How this stay-at-home mum stays sane and has fun one day at a time.

Tight arse with tinsel

4d349384b6a57ff74b5416284b46b1cbI don’t want to freak you out but it is 92 days until Christmas! I’m not one to get excited about Christmas early, in fact I don’t want to see a single bauble or a glimpse of Rudolph’s snoz until we are firmly in December.

However, as a tight-arse with a touch of the Grinch about me, I need to plan ahead a little when it comes to the most expensive blow-out season of the year. I’ve disliked Christmas in the past because of what it’s come to represent – stressed out people pushing their credit cards to the limit in an effort to surround a twinkling tree with big presents.

I really, truly believe that when it comes to December 25, it is the thought that counts, not how many receipts you collected from the mall. Lucky I feel this way, because Christmas is hard on one income, with two kids you want to spoil, half a million extended family members you love with all your heart and lots of extra little people who really like presents.

My mum friends and I have had “the talk”. They’re just like me – not keen on buying expensive gifts for every Tom, Dick and Gary. In our group, we’ve decided to throw a fun Christmas party for the kids and come up with a Secret Santa or Lucky Dip scenario. The kids will have a ball!

We’ve minimised spending in my own family too. A few years ago we started a Secret Santa tradition amongst my siblings and their partners. We buy one gift each every year and it makes our Christmas get together fun and random while taking the pressure off us all. I’m so glad we came to this agreement, because we were all in the same boat, splashin’ cash on presents nobody could afford.

I think it’s really worthwhile for those facing the Christmas pinch, to have a chat to your family and friends and set expectations. Who should we buy for? How much should we spend? Shall we just cut each other off and instead share a Christmas giggle over a bad cracker pun?

Christmas should be about getting together, enjoying your loved ones and having big hugs, big laughs and too much ham. This year I’m starting my Christmas list early so I can nail thoughtful gifts which tell my special people that they mean a lot to me. I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when they open their presents and have to pretend they like the socks I knitted them or my terrible attempts at mosaic art. Ha!


4 Responses to “Tight arse with tinsel”

  1. Amanda Peart

    I was just thinking about getting organised with lists yesterday, so we can buy a few wee things, esp if we see them on sale. Even though it does seem early to do that! My brothers and I started doing second hand/homemade/edible type gifts for each other a few years ago. The rule is occasionally broken if you’re too busy to do the op shops/home made route, or if you spot something new that’s perfect for someone, but it’s quite fun to think of ideas that are a bit less expensive and better for the environment. So far I’ve given pre-loved books, plants for the garden, home made food, clothes, tickets to gigs, etc. With joff’s extended family we do secret santa so we only do the one gift.

    • kellyburnie

      I love that tradition Amanda, it means people have to put in thought and effort, plus you can find some hilariously appropriate things in op shops.

  2. Meredith Street

    Yes, its so hard, especially now our kids are old enough to notice all the rampant toy advertising on TV (Arlo is the worst, I feel like he’s constantly saying “I’m going to ask Santa for that!”). We have scaled back our extended family spending, which feels a bit grinchy when they go so overboard for our kids, but realistically we can’t spend the next three months after Christmas paying back our credit cards if we go crazy. And for the kids we are letting them ask Santa for one big thing (e.g. we’re encouraging Arlo to ask for a bike, since he needs one, and Dita has asked for a nifty kids sewing machine that doesn’t need needles!) and then will put together a small sack of things which fulfills the “something I want, something I need, something to wear and something to read” adage. We are filling one of the garden beds with sand, which will be ‘our’ present to the kids, along with some new beach toys to play with in there. Its hard not to be taken in with the ‘spend, spend, spend’ mentality, but you’re right, its not about things, its about family and spending quality time together!

    • kellyburnie

      You’re right, it’s really hard when people splash out, but then everyone has to realise that you’re all in different situations financially. Hell, if I had the money I’d be splashing on everyone I know, love buying presents so much. Great gift ideas. I like the adage you shared too, that’s cool!


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