A family is worried about the cost of Christmas after being made redundant. How do you explain that Santa is bringing less this year? Do you have any advice to share in this week’s A Problem Shared?
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I’m really worried about Christmas. My partner was made redundant in October and I only work part-time. But this hasn’t stopped the children from writing long lists to Santa. I’m trying to find and buy as much as I can second hand from the local For Sale groups on Facebook but I know they are going to be disappointed, as we can’t fork out £60 for a LOL Big Surprise or £450 for the latest Xbox! How are they meant to understand that Santa bought these things for their friends but not for them?
I feel like a failure that we can’t give our children what they want for Christmas. We’ve still got all the turkey and trimmings to buy as well. How are we going to cope without getting ourselves into huge debt? How can we let our children know that they’ve been good children all year but can’t get what they’ve asked for from Santa?
Our FamilyPoint reply
Thank you for getting in touch with us here at FamilyPoint about your concerns about letting your children down this year by not being able to give them what they’ve asked for, for Christmas. Sadly, there will be many, many parents in this situation so please don’t feel like you’re alone.
You didn’t say how old your children are but did suggest that they still believe in Santa. This could make things a bit easier. It goes without saying that you want to give them all they’ve asked for…that is every parent’s instinct. However, that isn’t going to be possible this year so now’s the time to start preparing both your children and yourself for that.
Adjust The Santa Story
Have you thought about explaining to your children that Santa doesn’t bring all the presents that they usually have? That Santa maybe fills their stocking and gets them another small gift but that mum and dad buy everything else. This could be a way of explaining why some children have far more presents than others. Not because Santa doesn’t think they’ve been very good through the year, but just because some parents have less money than others. This could lead on to a conversation where you can perhaps manage their expectations regarding those big price toys.
Children are very resilient and the chances are that you will feel worse explaining it than they do hearing it. Whilst there might be some initial disappointment, at least you have time to manage this and think of other things that you can do to make this Christmas special – both the build-up and the day itself.
10 Cheap Ideas For Family Fun at Christmas
Making some Christmas crafts together is a great idea. Most children love to get creative and messy. You could even gift some of the crafts they make to family, which will save you money too. The Internet is full of great ideas like these.
Baking is a great, relatively cheap activity that the kids will have fun doing. As above, you could also gift their homemade creations. Not a great baker? There are some great no-bake recipes available too.
Have a big family Christmas
If you have a big Christmas lunch with family or friends, you can share the cost, which should help, but also can share the stress of the cooking as well.
What about planning a family scavenger hunt? You could let your children invite one friend each to add to the fun. For tips take a look at How To Plan a Family Scavenger Hunt.
How about some good old-fashioned fun with a board game night? The more the merrier so invite friends and ask everyone to bring a different board game with them.
You don’t have to go out to have fun, have a boogie at home with a Christmas disco, and again invite their friends!
How about hosting your own Christmas quiz? The children could even help write it. You could get some cheap Christmas chocolates for the winners.
Take a stroll
This time of year is great to take a magical Christmas walk. Check out some family walk ideas from walesonline.
Have a cinema night at home for your children and their friends. Get some cheap popcorn or chocolates, or ask people to bring their own. Christmas films only of course!
Check out what’s going on in your local area in local newspapers, Facebook events or Internet searches. There are often free or cheap events going on at this time of year. You can find some links to local activities and events pages on the FamilyPoint website. Click on Your Area at the top of the page, choose your area, and then scroll down to ‘Local activities and events’. While some events in the links will cost, you should be able to find some things that are free/cheap to do.
I hope these suggestions have been useful. They won’t all be suitable but I’m sure there will be some that will. With forward planning and a positive approach, you can give your children a memorable Christmas for all the right reasons.
The FamilyPoint Team 🙂
If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
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