Reducing the overwhelm at Christmas

The build up to Christmas is supposed to be an exciting time of year – and for the most part, it is. However there are many pressures at this time of year too. What to buy for everyone? How much can you afford? Is someone going to buy you an unexpected gift and you’ll need to panic buy one in return? Really, what do I buy for everyone?? How do I reduce the overwhelm at Christmas?

It’s a time when consumerism goes crazy. Buying the ‘stuff’ gets out of control. Maybe we need to stop and really think whether this is all necessary. 50% of adults admit to being bought a gift they didn’t want or need. Imagine how much money was spent on all those gifts, on something panic bought, that will then just sit in your drawer?

Reducing the Crazy Consumerism

Have the conversations with adults and agree who is buying for who – if at all. Do you actually need to buy gifts for each other? If the answer is yes, can you all introduce a Secret Santa? Pick 1 adult to buy for, instead of all the grown up family members, or office colleagues, or closest friends. Then set a realistic budget which helps to reduce the pressure even further.

Reduce your Spend

Buying less ‘stuff’ and more experiences means you’re removing the chance your gift will end up in landfill. You’re also giving someone the gift of a memory too. We’ve missed out on so much over the last few years, so a voucher for a fun day out will be so much more appreciated. If experiences aren’t within budget, create your own ‘vouchers’ – where you gift your time to someone. This could be the offer to babysit, the promise of a lunch, or coffee and cake with someone you don’t see enough of – anything that will really mean something to the recipient.

Reduce your Waste

Where to start?? I’ve talked about just buying less, which reduces the amount of packaging and wrapping as well as saving you money. Just think about how full your bins have been over the years. The amount we all throw away each year is frightening. We know there’s actually no ‘away’ – this just means it ends up in landfill, or at best at a recycling plant to be processed and reused.

Let’s also think about the amount you spend on food. This is another area we tend to get carried away with so could save you money buy just buying less. What if we run out of food??! Remember, the shops are closed for 1 day. Again, it’s worth thinking about previous years. How much food did you genuinely use last Christmas? No-one actually feels better for overeating do they? Throwing away food is the absolute last thing we should be doing, so have a plan for what you can do with any leftovers. Can you make a soup, find a recipe for bubble and squeak or throw everything in a frying pan with some whisked egg and make a frittata or omelette?

New year sales

Sales are so tempting aren’t they? All those bargains to be had. However, you’re not saving yourself money if you’re buying something you don’t need. Instead, think about what reusable items are on offer. Can you find material, like sari offcuts to use instead of wrapping paper for the following Christmas? (there’s a Japanese art called Furoshiki which will give you some great ideas) Maybe a good quality insulated drinks bottle for your coffee or water, so you can avoid buying plastic bottles or takeaways while you’re out and about? These are more of an investment that will save you money over time. Ultimately, buying less, is one of the most eco-friendly things you can do.