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I know, I know, Christmas is still months away. Heck, the stores just started putting out Halloween decorations. Why would it be time to start Christmas shopping now?
Well, that’s a great question, and there are many reasons why. First, let’s delve into the debt that people tend to go into because of the holidays.
How Much Does the Average Family Spend?
Well, turns out, the average family spends about $1000 on winter holiday spending. That’s not really chump change. Heck, that’s a lot of money, especially when you consider that most households in the United States are living paycheck to paycheck, and a small expense can really set them back. A thousand dollars though? Well, that’s a lot more than just a little expense, we’re talking a full month of rent in a lot of places. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have that kind of money just laying around.
Now, you may be thinking, there is no way I spend anywhere close to that! But, have you actually taken the time to add up all your Christmas-related expenses? Here are a majority of the things most people are spending their money on;
- Gifts (Yeah, I know I went with the obvious one first), but there are often more people you buy for than you think about.
- your children
- your significant other
- your parents
- your siblings
- nieces and nephews
- your friends
- coworkers (a lot of offices and workplaces do a secret Santa type gift exchange every year)
- bus drivers
- grandparents or grandchildren
- Christmas Dinner (or in many cases, dinners, which can mean a lot of turkeys or hams.)
- one with each side of the family
- Christmas Day with your immediate family
- Christmas dinner with your friends
- Maybe you get a live Christmas tree every year
- those new decorations for your chosen theme
- replacing the items that get wear and tear
- The decorations for the outside of your house
- Christmas Baking Supplies
- Candy and gingerbread houses
- Cookie exchanges
- Treats for whenever friends or family come over.
While it’s obvious not everyone will have all of these expenses, a lot of people will have at least half. Needless to say though, it all adds up. Here’s how to create a Christmas budget and stick to it.
Why should I start Christmas shopping now?
That is a very good question! With all the things you’re going to have to buy, if you start prepping now, you’ll have a bit more time to start putting things away and spread out your expenses so it’s not all one lump sum that goes straight on the credit card in a panic the two weeks leading up to the big day. It gives you time to create a sinking fund, and boy can that ever make a difference.
Not only that, but when you start planning ahead, it gives time for you to get creative and make things. I personally LOVE receiving homemade gifts, and further down, I’ve got a list of ideas of things you can make. I will say now though, that when you make something, you’re putting your time and effort and energy into it, and I personally find that it really shows you care. I won’t say homemade gifts are always free to make, but they’re often less of a strain on the old purse strings.
You don’t have to get EVERYTHING done right now to the point that you are sick of Christmas by the time December rolls around. Just start making a plan and putting some simple things aside and you will find that life is much easier come holiday time.
Supply chain issues
This year, we’re going to be facing supply chain issues. The shelves are already bare in many stores and things are only going to get worse. Truckers are slowing down. Cargo ships are stuck off the coast of California. A major shipping port closed in China due to Covid. We discuss the supply chain issue in-depth on our sister site, The Organic Prepper.
Particularly if there is a must-get on your list, you should begin looking for it right away.
What can I start doing now?
Not only can you start putting back money for the holidays now, but you can also start making some homemade gifts. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love a gift that someone puts their time and effort into making for me. It just feels so much more special. Here are some ideas of thing you can be making.
- Hand Knit or Crocheted items – Depending on how big you want the gift, you can easily make things like scarves, blankets, hats, dishcloths, pot holders, stuffies, clothing (like shawls). The possibilities and patterns are endless. And, if you’re not sure how to do it, YouTube is filled with video tutorials.
- Paintings or Drawings – Love to paint? This is one I do often for my friends and family. I will make paintings that are inspired by the person. Pro tip – I usually do paintings on canvases, because then you don’t need to worry as much about framing it, they can hang on the wall nicely as is.
- Carve or Build Something – If you’re great at woodworking, try making something. Could be a hand-carved toy, a small piece of furniture (one year, when we were both kids, my grandfather built my sister a window seat for Christmas, over 10 years later and she still uses it). Here is a list of tons of great ideas.
- Soaps and Sugar Scrubs
- Candles – Try these DIY Tea Cup candles. There are tons of teacups to be found at thrift stores and yard sales.
- Personalize Products with Family Photos – Vistaprint has a wide array of gifts that you can print, everything from mugs, to photo calendars, blankets, and everything in between. Plus, the mail to both Canada and the USA.
- Crafts with Mason Jars – There are some pretty cool things you can make, and this site has a million different fun ideas.
- Baked Goods – Cookies, pies, baked goods. Heck, one year I even made a lasagna as Christmas gifts!
- Canned Goods – think jams, jellies, sauces, all that fun stuff.
When do you start Christmas shopping?
There are so many reasons why we need to start Christmas shopping and ways to make it cheaper. When do you start your shopping? What are some frugal homemade gifts you make? Grab some cocoa and let’s talk Christmas in the comments.