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Tips on doing Christmas for not much money?

(27 Posts)
Lovemusic33 Wed 20-Sep-17 15:31:22

So after a huge vets bill this week and the car needing work done I have had to spend the money I had put back for Christmas. I usually put back money each week amounting to £1000 by Christmas, this covers all gifts, food and any trips out. I was planning on taking the dc's away for Christmas but that's now cancelled. Last year was a tough time for me and the dc's, we had a awful Christmas. I want to make this year special but I will only have a small amount of money to do it. My dd's are 11 and 13, they don't need anything but I would like to get them a few bits to make it special. I have quite a few relatives to buy for including 7 children, parents and a couple friends.

Is it ok to make handmade things? Such as food gifts (mini Christmas cakes, fudge etc..) and maybe photos of the dc for grandparents?

Any other tips on making Christmas special without spending a fortune?

SleepingStandingUp Wed 20-Sep-17 15:37:50

For the kids - start looking now at sales, multi buys etc. If money is tight you spend less in every one so extra thought might be needed into what they would really enjoy.

Adults - yes to hand made. It ahold be about the thought and effort and most adults have everything they need anyway.

Where do you normally food shop? Look around for vouchers, sales and start to look now at none perishables.

Selection of cheap DVD's for some of those long winter nights?

Lovemusic33 Wed 20-Sep-17 15:53:59

I can't afford to buy anything right now sad, I usually start my Christmas shopping in September and finish before the 1st of December but this year I will have to buy in December (once I have replaced money).

Dd1 will be happy with a few items of clothing from Emp and some stationary.

I haven't got a clue what to buy dd2, she has ASD and doesn't really have much interest in anything but will expect something.

We usually get nice food from Waitrose or M&S as during the year we don't shop at these places, food is probably the most import part of Christmas. It's only the 3 of us so we don't buy loads but quality is more important (we like something special to eat).

I think family will be happy with Christmas cakes, they won't be expecting too much.

Dc's are not really into watching dvd's, we still have several we haven't watched.

The dc's will be getting gifts from their dad and he has said he will buy them something nice.

ijustwannadance Wed 20-Sep-17 15:59:21

Best thing I did was stop buying adult family xmas presents. Saved me about £300 and I have less to buy for than you. Told everyone in advance not to get me anything. Also saved me ending up with a load more pointless tat I didn't need.

Or do secret santa style where everyone just buys 1 gift for a set limit.

SleepingStandingUp Wed 20-Sep-17 16:03:26

Compare prices with the tip range stuff at places like Lidl. Their luxury stuff is lush. Amazing Christmas pus from there last year

SunSeptember Wed 20-Sep-17 16:14:34

I have quite a few relatives to buy for including 7 children, parents and a couple friends

send messages out now that you are very tight of cash and sadly will not be able to provide gifts this year.

re food - are you able to scan the reduced stuff at all? eg salmon on offer or reduced freeze, there will be lots of festive food out but reduced before xmas...freeze it - I got loads of nice accompaniments like this last year -eg posh stuffing, pigs in blankets...reduced and frozen until time

Twistmeandturnme Wed 20-Sep-17 16:26:12

Lovely food isn't about spending a ton of cash at waitrose or M+S.
I host a big group at Christmas and always relied on a Christmas bonus in M+S and JL vouchers to buy lots of treats, then the crunch came and the vouchers stopped: Aldi is full of german Christmas deliciousness and at a fraction of the price.
Buy your frozen turkey or five bird roast or whatever in October for Christmas day (it will cost a tenner and you can offset by the amount you save on your food shopping that moment. Put it away in the freezer and forget about it. That's all the meat you'll need for the three of you for 2 or three days at least.
Make your turkey special by filling under the skin with a mix of butter, cream cheese and chopped herbs, serve with whatever veggies your DC like: my first year as a single parent was a disaster because I tried to make everything the same, instead of throwing everything in the air and starting again based on what they wanted.....our Christmases have grown over the years into a lot of small traditions born of those times.

My secret and special Christmas outing trip: (which will out me to close friends and family): On Boxing day evening, as it gets dusky, we bundle up warmly and go out for a walk through our local country park woods in the dark, with torches and flasks of soup for a late night picnic in the pitch black. We've been doing this annually (either boxing day or NYD depending when we have the SCs) for years now, and the eldest demands to do it when they get home from Uni. It's a simple thing which costs nothing but is just one of our family's way of 'doing' Christmas.

Lovemusic33 Wed 20-Sep-17 16:28:54

I might be able to not buy for some family members, I like to buy something nice for my brothers children as he is struggling with money, he doesn't always buy for my dc's, I also want to buy for my parents but I know they will be happier with something home made of photos of the dc's so I don't have to spend a fortune. I usually budget at £10-£15 per person.

Great idea about reduced food, I will keep an eye out for things I can freeze, I do buy a few bits from the Lidl Christmas range (stolen and Christmas pud).

I'm planing on spending Christmas alone with the dc's so we probably won't do a regular Christmas dinner as one of the dd's won't eat it so will be more a buffet style dinner. Cheese is important as is pudding grin.

MarsBarsAreShrinking Wed 20-Sep-17 16:40:59

Definitely reduce the number of people you buy for as much as possible. I've done this over the last few years and it's so much better - I'd rather spend the money on my own children; they're my priority. Your friends and family will understand and if they don't then they don't deserve presents anyway wink

I feel your pain as this year is going to be a vastly reduced Christmas for us too following a few financial issues recently that have left us with a hugely reduced disposable income sad Luckily my 2 are older teens and they understand that money is tight. They both have their birthdays in October too though which doesn't help!

purpleprincess24 Wed 20-Sep-17 16:54:54

I normally start in October buying extra bits from the supermarket that I put away for Christmas. Nice food stuff that you wouldn't buy normally but also things that are on special offer

Thethreegraces Wed 20-Sep-17 17:06:46

Yes to reducing additional people on the gift list where possible.

Try getting a gift for each family rather than individuals e.g. hampers, board games etc.

Have a clear out of toys, old household items, clothes etc and sell as much as you can to raise additional funds. Local facebook selling pages, car boot/nearly new sales etc.

Have a look on the Christmas bargain threads where there are discount codes & deals floating about [[ mumsnet Xmas bargain thread

Do you have any store points that you can use?

Do you have a packaged bank account or ppi that you can claim back on fees? Just ideas to help you raise extra money.

Thethreegraces Wed 20-Sep-17 17:07:39

Mumsnet Xmas bargain thread

Lovemusic33 Wed 20-Sep-17 17:18:41

I think I have a few points in my Tesco card, might be able to buy a few gifts with that.

Thank you all for the fab ideas. I usually go on the bargain thread but am waiting this year or I end up buying things I don't actually need just because they are cheap.

Lovemusic33 Wed 20-Sep-17 17:19:53

I'm stuck at home tomorrow so will sort through a few things and see if I have anything to sell (I think I have some lego).

schoolgaterebel Wed 20-Sep-17 17:52:47

If you can, don't do gifts for adults. Or perhaps just some homemade biscuits and handmade Christmas card.

Also don't send Christmas cards, explain or send a text telling people you won't be doing Christmas cards but rather make a small donation to a charity instead.

Baker Ross can be great for cheap & crafty gifts for kids, often Christmas themed. (You can buy in multiple packs for a better price)

Also a pack of books from 'the book people' can be split between children.

Homemade Reindeer hot chocolate is another good addition to kids gifts (see picture)

You can make your own 'reindeer food' (see internet) as a cheap 'pre Christmas eve' gift for young family members.

Annwithnoe Wed 20-Sep-17 18:02:40

christmas cake is pricey to make so if you're thinking of homemade gifts for adults I'd suggest cookies to maximise bang for buck recipe
Wrapped in cellophane with a pretty ribbon these are lovely

Another cheap but lovely gift is candy cane heart lollies. Buy a box of mini canes (Poundland), mint dark choc (aldi) and lolly sticks (pound land). Crush a couple of canes into pieces. Arrange the rest in pairs on a baking tray lined with parchment, so they form hearts and pop into oven for a couple of minutes. Just enough to melt them a bit so they stick together. Press lolly stick in. Melt choc and pour in centre and sprinkle with crushed canes. These look and taste lovely. Again wrap in cellophane with a pretty ribbon.

If you are giving photos to grandparents would you get dd's to make/decorate a frame? I give mil the year in photos printed off in a small album each year. She says she loves having them to hold and flick through rather than getting them on her phone.

If food is the important thing, find out which specific foods mean "Christmas" to each of you and prioritise those. my dh wouldnt think it was Christmas if I didn't cook ham but probably would be fine with chicken instead of turkey if we had to economise.

What does your 11 year old do in her spare time? Maybe we can think up some presents.

MrsHathaway Wed 20-Sep-17 18:16:02

Cheese freezes, btw. Adding one piece every few weeks will not feel painful but will give a fromagelicious cornucopia on the day.

Christmas pudding fudge was my big hit last year - use a normal vanilla fudge recipe, then fold in finely crumbled Christmas pudding (eg supermarket's own single serving type) before setting. Very festive, very indulgent.

Annwithnoe Wed 20-Sep-17 18:28:02

I agree with steering clear of the bargain thread grin it's far too easy to get swept along!

Pack of ten Julia Donaldson books from book people for £10 and as pp suggested split them between children

Lovemusic33 Wed 20-Sep-17 18:41:52

Great ideas, thank you.

Dd11 likes music (making music), Pokemon, shopkins (but has way too many of these). It's hard to buy her things as she breaks everything sad. She spends a lot of time making music on her iPad and drawing Pokemon. She doesn't understand money and the price of things so I don't need to spend a fortune but would love to get something that she will really love.

Dd (13) also likes Pokemon and is into cosplay/comicon, she wants me to make her a costume so she can go to a comic on with her friend. She's probably easier to buy for than Dd2. Her dad is getting her the new Pokemon game and maybe a new 3ds as he's isn't holding battery for long. Dd1 says there's nothing she really needs, both dd's have iPads, dd1 has a phone and a old laptop.

Will look at buying books for the young children.

butterfly990 Wed 20-Sep-17 20:29:02

You have enough time to get things from China on ebay. Go to advanced settings and select China.

Why not also set up going to a convention like Hyper Japan or Insomnia as part of their Christmas present. Like an IOU for the new year.

MrsHathaway Wed 20-Sep-17 20:41:54

My 9yo has started playing a Pokemon drawing game - no use as a Christmas present but might amuse her on the iPad if she hasn't already got it. It's called and it's a timed thing - there's a "kid-friendly" version if you click through.

Lovemusic33 Wed 20-Sep-17 20:45:50

butterfly thank you, great idea, will look and see about a convention. I have saved a few things on my watch list on eBay from china.

Mrs I will have a look for the app, she would love that.

MrsHathaway Wed 20-Sep-17 20:49:34

I'm advised it's just a website not an app so she can access it through Safari (?)

WindwardCircle Thu 21-Sep-17 14:46:59

Have a look at Ali Express too, it sells a lot of Pokemon and other Japanese type stuff for very little. The quality can vary so check the reviews but I've basically bought my DDs entire stocking from there.

The book people are good for discount books, both for children and adults. I got quite a few adults presents from there last year, we have a cap of £10 for family presents.

WindwardCircle Thu 21-Sep-17 14:49:40

I took my DD to Hyper Japan this summer, she's very into all things Japanese. She loved it but a lot of it is stalls selling imported things which are quite pricy. It might not be that fun if you can't afford to anything much there.

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