I must confess, I have had a few weeks of wondering what to post here. Not that I stop being frugal (it is an ongoing habit) but because I'm so used to doing these things, I forget not everyone is! On top of that has been the usual end-of-year festivities. But really, they should have been inspiration for me to post. So, better late than never.
I've lived in Finland eight Christmases now, and every year I have given my Australian family gift cards and charity donations in their names. I buy them online from Australian shops, saving oodles on postage. When I look at what they spend in posting traditional gifts to me... (shudder) they are definitely making the postal services rich.
As for local gifting we have also eschewed most physical items. None of our family are desperately poor, meaning we all have what we need for the most part, meaning that most of the "things" we hand over aren't needed. Obviously it's important to show someone you thought about them, but for the most part we do gift cards here as well, perhaps with a small practical gift. It has the added bonus of limiting what we need to wrap and carry to the festivities on the bus. I received almost nothing which can't be experienced or used up this year - I cannot tell you how thrilled I am about this! My family has really begun to understand how much I appreciate not receiving more "stuff". As a bonus I have lovely things to enjoy which will not take up space in my cupboards.
Speaking of wrapping, we used less than one roll this year. For our own household, we used recycled gift bags. Somehow we have a stash of these received from others. I just flatten them and put them into our "wrapping stuff" and they get re-used. It's amazing how many people would just throw these out. I may just pop my head into the paper recycling bins later today and see how many of them are in there from the 57 other apartments in our block!
Did I mention leftovers? I'm sure everyone knows about Christmas leftovers, and I get to not cook for a few days. Score!
What things do you do to save cash over the holidays?