My Christmas Gift Shopping
This can be a very stressful time of year: but it's been my favourite time of year for the last 20-or-so years. **
I adore seeing sparkly lights, smelling cinnamon and spices, watching Christmassy movies and making seasonal crafty things and gifts.
We do live life very simply throughout the year, and I squirrel away gifts and things as the year goes by.
I have a notebook just for Christmas planning - everything from who I want to send a card to, what I want to make food-wise, which gifts I want to make or buy: to pictures and recipes from magazines or online I'd like to try.
I also keep my envelopes in this notebook - one for my savings stamps, one for postal stamps and one for cash. *
My Christmas gift shopping this year:
Man Wonderful and I moved house at the start of November so we aren't giving each other gifts beyond some second-hand books and a couple of bits and bobs. We buy clothes when we need them, and live pretty simply anyway! This year's Christmas budget has gone towards the HUGE rise in fuel bills.
GD had her birthday yesterday. I gave her a voucher for a spa-day as well as a pair of hand-knitted socks and some bits and bobs. Christmas she has some boxes to open and some bits and bobs (she also reads this blog..so jog-on GD: I'm not giving the game away!!). I have a set budget for her birthday and for Christmas and stick to it.
Son-in-law comes from a family where they ask for things for Christmas. I have tried hard over the years to inject more magic into this to no avail. So he is getting the hoodie he asked for. Ho hum! This is less than the budget I set, so he has something else too.
Grandkids. The eldest has brainy things and Harry Potter things and PJs and games and toys. The youngest has significant SEN. He has sensory things and PJs and a hand knitted cardigan and toys. I have a set budget for these and stick to it.
Friends. I like to buy or make something for friends. Four folks have a mini homemade Christmas cake. Someone has a wooden elephant. Someone has a wooden giraffe. Someone has knitted gloves. Someone has a knitted scarf. I don't have a huge budget planned for friends, and make or gather things throughout the year.
I also put together hampers. A big one for GD and hubby and smaller ones for folk. All of this shopping comes from the saving stamp scheme. If I buy someone a bottle of wine, this comes from that scheme.
I buy a tub of chocolates each for: the dustmen and the postman.
My gift wrapping is almost done - I like to do this bit by bit in December with Christmassy music or a Christmas film in the background.
How do you manage your shopping?
*I collect saving stamps at the local supermarket. Each time we pop to the shop, I buy a £1 saving stamp. The card you fill has 48/50 spaces as the shop has already filled the remaining two. This is 4% interest on the saving. Yes, you can only use the card in December to get the saving and yes, you can only use it at that shop - BUT if you are going to spend money in that shop in December it makes sense to do this. I make up hampers for folk as gifts and I buy additional foody bits from that shop. By buying these stamps as the year goes by, it 'feels' like free shopping! I also never have to worry about having enough pennies for our food - and I buy tins and freezer things for the start of the year too.
I buy postal stamps bit by bit too throughout the year. When I go to the local Post Office to send off an eBay or Vinted sale, I buy one second class stamp each time. I know I am going to post cards (my choice, homemade and recyclable) and I know receiving a card can perk people up - as I love receiving them too!
And cash. If I sell something on the local selling page and receive cash this goes in my cash envelope. In addition, when I take out cash and shop, I put some of my leftover cash each time in this envelope. As it gets to autumn each year I review the amount and 'up' it as needed. (I have a change jar that all my other unspent cash goes in, and this is my go-to housekeeping money!)
** I'll explain more about this at a later date.