If you’re starting to panic as you glance at your child’s ambitious, ever-lengthening list for Santa, take heart that you’re not the only one worried about how you’ll afford Christmas this year.
In fact, recent research from Forever Friends reveals that, while Christmas may be a magical time of year for our kids, it’s increasingly becoming the season of money worries for hard-pressed mums and dads – especially if your home is relying on just one full time income.
35% of parents are worried about paying for Christmas
In fact, as many as 35% of UK parents are worried about how they will afford Christmas presents this year – not surprising when you take into account the £30.16 we spend per present (£6.50 more than non-parents). And 93% of mums and dads are even more worried about family and friends spending their hard-earned money on them (50% of us said that we’d prefer to get nothing at all than see our loved ones get into debt).
So what’s the solution? The 734 parents who spoke to Forever Friends were clear – Christmas should be more about sentiment and less about cash. And maybe the solution is, instead of buying a gift for your loved ones this year, you could promise them something instead?
Pledging your time costs nothing
While expensive gadgets, cosmetics and other material gifts cost cold, hard cash, pledging someone your time often costs nothing except effort and thought. If you’re stuck for practical ideas, even thinking about a smaller, but more meaningful gift can help put a (less guilty) smile on your loved ones’ faces.
The top 10 alternative Christmas gift ideas
If you’re thinking about ways you can cut costs this Christmas – without losing the festive cheer, take a look at the top 10 alternative ‘gift’ suggestions, as revealed by Forever Friends’ research, for some ideas:
- To be taken out for a meal
- A small but thoughtful token
- To be cooked a homemade meal
- A big hug
- A card with personal, heart-felt words
- Something homemade
- Time for a coffee and chat
- Do the washing up or cleaning
- Run a bubble bath to relax in with a good book
- Reminisce over old photos
Of course, it’s unlikely any of these wishes will make it into your child’s Christmas list! But if you save money on your friends and partner, Santa can afford to be reasonably generous with their stockings without feeling quite so bad.
Create your own free Christmas pledge
If you want to give the gift of thoughtfulness to someone this year, Forever Friends have made it easy for you, by developing a free, downloadable online pledge. You can either make your own promise for someone else, or send someone a hint as to what you’d like them to do for you – a babysitting favour perhaps? A trip to the cinema to see a film you want to watch? Or even just breakfast in bed one weekend when it’s not Mother’s Day or your birthday?
Whatever you decide to promise someone else, or suggest they pledge for you, we hope you and your family have a wonderful, festive Christmas, without any money worries.