Christmas is coming, but unfortunately the geese are still not getting any fatter.
Why not dig up the little pine tree that you – hopefully – planted out in the garden in January? Bring it inside again and re-use it for this Christmas. - Well, just a thought!
Also, if you have not taken the good advice given in our page Christmas Credit Crunch then consider it for next year, as the credit crunch is likely to still be with us if the pundits are to be believed.
Failing these suggestions and if panic really is knocking at your door, here are some tips that will show you how to make savings for Christmas to see you through the 2012 Credit Crunch Christmas.
In the card offer your services for 3 hours gardening between the months of April and June – or baby sitting for one evening. Suit the task and the time to suit you. This is an ideal and original gift for many of your friends and relatives.
If you have other skills you could use this same tip several times over. Other services that could be offered are shopping, car trips, even cleaning for those who are rushed, would be greatly appreciated.
This gift has the advantage of lasting long after the festive season is over and shows more thought than a quickly bought item that may never be used. Plus technically it costs you nothing.
2. Do you have an elderly relative who would like a more original Christmas present instead of the usual pair of slippers, hot water bottle etc. Why not cover a small shoe box with wrapping paper and fill it with small, specially chosen items such as their favourite chocolate, a miniature bottle of their favourite tipple, etc. etc. This will probably be a lot cheaper and shows thought.
3. Perish the thought, but can you 're-cycle' any unwanted gifts that you may have collected, not used and just stored away? Don't make the horrendous mistake of giving your 'new' gift back to the original donor. This would be taking savings for Christmas to the extreme!
4. If you are living on your own, have you considered giving your services to a charity over the festive period? You will probably make many people very happy (and grateful) for your help and company. This works both ways - be both giver and receiver - and really is savings for Christmas.
www.crisis.org.uk usually start signing up volunteers during the early days of December to help out over the long holiday period 23rd-30th December.
5. Take care as you open your presents then you will be able to recycle the wrapping paper at a later date.
Taking this tip one step further use left-over wallpaper for stylish wrapping paper. After it has been used in this way then it is ready for the re-cycle bin. Thanks to Kylie - of Norfolk - for this real money saver.
6. Another suggestion is if you have a large item to be wrapped use pages from a copy of the 'pink-un' - Financial Times as wrapping paper. Tied with black tape (not ribbon) this is quite impressive. It gives the illusion of wealth. The F.T. cover price is £1.50, but compared with bog-standard wrapping paper this makes it very cheap.
14. Diffuse some of the pent-up excitement building up in the children. Take them for a walk and collect some kindling for your fire or wood-burner or even holly branches as you walk - this should help to get rid of some their energy but generate some for your fire. Country Walking
Make sure the collection of holly is strictly legal.
15. Collect sweet chestnuts instead of the traditional (expensive) nuts shipped in from abroad. Think green here and save on air miles and your pocket at the same time. Think savings for Christmas!
16. Save a few slices of stale bread (in the freezer) turn them into crumbs and use this as a basis for sage and onion stuffing for the chicken.
Crumble the stale bread in the food processor, add one cooked onion (boiled in slightly salted water until tender). Add a heaped teaspoon of dried sage, some chopped parsley, a large knob of butter. Whiz all together. Use some of the onion cooking liquid if extra moisture is required. Stuffing done.
If you have your own home-grown herbs already stored in jars in the freezer, so much the better.
17. If Brussel sprouts suddenly increase in price in the week before any holiday (they usually do) switch to another green vegetable such as savoy cabbage. Alternatively buy frozen sprouts a few weeks beforehand. You need to be flexible if you are to save money.
18. Make your own tree decorations. Buy a pack of chocolate digestive biscuits (or whatever is the family favourite,) wrap each one in cooking foil and hang from the Christmas tree. Chocolates can be used in the same way. To be on the safe side, make sure there is no dog around otherwise it is likely to be a self-service Christmas for the dog. Definitely not savings for Christmas.
19. If you click on Tip. 11 you will find good tip regarding candles. Definitely savings for Christmas.
20. For the price of a meal for one person in a pub or restaurant on Christmas Day you can provide a slap-up meal for the whole family. A definite no brainer. Enlist the help of the family in preparing the feast to lighten the load. Maybe they will also help with clearing the kitchen after the feast is over!
21. If you can do most of your Christmas food shopping the weekend before Christmas and store it either in the 'fridge or freezer, you may be lucky and beat some of the usual price hikes.
22. In readiness for the next Credit Crunch Christmas, go the the January Sales on Boxing Day, and stock up on presents for 2009.
Not wishing to be a party-pooper, but many stores will have placed their Christmas stock orders long before the credit crunch which should increase the pickings for canny shoppers. Savings for Christmas again!
23. If you have lots of friends and relations in far flung parts, sending Christmas cards can be especially expensive particularly when the cost of postage is added to the price of the cards. It is possible to enrol at one of the many sites for sending free e-cards.
This page (now updated) was featured in The Daily Telegraph
on 20th November, 2008
in an article by the late Cassandra Jardine.
Seven of our tips were featured.
A long URL, but you can find the page here
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