Happy New Year!
Although I thought a whole 7 days off at Christmas would provide me with an abundance of time to achieve everything, especially my chest of drawers conversion to shabby chic lavender drawers, I was, it seems totally deluded. I am afraid that a brief encounter with a sanding sheet is about the extent of this craft project at the moment but as soon as I make more progress the photos WILL be blogged…
Instead the 7 days allowed me to enjoy time with the kids FLOLLOPING into oblivion, usually in front of good movies with a glass of wine in hand. Time is a precious thing and being a busy working Mum any time that I can spend intertwined on the sofa with my 3 hobbits, without being distracted or needing to rush away and ‘just do something’ is infrequent.
Our Christmas did come in around budget, we enjoyed a Christmas within our means and due to some careful choices and some damn luck, our Christmas for 4 including presents, drinks and food came in at $217.25…..and we really did have a LOVELY holiday.
My eldest hobbit so wanted this Zen Healing Garden- I obliged at $9.99 from Bridgewater Pharmasave. I want one!
How did I have such a frugal Christmas without the kids hating me forever?
First of all my kids are older, they understand, they empathize and they supported my decision- I can’t tell you how proud I am of them but here is how I did it and a breakdown of my costs..
a) Planning ahead. Small less-perishable food items for cooking such as raisins, sultanas, sugar, flour and snacks like peanuts can be purchased months in advance. Buy small amounts out of your normal grocery allowance every week. Your very own Christmas hamper soon builds up and you have spent no extra money. $000
b) Budget for gift purchases. Sit down, see what you can comfortably afford and establish a budget for Christmas gifts way in advance of the date. With my kids, who are older (12, 16 and 20), they were told that they could select some items up to the value of $50 each and I would do my best to get them. In the end they picked one or two items and requested the remainder in cash and fun cheapy gifts. $150
c) Recycle wrapping paper and cards. I used old cards for gift tags & tree decorations, used up some wrapping paper left over from last year and used some nice wrappings/tissue I had been saving. I did splash out, in a moment of weakness, on some bows from the dollar store just because I wanted to have some fun on the kids presents. $ 1.25
d) Christmas drinks. I had already purchased soft drinks from my normal grocery budget but that would not run to Christmas drinks so I had to use ingenuity. In the end I swopped a Sirius Satellite Radio (which I had won at a Christmas party in 2008 and hadn’t unwrapped) for two bottles of Yellow Tail Chardonnay. In addition I purchased a whole bottle of Glenfiddich Single Malt for $3.95 (before you rush to NSLC it was a miniature one!) and a bottle of sparkling wine. $17.00
e) Indulgent food. So I had purchased the majority of Christmas goodies within my weekly grocery allowance over a period of time however there were a few items I hadn’t bought as it is impossible to keep chocolate safe in my house especially if they come in a box with cellophane on. $16.00
f) Other gifts family. This year I only purchased one item for family abroad and I ordered my modest gift online in the UK and had it delivered with special wrapping and a card. It was cheaper than posting it from Canada. $16
g) Other gifts friends. This is where I saved LOTS of money! I made all my work colleagues and friends gifts this year. About 25 gifts in all. I purchased cinnamon, a jar of applesauce, two rolls of cellophane and used some ribbon and confetti I already had in the house. $7
h) Christmas decorations. Just made do, made some paper snowflakes, used some of the leftover Cinnamon and Applesauce decorations and didn’t worry when the lights stopped working on the Christmas tree $0.00
i) Extras. I purchased a small pack of Christmas cards and a few extras I needed at the last moment! $10.00
j) Damn luck! And I was so lucky too. My giant ham was a free gift from my employer Lighthouse Media Group, my Christmas tree was a free gift from my eldest hobbits boyfriend and then just a few weeks before Christmas I had an e-mail from a farming friend who wanted to share some of their overstocked freezer and due to this kindness we served a lovely free range 10 lb chicken for our Christmas dinner- the best I had ever tasted.
Total cost of our Christmas $217.25
Happiness = Priceless….