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Merry Christmas – it’s July

Father, son & dog at Christmas

This month you may be looking forward to a summer break or preparing to enjoy the Wimbledon tennis championships, but giving some attention to Christmas - yes Christmas - could save so much stress this December.

Too many people become fraught in the run-up to the festive season with so much to do and fears that overspending could land them in hot water in the New Year.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are things you can do with a little planning now that could ensure you and your loved ones have a great festive season without the financial worry that can quickly follow the Christmas pudding.

For the organised among you, taking advantage of the summer sales to secure good deals on Christmas presents could save cash later in the year. For others, it may be time to start your own savings pot so that by the time December arrives, you’ve put away enough from now until the big day to see you through.

Time for a friendly financial chat?

Tuesday 30 July is International Friendship Day and since part of friendship is talking and listening to each other about sources of worry, getting together to chat frankly about money might be a way of kicking off conversations about financial stress at Christmas.

For instance, could it be time at those family barbecues to mention the option of putting a cap on how much you’re each going to spend on presents this year? Perhaps you could think about introducing a Secret Santa arrangement so that everyone gets something they’d really like but the giver only buys one gift? Discussions like these during a chilled-out summer event can mean that any objections, concerns or awkward issues can be dealt with well in advance. By the time December arrives, everyone has had time to get used to the idea and get on with enjoying the start of a new Christmas tradition.  

Christmas with an ecological twist?

For those who want to get away from commercialism and get back to the true meaning of Christmas, there are lots of charities which offer the opportunity to support a good cause. Donating in someone’s name to help an issue that you know they care about, can be a welcome gift. Alternatively, typing ‘ethical presents’ into an internet search engine can point you in the direction of gifts which are made with the environment in mind.

Whatever you choose to do this festive season, begin by deciding right now that getting into debt or fretting about not being able to provide what you assume people expect from an expensive Christmas, doesn’t have to form part of it. A quick chat in the sunshine now about how you’d all like Christmas to make you feel rather than how much it should cost to put on  a lavish display, could pave the way to a very, very special Yuletide. Enjoy!

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