A British mum has revealed how she will save thousands of pounds this Christmas – by refusing to buy people presents.
Heidi Ondrak, 51, from Plymouth, used to splash out over £1,000 during the festive period but this year, as the cost of living crisis rages on, has decided to ditch the shopping altogether.
Branding Christmas as a “big marketing construct”, the mum will “never again” spend her hard-earned cash on gifts for family members, which in the past has seen her splash out £50 per person.
The only exception is her two children, Daisy, 13 and Archie, 15, who will receive a few packages but nothing new; all the gifts will be bought at charity shops or car boot sales.
“The gifting tradition is insane, I don’t need anything, neither do most adults,” Heidi told NeedToKnow.online.
“What’s the point of the stress and racking up credit cards and debt just for one day of the year?
“I am not religious and Santa isn’t real, it’s all a big marketing construct to make us feel compelled to spend money.
“It’s not worth bankrupting yourself for one day.
“Christmas is not about consumption and greed, marketing just has us believe that and our kids are targeted.
“I refuse to spend my money playing into this any longer.”
The mum-of-two has also slashed her kids’ budget for the festive event.
In the past, she used to spent £1,000 on her children alone, but this year, has given them both a budget of £200 – with all gifts being second-hand.
She said: “If I had very small kids I would get toys at the car boot and sterilise, kids grow out of stuff really quick so it’s usually in mint condition.
“My kids want clothes and electronics, I’ll buy refurbished tablets and phones online and clothes.
“I will let them have a budget, if and when I find things at the charity shop that is boxed or new with tags I will pop that away for Christmas.
“I usually get bags and tops for my daughter, while my son wants protein and gym-related things and very often I have found unopened protein powder in date at the boot sale too, so I will keep an eye out.
“Just explain how budgets work to your children as they get older.
“As for younger kids, just buy fancy boxes and recycle toys and games from charity shops, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace and markets.”
As well as saving money on her own Christmas shopping, Heidi has some tips to help other families slash their festive bills.
From swapping the holiday meat to scrapping your oven, here is some savvy advice from the super saver.
She said: “Pool together with another family; previous years, me and my friend pooled our resources and our families ate together.
“Buy cheaper meat, turkey is so overrated, get a chicken, it can be cooked in the air fryer, the veg is cheap.
“There is no need to go mad, top plates up with extra roasters, don’t go mad with tons of desserts, make a meal plan and stick to it and always shop with a list.
“I ate out the last few years at about £75 a head but will cook at home this year and as no one really likes turkey I will buy a chicken.
“Wrapping paper can be repurposed if it’s been saved from last year.
“What I do throughout the year is buy neutral wrapping paper for birthdays and use the same roll at Christmas.
“My decorations will be reused from previous years and the tree lights won’t go on unless they are battery-operated.”