splits the cost, it gives undercover chefs the chance to contribute too. If you want to avoid lunch consisting of 12 chickens and no salad, think about assigning dishes and purchases to everyone. And if you’re not a fan of dishes, go one step further and organise a picnic.
Shopping the sales is a great way to make inexpensive gifts look anything but. Making the most of the sales might involve a bit of forward thinking but starting to shop in September will mean you’ll be done by November, so not only will you save money, you’ll also miss the crowds.
My family is tiny so this would never work for us, but Secret Santa is a great way for big families to still enjoy exchanging presents without giving their wallets a heart attack. Set a decent limit (say, $100), choose a name out of a hat (after making sure everyone’s been included), then enjoy finding an awesome present for just one person instead of trying to figure out how you’re going to afford buying presents for all 32 of your immediate family members.
If you’re a New Year’s resolutions kind of person, add ‘‘save for next Christmas’’ to your 2017 list. Call me over-prepared but I’ve already opened an account labelled ‘‘Yuletide/ Summer 2017’’. If I put away $20 every week, a grand will slowly but surely accumulate to cover my festive and summer expenses.
Christmas done wrong can be incredibly stressful. But Christmas done right can be filled with love that wasn’t that expensive. Don’t let the financial pressure of December get to you this year, because doing things on the cheap doesn’t mean Christmas has to feel cheap.