Keeping the Cost of Christmas Down

keeping-the-cost-of-christmas-downIt’s near the end of the autumn term which means two things: one, it is nearly Christmas and two, you are probably running out of money. So how are you to pay for Christmas this year?

How do you afford to buy gifts for the same family that has been loaning you money for the past few months? How do you give a meaningful gift to the new set of best friends you have made and still have money to buy presents for the friends back home?

Here are some tips for a thrifty and yet meaningful set of gifts:

  1. Go DIY:  whether you are creative and practical or not, you can turn your hand to making some gifts this Christmas. The creative among you could make some jewellery, create a picture montage or make decorative candles. Those of you not so blessed in the creative side could turn to cooking – homemade truffles at this time of year are a delightful gift.
  2. Have a meal:  one of the nicest things about Christmas is the sociability of it all. Why not suggest to friends that, rather than all buying an expensive present for each other, you could all club together and buy the ingredients for a banquet. Designate some people to do the cooking, others to do the drinks and a third group to organise the music and decorations. You’re all involved and the cost is spread among you.
  3. Organise a Secret Santa: again, rather than everyone buying a present for everyone, which gets very expensive, invite your friends to do a Secret Santa. Everyone pulls a name from a hat and that is who they have to buy a gift for. Set a limit on expenditure and see who among your friends is the most imaginative in the gift-buying department.
  4. Buy a gift that costs more in thought than money: sounds like a simple idea but this one takes a little thinking about. Consider what your friends really like and then create a cheap but thoughtful present around that idea. For example, if you have friends who like to pamper themselves, make them a package of candles and bath oils. If you have a friend who hates the cold, buy a sachet of hot chocolate, some marshmallows and a pair of woollen gloves. A friend who is arty may appreciate a colouring book, crayons and stickers, an aspiring gardener would enjoy a set of seed packets. This gift can be personal, cheap and a lot of fun in the creation.
  5. Visit a charity shop or jumble sale: These are great places to pick up cheap, quirky and surprisingly high-quality gifts. The items in charity shops are quality-checked and you have the added bonus of knowing the money is going to a good cause. Equally, you can always pick up bargains at supermarkets or discount shops. For example, buy bumper boxes of chocolate in a two for one deal and then make little sachets of chocolate gifts with five or six chocolates per person.

The important thing to remember is that everyone understands that money is tight for students and the thought that goes into your gift will always be appreciated by the people in your life.