Think and shop smart this Christmas!

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It is that time of year when (most) people spend like it is going out of fashion.  High street stores are bustling with people looking for gifts. Supermarket trolleys are absolutely brimming with food and drinks. There is only one or two days of store closure – at present only Boxing Day comes to mind. Why is it that people stock up as if they will have no access to any shops for two weeks? I really want to know!

Gift buying can work out expensive even if you decide to focus on immediate family only or those you will see on Christmas Day. If you would rather avoid buying 10 to 15 gifts whether for financial reasons or lack of time to shop, why not suggest doing a Secret Santa.  For the purpose of those of you who may not know, you pick out the name of one person, usually from a hat and you buy a gift for this person. It may be viewed as unfair for children to buy gifts therefore some adults will need to double up on buying gifts.  Do not forget to agree on a spending limit!

The Christmas day meal requires a lot of preparation so why not call on each guest to help? The host does not necessarily have to do everything. After writing a list which I am sure will be as long as your arm, ask adults to bring a savoury or sweet dish, drinks, snacks – whatever is required.  Be specific about how many heads you would like them to cater for – never assume they will know. After dinner you may feel tempted to slum it in front of the television. Games and quizzes always go down well. Charades is a popular game amongst my family members.  It is hilarious to see others acting out a film, drama or book and it has brought us much laughter over the years.

Last but certainly not least, giving goes a long way at this time of year. We can all do at least one thing to help another. It does not need to involve you parting with cash, perhaps a few hours of your time. Every year, members of my church meet to pack and distribute food hampers to people in the local area. Church members are required to donate towards the cost of the hampers. The contents include food items for a full Christmas meal and dessert for 4-6 people.

You could consider:

1. Volunteering to work at your local food bank
2. Buying a gift for a child who will not receive many presents this year
3. Making up a hamper for a family who are facing financial challenges – including nice foods
4. Visiting a neighbour/friend who lives alone or invite them to your home even if for mince pies and cake.

What are your plans this Christmas?
Does it involve people outside of your extended family?
Is there anything different you will do this year compared to previous years?
 

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20 thoughts on “Think and shop smart this Christmas!”

  1. Wonderful ideas for decreasing the stress that can come with the holidays. I’m fortunate that my family and friends are all low key about gifts–we tend more toward time together over snacks or meals than giving big gifts. In fact, one cousin and I try to see how little we can spend on something that will delight the other–hence we often shop at the dollar stores!

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  2. I like the idea of making a basket of food for someone who is struggling. We have a lot of food banks that host free holiday dinners. But those are usually attended by the homeless. And we often forget the families who have homes, but struggle to put a fancy meal on the table. It would be nice for them to be able to celebrate at home with their family.

    I come from a small family so I never celebrated big holidays. I’m not Christian but I always spend Christmas with friends. We have a nice potluck style meal and we don’t exchange gifts. I never got gift giving other than for kids. and maybe your parents. Other than that, I think there are better ways to let someone know you care.

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  3. It is this time of year, that people do think about helping others, Which is good and bad, the good is obvious, the bad is why does it have to be only this time of year.
    My favorite Christmas carol is “Good King Wenceslas” only for the final line:
    Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,
    Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing.

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    1. We can and should bless others all year round. People go hungry and are looking lonely throughout the year. Something strikes a chord with people around Christmas and they are more willing to give of themselves.

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  4. Hello Phoenicia,

    Christmas I have spent out. having vacations this year though I will be here back home so will most probably I would be visiting friends place.

    Your suggestions are good, this way everyone gets to get involved in the celebrations and it can be fun too.

    Thanks dear for sharing!

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  5. Thoughtful suggestions Phoenicia! Since I’m still settling into my new home I plan on a quiet Christmas here to rest and write.

    Regarding your question about stocking up on supplies. I can’t speak for others, but I can tell you why I’ve stocked up. First, because I hate crowds and the closer we get to Christmas the more crowded the stores become. Second, we’ve had two winter storm alerts just in the past week, and I would rather have supplies on hand and not have to deal with going out in the rain/sleet and snow.

    There is another reason some may stock up, and that is because it’s that time of year when unexpected visitors pop in and nobody wants to be caught off guard. Hope that helps. 🙂

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    1. I understand your reasons. I too do not like crowds at the best of times. My local supermarkets are already brimming with shoppers. This weekend, I plan to go out first thing and I mean first thing as in the doors are just opening.

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  6. Thank you for the last part of the post. No celebration is complete unless we include the less fortunate people in the list.
    Please spread the message to help the people with financial constraints enjoy the festival too…

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  7. Hello Phoenicia. I always try and include singles, or those who might not be included elsewhere. At least offering them an invitation will make them feel better, whether or not they accept. I like the idea of charades! We haven’t played that in years, but if is indeed fun, and gets people all focused on the same thing.

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    1. Doreen – how thoughtful of you. I totally agree that an invitation will be well received whether the person accepts it or not. People need to know they are loved and remembered at this time of year.

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