How to survive Christmas and remain solvent Many of us will have a two or three week break at the end of the year, and for those who celebrate Christmas it is just seven weeks away. Yikes! I am assuming that most readers share my reality: financially, life is tougher than last Christmas even if you are lucky enough to not have to tighten your belt. Life is definitely unpredictable for all of us! So, let’s not bust our budget this Christmas.
Here are a few top tips from me on how we might do Christmas differently this year:
- The presents – They don’t need to be expensive, everyone including children want thoughtful gifts that come from the heart. So, I am avoiding the shopping malls where you can be easily sucked into shiny, expensive gifts. Instead I’m off to the local SPCA charity shop where you can find amazing second-hand books, CDs, plants and kids’ toys at dirt cheap prices. More than that, you’re also supporting re-using and the SPCA! The other idea I love is to ‘gift people donations’ to meaningful causes. This is where you donate some money to support a cause your friend cares about and they get a card telling them what they have supported. I love this; your money is spent on making a difference in our crazy world and I find that friends and family feel good about the gift. Oxfam do wonderful gifts to support development projects globally and locally or save our planet and plant a tree, right here in South Africa. Just Google it, there are so many options.
- The party – If you are doing a big celebration, plan it carefully. Yes, food is delicious and a huge table groaning with gorgeous food is a great way to enjoy the festive season. But let’s not break the bank. I’m going to cut down on the expensive items; if you eat meat, try just one meat dish. Honestly people will cope! Add in lots of cheeses and pulses – they are nutritious, cheap and ecologically much better then meat. Give the lentils and chickpeas a new identity! Seriously, lentils are amazing. A gorgeous French Lentil salad, a chickpea tagine – delicious, easy and inexpensive. People will be talking about your lunch for years to come!
- The summer holidays – Again, I think we can have fun differently – we have so much sun and nature around us.
In my next column I’m going to explore inexpensive ways to have fun over the holidays.