You can reduce the cost of Christmas by buying thoughtful gifts that cost less. Those glossy catalogues, glittering Christmas displays, and tempting 3 for 2 deals seem to be promising the same, but do they really offer thoughtful gifts and do they help you save money? Check out these 3 ways that I buy thoughtful gifts that cost less.
1. Don’t opt for luxury for the sake of it; know who you’re buying for
It’s tempting to splash out at Christmas, but it could be just wasted money if your recipient doesn’t appreciate it.
Here’s an example. My mum loves bars of soap. That’s right, bars of soap. For years, I bought various beautiful hand made soaps with expensive ingredients and delicate scents. As someone who gets more excited about the gifts I give than receive, I always felt disappointed in my mum’s gift and thought it was because I was choosing something so dull.
That was until I stopped and really thought about it. She loves to lather her hands in soap and warm water, but she felt guilty luxuriating with expensive handmade soap. So one year, I bought a random selection of bars of soap. I included things like imperial leather, dove, simple, and various other normal soaps, and presented them as a ‘soap selection box’ using a shoe box. When she opened it, she was beaming, gently getting them all out and popping them back in again. She genuinely loved the gift, and I realised that I’d been choosing fancy, luxurious gifts that looked good, but weren’t exactly what my mum wanted.
It was the moment I realised I need to stop looking at those glossy Christmas catalogues for ideas and first think what the person would truly love. This could be a great way of buying thoughtful gifts that cost less.
2. Don’t feel you have to spend the same on everyone
Do you know the story of the monkey mother who split a banana in two and gave it to each of her two monkey children? One monkey complained that his sibling had got the bigger piece, so the mother took a bite. Then, the other monkey complained that the first monkey now had a bigger piece, so the mother took a bite of that side too. This kept going, until she had eaten the whole banana.
It’s easy for that to happen at Christmas, where a present for a child, parent or sibling cost more than for another, so you buy something to make up the difference. Then someone has two presents, so you buy another small present, so you give the same in value and volume to both/ all.
We have an average ‘per person’ budget for Christmas, but we don’t have to spend the same on everyone. Not anymore at least. I realised I would buy something that cost a few pounds more for my mum, so I’d get my dad something else. That would take him over what I’d bought my mum, so then I’d buy something else.
I’ve experienced this myself from my own incredibly generous friends and relatives, and it often means you have presents that you don’t really need or use.
It’s better to get a single thoughtful gift that the recipient will appreciate, than lots of bits and bobs that they have to find somewhere to store. And it’s another way of choosing thoughtful gifts that cost less.
3. Beware 3 for 2 offers
3 for 2 offers sound like a good way of buying gifts for less, but is it really?
Christmas gift sets tend to only be available at 1 time of year: Christmas! What does that tell you? To me, it suggests one of two things:
- There is no demand for them year round because people neither want nor need them, or they offer poor value.
- People receive so many of these 3 for 2 sets that they last the whole year, when they receive a whole load more.
Since we’re on 3 for 2 offers, I’ll throw in a 3rd option for free. Perhaps they all contain something that people don’t use that much of and will get wasted. Like a “handy” shower rack or yet another body lotion.
So rather than head into the gift section and before you get dazzled by beautiful, glossy Christmas brochures, think about who you’re buying for, and what they’d really like. If it’s a selection of items from a food, cosmetics of toiletries range, what specifically do they use? What would would they love as a gift? If you come to the conclusion that the person you’re buying a gift for genuinely does use the same amount of body lotion as shower gel (because every toiletries set seems to come with both), and a set is cheaper than individual items, then maybe a gift set in a 3 for 2 deal is perfect.
I’ve got a feeling that you’ll find more thoughtful gifts that cost less by avoiding 3 for 2 deals. This has certainly been the case for me!