A friend of mine who worked for a large electrical chain store tells a great story about a slightly inebriated man who entered a high street retailer on Christmas Eve and set about purchasing large, big ticket items apparently at random. The customer had sobered up by the time he brought all the items back on Boxing Day.
Another friend who has spent time working in retail always loves Christmas. He can tell endless tales of customers rushing into stores panic buying on Christmas Eve.
I personally live not far from a large supermarket and often look on with wonder at the bedlam that descends on the nearby roads at Christmas. The car park looks like something from a Hollywood disaster movie as people rush in to panic buy.
The question is: how do we avoid the feeling that we haven’t purchased enough, or that we haven’t bought that special person the ‘perfect’ gift?
Christmas is really about giving…
We hear this all the time: Christmas is about giving not receiving. But we’re always focused on what we want to give.
If you knew that the person buying a gift for you was going to put themselves into financial hardship to buy that gift how would you feel receiving it?
And do you consider the full cost of products, and whether it’s worth the ‘value’ you’re putting on it? Read these festive money tips from eZonomics on how the value of a present doesn’t have to be linked to the cost.
Our friends, relatives and family don’t want us to put ourselves in financial difficulty by buying them presents that in many cases they won’t use or don’t need.
If you want to give your time rather than a monetary gift, use our Christmas Priceless Promise certificate – it’s an excellent way to avoid spending money while showing the recipient that you care.
“But you promised…”
Children are subject to a lot of marketing and peer pressure, and sometimes parents cave in and spend far beyond what they can afford because as we all know it’s sometimes easier to say “yes”.
What we don’t credit children with is their resilience and intelligence. If you can’t afford or can’t get something let them know about it and let them choose an alternative gift within their budget. Giving them a monetary figure will often mean that they will understand more about budgeting in later life.
Read this excellent article Making the holidays less materialistic. It’s brilliant for helping you talk with children about an affordable Christmas.
“I’ve forgotten the brandy butter; we have to go back…”
One important thing to remember is that the supermarkets are going to be shut for one day.
Of course we all like to have a bit of indulgence over the Christmas period – chocolates, crisps, treats and bubbly. But how much can you actually consume over a couple of days, and how much do you need to buy when the shops are open for all but one day of the holidays?
Remember, Christmas is about giving, and family and fun, it’s not about who has the most food in their cupboards and fridges.
Read our article on Christmas food on a budget to see how it can be done.
(Don’t) cancel Christmas!
Come the 27th it will all be over, except for the New Years Eve party. Don’t be the person left with no money in their pocket, wondering why they bought so much food in a panic and ill thought out presents (that haven’t left their boxes).
We don’t want to cancel Christmas but with the whole world currently worried about recession, unemployment and austerity isn’t it time we took control kept our heads and had a less commercial Christmas? Christmas is about giving what you can afford and receiving what your loved ones can afford to buy you.
That’s the real spirit of Christmas.