A Stress Free Christmas Part 2: Making Christmas lists

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Making Christmas lists & checking them twice

Hello again 🙂

In Part 1, we settled on our Christmas Budget so now we know how much we have to spend on the festive season, let’s start thinking what we’re going to spend it on!

In this section, I’ll be helping you to create the lists that are going to form the basis of your Stress Free Christmas.  If, like me, you love lists, then you’ll be overjoyed to hear that you’ll be making three of them!

LIST 1: Christmas Expense List

First and foremost, you need to highlight ALL of the expenses that you foresee this Christmas so that you can apportion the appropriate amount of your budget and ensure that you’ll have enough to go around.

So, pen and paper at the ready and start jotting down everything that you’ll be spending money on for the festive period.  Here are some examples to get you started:

Christmas presents

Christmas cards & stamps

Wrapping paper & accessories

Christmas Dinner

Other Christmas food & drink (eg. mince pies, Christmas cake, bottle of Sherry…)

Christmas party dress

Christmas party food & drink

Ok, think you’ve got everything covered?  Goodo! Now it’s time to roughly divide out your budget and check that you’ve got a realistic amount for everything you’ve planned.  Here’s my example continued (I’ve used the Example Christmas Budget from Part One)..

Christmas Expenses    
Christmas Presents   £225
Christmas Cards & Stamps   £35
Christmas Wrapping Paper etc   £15
Christmas Dinner & Drink (10 people)   £150
Other Christmas Food & Drink   £100
Christmas Party Dress   £80
Christmas Party Food & Drink   £150

List 2: Christmas Gift List

Now it’s time to break down a couple of the biggest expenses over Christmas – the presents and the Christmas dinner!  We’ll start with gifts.  So, back to your pen and paper and this time, jot down all of the people that you want to buy a present for this year – even if it’s just a bottle of wine for the neighbour.  Don’t worry about what you’ll be buying yet – just who you want to buy for.

All done?  Now, as above, you need to work out a rough amount that you plan to spend on each person.  Here’s my example continued…

Christmas Present List    
Hubby   £100
Son   £75
Daughter   £75
Mum   £50
Dad   £50
Brother   £50
Best friend   £30
Mother in law   £50
Father in law   £50
Grandparents   £10
Uncle   £10
Colleagues   £50
Friends & neighbours   £20

Oh dear! That hasn’t worked out quite as planned.  I’ve spent nearly my WHOLE budget on presents.  If I continue with this plan, I’m going to end up with no money left for all my other Christmas costs… Time to go back and reassess…maybe I can cut costs with some homemade gifts…

Christmas Present List    
Hubby We’ll get each other something in the New Year instead  
Son   £75
Daughter   £75
Mum   £50
Dad   £50
Brother   £50
Brother’s girlfriend   £30
Mother in law   £50
Father in law   £50
Granny Homemade jams  
Uncle Blackberry Vodka  
Colleagues Chutneys  
Friends & neighbours Mini hampers  

Ok, now we’re making some progress but it’s still over budget.  Maybe I can go back and adjust my initial budget and make savings elsewhere…

Christmas Expenses    
Christmas Presents   £435
Christmas Cards & Stamps   £35
Christmas Wrapping Paper etc   £15
Christmas Dinner & Drink (10 people) Ask guests to bring a bottle £120
Other Christmas Food & Drink   £100
Christmas Party Dress Can wear an old one!  £0
Christmas Party Food & Drink Simple mince pies & mulled wine instead £50
   u £755

Hurrah!  Think we’ve cracked it 🙂  Now on to our final list.

List 3: Christmas Dinner

So, as before, you need to list all of your expenses for Christmas Dinner.  If you’re lucky enough to be going to stay with family or friends this Christmas then whoopee!  You’ve got extra for other festive fun.  You could do the same exercise for a Christmas Party that you’re either hosting or attending (eg. outfit, drinks, ticket, taxis etc)

Here’s my example Christmas Dinner expense list…

Christmas Dinner (for 10)    
Turkey (5K) Fresh from butcher £40
Fizz Cava (cheaper than Champagne £10
Wine & Beer Guests bringing a bottle £10
Soft drink   £5
Veg   £10
Christmas Pudding   £5
Christmas Cake   £10
Cheese & Biscuits   £20
Christmas Crackers   £10

If you start off over budget again, then just go through the same exercise of looking where you can make savings as we did with the Christmas gift list.  Perhaps you can get a frozen turkey or use supermarket club points that you’ve saved over the year.

All done? Excellent! I hope you found that a useful exercise and that it will help you to keep within your budget during your Christmas preparations.  You may decide you want to continue with further lists – perhaps to plan for a Christmas Party or Christmas trip that you’ll be taking.

Some Extra Resources

Tips on keeping Christmas Dinner to budgetBBC Good Food’s Top budget tips when making Christmas dinner

Party planning on a budgetGood Housekeeping’s Budget Party Planning Tips

Christmas gifts on a budgetMoneySavingExpert’s 50 Festive Fivers

Please like and share!

If you’ve found Part 2 of my Guide to a Stress Free Christmas useful then please do hit the like button and share with your friends.  It’s very much appreciated 🙂

I’d also love to hear your feedback – how are you getting on with your planning?  Do you wish my guide included anything different?

Missed Part 1?  Read it now!

Part 1: Guide to a stress free Christmas – Budget

Take me to Part 3! Picking Presents

Colette Broomhead

I am a 30 something mother of 2 little boys and I live with them and my husband in Nottingham. My passions are my family and friends, my kitchen, my cookery books and all things food and drink!

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