Christmas is a great opportunity to celebrate festivities with our family and friends, but it can also be the time of the year when we tend to overspend and buy unnecessarily.
Gift giving and decorating the house with festive ornaments can be rewarding, and I'm sure most of us will admit to indulging in finer foods over the holidays, but with a few simple actions, Christmas need not cost the earth.
Here are 5 ways to spend wisely this Christmas, ranging from buying recycling products, shopping for handmade goods, making and baking, which prove to be easier on the wallet, and the environment.
1. Second-hand Christmas Decorations
Decorating a tree is associated with the celebration of Christmas, and has been a tradition for decades.
The first place most of us go to buy Christmas decorations for our trees and houses would be high street retail stores. However, there there literally thousands of unwanted decorations that have been donated to op shops around the country. In my local Salvos store, not only can I find hundreds of tree baubles all organised by colour, but also a small selection of Christmas trees for sale, wreaths, tinsel, lights and more.
In our digital age, when most of our correspondence is done electronically, one questions whether it is worthwhile buying greetings cards to send for Christmas? Not only are greeting cards expensive to buy and post, but the likelihood is they'll also be thrown out once the festive season ends.
Perhaps putting together a personal email to your loved ones, adding family photographs and stories over the past year might be more beneficial than a card that might end up in landfill anyway?
It is easy to get carried away in a case of eyes bigger than bellies when it comes to food at Christmas time. A way to reduce cost and food waste would be to avoid buying too much packaged food, instead planning meals, baking and cooking from scratch, I f time permits. Not only is home cooked food better for us, but baked treats also make great gifts. Nothing better than tasty home-baked gingerbread!
A far better way to give gifts this Christmas, would be to buy a thoughtful gift with lower environmental impact. Gifts such as vouchers for experiences, restaurants, cinema tickets, or perhaps charity gifts make memorable presents, and are less likely to end up stashed away at the back of a cupboard!
Again, if you are the crafty type, there is nothing better than a handmade gift for Christmas, but if you are not, then handmade markets and school fete's are filled with unique gifts, which also support local artisans and small businesses.
Do you have any additional tips for spending wisely at Christmas?