Did you ever wonder how people who are in a bad place financially still manage to enjoy Christmas? It can be done, and in fact all our research indicates that the more money that is spent at Christmas the less it is usually enjoyed.

That’s because Christmas is about sharing and giving – not the thoughtless giving that you can do by spending an evening online shopping to get the whole ‘gift-buying thing’ over and done with as painlessly as possible, but the giving of time and thoughtfulness.

It is also about traditions – decorating a tree, even if it is branch of a gum tree; a special Christmas day breakfast; the family game of cricket down the beach that happens every year after Christmas lunch. Stop and think about it – do you recall the gifts you were given last year or the year before? Or do you remember the fun of picking out the tree or baking the mince pies with your mum?

If you already have traditions in your household, remember to revel in those traditions and take the focus away from spending. Here are some ideas to inspire you to create your own Christmas traditions.  

  •         Decorate a tree together a week or so before Christmas.
  •         Make a Christmas pudding together – or cake or mince pies. Let the kids stir.
  •         Plan your special Christmas breakfast of pancakes or croissants and berries.
  •         Give everyone special Christmas PJs and start wearing them on December 1.
  •         Put up a string of Christmas lights, somewhere outdoors
  •         Make an ‘Advent’ calendar with a reminder of what you are grateful for on each day.
  •         Make several batches of shortbreads or mini-puds and wrap in cellophane for gifts.
  •         Organise a Kris Kringle (or Secret Santa) so that you get one person to focus on.
  •         Take turns to watch each other’s favourite Christmas movie over December.
  •         Make a batch of rocky road and wrap for gifts to the neighbours.
  •         Take a trip into the city to see the Myer Xmas windows
  •         Make your own bon bons.
  •         Decorate the house – if only a wreath on the front door and a string of tinsel up.

Add your own! And have a truly festive Christmas.