Ahh! – The joy of giving, the joy of receiving and the pain of the credit card you have to pay off in a month’s time.
Everyone likes to receive a little present now and then but does it really have to break the bank every time we give? Does it really matter if the gift isn’t as new as it could be or that it might not be from the latest range?
When it comes to what the word present actually means, it’s time to re-think the joy of giving and get back to basics.
1. Buy second-hand toys and computer games
Simply clean them up and wrap them up in a different box. If the original packaging or instructions aren’t included, look on the internet and print them out. If your kids demand new stuff all the time, it’s down to you to remind them that once they open the box, the item’s no longer new.
2. Set a spending limit
Decide on a present spending limit for all presents given between adults or better still, make a declaration that you all are going to give a specified amount to charity instead. It’s amazing how inventive people become when budget is limited and it also adds to the fun of giving and receiving. Whether you give just a little or you give a lot, remember that charity helps someone.
3. Make presents instead
Try knitting something or painting a picture for someone and see how pleased they will be with their handmade present. Okay, it might be an odd shape or not as good as Monet but be sure that the recipient will treasure the gift more than you think.
4. Swap last year’s unwanted presents
Everyone has presents they don’t particularly like and swapping them for someone else’s gift may redress that problem.
5. Get baking
Make some delicious cupcakes or even a small fruit cake and customise with some inventive decorative ideas. People love these as more thought and effort has gone into the present and they cost very little to create.
6. Grow and give
Buy some cheap terracotta pots, some potting compost and a packet of seeds. Everyone likes a plant or a flower and if you’ve grown it yourself especially, the present has much more of an impact as growing something from scratch takes time.
7. Shop in advance at sales
Always have a look at shops with sale items in. If you have a birthday coming up in the near future you may just find the perfect present at a fraction of the price. Also, buying a present now to give to somebody later means you’re fully prepared when their birthday comes and prevents you having to rush round at the last minute.
8. Consider buying music marked as ‘used’
If you are thinking of buying a CD as a present for someone, buy a ‘used’ CD instead from a website like Amazon. You’ll find that you can sometimes save up to 70% on the price. Items re-sold this way are generally in very good condition and the only thing different from buying a brand new version of the same thing is the plastic film (the annoying bit!) – Quite a difference in cost!