This morning I waved my hubby goodbye at the train station at 5.45am, and came home determined to get my Christmas Mojo on.
The tree is up, the Christmas cards bought, but now there are long lists to compile so that I do indeed remember to order the ham and turkey, buy store-cupboard ingredients in good time, and schedule in a time (early bells) to hit the farmer’s market for my last minute fresh goodies on the 23rd or Christmas Eve.
I’d like to make some table decorations and personal table settings – hmm, anyone got any good ideas or Pinterest boards to help me?
And I’d like to quell the feeling of panic that’s rising in my stomach, please.
Look I know it’s stupid. It’s not as if we have a huge extended family or anything, I just think the whole idea of lots of socialising, and lots of doing stuff that’s completely out of routine can be quite exhausting. Don’t get me wrong. I am looking forward to it, but that doesn’t stop the adrenalin rising 😉 Bleh! First world problem.
Snail Mail or Internet?
This year I’m sending some small gifts to my family in the UK because although I love the convenience of online gift shopping, and having gifts sent straight to them, I think it’s still nice to get something personally wrapped and labelled in my own handwriting, so this morning I need to wrap and label those pressies and take them to Pack & Send.
In the past I’ve used the following online stores with great success, so I thought I’d list them here for you too.
Look away Mum … [I’ll probably send you something of the floral variety via the internet as well!)
Online Shopping I’ve used and loved
Arena Flowers I’ve sent lots of flowers to my Mum from Arena and they’ve always been delivered on time, and they are always beautiful.
Hard to Find I’ve used this online store for various gifts, some of which I’ve had sent to me first so that I can wrap them individually.
Colonial Gifts Gift Baskets and Food Hampers – these are pretty upmarket gift hampers, and they are available from the UK.
Marks & Spencers online Marks and Spencers have free delivery on all orders to Australia until 17th December.
Myer’s Giftorium Myers, I can recommend because I was lucky to attend the opening of the Christmas Giftorium section in Perth, and can vouch that they are really trying to make Christmas shopping easy for us. Elves will even hand-deliver your purchases in Australia 😉
You might also like: And so this is Christmas in Australia and A Handy Little Gift Guide for Christmas
How to save money at Christmas
Christmas is a strain on the finances too, isn’t it?
I don’t think there’s any need to change our tree decorations each year, although I know some people do. I’ve been collecting decs from around the world for 20 years, and they all go up year after year, give or take, with perhaps a new addition occasionally. Call me old fashioned, but I’m not one for throwing money at Christmas.
Which got me thinking about other ways to save money this year, and I found 375 Ways to Save Money by Peter Sander and Jennifer Sander on my bookshelf, in which there are a heap of great money saving ideas, some of which would be great for the silly season. (375 Ways to Save Money published by Lyons Press imprint of The Globe Pequot Press)
1. Shop your Girlfriend’s Wardrobe
I know, it’s nice to have something new to wear on Christmas day, but if you can’t afford it then why not call a girlfriend who’s the same size as you and see if you can’t swap an outfit for the day? Or plan a get together with several friends who each bring over some suitable party season items they don’t wear anymore and spread them out and swap?
2. Buy your favourite wine when it’s on special
It’s no secret I love New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, so this year I’ll be watching out for when my favourite brands come on special at the bottle store, and buy in bulk for the get togethers we’ll be having over Christmas.
3. Sell you Gift Cards or Donate to Charity
If you’re given a Gift Card for a store from which you wouldn’t normally buy goods, then why not cash it in? Better still, why not donate it to a charity. Here are two sites you might find helpful.
Sell your Gift Cards and Careful Cents
4. Pedicures, Manicures, Massages and Meals Out
Check out your local beauty schools and massage schools, where you’ll probably get a less expensive beauty treatment than in a high street outlet. Treat yourself to a cut-price pamper morning to de-stress before Christmas. Likewise, does your local Technical College have a cooking school – they will often have regular evenings open to the public for their students to try out their cooking skills, and this can represent a significant saving and offer an interesting evening out when you’re fed up with all the Christmas preps or cooking 🙂
5. Save on Gift Wrapping
Get creative. Have you brown paper, or brown paper bags? Can you spray them in bright swirly colours and use as wrapping? Do you have a cupboard full of pretty coloured fabric, you haven’t used for dressmaking, perhaps, that you could wrap presents with and then tie with sparkly Christmas ribbons? How else could you get creative and avoid buying wrapping paper?
6. Skip the Christmas tree
We used to buy a fresh tree every year and it cost a fortune. These days we have a fake tree, quite a big one, which comes out year after year, and I’m happy with that. I’d also be happy with using my imagination and perhaps foraging for some branches from our nearby forests, and displaying them in a big planter then decorating them with cute decorations and sparkly lights.
7. Recycle old Christmas Cards
Do you still have a stack of Christmas cards from last year? Re-use them – cut off the front part of the card and turn it into a postcard. Add your own seasonal message (so much more meaningful than a shop bought one) and save money on postage too 🙂
8. Exercise more, stress less
Put your exercise gear out by your bed, along with a bottle of water. This Christmas season pledge to maintain your composure and waistline by getting up to exercise each morning before you have time to think. Thirty minutes a day has serious implications for your body, your mind and your mood. Just do it! You’ll be thankful, and perhaps those around you will be thankful you did too during this stressful time of year 😉
I’m linking to the very mysterious, Agent Mystery Case today – pop over (you could win a prize over the next 12 days)
Have you written a post about Christmas – why not join the blog hop below? Please add a back-link to Lifestyle Fifty on your post, won’t you 🙂
Calling yourself financially independent means that you are able to cut or optimize your spending. Both in life and in doing your job. After I start working with Freight Quote Australia I did cut my expenses by 20 % and now I am definitely on my way to financial independence
What a great post with plenty of ideas to go around. I love using newsprint for gift wrapping. I sometimes use buttons and pasta bits and attach them to (or thread them through) ribbon. Makes for funky decorations.
That sounds lovely Wanda 🙂 And I’d expect you to have lots of gorgeous artful ideas … more please … how about a guest post?
Thanks for your great ideas Jo, I do most of them, despite doing my best to be a decorating grinch this year x
I love that you’re a decorating grinch this year Rae, and I very nearly was too, but like you it was my hubby who was the keen one!
I’m hearing ya! I am not into Christmas at all this year. I hate the thought of battling for a carpark at the shopping centres and also spending all that money on gifts, decorations and festive food. Don’t get me wrong – I do actually love Christmas and the get together with the extended family, however I just hate the commercial side of it. Thanks for the tips. I like the one about recycling Christmas cards.
The shopping centres are like hell in Perth, already Kathy! Parking is a nightmare.
Merry Christmas Muza-chan!
Life Images by Jill
Great money saving ideas Jo. I too have a box of decorations I’ve been collecting and adding bits and pieces to over the last 40 years! Every few years or 5 I make a new door wreath or rejuvenate my old one. And wrapping paper, anything salvageable I pack away and resuse – it’s common practice in our family. I often turn old cards into gift tags, but I thought the idea of turning them into post cards was great! Happy season to you Jo.
I’d forgotten about turning old cards into gift tags, Jill. I used to do that too, but somehow have got out of the habit. Happy Season to you too 🙂
Raychael aka Mystery Case
So many fantastic tips. I will be bookmarking this post. We have one expense after the other at the moment so I’m needing to be more careful with the budget than normal.
I know it all mounts up doesn’t it Raychael. Some things we need to splurge on, but others we can compromise – it’s an individual thing isn’t it.
Thank you for these timely money saving tips for Christmas. It can get a little out of hand! I stopped sending Christmas cards years ago and I use the same Christmas decorations year after year. I tried inserting the code for the blog hop it didn’t work. Might be just me!
A girl after my own heart, Kathy! Will look into the blog hop code … hmmm?