Think outside the box this Christmas with these tips and tricks that not only save you money but makes you feel good!
1. Don’t waste money on wrapping paper!
The global wrapping paper industry which is worth billions of dollars is not one you need to buy into. It’s also bad for the environment as most wrapping paper can’t be recycled due to the lamination. Instead, wrap your gifts in old newspaper or brown paper and decorate with fabric ribbons. The Japanese use a method known as “furoshiki” which involves wrapping gifts in cloth which the receiver can then re-use themselves for gift giving. The fabric is simply tied around the gift and uses no sticking tape or string. You may like to upcycle fabric from home – even an old t-shirt can be redesigned with some fabric paint into a beautiful wrapper. Decide as a family to stop using commercial wrapping paper by making a new tradition in which you continue to swap your furoshiki with your family.
2.Give the gift of your time
Instead of buying presents that may sit in the back of a cupboard forever, gift friends and family with a voucher, offering your time or a service. It may be something simple as “I owe you a morning of gardening help” or “I offer a day of babysitting”. You could even offer to teach children a musical instrument or second language if that is your strength. This may cost you nothing, but means so much to the receiver.
3.Embrace the potluck concept
Buying, preparing and cooking dinner for a big family is not only expensive and stressful, but time consuming. Instead of taking on the whole task yourself, offer to make the main meals and then coordinate with the other guests for the appetizers, sides, salads, desserts and any drinks. Create a list that is able to be viewed by all guests that shows what each person is bringing to avoid double ups. This takes the stress off you to be able to enjoy hosting a Christmas meal and save money as well.
4.Give the gift of compassion
You know those people that seem to have everything and are impossible to buy for? Why not give them a gift of charity? It could be anything from sponsoring an endangered animal in Africa, to donating clean drinking water to a developing community. International groups such as The Intrepid Foundation’s Global Gifts program not only offers many different projects but the company will match every donation you make.
If you would rather buy a gift and donate locally, groups such as Voice for Voiceless have a list of goods on their website that they require to help support vulnerable people in the community. New furniture, sports equipment, kitchen appliances and even toys (second-hand is ok here) are all very much needed.
5.Focus more on experiences
While there is the temptation to have a Christmas tree laden with presents underneath it, most people when actually asked would rather spend time with their loved ones than receive material gifts. Surprise them with a safari in a national park or a spa day at a local hotel. Sri Lanka is full of experiences waiting to be had that can also be enjoyed as a family or friendship group and you’ll create memories for years to come.
6.Participate in a “Secret Santa”
Perfect for large families, workplaces or friendship groups as it means you only have to buy one gift. In the weeks leading up to Christmas put the names of everyone who wants to participate into a hat/box. Each participant then draws out one name which indicates who they are supposed to gift. Setting a maximum cost for the gift that everyone is comfortable with will take the pressure away from gift giving this festive season. Do this and watch everyone enjoy the surprise on the day.
7.Create your own gift
Giving a personalized gift such as a homemade jar of jam or face scrub is a wonderful idea to make someone feel special. If you are an avid gardener, how about gifting someone with a home grown plant? You can also design your own Christmas cards or gift tags to add an extra special touch to your gift.
We would love to know if you have any of your own money and sanity saving Christmas tips. Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org