Broke and it’s Christmas

“I will remind one that it was in fact the Grinch himself who believed that Christmas came in a box.” (http://grist.org/article/say-no/)

I’m sure I’m not the only one to say, ‘yeah, I’m broke and it’s Christmas.’ Luckily, I’ve been shopping throughout the year so my friends and family aren’t going to go without. But what about me and my partner? We decided not to exchange gifts. But I still want a wonderful Christmas. So I’ve put together some inexpensive Christmas ideas.

“My mum didn’t believe me when I told her I wasn’t doing Christmas this year. She seemed completely unaware that just five minutes previously I’d told her that my boyfriend is thousands of pounds in debt on his credit card. As far as I’m concerned, until he’s paid that off, we’re not in a position to be throwing money at 3-for-2 gift sets in Boots. And we’re not alone in cutting back this year – ONS figures show that households in the UK have been restraining their Christmas spending since 2008.” (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/06/christmas-presents-cant-afford-debt)

  1. Agree on a price limit for buying gifts
  2. Make Homemade Mistletoe (http://www.stayathomeartist.com/2010/12/make-your-own-mistletoe-tutorial.html)
  3. Decorate the house with vases filled with chocolates or candy canes in addition to/ or instead of flowers for the holiday instead of buying buckets of Christmas decorations for your house.
  4. Instead of buying a tree, take a massive roll of paper and draw a tree together with decorations, a star, and the works.
  5. Have a tree but no decorations? Decorate the tree with pictures you’ve collected throughout the year.
  6. Need a game idea? Do a Homemade Christmas Eve Scavenger Hunt!
  7. Everyone write down a wish or desire on a piece of paper for the New Year and hang it on the tree to come true.
  8. Make your own apple cider
  9. Read poetry or Christmas stories together
  10. Make a play together: write the script, practice scenes, and perform in the evening in front of the Christmas tree
  11. Invite friends and family to a formal Christmas tea party hosted at your house
  12. Agree on a cookie exchange instead of gifts
  13. Make homemade calendars instead of buying gifts
  14. Make a recipe book instead of buying gifts
  15. Write letters to each other instead of buying gifts
  16. Do a Secret Santa with your family. It’s affordable, fun, and won’t break anyone this Christmas.
  17. Buy plain ornaments and make them your own, decorating them with markers, glitter, and such for gift ideas
  18. Instead of buying a star for the top of the tree? Make one! (http://www.homemade-gifts-made-easy.com/making-christmas-decorations.html#gallery[pageGallery]/0/)

“I don’t love Christmas shopping, or the overconsumption, frenzied malls, consumer debt, environmental waste, wasted time wrapping, and over-accumulation of needless stuff that goes with it.” (http://zenhabits.net/bah/)

          Don’t try to make Christmas ‘perfect.’ Take the pressure off yourself and relax. If you’re worried about the debt after Christmas and can’t afford gifts, the people who love you will understand. If you’re really worried about it, start putting money aside throughout the year for the Christmas season instead of having to come up with all those funds all in a few weeks. I tried to put cash away, but that didn’t work for me. I couldn’t seem to keep it in the Christmas Fund. So I started buying gifts throughout the year for friends and family. By the time December hit, I’d no need to go back to the mall or crowded stores.

Personally, I prefer experiences to gifts. I’d rather see a play Christmas Eve, or roast marshmallows over an open fire. I’d rather head to New York or spend Christmas at Niagara on the Lake (if I’ve had a good income year). This year, with the pressure of gifts taken off, I’m planning on spending time with the people I love. This December is like any other month to my wallet, and I don’t mind that at all. With me and my partner not exchanging gifts, we can focus on other ways to make a wonderful Christmas (which is a lot more joyous than fighting our way through crowds with empty wallets).

“You don’t know me, but I have to tell you that you shouldn’t be here. You should be saving your money. You should be home eating tuna fish. This financial crisis is so far from over. We are just at the end of the beginning. Please, wrap up that steak in a doggy bag and go home.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/opinion/23friedman.html?_r=2&em&oref=slogin&)

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