Christmas will be on the 25th December this year, so it shouldn't come as a complete surprise to us but somehow it always seems like it is. I am going through my plans just to be on the safe side.
Areas of expenditure
Decorations - tree, lights etc - I have an artificial tree (it always seemed to be to be a bit mean to cut down a living tree just for 10 days of decoration)and an eclectic mix of decorations from previous years. Each year I allow myself to buy one new items, by which I mean one new bauble or whatever, rather than one new box of colour co-ordinated Christmas deccies. My tree is lovely ( I think) with old wooden toys, fat angles and loads of lights (Ikea sale). Aside from the tree we just have a couple of wreaths, dried 'stuff' for the front door and a fabric wreath for indoors. Lots of lights around the picture rail/edge of ceiling. All of the lights are low power usage from Ikea and were all bought in after Christmas sales in previous years.
Food - My family and I share the cost and cooking of Christmas between us, We each entertain us al on different days and we also bring along different things on the other day too, so our grocery shopping isn't much more than usual. I also need to stock up on goodies for making sweeties and biscuits. Last Christmas I was ill I didn't make anything at all, so this year I am likely to go a bit over the top.
Cards - I only send them to people I wont see, who are not on email. The half dozen that I have should be enough for this. I cant see the point of giving cards to people that you see everyday.
Presents - Husband and children, still thinking about this. Rest of the immediate family, we have decided to keep to the £10 per person budget and gift must be creative or homemade or just plain weird. We also exchange with two other friends families who have children. One family we have agreed to stop presents with but the other is not so easy, even though we live in different countries and mainly the postman benefits not any of the children. We don't send presents to anyone further afield in the family. I send something weird to my best friend but I do if I find someone special and I don't if I don't, if you see what I mean. We also have a secret Santa present deal going on at work. You can opt in or opt out but it is good fun and we have a limit of £5, so I am in.
Events and going out - Free lunch from work, affordable lunch from work, bring something breakfast at work (I just realised I have no social life, I just go to work, hmmm.)I don't need any new clothes.
Charity etc - I will give to charity the money I save from cards (but not the stamps -that is my actual saving). At work we will organise the breakfast within the team but any left overs are auctioned off to the rest of the building, money to charity again. I will buy bits and pieces from charity shops and I will give the unwanted stuff back there again. If you have a bit more time of your hands then how about volunteering.