Christmas is within touching distance and the must-have-toy lists have been released. Whether or not your children have written to the big guy in the red & white suit yet, you’re probably wondering about what to get them, perhaps looking at your finances wondering how much you can stretch to?
Throughout this post, let me assure you that I’m not saying don’t give your kids anything for Christmas. Their twinkling eyes & lit up faces when they see that Santa has been are priceless, but they don’t have to cost the Earth. A gift under the tree doesn’t have to be the latest or greatest gadget.
Charity shops have so much good stuff, unopened & unused items too. We recently found a wooden fire station in one of the local charity shops. It was a bit mucky but with 15 minutes and a handful of wet wipes, it came up shiny & new, perfect for a traditional wooden gift from Father Christmas, handmade by his elves, all for the cost of only £2.
There is also a social responsibility. If children see others with the latest games or brand new high end trainers, they wonder why they don’t have these items. This puts pressure on parents to ‘keep up with the Jones’. This isn’t always possible but sometimes throwing cash around to ‘shut the kids up’ can seem like the best option.
Research from earlier this year said that just under 8 million people say that they are likely to fall behind with finances in January after over indulging and spending too much at Christmas. In other words, a festive hangover of debt. Is this really what’s it all about?! Debt is no joke. It’s a well known fact that people say that January is a ‘long month’ in terms of finance. Companies often pay December pay cheques earlier so employees can enjoy themselves at Christmas but that extra week or two can hurt and sometimes cause people to look elsewhere & rely on credit for their money.
Do we really think our kids want a piece of expensive handheld tech instead of a happy home? Parents who aren’t worried about finances might actually have time to spend with their offspring. This is what our children want. Us. Time spent with them, playing.
Consider ‘secret Santa’ style giving with large families, or decide, like we have, to not buy for one another but instead organise a day out in 2019, which we’ll actually enjoy and make memories from. Spoiling them with things often makes us feel like we love them more, but what really makes our kids feel warm, happy, safe & secure, isn’t stuff. It’s our time & love.
Christmas can be hard enough without the thought of the dreaded credit card bill being forced through the letterbox in the New Year. Be crafty, be creative, cut the ‘tat’ gifts that we often buy for people which go on a shelf or straight into the re-gifting pile. Buying for the sake of buying doesn’t help anyone at one of the most stressful times of the year. If we break that cycle now, our children will see that and hopefully they’ll learn from it. Treat the ones you love, yes, make their Christmas magical but limit yourself and live within your means. It’s one day after all, but debt can stay with you for a lifetime.