• Judith Newton

Only 12 Weeks Til Christmas - Start Planning Now!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but as of today (2/10/19) there are exactly 12 weeks to go until Christmas Day! Hey, don't run away - it's best to know right? That way you can start planning now to make your Christmas Day a relaxed one, no ugly credit card debt in sight, just friends, family, and good cheer. Ready?

First let's think about one of the biggest Christmas expenses, buying gifts. Do you really need to buy for so many people? Ever wondered about what really happens to those gifts after everyone goes home on Christmas night? Sure some people will love what you got them, others will throw them in the bottom drawer of their cupboard and forget they're there, some will put them in the charity bin, and be careful with this one, some will give them to another person - hopefully you don't get your gift back for your birthday! So why all the fuss about gift giving? Well, according to Christian tradition, we give gifts because the wise men gave gifts to celebrate the birth of Jesus. A nice thing to do but I bet those wise men only gave what they could afford and that's something that we need to do too!

In our family, we do a Secret Santa for all the adults with a limit of $60 per gift. When we get together at Christmas, we open each present one by one and really appreciate the thought (and humour) that went into the gift. We also do this for birthdays too, so the person you buy a gift for Christmas is also the person you buy a gift for their birthdays. We also do this with our close circle of friends but this time with a $10 limit and it has to be purchased from a charity shop. You could also try using Secret Santas if there are a lot of children to buy for in your family. While in the beginning there may be some disappointment because there aren't lots of gifts under the tree, but it could be the perfect opportunity to teach kids about not living beyond their means and to appreciate the little things in life. It's not always about stuff! An easy way to organise a Secret Santa is to use an online generate like the one found at this website - https://www.drawnames.com.au/secret-santa-generator. Give it a go, you'll save lots of money only buying one gift for the family and have a lot of fun also. If you have a lot of friends to buy for, why not suggest that instead of swapping gifts that you meet for a coffee, a lunch, or a picnic and give each other the gift of time.

Well with 12 weeks to go we're going to need to do a little planning. So get yourself a calendar, you know the one with squares big enough to write in. If you haven't got one, have a look at this link and you can download one for free. https://www.calendarlabs.com/2019-calendar-templates. Now over the next week have a think about these things...

1. What major activities do you have coming up over the next 3 months? Activities like end-of-year school break-up parties, office Christmas parties, neighbourhood Christmas get-togethers. Now mark them into your calendar and highlight them so that you can easily see what you're doing.

2. Work out with your family and friends who will be hosting Christmas Day. Once that's settled, you can start looking at Christmas Day menus and dividing up the chores and expenses.

3. If you need to travel to visit family at Christmas then keep a look out to find some discount travel. A great site for low airfares is https://iknowthepilot.com.au/. Sign up for their newsletter to keep up to date with the best airfare deals around.

4. Work out how much money you can afford to spend on Christmas without blowing your budget. Be realistic and don't worry, over the next 3 months we'll look at making it a great Christmas regardless of how much you have available to spend.

5. Start working on your Christmas Card list. Decide whether you'll be sending cards in the post, online, or both. If online, have a look around for Christmas Card templates or have fun making an animated music one using your face and the faces of your friends at www.jibjab.com. The How-to Geek has written a blog on the best ecards around, have a look at https://www.howtogeek.com/395363/the-best-websites-for-sending-free-ecards/

6. Talk to your family and friends about implementing the Secret Santa idea.

7. Start planning your gift list and the amount you are going to spend on each gift. Seriously, start shopping now as there's a lot of sales on at the moment and you could well pick up a great bargain. Remember too that there's the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales coming up too - I snapped up some amazing bargains last year!

Well, that's enough to think about for this week. Join me next week when we start to make Christmas plans and put them into action. Christmas?!?! Don't panic, bring it on! To keep up to date please subscribe to my newsletter at anethicallife.com.au and follow me on Facebook (@ethicallifeau) and Instagram (ethical_life_au).

Til next time

Judith x

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