Christmas on a budget

In recent years I’ve thought long and hard about what Christmas means to me. I am not a Christian so I feel that really I shouldn’t be celebrating it at all. It really wouldn’t bother me too much if I didn’t have a specific day to worry about. All the build up and hard work that goes into planning and cooking for what feels like the 5 thousand! I’m sure every mother can relate. 

On the other hand, my family ARE Christian and Christmas Day does mean a lot to them. I should point out though that it doesn’t have any material meaning to my family, it’s about celebrating the birth of Christ. I admire my family for focussing on what Christmas is really about. As a result I have never given up Christmas. I certainly don’t feel that I can now that I’m a mother. Instead, I treat Christmas more like Thanksgiving. I don’t celebrate Christ, I celebrate family and friends. I am thankful for the wonderful people who I have in my life and I like to give them a token to show my affection for them. 

I don’t know if you spotted the word ‘token’ just then but that is the right word in my mind. In our materialistic world we really don’t need lots more stuff. What we, especially our children need is more love and to know that we are appreciated. So this is where my Christmas comes in. 

I work really hard to find the right gift for each person. It’s not about expense, more about showing that you really know them. I much prefer hand crafted gifts and have made many for my friends and family over the years. It’s so much more personal and special, not to mention that no one else will have the same thing. I have two gifts on the (crochet) hook right now but of course I can’t say any more about them just yet. I like to make something new each year for the tree as well. These are quite a few years old now and one has my daughter’s name on it and the other says ‘My Sweet’ which is my fiancés pet name.  

Personalised Christmas tree decoration by Ty Siriol
Hand crafted Christmas tree hanging for my daughter.

Personalised Christmas tree decoration by Ty Siriol
Christmas tree hanging that I made for my fiancé a few years ago.

Of course, there are some who I know would prefer gifts other than what I am capable of making. My next port of call is for local (British) hand made crafts that are produced by fellow artisans. I still much prefer to steer away from big companies and mass produced things where possible. I have to accept though that Santa will use some of these stores. 😉 

I have found some absolute gems over the years and know of lots of very talented people who make all sorts of things. Facebook has a wonderful crafting community and many of these talented people have become friends as well.

Christmas is however becoming an increasingly difficult time for many and lots of people start the new year in debt as a result. This is a very sad thing indeed. Even though we are officially out of the recession most households are still feeling the pinch as the cost of living is sky rocketing and income is stagnant, not to mention those who have lost their jobs in recent years. We are very lucky in that Mr Ty Siriol has kept his job throughout the recession but we are still not immune to the squeeze as our household bills continue to go up disproportionately to income. In real terms we are all worse off even though the recession is over. 

I’ve been doing craft fairs this year as a stall holder as well as a customer. What I’ve noticed is that less people turn up to these events let alone buy anything. I think many are staying away simply to resist temptation and I can’t blame them. I am also buying less than I used to. 

Last year I had my shop sale in January. That doesn’t seem strange as there have been January sales since I was a child. But seeing how everyone is struggling, including myself, I’ve brought my sale forward this year. I’m giving 20% off everything over £8 for all of November in my Etsy shop. My hope is that my gifts are now more affordable to others and that we can carry on promoting local hand produced goods. Of course, I will also benefit as I will then be better able to buy gifts that have meaning for my loved ones from fellow artisans. 

Ty Siriol Ceramics & Crafts November promotion 2013

So for now I will carry on celebrating my family and friends at Christmas time and will endeavour to find them meaningful gifts that are sourced locally wherever possible.

Thank you for reading,
Cath xx

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This entry was posted in Life.


  1. moonriverblog says:

    Lovely blog Cath – really nice to read. Christmas is a long awaited occasion in our house . We are Christians and so for us it really is all about the birth of Christ – of course we do Father Christmas too with the children though. I desperately try to get all my Christmas gifts bought/ made by end of November so we can keep Advent with a little peace. I say 'peace' but with all the Christmas plays etc. at school, a carol service to prepare the choir for and a nativity play to organise for Christmas Eve, December often feels busier than ever! At least I don't spend it shopping though 😀
    I agree totally with you about smaller, personal gifts and am trying so hard to find more this year and supporting local or independent people along the way.

  2. Ty Siriol says:

    Thank you for your lovely comment MoonRiver. I completely agree about getting all the shopping out of the way early. I struggle to get through the crowds with mobility issues so I tend to stay away from the big shops in December. I am looking forward to all the Christmas markets though. Even if I don't buy anything I love the festive feel and how everyone is happy. I hope you and the family have a wonderful (and peaceful) Christmas. xx

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