Christmas can be a stressful time, especially for parents. The fabulous Gem from Yorkshire Mum of Four is sharing her top five tips for staying calm and giving stress the heave-ho-ho-ho
Get your children a catalogue or a few and ask them to go away and write their lists
They can colour code red for the most important and then yellow for they would like but not essential and then green it would be nice to have but they aren’t expecting it. Then do your research, spend a few evenings checking prices on Amazon, Argos and other toy shop websites. Also if you have done any surveys over the year save your points up to get tokens for shops to spend on Xmas saving you more money. Wait for Black Friday sales if you can to take advantage of the deals or use Tesco Clubcard points if you are buying from Tesco.
Discuss budgeting with the older kids.
I found this really helped as my kids got older. They are currently 10, 8 and 6 the older ones so they understand about money and it helps they know Santa is not really however they keep up the pretence for our 6 and 1 year old. We now explain to kids how much things cost, our earnings, how much bills are so they understand the value of money. I think this is an important skill growing up as kids when younger just think you have an infinite amount of money which in most cases isn’t really the case.
Stop the competitions
Don’t look at Social media on Xmas eve, don’t take part in the competition of the most presents under the tree. Know that anything could do in those presents, they could be second hand brought from a charity shop or a car boot, they could all be pound shop presents or they could have put it all on plastic and be paying it off for the next 5 years. My advice is don’t get sucked into the competition, buy what you can afford. I spent a huge chunk of time before last christmas finding good presents for my son. I trawled car boots looking for unopened presents I could buy him cheaply so he had lots to open on Christmas morning and they were still there the following June, when I put them back on the car boot and sold them for what I paid which was great for me as he had lots of presents to open and I essentially didn’t spend anything. Also don’t feel you need to buy something for your partner just to show off, grown ups have money all year round to buy themselves something, and a lot have joint accounts so essentially it just comes from their own money so save money and stop buying other grown ups things. We found we were spending money on older relatives or buying crap for our siblings that they didn’t use and it was just costing too much for Christmas so we had a discussion and all that stopped. I mean how much bubble bath and body scrub are we ladies going through and surely men can buy themselves socks and beer at any time of the year!
Don’t do it for the others
I would have loved to go away this year but due to budgetting for house renovations we cannot go away so will end up with Christmas at home which is fine as I genuinely enjoy the day but I find the week after pretty boring as nothing is happening or open so you just end up sat around for a week eating loads. One year when our first son was born we ended up going to 4 houses and spending our christmas just travelling between and it was so much effort, hassle and having to eat so much so we now just cook at home and if relatives want to come the door is open but we don’t go to any great effort to visit anyone, essentially the kids have all their presents at home and sometimes you have to put your foot down and just say – It is our Christmas day, we have chosen to do X, Y and Z, the door is open if you want to come round and that is that.
Remember you are not feeding the five thousand, unless your door is really open wide and inviting all. Just cook the same amount of food for a normal Sunday roast for the amount of people you would have. I hate seeing food go to waste and we had a turkey the other year which didn’t taste the best and we couldn’t use it for Sandwiches the day after as it was so dry so this year we will use cheaper meats like Gammon, Beef and Chicken and just have the normal veg, roasties, stuffing, sausages with bacon round and Yorkshire puddings so essentially feeding the family for around £40. There is 6 of us. I am sure it could be cheaper if you use one meat but I like to snack on meats in the afternoon and use leftovers for sandwiches boxing day.
So take my advice and save yourself some money and hassle this Christmas by having the Christmas you want.