Christmas is a time to celebrate the people in your life, eat, drink and be merry, blah blah blah. If only it didn’t have to be so expensive.
From buying gifts for colleagues, friends and family to shelling out big bucks celebrating the actual day itself, don’t be surprised if you end up depending on your year-end bonus to get you through to 2018.
So does that mean you need to coop yourself up at home over Christmas and New Year, all in the name of saving money? Not necessarily. Here are five tips for enjoying the Christmas and New Year festivities without going broke.
Start early when buying or DIYing gifts
Buying Christmas gifts can be a major expense. Not only do you need to find thoughtful and appropriate gifs for your entire team at work, your partner/kids/parents will also expect memorable presents from you.
When it comes to gifts, the earlier you start, the better. You’ll have more time to comparison shop, take advantage of sales and come up with cheaper alternatives. Ok that might be a little late now, but if you intend to DIY your gifts, you’ll need enough lead-time to be able to churn up those hand-made goodies. How early or late you start will also determine how elaborate your DIY gifts are.
Research where to go and what to do
Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are the absolute worst days of the year to go to town without a clear idea of where you want to go and what you want to do. The crowds are overwhelming, every F&B outlet will be jam-packed with people or charging obscene prices, and you know what it’s going to be like on the MRT and bus. This is not the time for spontaneity.
So no matter how free-spirited you might be, make concrete plans for these public holidays and the eves thereof. The best and least stressful ways to celebrate Christmas and the New Year are in private residences, away from the crowds, but if that’s not an option, you’ll want to make reservations at your restaurant/bar of choice ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
If you’re celebrating at home, alert your friends so they know what to bring along
Hosting a Christmas party at home doesn’t have to mean slaving away for hours in the kitchen or desperately placing orders on Deliveroo.
You can get your friends to chip in by requesting that everyone bring along some food or drinks and turning the event into a pot-luck meal. But this only works if you plan in advance, so everyone can decide ahead of time what to prepare.
Planning at the last minute can mean that people show up empty-handed, and the onus will then be on you to keep everyone sufficiently fed and hydrated.
If you’re partying, pre-game at home before heading out
You don’t need us to tell you how high alcohol prices are in Singapore. Well, they get a lot higher over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Let’s just say you shouldn’t expect to find any happy hour deals on Christmas Eve.
So pre-game at home or at a friend’s place before heading out. Not only do you save on the amount of alcohol you’ll consume when you’re out and about, you can also spend some quality time with your crew without getting jostled by huge crowds, which will most certainly happen if you intend to celebrate in a public place.
Plan how you’re going to get home ahead of time
If you won’t be home when the clock strikes 12 on Christmas or New Year’s Day, you’re going to have a hell of a time trying to get back unless you have the stamina to wait till morning.
That’s because the roads are jam packed as revellers try to get home after the countdown. Good luck trying to hail a cab, and try not to gag when you see surge prices on Grab and Uber.
Always have an escape plan. Most years, the bus and MRT run later on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, but given SMRT’s recent gaffes we’re not sure if the same privilege will be extended this year. Check the timing of the last buses and trains at your location and plan how you’re getting home ahead of time.
If you’re going to be leaving with friends who live in the same area, arrange with them ahead of time to share a taxi or Grab/Uber, or car pool if one of you has a vehicle. Don’t let the first hours of 2018 be ruined because spent them stranded by the side of the road.
How are you spending Christmas and New Year? Tell us in the comments!