Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A Charitable Christmas

Christmas, a crazy, busy time of year when people become automatically altered to a higher speed level, Towns and Cities become covered in twinkly lights, the unnatural habitat of trees becoming an indoor feature decorated in sparkly items, tinsel, lights and topped with a fairy or a golden star... in our families case, both. A fairy hanging off the tip of the star, nothing being done half hearted. However, this year, being let go from my company back in October, I found it hard to get together money for my Christmas shopping. Having normally done all my shopping by November at the latest, I certainly wasn't prepared for this. I had to think of something spectacular to achieve this year for my Christmas shopping. Home made items are always a great idea, but depending on the quality, most things never look as the image itself in the magazine, they aren't always appreciated, nay, worth the time. A case of Super Scrimping was in the line up.
Being a great bargain hunter, in charity shops and car boots, this became my solitude of Christmas shopping. I had all the time in the world to browse all the usual charity shops and the local carboot, which fortunately for me, carries on until end of November before they open up the car park on Sundays for those eager christmas shoppers. You would be surprised what you could pass on as gifts from what people assume is all used, second hand items. This is where my imagination leads before my eyes.

Luckily for me, back in September I qualified in Body Massage and set myself up at home to have a hobby on the side. It has been something I've always wanted to do and been really interested in. It was also my intention to have something to do in the future if my Partner has to move around due to work or I become a house wife... just thinking ahead. It was always a back up, incase I was ever unemployed again and needed a little extra cash here and there to help get by. I bought a bargain professional reflexology/massage couch from a friends mother for just £100, towels, paper roll, oils etc...I was ready to go. This certainly helped me towards my Christmas shopping and the first two little munchkins were the most important to buy for... my Niece and Nephew.

Walking around the Canterbury carboot, I struggled to find any single present worth giving. I had an idea of hampers to give to a few family relatives but nothing was jumping out at me. I came across this one stall where there seemed to be a few great little items. A pair of security scissors or herb scissors, depending on what you need them for, stood out to me and immediately I thought of a Herb Garden Hamper for my Father. I also spotted a hangover ice pack and for a joke, bought it for my mum. So I decided to make my mum a Pamper Hamper.
Having accumulated all the beauty products, candles, and bargain buys in Boots and clearance items at Tkmaxx, I finally filled a box of goodies for my Mother. All unused and unopened items I may add. For my dad, I proudly got together all sorts of garden items from lovely porcelain pots at a bargain of £1 for 3 to jardin hand soap, 3 pairs of garden gloves, 3 packets of 6 assorted herb seeds and vegetable seeds for just £4 and many more other items, I put together a wonderful little hamper. My favorite item in the hamper was a clever idea of recycling broken pieces of china. A lady in Hythe makes herb labels for plant pots from broken plates (for just £6) which make a wonderful gift and a clever recycling tip.
All in all, with help from my boyfriend, I set a challenge of charity shopping for Christmas presents, scrimping for great deals and I believe I succeeded massively. Not all gifts were 'second hand'. I was given a pair of shoes from next that still had the tags on. Unfortunately they did not fit me and due to my unemployed state, I  returned them to the store and exchanged them for a beautiful sparkly top for my sister. Cheeky but clever.
I think after all the savings I made this year, or rather the little amount of money I spent as I had no money coming in to save, this may be my future Christmas shopping routine and why not!? It worked well for me. I challenge everyone else reading this to next time give this ago. You'll be amazed.