Money Saving Hacks For Christmas 2017

We’re aware that it’s the start of Spring and that the thought of Christmas just seems ridiculous right now. But in all honesty, there’s never been a more appropriate time to start saving for Christmas 2017. We’ve compiled a list of some rather handy money saving hacks which will help spread the cost of the festive season throughout your year, so that everything isn’t such a humungous shock to your bank balance when it gets to December!

Enjoy in-store promotions throughout the year

Make sure you grab deals when you see them throughout the year and end up saving money – whether it’s Father’s Day offers, deals in Summer and Autumn or just sale items that you think are fitting as gifts for Christmas for your friends and family, just buy them and pop them away until December!

promotion

Coupons and promo codes

Coupons and promo codes – what’s not to love? If you’re shopping for something online, then have a quick google before you proceed to the checkout for a cheeky promo code. Even if it’s just 10% off or free delivery, then it’s definitely worthwhile!

Keeping an eye out for coupons are also a great idea. Or if you’re particularly passionate about a certain product or brand, then why not write up to head office and declare your love for their product/brand. You never know, they may just send you some money off coupons in the post just for being a dedicated customer!

Take Advantage of Early Bird Christmas Party Offers

We know what you’re thinking. Why on earth would anyone be thinking about booking their company Christmas party right now? Well if we told you that many businesses and companies have already booked their festive shindigs, you may just be surprised.

But really, this is a pretty sensible thing to do. Not only is the planning all out of the way saving stress later in the year, but many venues offer special early bird rates for those who look to book earlier, meaning that there’s a pretty penny to be saved. In addition, it’s also a good idea to book early to ensure that your preferred locations and dates are available.

christmas-partytime

Cashback Websites

If you’re a big online shopper, then make sure you sign up to a reputable cashback website such as Quidco or Topcashback, where you’ll be rewarded with a percentage of your purchase simply for shopping online! It’s a great way to earn money for what you’d be buying anyway and is ideal for using towards Christmas!

Creative Gift Ideas

There’s nothing more personal than making gifts for friends and family, so why not give some crafts a go throughout the year? How about making your own marmalade or preserves or perhaps you’ve always wanted to create your own scented candles or jewellery? You’ll then be able to tuck these away for the festive season!

Creative gifts are a great idea as plenty of time and effort along with thought has been put into their making. Plus, it means there’s lots of opportunities for you to try your hand at a few craft activities in 2017!

handmade-gifts

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a great way to save money on presents for adult friends or family. Simply set a budget and secretly draw names from a hat. Alternatively, Elfster is a great website to draw names for free. Just head to the site and list the email addresses of everyone taking part and the site will email everyone individually to inform them of their secret Santa! Typically, work secret Santa’s are meant to be jokey, but with family or friends, we always think it’s nice to put a bit of effort in and treat them to something that they’ll actually like!

 

Six Homemade Gift Ideas for Your Office Secret Santa

Ah the workplace secret Santa. There’s a budget of around a fiver or a tenner, but you’re really not too sure what to get for them. You could just get them something pretty generic like a gift card or something plain daft that’s probably just a big waste of money. This year, how about creating your own homemade secret Santa gifts? It’s thoughtful and a little bit of thought goes a long way! Check out our list of six homemade gifts and get some serious present inspiration!

Candles

Time to get crafty, because candles are a brilliant and heavenly gift at Christmas time. They’re ideal for relaxing and creating a soothing environment, so why not make someone’s day with an amazing set of homemade candles? Create the candles in your secret Santa’s favourite colour – why not add a blissful scent to them too for that extra impact? If you wanted to make them extra festive, then why not choose some Christmas scents such as Christmas spices or cranberry?

homemade-candles

Mini Christmas cakes

Get busy in the kitchen and cook up a selection of delicious Christmas cake slices and cupcakes. You could make mini fruit cakes topped with delicious white icing, whip up some festive tray bakes, iced biscuits or what about some luxurious red velvet cupcakes that are finished off with festive novelties on the top? If you’ve opted for cupcakes, then you’ll be able to purchase some cardboard presentation boxes to serve them in. If you’re thinking about making a selection of cakes, how about buying a cheap (but nice) tin and popping your creations in? Wrap a tartan ribbon around the tin for some festive cheer, but don’t forget to add a label on it so everyone knows who these sweet treats are for!

christmas-cupcakes

Chocolate truffles

How about cooking up some tasty chocolate truffles and presenting them in their very own gift box? No one can resist some scrumptious sweet treats as a gift, plus they’re really good fun to make too if you enjoy indulging in a spot of cooking. There’s plenty of great flavours available, including the traditional chocolate variety or how about some different flavours such as chocolate orange, raspberry or hazelnut.

chocolate-truffles

Festive alcohol

This one’s a great idea for both the guys and the ladies – how about creating your very own festive alcohol for your secret Santa? Make some flavoured vodka such as rhubarb and custard although some people may prefer gin, and that’s totally fine because gin has that festive grace about it. Blackberry and apple gin is a bit of a classic, but how about mixing things up with pomegranates, strawberries or cherries? We’re certain this will be a big hit with your office secret Santa, after all, who doesn’t enjoy a cheeky bit of gin? Bottle it in a glass jar for a quirky homemade feel and complete the look with a rustic tag.

homemade-alcohol

Soaps

Homemade soaps make for a truly beautiful gift – you could even make a large batch whilst you’re at it and create some lovely Christmas presents for your friends and family too! There’s many varieties of soap that you could make, including coconut oil soap or a herby citrus soap amongst many others. There’s plenty of excellent recipes online that will guide you step by step through the process along with loads of different ideas. Your secret Santa really will love this thoughtful idea.

homemade-soap

Sweet Jars

Okay, so technically this isn’t 100% handmade, but it’s still a quirky little idea that you can give to friends and family that you know they’ll love! Check out your local pound store for some glass jars, or even pay some charity shops a visit to see if you can pick any up on the cheap. Once you’ve got your jars, head to the supermarket and buy a big selection of sweets that you can fill the jars with. Give the jars a good wash and let them dry before adding the sweets.

A good idea is to layer the sweets in the jars so you can see the different types clearly – alternatively, throw them in altogether and enjoy a colourful mix of everything. Make things personalised by using kitsch labels that are tied with skinny rope-like material! Strictly not completely handmade, but there’s definitely a touch of homemade pride with these and they make the most adorable gifts.

sweet-jars-compressor

Remember, if you’ve not yet organised your office Christmas party, then check out our incredible range of venues up and down the UK today!

The office Secret Santa doesn’t have to be a present buying minefield

As Christmas begins to creep up on us (I noticed DFS have started mentioning Christmas in their adverts, before we know it that Coca Cola advert will be on our screens), all that comes with the festive period starts to cloud your thoughts. With so much to consider, arrange and worry about, the last thing you probably want to be thinking about is what to buy a work colleague. Yes, I’m talking about the office tradition that is Secret Santa! As if the office Christmas party wasn’t enough huh?! Some people may find this a daunting and draining experience, but it doesn’t have to be!

First of all you’ll find out who you’ve got in the Secret Santa draw. For some people it feels like a lottery where there are only losers, but take just a few things into consideration and you’ll be able to unearth a present no matter who you have to buy for.

Type of person, how well do you know them?

Now you know who you are buying for, but how well do you know them? If they’re a casual workplace acquaintance you may have your work cut out a little bit, but you can still do this!

Take a look at their work desk, if they have a lot of ‘stuff’ then chances are you’ll be able to get away with something simple that will still be appreciated. For instance, a jar of sweets for the office sweet tooth, or a USB drink warmer for the office caffeine addict show thought, time and effort have gone into your gift.

If you’re lucky enough you may get a close work friend in the Secret Santa. I’ll assume you know enough about each other to be able to find a suitable present no matter the price limit.

Is there a price limit?

That leads me rather nicely onto my next hint. If there is a price limit this can make your life a whole lot easier, or even harder. If the limit is a low price, say £10 or even £5 you can probably get away with a fun present. That’s how I’ve always done it, if it’s £5 or under you can definitely go down the joke present route.

The best Secret Santa present I received for under £5 was a gold shower radio in the shape of a microphone, which my better half absolutely loved.

If the limit is a little higher then thought and time definitely needs to enter the equation. Like I’ve already said, a quick look at your colleague’s desk (or even their social media profiles) can provide you with plenty of ideas and inspiration. Hey, they might even have an Amazon wishlist, in which case you’ve struck gold!

Still stuck? Wing it

OK, not the best piece of advice to give, but if you are absolutely stuck just go for it. If your colleagues are a fun loving bunch (like we are here at Eventa!) then you can get away with buying almost anything for your Secret Santa. I’ve been with Eventa for a couple of weeks now but I already know that if Secret Santa makes an appearance that there will be some incredible presents doing the rounds.

No Secret Santa? No problem

Your office may forego the Secret Santa tradition, in which case you’ve got nothing to worry about. However, it won’t be quite as fun for your office come that last day before your Christmas break!

Hopefully these hints and tips will help take some of the stress away from buying your Secret Santa present, and make this time of year more enjoyable no matter who you’re buying presents for!

Bizarre Christmas Traditions

We’re all familiar with hanging stockings on the mantelpiece, opening the advent calendar and leaving mince pies out for Santa Claus, but there are some weird and wonderful traditions from around the world that other countries have when it comes to Christmas time. Here we take a look at some of the most unusual and where they come from.

Greenland

The people from Greenland have a delightful treat to tempt the taste buds at Christmas time. It consists of the raw flesh of an auk – which is a little bird that looks a little like a penguin and also known as a kiviak. The meat of the bird is buried beneath a stone to decompose, wrapped in sealskin, the whole process takes several months and results in a very pongy snack. Have a think about that next time you’re complaining about sprouts!

Portugal

In Portugal, they have an unusual tradition which includes sitting down for a large feast known as the “Consoda” feast. Nothing strange so far, except that extra places are set for guests who have passed away. Food is offered to the souls so that they might look after the family and bring them luck. It’s quite a nice thought, though just a little bit creepy!

Latvia

In Latvia, they spread out the Christmas presents, with one being given on each of the 12 days of Christmas beginning on Christmas Eve. We’re not sure we’d have the patience to last that long before opening our presents! On Christmas day, a traditional Latvian Christmas meal is brown peas and bacon, pies, cabbage and sausage… a little different from turkey and veg!

Norway

The Norwegians take no chances when it comes to anything spoiling Christmas day, and that includes pesky witches that might want to shake things up a little. How do you stop a witch? By hiding her broom apparently! Yes, all brooms are to be hidden in Norway on Christmas Eve… that’ll teach them!

Czech Republic

All the single ladies, now put your hands up… and reach for a shoe. What? Yes, in the Czech Republic, girls can tell their dating fate with this simple test. Standing on your front door, facing inside, throw one of your shoes over your shoulder. This simple, yet highly scientific prediction process will let you know if you are to be wed within the year. If the toe is facing the door then it will be the chiming of bells before the year’s end. Heel facing the door and you should get out there with the mistletoe!

These are just a few of our favourites, but trust us, Christmas is a weird and wonderful time of year, throughout the world!

Ideas for a Successful Secret Santa

You may want to organise a Secret Santa in your office this Christmas to be hosted at the Christmas party. For those who don’t know what one is, the idea is very simple and a lot of fun. Everyone who wants to participate has their names put into a hat on pieces of paper. Each person then takes turns to pick their name out of the hat. A token gift of a fixed amount is then bought for the person they have drawn out of the hat, but the sender never reveals their identity. It’s a fun and enjoyable way to give gifts to one another without the added pressure of everyone knowing who bought what gift. If you are organising we, we’ve put together some tips and ideas on what makes good gifts.

“Smellies”

These are perfect if you don’t really know the person that well. You can find a whole range of packaged items like these in most shops at Christmas time. They’re a great gift idea, and you can choose from a variety of styles, whether it’s luxurious bubble bath, or perhaps a home pedicure set as a treat for someone on their feet all day. One word of advice, don’t just buy someone deodorant – the theme should be luxury, not basic personal hygiene.

Chocolates

Another gift which always goes down well, and Christmas is the time for indulgence in food and drink. The best thing about buying chocolates for someone as well is that they usually get opened there and then and you can enjoy them too! Not that that is what buying Christmas gifts is all about of course…

Alcohol

This is better if you know the person, but you can find some lovely miniature gift sets with some lip-smacking tipples inside to match most preferences. You can keep it festively themed with a port or sherry, or perhaps you know they love their lager and buy them a bucket full! Christmas is a great time for the alcohol companies to release their best gift packages!

The Gadget / Gizmo

If you have someone in your office who loves their technology, then you’ll want to boost their collection with another gadget or thingummy. Whether it’s a miniature remote controlled car, or a key ring banjo tuner, the best thing about a Secret Santa is that the emphasis is usually on novelty items, so the more outrageous and funny gizmo you can find the better!

The aim of the Secret Santa is supposed to be fun, and remember that even if you don’t know who bought you your present; chances are they’re in the room when you open it, so practice your grateful look, the one you use for your aunt’s sweaters. Even if the gift is vile and you’ll be finding a bin for it straight away, that’s not the spirit of the Christmas party… so smile!