Cut Christmas excess

Christmas is fast approaching and with it the pressure to buy the latest and greatest gift.  Add in advertising on TV, Facebook and circulars there is no escaping it.

Just as you’ve made a decision to streamline your home, you’re faced with the onslaught of Christmas clutter.
Kids get hooked into wanting what their friends are chatting about or what’s online; with that in mind here are some alternative gift ideas that cover off many ages and interests, save landfill space in future and create lasting memories.
Looking back to my childhood I recall some of my best presents were the ones that our parents gave us as a joint gift that all four of us could enjoy.
A jungle gym kept us busy for hours; the following year Dad sourced a see-saw, endless up and downs.
It had the added bonus of teaching us to take turns.
When I am choosing a gift, I think about the person and what they enjoy or are interested in.

I won’t go near a store until I have a firm plan in my mind. This process makes gift buying simple and personal, rather than a case of buying anything to exit the store.
Know your budget and don’t over spend, if the item is more than your budget, ask other family if they want to join in the gift purchase.
The gift of an adventure
Another wonderful idea is to give the gift of ‘being present’ on an outing or adventure. The excitement and chat can strengthen bonds, encourage unplugging from technology and provide memories to look back on.
the gift of adventure
Involve the children and plan an adventure or activity and build time around it. Pack a picnic lunch and include some treats and let the children help.
One on one time, spend alone time with your child, and let them choose an activity that they are interested in and join in. Use the experience as a teaching moment in connecting to others, relationship and conversation building.
How about a family day at the beach - pack a picnic, sunscreen, bathers and a ball.
The gift of a voucher book
You can find many options online to download or ideas for vouchers to be redeemed by your children at a later date.
One idea is dinner date coupons for a child to share their favourite meal with you.
You can also offer a talent that you are good at to give as a gift for another.
Gifts of an experience
Screen and popcorn. It is always a solid idea no matter what time of the year and age.
Ice skating
Ten pin bowling for the family
Trampoline World
Antartica Centre (Christchurch residents)
Tickets to a sporting event
For the budding chef
A cook book and apron, and set a date to get creative in the kitchen. Fun things to decorate cupcakes with.
Aways a good tip, teach them to return items and clean up.
The keen gardener
Miniature garden tool set to get outside and work alongside Mum or Dad, while using their own tools, a great way to get them involved. 
Grow their interest in gardening, nurturing plants and relationships.
For the Princess and Super Heros
Dress ups of their favourite character. Plan a night to get the family to dress up and create a production for all to enjoy. 
Outdoor Activity gifts
Swing ball set, great way to burn off the Christmas puds and treats. 
Trampoline, get some bounce going in your life for all ages, and great exercise.
A kite, and plan to take it to the beach or nearby park.
Project redecorate
New duvet or bedroom accessories - get the wider family to pitch in with various items that could personalise the bedroom to miss or master’s tastes.
Music to my ears
If you have a budding Mozart or Pink, a musical instrument could be a great source of enjoyment to encourage their potential. As a sideline earplugs for other family members until miss or master achieve those notes.
Gifts of choice
Giving the gift of choice to the recipient 
iTune gift card
A voucher to a favourite clothing or book store
This is a great idea if you know there is something in particular they are wishing or saving for.

children and creativity
Hand Puppets
Colouring in books and pens
Drawing (art) Paper
Play doh (plan some time to make home made)
Craft supplies
Chalk board
The of giving back
A donation to a charity
Donation of help and time to a local charity.
Find a charity or event that children can join in and donate time, food or regift items to others less fortunate.
This gift opens eyes and awareness that some are less fortunate, teaches humility and how important giving time or a donate is.
It's better to give than receive


A gift of sustainability 
Forest and bird
Adopt an Animal 
Penguin Rescue
There are many more worthy causes to be found on the internet, decide on one together as a family.
A gift of creativity
A journal - most children love to draw to write. In the day and age of technology a journal negates screen time and develops story telling. 

Christmas is a costly time of year, plan ahead and allow for food (not just Christmas Day), presents, and visitors or outings, working with your income and situation.

New Zealanders managed to spend a record $6 billion shopping in December, which is the highest-ever monthly figure recorded by Statistics New Zealand. The Register News 2017

Get your children to design and decorate cards and wrapping paper, recycle old magazine pages to wrap or cut up.
Look online, for example GrabOne or BookMe, for outings or experiences that can be purchased at a cheaper rate.
If you have a big family, give a collective gift for the children or set a present spend limit.
Watch specials or think about the lay-by options to buy during the year to ease cost.
Keep a list of who you are buying for and how much was spent.

To make my money go further I complete my pressie shopping before December.

When we were younger I recall Mum having joined Christmas Clubs and collecting points to redeem at the supermarket for the Christmas shop. Christmas Club Options

Look ahead at 2019 and start popping aside $10 a week in a separate account for next Christmas. 

Make your Christmas is about the gift of presence and those you surround yourself with. Giving something that is unique to build everlasting memories that will withstand the test of time.

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