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The Christmas Survival Guide - Part 2 - Financial Hardship

There is no doubt that Christmas can cause us financial worries. With presents and food to buy, Christmas parties and meals to attend, costs can quickly mount up and spiral. Depending on the size of your family, presents alone can set you back a substantial amount.

It's very easy to get caught up in the shopping madness that accompanies Christmas and the festive period, after all why wouldn't you want to treat your family and friends and maybe even yourself?


However, if worrying about how to pay for Christmas is keeping you awake at night, here are some thoughts and tips that you might find helpful.

The thing to remember is that Christmas doesn't have to break the bank.


In the middle of a cost of living crisis we might be worrying about rising energy and food costs and Christmas can feel like an added financial burden.

One thing that might be helpful is to set yourself a budget for food and presents and then try your best to stick to it. I know it's easy to get distracted by tempting “bargains” when you're food shopping, so don't be too hard on yourself it this happens.

Writing a shopping list might help you to stick to your budget or perhaps doing the food shop online might help with budgeting.


If you are hosting Christmas dinner, you might want to talk to your family and friends about sharing the food and drinks costs, with everyone bringing something or being responsible for one dish. This might also take the pressure off (co-ordinating dietary requirements/people's likes and dislikes can be stressful) and means everyone gets involved in the preparations.


Similarly you might want to suggest only spending a certain amount on each other's presents or how about doing Secret Santa? This could be especially useful if you have a large family. Instead of buying for everyone, you draw names out of a hat and only buy something for that person.


Christmas cards are another area that people usually spend money on. The cost of stamps has also risen significantly so if you are struggling financially this year, you could think about sending a festive Christmas whats app message or email instead of cards.

There are quite a few apps that allow you to edit your own photos which you can then send and e-cards are also available. And let's face it, most of us spend a lot of time on our phones anyway and it's kinder for the planet too.

If you're worried that people might be offended, you might be surprised. I tried this last year and everyone was actually really pleased about their festive whats app messages.


Speaking of Christmas cards, if you have any left over from last year and you fancy being creative, you might want to make them into gift tags. Many people also choose to donate the money they would spend on Christmas cards and stamps to charity.


If you can't afford to buy any presents this year, try not to worry too much. Christmas isn't just about presents. It's about connection and spending quality time with the people you love, whether that's your family or friends.

Sometimes the best gift you can give someone is your undivided attention. You might have family or friends that you haven't seen or spoken to in a while so maybe just popping in and having a cup of tea and a chat, can make someone's Christmas.


If you have a hobby or are particularly good at something, for example you might hav excellent DIY skills, you might want to think about offering your time and skills as a present. For example you could offer an elderly relative one afternoon in which you help them with anything that needs fixing in their home.


If you are creative and like crafting, you could also think about making presents if you do want to give something. You could also make Christmas decorations, this can be a great thing to do with your kids. Let your imagination go wild, the sky is the limit!


Another thing you might want to think about throughout the rest of the year, is to put a little bit of money aside each month. This doesn't have to be a huge amount, whatever you can afford. This way when the festive season comes around again, you already have some money saved up which can take the pressure off. This is also a great way to save up for annual bills.


Sometimes we also have a lot of things in our homes that we don't use or want anymore. Selling these unwated items can also help you to raise some extra cash that you can put towards Christmas or any outstanding bills.

You could do a car boot sales or use apps like Vinted to sell anything that you no longer want, for example clothes, ornaments, accessories, toys or household items.

There are also local Wastesavers groups on Facebook where local people advertise any unwanted items, often for free, available for collection. Just make sure that you stay safe and never give your personal or bank details to anyone.


I have included a list of organisations that offer financial support and advice so whatever your circumstances, know that you are not alone and help is out there. Nobody should have to go into debt over Christmas.


Remember that sometimes it's about trial and error and figuring out what works for you and your circumstances. Be creative and think outside the box and don't be afraid to ask for help. We all need help at some point in our lives and there is no shame in that.

Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of different people but Christmas can also be whatever you make it.



pine cone, rocking horse, candy canes


Help and Support


Cost of Living Support Lancashire

offers support and advice on energy costs and financial help


Lancashire warm spaces- if you are struggling with your energy bills/keeping warm

This is a search tool to find warm spaces where you can keep warm and safe and spend time with others, for example in the library.


Age UK Advice Line

0800 678 1602


Food Banks in Lancashire


RSPCA – if you need support with feeding your pet


Hope Central- Christian charity offering support in North East Cheshire with debt, looking for work, managing money and addiction. They also have a food bank

01625 724 133


Moneyhelper- offers free guidance and advice on financial issues, including benefits, savings, work and pensions


Turn2us- national charity that provides support if you are struggling financially



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