The most wonderful (& expensive) time of the year.

Christmas is almost upon us and I have to say that it’s come around fast. It feels like only yesterday that my family and I were all sat around the table eating, drinking and laughing at the cheesy Christmas cracker jokes.

For me, Christmas is all about taking some time out to spend with my family. My family live quite a distance from me and, with such a busy schedule at work, I don’t always get the time to pop them a visit. Christmas gives us the opportunity to all come together – whether that be voluntarily or not – and it’s one of my favourite times of the year.

You’ll probably have noticed the queues startchristmas-storeing to form at the shopping centres as December draws closer. Luckily I’ve managed to get ahead of the game a little bit and I have mostly finished Christmas shopping apart from a few extra bits like secret santa gifts for friends and colleagues. However, whilst trying to pull all of the presents together – and getting marginally stressed in the process – I can’t help but think how unnecessarily commercialised it has all become and whether it’s taken away from the core of Christmas.

Last year my family and I decided to opt to do Secret Santa instead of getting gifts for the whole family. The pressure is on at this time of year to get presents for all those that you care about as shops have taught us that this is how we show our love and gratitude throughout the festive season. But as the years go on and as more 3 for 2 offers launch in stores like Boots, gifts are becoming less thoughtful and more impersonal.

I challenge you to count on one hand how many body washes and body lotion gifts you obtained last year. Now count how many are still in your drawers…

Now whilst I must admit that I do love getting smellies and having a nice pamper session, it seems unnecessary that those close to me are stressing as they feel the need to purchase a present of some sort for me. Not to sound ungrateful but half of the gifts remain in the boxes until the next year as I have nowhere to store them and, let’s be honest, there’s only so much body lotion you can get through in the year.

I think about all those families that struggle financially and yet they still have hundreds of presents wrapped up under the tree for their little ones and I think it’s sad that Christmas seems to be so focussed around gifts that families are willing to put themselves under incredible financial pressure and probably won’t pay off the debt until the next year.

Give it a go.

Try Secret Santa with your family and friends – you’ll find that you are giving an receiving much more personal gifts too as they are under less stress to purchase gifts for everybody. For us, Christmas has gone back to what it is supposed to be – a chance to reconnect with loved ones.

We set a budget of £50 and pull names out of a hat. We include our main family excluding my brother who is 13 and would be a bit mythed if we were to take away all of his presents. Since we all save quite a bit of money doing Secret Santa instead, we all purchase 3 x gifts worth £5 each and use them as prizes for family games like bingo. It’s a great way to take the stress away from Christmas, a chance to be thoughtful about the gifts that you give and frees up the budget to incorporate some fun activities for the occasion.

So give it a try and let me know how you get on. I’d love to hear your thoughts on Christmas and how you celebrate the festive season with your family and friends.

Happy Christmas shopping all!




2 thoughts on “The most wonderful (& expensive) time of the year.”

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