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Friday, 23 November 2012

Christmas on a budget

Christmas can be a very expensive time of year, especially if you have children or lots of relatives. I have a friend who is mega organised and buys most of her Christmas presents in the January sales ready for the next Christmas. I have never had a particularly flush January so have never been able to do this, but I have started buying things throughout the year in the last couple of years.

If I see something on offer, or a pre loved toy at a good price then I get it and store it away. This year I had most of the presents bought before October, leaving time to buy the elements for Christmas Dinner each month to spread out the cost. I have a big bag in my wardrobe with all the presents in and keep adding to it. I have more in there than I need, but that's useful with two small children. I've found that as the weather gets worse throughout Autumn to Winter, it's great to be able to pull out a new toy every now and then to keep boredom at bay!

We have a number of family birthday's between October and January, so this also adds to the expense. We have produced a number of home made presents over the last few years, from Kilner Jars filled with home made biscuits, to photo frames with a hand designed quote or picture in, to family trees and celebration cakes.

As the girls get older we will be able to make a lot more, doubling up as rainy day fun too. I have a sewing machine and have decided to make some Christmas Sacks - I saw some lovely ones that were £25 each but that's £100 for 4!!! I have to admit, this will be the second year of making them if I don't get on with them soon, but that aside, I think they will cost far less than £5 each to make. I happened upon some red and white striped pillowcases in the IKEA bargain corner a while ago, together with a matching double quilt cover. The only thing wrong was that there was one pillow case missing. So for three pillow cases (Mr Strong and I will share one) it was £1.50 - so I don't even have to make the sacks! I have bought some scraps and remnant pieces of material off ebay for under £5, and some ribbon for £1.50 to sew on to tie them together at the top. I will post them once I've completed them!

The idea is that rather than having a stocking, depending on the budget for each years Christmas, they may have just Santa presents in their sacks, or they may have all of their presents in there - I'm hoping this will be a great alternative tradition to them expecting full stockings and lots of presents each year! No matter the budget, they will always have a Christmas Sack to open.

Next year we are hoping to make jams and chutneys for presents, probably with something else with them. We missed the boat for fruit picking this year as we were moving house, but will be organised next year!

A Thrifty Mum has a great blog detailing savings for Christmas and great ideas for everyday, pop over and take a look!

I always used to enjoy spending large amounts on presents for people, and love everything about Christmas, but I'm now enjoying doing Christmas on a budget! Making personal things for people is very rewarding, especially when no one else has one like it!

I'm looking forward to learning more tips as the years go on!

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