Grief, loss, lockdowns, redundancies, unemployment and isolation – what a year 2020 has been. So it’s no surprise that festive celebrations are the last thing on many people’s minds.
Yes, Christmas may look, and feel, very different this year, but there is one thing that can never be banned or restricted: the spirit of Christmas. And fortunately, discovering it won’t cost you a penny.
Here are our 8 ways to enjoy Christmas on a budget:
1 – Give IOU tokens
‘When everything is back to normal.’ How often have you heard that phrase over the last 9 months? But it’s true. When normality finally becomes the order of the day, the world will begin to open up once more. So instead of yet another pair of slippers or socks, why not treat your loved ones to a post-COVID I owe you? A trip to the beach, a date night to your favourite restaurant, or a family break away – sounds good, right?
2 – Bye-bye tat
2019 saw an 84% increase in those spending £700+ on Christmas gifts. Us Brits spend a staggering £19 million on Christmas presents. But this year, a lack of disposable income means that for many of us such extravagance is simply not possible.
So say goodbye to yet more garish, plastic toys and unwanted boxes of shortbread, and instead make a donation to your favourite charitable organisation. Write a card or email to your family and friends to explain that instead of gifts this year, you’ve chosen to support families who are in desperate need this Christmas.
3 – Set up a Secret Santa
If you and your family want to exchange gifts, but finances are tight, set up a family and friends Secret Santa. Try an online company to arrange it all for you. It’s simple, easy and won’t cost you a penny.
4 – Choose sustainable
We throw away an average of 4 rolls of wrapping paper every Christmas. So save yourself a tenner and help the environment by wrapping your gifts in old newspaper sheets or recyclable paper. Ditch the expensive, glittery ribbon and opt for rustic, environmentally-friendly string instead.
And why not make your Christmas decorations out of natural or reclaimed materials? Make fairy bunting from old paper and string, and spray pine cones to make a sustainable DIY wreath.
5 – Save not splurge
Instead of paying £50 to go and visit an unconvincing Santa at your local garden centre, make new, inexpensive traditions (that are just as fun). Go on a Christmas light hunt. Play I found it first. Golden stars, inflatable Santas, twinkling icicles – whatever you find, make your walk into a Christmas treasure hunt for the little ones.
6 – Out with the old
Sell bundles of clothes or any unwanted gifts or toys on an auction site, or via your Marketplace app. Keep all the monies you raise in a separate pot and use it to buy new gifts, festive décor, or even a little treat for you this Christmas.
7 – Ready, set, bake
Why pay £15 for a Christmas cake, when you can make your own for half the price? And why splash out on DIY cookie decoration sets, when you can bake your own biscuits for a fraction of the cost? Baking is not only therapeutic and relaxing, it’s also a great way to spend quality time with your nearest and dearest. And don’t let lockdown stop you. Why not organise a virtual festive family baking competition instead?
8 – Virtual carolling
Choirs, church congregations, school assemblies – never have we missed singing so much. Enjoyed since the 19thCentury, carolling is a festive rite of passage. With the likelihood of continued restrictions, why not arrange a virtual Christmas sing along with your family and friends. Join together as one and spread some much-needed joy and happiness.
Remember, enjoy the festive season with people who sparkle, not things that shine. The best things in life really are free.