Category: Budget

Awesome Practical Inspiration Now Christmas Is Over

Excellent Practical Ways To Actually Recover Quickly From Christmas

Christmas is over, gone, past, finished and done with – for this year! But what about NEXT Christmas? Did this Christmas go with a bang for you? Was it the best ever? Could it have been better?

I am not talking about your personal world because things can happen that we can do nothing about, that we can’t plan for and heartbreak can happen at any time. But if your Christmas plans did not work out, if your home looks like a garbage tip, if you were stressed out to the max, along with your credit cards and you are not looking forward to a long January with very little in the bank and big bills waiting to be paid then let’s look and see whether we can do something NOW to make sure NEXT Christmas goes more like the way you would like it to.

Easily Work Out What Went Wrong For You

Holiday depression and post holiday depression are very common, especially during and after Christmas. There can be many triggers; loneliness, family rows, the time of the year (the cold and dark), feelings of alienation from what is going on, etc. If you feel depressed – whether post Christmas or just generally depressed – please seek medical advice. There are many ways these days of helping people with depression and you shouldn’t just get told to “pull yourself together”! Please seek help now.

Totally separate from health concerns, there are many common themes to post-Christmas upsets, rows and annoyance over what did or did not happen. While it may not be possible to change what has happened, it is certainly possible to start planning now, so that next Christmas will be better. Ignoring it means setting yourself up for a repeat of what you did not enjoy this time round. If you want next Christmas to be better, start planning now, to ensure a better Christmas for you and your family and friends.


Overspending at Christmas is a common complaint AFTER the event. If you have overspent, then you need to get your finances back into good order and THEN start planning for next Chrsitmas

Not enough Money

The old saying is that “you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”, that is, you must make do with what you have. That’s old advice but still sound. When our finances dipped, I told my kids NOT to buy me a Christmas present, after all, I actually had everything I needed and I definitely didn’t need something to clutter me up further! I also told them that I would spend less on them at Christmas, to account for getting no present from them 🙂 and also told them I would spend more on them on their birthday, which helped spread the financial load. I also told them that there was a financial limit and that they could have their present in cash if they preferred. They did! I also set a limit on what I would spend on the grandchildren, so they all had the same.

Planning Disaster

There are lots of areas that can be planned and prepared well ahead of time and with a good calendar and perhaps a journal or diary, it’s possible to have a stress free Christmas if you want it, with no planning disasters. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee no natural disasters but you cannot do much about those.

Not Ready In Time

Christmas comes on the same day each year – surprise, surprise, so a countdown can help get everything planned and managed in good time.

Home looks Like Disaster Zone

After Christmas, it can take some time to take down the decorations and the house may look bare without the tree and the lights but a bit done each day soon gets it completed. Packing everything away carefully will make next Christmas a lot easier.

Family and friend Rows

Unfortunately, holidays at all times can be marred by family rows, especially if fuelled with alcohol. If you find Christmas spoilt for you EVERY year, maybe it is time to consider NOT inviting the offending family member?

Important Revealed Here – How To Have An Awesome NEXT Christmas

Next Christmas starts here. I will be sharing storage, clearing and planning tips with you to help make next Christmas even better.

Christmas Presents


Getting A Christmas Gift

It sometimes seems that Christmas is all about getting, instead of giving, with children (and some adults) appearing to be totally consumed with the Christmas presents they are going to get from Santa this year.

Yet Christmas is supposed to be the season of giving, with a feeling of peace coming from providing someone else with something they have longed for, or could not afford or just plain needed!

Even giving can have its difficulties. I remember one friend telling me many years ago that the first Christmas after he was married, he and his new wife gave expensive presents to all their relatives, only to get embarrassed mumbles from the relatives and small token gifts in return. The following Christmas, of course, it was reversed, they gave token presents, each receiving a munificent Christmas gift back. It took a while before the ritual of giving and receiving among adults in that new, extended family settled down, so that there was some kind of equality in what was given and what was received.

One elderly relative will only ever give gifts, not money unless she cannot get out of it because she buys the gifts on special offer long before Christmas and puts them away, so that she can be seen to be giving something that looks more expensive than it actually was. Her other reason is that she believes children should have only toys for Christmas, she thinks that giving the parents money would mean them buying clothes instead! I think that is a left-over from her own childhood, over 70 years ago, when her parents were very poor and could not afford many toys.

Another friend starts her Christmas preparations and planning in January, buying items well ahead of time, so that she does not have a large expenditure around Christmas time. This of course is helpful – not having to still be paying in August for Christmas toys that may already have been consigned to the trash collection!

Christmas Present or Presents For Childrenbike07

I once asked this friend how she knew what her children would want the following Christmas and she said that the items she bought were what she termed “stocking fillers”, those small gifts that can add up in cost and are used to fill out a child’s stocking or Christmas sack to give them the pleasure of opening many presents. She felt that for many children, the pleasure came from opening many gifts, rather than just one big gift. She also bought clothes in a larger size, wrapping paper, gift tags and cards that shops were selling on offer in the January sales.

This is a totally different attitude from others who prefer to spend their budget on a single large item that a child can enjoy for Christmas and a long while after, such as a bicycle or an electronic gadget, maybe a computer or a music player.

Secret Santa

business06Buying presents for other adults can be difficult and it can be expensive unless you KNOW what they want. This is where Secret Santa comes in. In many offices, the Christmas season not only brings decorations, Christmas music on the music players and carols in the bandstand in the city center, it also brings those agonizing decisions over what to buy office colleagues. Secret Santa gifts are a useful way of ensuring people spend roughly the same amount on each other and as they are opened in public, there shouldn’t be any embarrassing items you can’t take home to your partner, of course, there are some highly funny and embarrassing items out there that you CAN use as Secret Santa items! Never heard of Secret Santa? Everyone in the office writes their own name on a slip of paper and one person collects these in a tin or cup. Then everyone removes a slip from the tin. It should contain someone else’s name and that is the person you buy a single Christmas present for. There is usually a monetary limit on what can be spent, maybe $10 or even less and a lot of the fun is finding something unusual within that limit and wrapping it so no one can guess what is inside until it is opened. All the gifts are stacked in one place (with the person’s name on the outside) and “Santa” distributes them at the office party.

I know one large family that uses the Secret Santa technique among the adult brothers and sisters. Again, their names go into a hat and each person draws out a name to buy for. They also decide on a budget limit. Each person gets one good gift and family members are not left feeling out of pocket by trying to buy for every single other adult sibling.


Of course, you (almost) cannot go wrong by giving money. Everyone likes it. It means that several gifts of money can be put together so the person can get a larger item if they want. I also believe that by giving money to parents with very little of their own, while the children may not get as many presents, they may get food or heating or clothing that is just as important as a toy. Don’t get me wrong, I like children to get presents as much as anyone else. I also remember being given wellington boots as a birthday present (they were needed) and underwear for a Christmas present (WHAT!!!) neither of which I appreciated at the time but I would have appreciated hunger or cold even less.

Possible Christmas Gifts

Of course, these can only be suggestions  for those who are desperate to find something unexpected for someone but have no idea what to give.

Radio Controlled Vehicle

These are great fun for children and adults alike. Most males (and not a few females) from the age of 3 years up to 43 years (and older) get great fun from playing with a radio controlled car or helicopter or plane. Cars or ground running vehicles are better for young children, with less likelihood of a damaging crash before they have really got playing with it. I know one adult who never got flying his new plane because an “expert” insisted on showing him how to use it and crashing it before he got a go! There are radio controlled cars suitable for young children who can learn good mastery of fine control by playing with them. Adults may like a racing car model (these can get quite expensive) but will need a large area of flat ground available for running them. Some areas have tracks where children and adults can run their cars over a miniature racing track at the weekend. If you have one of these near you, there will always be plenty of expert advice available on models, running and maintenance. The radio controlled helicopters and planes need plenty of room outside for flying and if you have a big model, you may need to check out any local laws about height and aerodromes. Of course, the latest versions of these are called drones, taking aerial photographs and videos and there are many enthusiasts involved in this.

Flowers, Perfume, Chocolate, Biscuits, Scarf, Books and Gift Tokens

These are good stand-by presents to have available, ready-wrapped under the tree in case of unexpected visitors or if you just do not know what to give someone. I only get those items that I can unwrap and use after Christmas if no one gets them! If you are likely to get young children visiting, a coloring book and pencils or crayons is a useful stand by, even if they are getting a separate present. I used to keep craft items available to keep children amused while dinner was being prepared.

Children’s Traditional Toys

Children still love teddies, teddy bears, a soft toy, balls, books, humming tops, board games, toy trains, a doll perhaps with a dolls’ pram, dolls’ houses and bikes or trikes as much as they ever did. Some of the newer traditional toys include Lego, Meccano and other construction toys, all of which can have age appropriate versions.


Easy Steps to Christmas Preparation 1 and 2

Easy Preparation Steps 1 and 2

Yes, I know it’s a long way to Christmas (well not that long actually) but if you don’t want to rush on Christmas Eve and find the turkey is still frozen, the spare bed isn’t ready for your granny, you haven’t sent the Christmas Cards and the tree hasn’t even been bought, let alone decorated, then NOW is the time to start to get ready for Christmas with teeny tiny steps that will add up to a great and stress free happy Christmas.

mind map for preparing for Christmass

Mind Map Preparing For Christmas

Step 1

How many people (roughly) are you expecting in your house on Christmas Day? Will you be feeding them all? Write down this number, even if you think it will change a bit between now and Christmas. Some years, I might have 20 sit down visitors, others only 5, so, for your Christmas Dinner preparation, it’s important to have a rough idea whether it’s going to be just you and the cat or half the street turning up! This will affect your seating arrangements, cutlery, dishes, glasses and of course, food. I usually have a page in a notebook to remind me of what I need to have for the various people. I have a Christmas Preparation Checklist available as a free PDF that you could print out if you like. It has some suggestions on it of things to check NOW as to whether you have enough of them for your visitors and some space to add your own necessities. You could add this in as a page to your bullet journal, to keep from year to year.

Step 2

Budget. Yes, I know that is a frightening and stress-inducing word but I will make it as easy as possible and give you LOTS of help with a Christmas Preparation list for your budget plan. It is less stressful to think about it now than to have your credit card rejected on Christmas Eve, when you’re trying to pick up the turkey and buy your loved one a special present. We all have limited budgets and some are more limited than others, so buying staple goods ahead of time and using a savings method will help spread the pain. Also, you may find some of your guests can bring a food item, such as a dessert, or cheese, or a bottle of wine and you may have a friend or relative who can LEND you dishes, glasses or cutlery or even bedding if you think to ask them ahead of time. It’s also possible to buy a few Christmas presents early and hide them away. I used to know someone who started buying their presents in the January sales but that’s a bit too early for me! Some of your gifts could be a gift card, eg for music or an Amazon gift card and these can be bought early and are easy to hide away – just make sure you remember where you put them! Some people ask for gift cards for particular stores, so they can add a number together and get a larger item they have had their eye on. Of course, money just by itself is always welcome. Children usually like a gift to unwrap and some children do not like being given money because their parents insist on buying clothes or something sensible with it. I hated that as a child but now recognise that it may be an economic necessity for some! In recent years, I have told my adult children that they will get a sum of money for themselves and a sum of money for the grandchildren. That allows the parents to choose a gift that I can get or to ask for the money to be put to a bigger item. By stating this ahead of time, they all know they are getting the same (important even with big kids!) and I know what I have to save up for. I actually give them less for Christmas and more for their birthdays, it spreads the cost for me and gives them something bigger at another time. There is always so much at Christmas.

Helping Others

If you have a little money to spare and would be willing to help others near you who have less, you could start putting away some tinned goods or non-perishable items in a box, for families with very little. Some places have food banks that are very happy to take donations for families in need. Don’t leave it to Christmas Eve though, or they will be inundated. Some items you could include might be tinned ham, tinned fruit, packet jelly, tinned custard, beans, pasta, rice, and maybe some sweets / candy or biscuits / cookies. You could also include gloves, slippers or socks, Christmas decorations, scented soaps, toothpaste and toothbrushes (don’t store these near the candy or cookies). A few items at a time stocked away can make a good donation box with very little effort or expense to you.

What Has to be Considered?

I find that drawing out a mind map is always helpful when I have to start thinking about a big event. A mind map has a central focus. For this one it is “Christmas Preparation” and then it has branches off it, with all the areas I need to think about. On this mind map, the areas I have added are “How Many”, “Budget”, “Accommodation”, “Cards”, “Entertainment, “Decorations”, “Presents”, “Food” and “clothing”. I keep the mind map, as it is easy to add anything extra I think of.

Why not draw out your own mind map for YOUR preferred Christmas? You could include it in your bullet journal  or keep it for next year as a reminder of what you planned well for and what else you wish you had included.

Have you printed out your Christmas Preparation Checklists yet, Or Will You End Up As This Procrastination Means Theme?

Checklist for catering for numbers

How Many To Cater For?

Budget plan for Christmas

Budget For Christmas