There are ways to have a cheap Christmas for the kids. There are plenty of cheap Christmas gift ideas. In spite of the economy, you can have an economical Christmas.
Is The Economy Affecting Your Christmas?
The economy today has forced many families to cut back. With the holidays near, the shopping begins. There are job losses, hours cutback, increasing costs in utilities, food, clothing, essentially all of the necessities which are affecting the spending power of many families.
The holiday season is going to be hard on most families this year. But what do families do when the few dollars they have are needed to pay for food and utilities? What do they do, when they have children who are expecting gifts again this year?
Your children will understand. Unless you live in a affluent area and are the only family that has fell on hard times, most of the school friends and their families are trying to survive as well. So, that competition about gifts, may or may not be as bad as it normally is. There are ways to have a cheap Christmas for the kids. There are plenty of cheap Christmas gift ideas. In spite of the economy, you can have an economical Christmas.
Wish Lists And Communication
First of all, most children realize that the family does have financial problems, whether or not you realize it. Even the little ones, by the age of 4 hear the conversations about the lack of money, and can understand that there is not enough money to buy things with. Sit down and talk to your children. Explain what the real meaning of Christmas is to them. You also need to make them realize that this year, money is very tight, and Christmas is not going to be as big as what they are use to.
Ask the kids to make a wish list of things that they need and want. Then tell them, that you will do your best to buy at least one thing that they really want. Explain to them, that this one special gift will be their "Big Gift." The "Big Gift," with good planning, will provide a much wanted gift, while enabling you to have an economical Christmas.
The Big Gift
The big gift is the one thing that they really want. They may surprise you with a list of relatively cheap Christmas gift ideas. It could be a $10 item such as a CD, or it could be an $150 item such as a new X-box. One popular item is the new bike. This is one way for the kids to help you provide a nice but cheap Christmas.
Depending on the climate that you live in, the bike may not even be able to be used during the winter months. While explaining the money situation, again, let your child know that a bike is probably not going to be a Christmas gift. After all, they will get very little use of it until Spring comes anyway.
Remind your children that this is a temporary situation, but if you have an idea as to when things will be better. Hopefully, birthdays are not coming for another 6 months. In the meantime, remind them that there are birthdays coming, etc. Maybe, you can save the pocket change, and find other shortcuts for the cookie jar to purchase that much wanted bike for a birthday.
How To Have Lots Of Cheap Christmas Gifts For An Economical Christmas
The hot selling items will be gone as soon as they hit the shelves. The store sales do not result in good buys. Most of the time, the store will claim they are sold out of everything that is in the sale papers, even if you arrive, at opening time, the first day of the sale. This is basically a bait and switch game, hoping that shoppers will purchase another item which is more expensive than the sale item.
Purchase a big gift for each child, if you can. The other gifts can be the shoes, the clothing, a new winter coat that they need, and that you are going to buy anyway.
Another way to have an economical Christmas, while creating the illusion of a big Christmas is to wrap presents separately. In other words, if you purchase an outfit of pants, and a shirt or two, that is more than likely going to be 1 or 2 gifts because outfits are often wrapped together in one box. You can make 3 gifts, from 2 shirts, and one pair of pants, by wrapping them separately. At least this way, if Christmas is a bit skimpy, at least you can give the illusion of a big Christmas to the younger ones. Teen-agers are savvy enough to realize what you have done.
Other Economical Christmas Ideas
Maybe the family, especially one with older kids may prefer to have one gift, and then have the family go to see Ice Capades as a Christmas gift. The little ones will jump on this idea, but they are too young to realize that they are exchanging the gifts for a night at the Ice Capades. Only you will be able to calculate the cost, and determine if this is will provide a cheap Christmas.
Other ideas may be to purchase family gifts, such as games for all, rather than for one. Othe great cheap Christmas gift ideas are many of the toys of the past, the classic toys, make great gifts, and even cheap stocking stuffers.
If there is a baby, or children under four, they do not really know what Christmas is, or what a lack of money means. Toddlers like to open presents, whether it is theirs, or for another family member. The real young ones don't know how many presents that they got. You can cut back on gifts for the babies, and use the extra dollars to buy other gifts or that special big gift for the older ones.
Family Name Drawings
Often, families get together and draw names. Many feel that this relative will buy for them, so they have to buy gifts for that person or their family as well. This is not the spirit of Christmas. It is also hard on the wallet. Get together with everyone and let them know that you and your family cannot afford to draw names this year.
However, there is a way around this. Everybody is going to put up a tree. Of course, they need tree ornaments. So instead of drawing names and worrying about the cost of a nice gift, how about a christmas tree ornament exchange instead.
Of course, homemade gifts such as cookies and candy, wrapped in tissue paper, placed in a decorative tin from the dollar store make great gifts.
Save Money On Christmas Decorations
One of the expensive projects is decorating for Christmas. One way to save money, is to not buy decorations this year. Use the ones that you have. If the tree is a bit bare, then let the kids make their own ornaments. Even when you go to a Dollar Store, those dollars add up quickly. This is one way to truly be able to cut back expenses for an economical Christmas.
Save Money With Non-Traditional Christmas Dinner
One- way that you may save money this year is by having a non-traditional Christmas dinner. Often families have a turkey or ham for Christmas dinner. Surprisingly, your family may be tired of turkey and ham. After all, Thanksgiving is close to Christmas.
Ask your what they want for Christmas dinner this year. They may surprise you with ideas like Fried chicken, Pizza, hot wings, etc. Keep in mind that the traditional Christmas dinner, with all of the trimmings, costs about the same as one weeks worth of groceries, if not more.
Then, once you have a few ideas for a meal, figure out the one which is going to provide the most meals, for your family, at the best cost. Why spend $40 for a meal of hamburger, fries and salad, buns,ketchup, mustard, pickles, cheese and chips that may cost the same as a baked chicken dinner, salad and veggies which will provide 2 meals rather than the one meal you will get from the hamburgers. A non-traditional dinner can be fun, and enjoyable. It may certainly provide you with a way to have an economical Christmas.
Community Organizations For Christmas Help
One final tip is to check with various churches, and social organizations, and add the names of your kids to the Christmas gifts. Usually, these organizations start taking applications in October. Low income families may be able to get a few gifts that are donated to their children.
Unfortunately, pride has to be set aside, and many of us need to do what we can, the best we can. The earlier that you sign up, the more likely that you will be able to get assistance.
Remember, the gifts are purchased by your neighbors. Money is tight this year. These organizations rely on donations. Even they are feeling the crunch