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'Tis the season to be jolly

Christmas can really put a strain on the purse strings: think presents, food, travel and all the trimmings that go with it. If the very thought of the festive season sends a shiver down your spine, it might be time to regroup and think about what matters most … family, friends, the joy of giving … that sort of thing.

So how do you make the most of Christmas without going crazy? Well, here’s a few simple, yet effective ways to help you stay sane (and maybe save a few $$ too).

Don’t over commit

So you’ve been invited to 20 things between now and the 25th December. You may suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out) but going out a lot can quickly take a toll on your hip pocket. Be picky. Say yes to those really special events and graciously decline the rest.

Get a Kris Kringle going

It’s not for everyone but a Kris Kringle is a great way to reduce the financial burden of buying a present for everyone in your family and circle of friends. Give it a go. It might become your new tradition.

Share the load

No one wants to spend the whole day in the kitchen. When it comes your Christmas menu, think about having things you can make in advance and ask everyone to bring something along but don’t go making it too extravagant. If you want crayfish for lunch, you’re probably going to have to organise that one yourself.

Ditch the snail mail

Yes, we know it’s nice to get Christmas cards in the mail, instead of bills or junk mail but when you factor in the cost to buy the cards and the postage to send them, it can get a little out of control dollar-wise. Why not be creative and get online instead. Whip up a Christmas-themed photo or message to email or ‘post it’ on your social media site of choice instead. See what we did there ;)

Toys in every store

It’s easy to head off to the shops without knowing what presents you need to buy. To avoid overspending or making desperate purchasing decisions, make a list and check it twice. (Hands up who’s bought Auntie Edna a scented candle only to realise later you’d already bought her a scratching pole for her nine cats.)

Christmas is only one day of the year (although to be fair, it is the only day of year the big guy in the red suit pays us a visit) so remember, enjoy yourself and don’t be so busy that when you blink you've missed it.

Merry Christmas!