Thursday, 2 January 2014

Christmas 2014

Yes, you did read that title correctly.

So, has anyone else started making plans for that thing that happens every year on Dec 25th? I mean it's exactly the same day every single year, so how come in 2013 I was panicking at the beginning of December because I'd only just started my preparations? Not going to happen again.  I didn't go into debt for Christmas 2013 but unexpected events during the year meant I didn't have as much in the Xmas fund as I would have liked and I had to supplement it by taking money from my December monthly budget. This year I've vowed Christmas 2014 will be bought and paid for, all planning in place long before the event.

With this in mind I spent an hour or two last night making a Christmas pressie list and looking on Pinterest and various other sites for inspiration for home made gifts. I want to make Xmas a good one in 2014 but I also want to spend as little as possible and make as much as I can myself. After all, some of 2013's most successful gifts (both Xmas and Birthday) were handmade. There were the bags I made for my daughter and for DS2's girlfriend, the doorstops and the sunglasses case I made for DD1's birthday, the superhero cushion I made for DS1's birthday and the Doctor Who scarf I made him for Xmas, and the smaller version of the same scarf I made for DH, plus the cowl/snood scarf I made for DD2 from yarn bought in a charity shop. That cowl was much admired by her boyfriend's family who all thought it had been shop bought.

Here's to me keeping up the momentum and presenting everyone with at least one handmade gift this year using - as far a possible - fabric, yarn etc that I already have in my stash.

In addition to handmade gifts I'll be on the look out throughout the year for odds and ends I can give, plus any items I already have that could be re-gifted to someone else (being careful of course that the original giver does not get their gift back or find out that its been passed on). One instance of this is the bath smellies set I was given this year. Now I'm not one for wallowing in the bath, and since we got our water meter fitted and every last drop is precious it seems a shame to use lovely smelleies in the few inches of water I have in the bath when I'm only going to be in it for about 5 minutes. This set will get sent on to my mother-in-law who lives in Wales, and hopefully no one will be any the wiser.

As well as buying/making gifts well in advance I am going to start collecting Morrisons savings stamps to pre-pay for most of our Xmas food. I have poo-pooed this idea in the past as the thought of having the supermarket holding onto my money all year and earning interest on it when I could save it myself  and get that interest didn't really appeal. But, interest rates are so low I'd earn next to nothing on it if I put it in my account, and you do get a couple of £s bonus if you save so much, and I did a lot of my Xmas shopping in Morrisons in 2013, and if I'd spent more with them I could have used one of the higher denomination coupons they issued and saved even more, plus it does mean that the money is tied up in the stamps and can't be dipped into to spend on anything else.

In addition to all this I'll be regularly feeding my sealed pot with £2, 50p, 20p and 5p coins, and squirrelling away a regular amount of cash in an account. I really do intend not to have to outlay a penny more than I've already saved up so I'm not having to buy things from my normal housekeeping money.

I suppose that makes this another New Year's resolution to add to the list.


  1. I'm with you, with starting early for Xmas this year - I've started knitting a Xmas jumper for my little grandson tonight - good luck with your plans xx

  2. I don`t usually worry about the next Christmas until about May or June. Then I start to look around charity shops for ideas and little bits that make good presents for just 2 or three people in my life. We don`t give grown up kids any more presents. My granddaughter will get a good present as she will celebrate her second Christmas next time. I started my £2 challenge again yesterday, and this time we are saving for our holiday fund for October. As I had managed to save £500 for Alyssa`s fund last year there is enough now for two years worth of birthday and Christmas presents. The food for next years Christmas is in the pipeline. I have once again started to save some Tesco stamps and will continue doing so throughout the year. Once I fill a stamp book it gives me £50 to redeem before Christmas. That`ll be more than enough again to see us through with lots of good food next time around. I usually just buy 2 or three stamps every other week, and the little stamp book will be filled slowly and without getting stressed over it. During this year I`m also researching more on the internet to get good frugal food ideas.
    A Turkey or Chicken Loaf is very much my choice for next Christmas. I might even make a Turkey meat roll en crute. I will experiment with this throughout the year and make up my mind at a later stage. Hope to find lots more great meal ideas that I can adapt and make to my own taste. This year I intend to have more frugal fun in the kitchen. So, next Christmas should be a doddle again!

  3. This is a very interesting post Helen. I think the more organised you are the better and your home-made gifts are just beautiful. I'm not surprised they were a big hit with everyone.

    Sft x