Pulling together to stay in credit

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Mumsnet, the online community for busy mums, has pulled together its members’ tips for a credit-crunching Christmas. Here is a selection of the best ideas.For more, go to www.mumsnet.com

Fiscally challenged feasts

Last year, I did my usual shop and just added a ham and a beef roast, a box of mince pies and a Stilton in a pot. We got a present of a Christmas pudding from my work. In total, we spent half of what we used to spend, and it was just as good and fun as always. Result! – spammythevampireslayer

Just have leftovers on Boxing Day. We did last year and it was really nice. There is no point having two really big meals. – Pollyanna

Gift ideas

Think about what the kids actually need. If they already have 25 DS games, they don’t need another! – mumofmonsters

Use pound shops for stocking fillers. – WingsofaBatEyeofNewt

Buy lots of cheap stuff from car boot sales and charity shops. And jazz up the present-giving in some way instead. My partner does elaborate treasure hunts around the house and garden: the kids love it and it spins out the present-opening. Fennel

Some charity shops do cheap new stuff, too: the British Heart Foundation, for example, have some nice stone jewellery and key rings. – hatwoman

Kids under seven? Buy them a bumper pack of paper and pens and spend time with them drawing/making things to give to others. This is a lot more fun than just grabbing some cheap tat. – twentynine

Do a Secret Santa for the adults with a price limit. –Pollyanna

Buy the kids a big joint present, such as a pool table/garden swing, and get it secondhand (look at adverts locally). And recycle: swap unwanted toys with friends. – tillyblue

If you’re buying big electrical type things for pressies, remember the shops want sales and have targets to meet, so haggle! – BCNS. Ask grandparents for something like a year’s National Trust membership. – Waswondering

Be techno-savvy

For grandparents, I get calendars made up with photos of the children over the past year. You can get them at Jessops or Snappy Snaps, or online. – Headfairy

Do a list of everyone you need to buy for and set limits you will not go over. Then get things from the internet, using sites like offeroftheday and popvoucher. That way, even though you’re spending less, it looks like you have spent way more. – theirmum

I am eBaying all my daughter’s old stuff to raise funds for her Xmas present. – wonderstuff

Decking the halls

Get the children involved in making decorations: loads of glitter, cotton wool, glue – all the stuff you normally ban the rest of the year round. Oh and food: let them help make the mince pies, the Xmas cake and all that nonsense – magic! – HuwEdwards

A big roll of brown parcel paper, a glue stick and some glitter keeps small people happy for hours and makes really lovely wrapping paper. Collect evergreen leaves (nearer the time) and make a hole with a hole punch and thread onto natural string for tree and present decorations. Collect autumnal leaves now and store them until they go veiny or partially veiny, dip in silver or gold paint, dry and use them as tree decorations. – Swedes

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