Tips to help you survive the impending party season
By Sophie Isbister, Staff Writer
The holidays are approaching fast, and with them come the countless invitations. Your calendar will soon be pulled in every direction. Workmates will want to have drinks, family will demand lunches and brunches, and friends from all areas of your life will require you to show up and pony up some funds in exchange for the honour of socializing with them.
I’ve learned a lot during my month of austerity about just saying no. I’ve saved enough to get just a little bit out of debt, and provide myself with a tiny financial cushion for the upcoming influx of obligation. And while the just-say-no approach works in other months, the same doesn’t really fly for December. However, the holidays don’t have to be a stressful or expensive time. The whole point of Christmas is to enjoy time with your loved ones. We get time off, we’re encouraged to eat all the chocolate and shortbread our little tummies can hold, and the season is full of inexpensive things to do.
So with that in mind, I’m armed with some ideas for saving a bit of money while still participating in the joys of the season. The first piece of advice I’ll give you involves the area in which most of us tend to overdo: drinking. Rum and egg nog, hot apple cider, Granville Island Winter Ale—those are the three wise men that I look to when the incessant Christmas carols start to get on my nerves. But the costs associated can definitely add up, so it’s important to look at areas where you can cut back on liquor expenses. Since there are so many events going on, it might be wise to pick a few parties to just stay sober (if you have a car you can give the gift of designated driving). If that’s not an option for you, then a good old fashioned pre-drink might have to be in your holiday playbook.
When you’re attending an event at a person’s house, it’s nice to bring a gift. Usually people stand by the Pot of Gold box of chocolates, but a plant like a poinsettia is festive, and is usually about $3.99 at the grocery store. Baking is also a fantastic way to make your mark on a party without making a huge dent in your budget. It may seem daunting for those who haven’t spent much time in front of an oven, but if you follow all the instructions online or in a recipe book, you can’t go wrong. Small homemade gifts like tree ornaments are also a good idea. You can be as simple as a pinecone spray-painted gold, or get creative with a reindeer made of popsicle sticks. The world is your kitschy oyster!
Above all, it’s important to remember that your presence is a present. Your loved ones should understand your financial situation and be respectful of it. Little things that don’t cost a lot of money, like a card or a thank you note, will speak volumes and provide a lot of holiday cheer to the host.