The Christmas Experiment: The Results!

Christmas day is nearly done; just a few days remain until we sing 2018 to its sleep and consign the events thereof to the annals of history.

I planned my Christmas experiment with consent from Sarah (who usually humours me with my silly ideas / experiments) on the basis that we’d spend just our Nectar Points accrued to date (£60) and a £20 Gift Card for Marks & Spencer to buy gifts and food for the day (please do refer back to my earlier post for more details on the “cheat” I employed to make this work in practice). So, was the experiment a success? Short Answer? Yes. Sarah spent the £10 allocated to my gift by buying me one of my favourite films, Hackers, newly released on Blu-ray for £9.99 with free shipping from Amazon as Prime members. I overspent a little on her (not by much – hey, my game, my rules!) in buying her the new Lean in 15 Veggie cook book by Joe Wicks for £8.49, again from Amazon together with a small bouquet of flowers (£2.99), so just £11.48 in total.

For Joseph, we did spend more than the allotted £10 as we bought him a toy which cost £34.99 again from Amazon, who had the best price online at the time of ordering. It was something he’d been asking for for weeks but as a larger toy it was the kind of gift we’d only ever consider buying for Christmas or his birthday. I did check the local toy shops before buying online but it wasn’t in stock and on checking eBay, I did see that this particular toy was being sold new & boxed at above retail price by some unscrupulous people. We did however manage to sell some of Joseph’s old toys for a total of £50 and so this more than paid for the toy itself – we put the balance into his bank account for future purchases.

All told then, the figures work out thusly (running total in brackets):-

Andy’s gift: £9.99;

Sarah’s gifts: £11.48 (21.47);

Joseph’s gift: £34.99 (£56.46);

Bottle of Martini Asti: £6.50 (£62.96);

Food spend: £25.29 (£88.25)

LESS £35 from selling Joseph’s old toys: £53.25 TOTAL.

There’s lots of turkey, cheese and mince pies left too, so you could say that the actual spend for the day itself on food was even less, as the balance will be used up in the next couple of days.

Whilst some people will think we’ve been Scrooges at this time of year, we simply don’t see the need to spend money for the sake of it, because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do at Christmas. Joseph still had 15 gifts to open including one from my friend Miles, to whom in turn I gave the bottle of Moet that Sarah and I wouldn’t otherwise enjoy. We much prefer Martini Asti, a bottle of which is detailed in the spend list above. Joseph played with his toy from us all day and though he did play with the others too, his “big” present was his favourite. Had he not received anything else, I don’t think he would’ve batted an eyelid.

It’s important to remember that all said and done, Christmas Day is just that; one day out of 365. It’s unnecessary to go overboard, especially if that means going into debt as a result. The day also felt far less stressful.

Sarah and I do have prior form dealing with spends for “one day” events – when we married, we simply flew to Las Vegas on our own having planned & booked everything in advance (it was just 10 weeks between our engagement and Wedding and no, we weren’t married by Elvis). Our whole Wedding cost less than £5,000 including the Honeymoon 10 night stay at the Luxor in Vegas (which was in the region of £1,600 – we married in their Chapel) our Wedding rings and everything else including the photographer (and their expensive prints!) and spending money. I will add however that Sarah’s dress was bought by her Mum (£500) and the wedding ceremony was a gift from her Father (£300 approx). It was too much to ask that people came with us (we have a DVD of the ceremony which lasted sub 7 minutes – I cried pretty much the whole time!) and as such, we did everything our way with the minimum of fuss.

Now, let me finish this post off by saying that I’m not trying to preach, just offer an alternative to the commercialised narrative that we’re exposed to each year around the festive period. Christmas should be about our loved ones, family time and being present, rather than giving them. If you celebrate it, I hope you had a wonderful & Merry Christmas.

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