Your Christmas event may not look very traditional, but traditions are simply things that become more significant and meaningful the more times you do them.
Feasting is surely the best tradition in any culture. It’s also one of the most expensive, especially at Christmas when budgets stretch to the maximum.
Kiwis are inclined to shop for Christmas as though preparing for a siege, so if you want keep it under control this year, identify the things that are the most important to your particular celebration. Do you include things in the family feast simply because they are “traditional” and not because any of you actually like them anymore? Are you over-catering out of habit or doing it all yourself when others would be happy to contribute?
Some thoughtful analysis can leave you with more cash for the traditions that are really important to you and help avoid unnecessary excess.
Don’t get me wrong, I love excess! One of the joys of Christmas for me is the anticipation of eating so much that I’ll need a little lie down, but it’s even more enjoyable when you aren’t still paying it off in June.
Sharing the workload and expense is a fair and reasonable expectation, especially when everyone is stretched. Tell people well in advance what you need them to bring, and be specific.
Rationalise the gift giving. Consider starting a tradition whereby gifts are only for the under 16s, or names are drawn from hat so you buy only for the person or household whose name you drew. Consider putting a price cap on the cost of gifts, suggesting adults only exchange homemade offerings, or only exchange gifts among immediate family.
In years to come they simply won’t remember who gave what but they’ll always, always remember how we made them feel. So have a very Happy Christmas.
By Sophie Gray, www.destitutegourmet.com.