Bonfire Night and Halloween are now over meaning only one thing, Christmas is now fast approaching! Only this morning the radio presenters were talking about the impending John Lewis Christmas advert (who could forget last years man on the moon!).
It also means that children are starting to get excited. This week Lily has truly started getting into the Christmas spirit, talking about what she will say to Santa when we visit him, how you have to be "very definitely good" to get any presents. In a way, it's really sweet, but it also marks the next stage of childhood where Christmas needs to be exciting and amazing every year and I'm not entirely sure I can keep up with it.
Every year, I see the Christmas Wish list on TV where they rank the most wanted gifts by children and the majority of them need a mortgage to support their purchase! How are you meant to keep up? You also have all the other relatives to buy for and we're not exactly rolling in money. Don't get me wrong, we get by, pay our bills and are alive, but after that, it doesn't really leave much. This year I'm really trying to scale back the cost of Christmas. It's my last year at university and we have a wedding to pay for next year so finance is at the front of my mind and worries.
I've started finding things we can re-use for a few years one of which being a re-usable advent calendar. It's a beautiful knitted piece and filling it has been quite easy. We've got the traditional sweet treat in most of them, but I have written activities we can do on paper and added those in too. It's little things that are easy to do and add a bit of family time into the progress.
We also managed to get Lily's presents early this year. I'm a big believer of taking advantage of the sales in town. After spending around £100 last year (then adding stocking fillers) we have managed to cut this years down to around £50-£60 in total, including the stocking fillers. It's nice to have saved money and not compromise in what Lily can have, we've just sat and thought about it properly this year!
This year just seems to be a major worry for me financially. We don't have any debts or anything similar, but I feel really wary about how much I have, where it's going and so on, especially while I'm searching for a job after university. It also seems though that I'm not alone in this. A lot of my friends who are parents are finding that this year is a tough one. A lot of the popular gifts choices are expensive and everyone seems to have less money.