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Sticking to your Christmas shopping budget while also protecting the environment and our planet

Posted on Friday December 07, 2018

Sticking to your Christmas shopping budget while also protecting the environment and our planet

Your children are sitting quietly at the kitchen table working away at something. What could be keeping them so enthralled? As you get closer, you see that they're busy savings images of toys on their iPad? to send to Santa Claus! Clearly, it's time to get out there and start your Christmas shopping! Here's a little four-step guide to finding thoughtful gifts to put under your tree while getting the most out of your gift budget.


  1. Make a plan and stick to it

The worst kind of shopping strategy is not having one! Before rushing off to the mall, it's worthwhile to take a few minutes at home to sit down and make a list of what you want to buy (and for whom). First, establish some financial guidelines:

  • Total budget
  • Budget for each child
  • Budget for other gifts (remembering host gifts and any family or workplace gift exchanges you are taking part in!)

Next, jot down your ideas (along with prices!) for each recipient. There are some useful holiday shopping templates (including for Excel) that can help speed up this process for you.


  1. Follow the four-gift rule

Social media has been ablaze in recent years with posts extolling this new approach to choosing gifts for your children. The rule dictates that you buy each child only four gifts:

  1. something your child wants (e.g. board game, toy, costume, PS4 gift card)
  2. something your child needs (e.g. backpack, skates, bathing suit, sled, sleeping bag)
  3. something to read
  4. something to wear (e.g. jeans, coat, shoes)

The idea is to limit the overabundance of gifts crowded under the tree in many households, some of which may never be used. By choosing cultural offerings, like books or tickets to a live performance (play, concert, circus), or practical items such as clothes or sports gear, it's possible to limit our shopping to gifts the recipients will truly appreciate while also reducing the burden on the environment (and our closets at home!).


  1. Make your own gifts

Not everyone has the skill to knit a wool sweater or build a beautiful piece of furniture. However, many of us know how to make jam or homemade ketchup and can do it using organic fruits and vegetables grown in New Brunswick. Do you write, play music, or paint? Consider using your talent to create something from the heart. Personalized, unique presents of this nature make wonderful host or "secret Santa" gifts. It's a thoughtful way to keep your budget manageable while also reducing your environmental footprint.


  1. Shop smart for useful pre-owned items

One great way to foster young children's love of reading is to keep a collection of interesting books in the house. Flea markets and even Kijiji abound with used books still in excellent condition. Keep an eye out also for used sports gear, bicycles, clothing, electronic games and devices and if your eldest is reaching that age, even vehicles. In short, whatever you are looking for, someone else is probably trying to sell one! Buying used often makes it possible to spoil your loved ones with gifts that might otherwise be beyond your budget. And while we're on the topic: consider reusing your wrapping paper from last year!


There! Your holiday shopping strategy is in place. As always, keep in mind that the most beautiful Christmas gifts are often the special moments spent with family and friends.


Happy Holidays!

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