There is so much stress around the festive period. And I really felt it this year. Maybe it was the pressure of ‘playing Santa’ for a toddler, but I’m exhausted. And gift buying adds another layer of stress to the situation.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s magical and fun. It was the first year our little one realised how magical Santa is. But there is also a downside to the effort that goes into creating the magic.
Here are some of the harsh lessons I’ve learned. And I aim to put them into practice next year when gift buying
Spend less on a toddler
Since my little one was a baby, we’ve purchased second-hand gifts for her. I have no issue with doing this. Despite trying to lower costs, we still spend a significant amount of money. And she does receive some new presents.
She gets a wealth of amazing gifts from other family members and for this reason, we spent a lot less on her this year. And still had the same magical Christmas morning and lots of playtimes afterwards.
THE LESSON – spend less, toddlers will never know the difference. Toys are toys. The amount of them doesn’t matter at all. Toddlers just want love and playtime with those closest to them.
Plan, and keep planning
This year I set up a spreadsheet to monitor the smaller gifts I bought for loved ones. It kept me accountable and ensured I didn’t overspend.
THE LESSON – stick to the plan and the budget. Keep checking in to see what you have purchased and question whether you need to purchase more gifts.
Buy meaningful gifts
It’s great to actually spend some time thinking about what would be helpful for someone. Instead of last-minute decisions and gifts they might not even like.
We spent Christmas with the whole family this year and therefore did the present opening routine with more people than usual. I felt proud I’d really thought about each gift and bought something people would like.
LESSON – if you’re unsure whether someone would use the gift, don’t purchase it.
Find a cost-effective alternative
It’s so much fun to find new items and cost-effective ways to give presents. This year, I opted for the hamper option. I bought smaller gifts and added them to the basket for each person. It worked well for the females in our family, who love self-care gifts.
LESSON – be creative in your packaging and ideas. Spend & give less, but make it look beautiful
Make something to give
I probably wouldn’t give something I made as a main gift, but it’s a creative addition. It shows you’ve spent time and effort thinking about that person.
Each of our loved ones got pictures that my little one made. Handprints in paint and keepsakes they will treasure forever.
LESSON – step outside your comfort zone. Create something for a loved one, that they can treasure forever
Ask what people would want as a gift
Some people think Christmas gift-giving should be a magical surprise.
For anyone who was difficult to buy for, I simply asked what they wanted. Someone said money, towards a bigger purchase. I was then safe in the knowledge that this was exactly what someone wanted.