All year round I think of awesome gifts to buy but instead of buying them at the time, I leave it and then it gets closer and closer to Christmas and I can never remember any of the great ideas and I begrudge having to trawl the shops hoping for inspiration to jump out at me. Every year, I’m determined to do it differently but haven’t managed it yet!
I don’t have too many people to buy for; pretty much just my immediate family members. Talking to friends, it seems as though I’ve got it quite easy as some of them buy for all extended members of the family as well as for numerous friends too.
Who to buy for?
Make a list. Especially if you have quite a few people to buy for. Without a list, you’ll find yourself wandering the shops, forgetting what you’ve bought and what you’ve got left to buy.
If you have a large group of friends, then secret santa or a white elephant gift exchange is a good way to ensure everyone gets something without you all having to spend time and money buying so many different gifts.
How much to spend?
As much or as little as you can afford. I know that many people feel obliged to spend the same amount on everyone (especially if you have kids or nieces/nephews to buy for) but honestly, remember that it really is about the gesture and not about the monetary value.
Set a total budget for all of your presents and stick to it. Christmas shouldn’t be a time to bankrupt you. It should be a time when people are appreciative of what they have and what they’re given. Extravagant gifts are so unnecessary (if you want to go down this route, do it for birthdays when it’s so much more special for an individual), especially for kids who will often have moved on to the next trend or phase before we get to Easter anyway.
If one kid wants a £10 toy and another wants something costing £35, there really isn’t a need to ‘make up’ presents to the same value. People put so much pressure on themselves to spend what they perceive is a ‘good amount’ but, honestly, putting a bit of thought into a gift goes much further than just spending money for the sake of it.
Same goes for presents for adults. Take some time to think about what your recipients want, what they would really like, what you can get for them which they may not spend money on for themselves. Perceived value is always more worthwhile than actual value and a bit of thought and care goes such a long way.
Sending out Christmas cards?
I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas cards – or any greetings cards to be honest. I’m rubbish when it comes to thinking of something meaningful to write but, at the same time, I just don’t get the point of sending cards with a generic or very basic message in. I find that cards are often pretty expensive but then they just get put in the bin once the festivities are over.
To add a bit more value to a card, spend some time hand-making them. Card making supplies aren’t costly for the amount you get and you can even keep cards you’ve received and cut them up to re-use the pictures or adornments. You could also hand-make each card to fit the recipient which adds even more of a personal touch.
If you decide to buy cards, try and buy ones which provide a donation to a charity. Or even better, send an email to your usual card contacts and let them know that you won’t be sending cards because you’ve donated the total amount you’d usually spend to a charity instead.
The biggest thing to remember when it comes to gifts and cards, is that it really is about the gesture and not the value. At least, it should be. If you have someone on the list who feels otherwise then maybe they’ll find themselves on Santa’s naughty list as they clearly need to learn a little about gratitude and humility!