It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but I think we can all admit that it does come with it’s fair share of stress!  

Christmas is such an amazing time, especially when you’ve got little ones in your family, but the flip side of the season is that stresses about money or not leaving anyone out can be quite a minefield!

Now this might not work for everyone, but a popular idea on the rise is using Secret Santa as a way of limiting money woes for families.  

The premise is this: instead of buying a gift for everyone, you draw a name out of a hat, and keeping it to yourself, you only buy for that one person.  On Christmas Day, all the Christmas presents go under the tree, and the recipients can try and guess who their ‘Secret Santa’ is.

Now I’ve got a little tradition of doing this with my school mates, and it’s really good fun.  We tend to set a hilariously small budget, like £2.50, meaning we have to get the strangest, most thoughtful thing we can for the tiniest amount of money.  It also means that I have these very loved, but very useless things in my memory box from Christmases past.

This has been and is always great fun to do with my pals, but doing it for your family is a bit of a different vibe.  Here are a couple of tips for getting Secret Santa working for you and your family this 25th December.

The first tip is: set a reasonable budget and have everyone agree on it.  This is so important!  The budget has to be sacred; you don’t want to set something and then have Auntie Shirley spend well over that for just one person!  The whole point is that everyone is happy with the budget.  Too low and you’re going to be stuck for thoughtful gifts, but too high and there will be some involved potentially worrying about how they’ll afford it, but remember you only have to buy one gift!

The aim is to choose a budget that you can comfortably save up for without breaking the bank – you don’t want to be worrying about January, but you do want to make sure you’ve got your person a thoughtful enough gift.  It’s their only one, remember!

The second tip is to make a day of it!  The drawback of Secret Santa is that you’ll only be opening one gift each, which means that the day is over quite quickly.  While you’re setting a budget for the gifts, you might also like to set aside a budget for other things, like food, drink, and party games!  Everyone chipping in with this sort of thing really is in the spirit of Secret Santa, and the more uproarious the party games the better!

Our final tip: go for experiences.  Instead of buying ‘things’, buy something that they are able to indulge in, or treat themselves with.  Giving them the tools to give them a spa day, (much more affordable than a trip to a spa), can be really lovely, or a gardening kit or baking set And don’t forget about the little ones!  Planning a day of music making or games can be just as amazing for them as new toys or clothes.

However you decide to celebrate Christmas this year, don’t let things like money stop you from getting in the festive spirit.  All that really matters is that you’re with the people you love.