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Tips for 'making' this Christmas the best ever

Published: 21st November 2011 13:04

With soaring inflation and utility bills you may think Christmas cheer would be the last thing on the mind of most parents, but it seems spending on presents for the kids is one thing Mums and Dads are just not willing to compromise on.

Computershare Voucher Services (CVS), the UK's largest dedicated childcare voucher provider, has surveyed over 1000 parents to ask them how much they plan to spend on presents for their children this Christmas.

They found that despite increasing financial pressures, parents are refusing to scrimp on gifts, with 16% revealing they expect to spend over £300 in total on their kids' presents this year. A further 19% say they'll be shelling out between £200-£300 this holiday and 5% say they are planning to spend over a whopping £500.

"Christmas can be tough on the family bank balance, but even when budgets are squeezed parents still want to provide all they can for their children," says Julian Foster, managing director of CVS.

"The important thing is not to be left having to pay the price for Christmases past."

A recent survey by HSBC* has shown 21% will be borrowing money to pay for presents, while others will be relying on their overdraft, payday loans, personal loans and borrowing from friends and family.

Julian added: "If you're a parent, then make sure you are making the most of all financial schemes and benefits you are entitled to, such as childcare vouchers, which can save a family up to £1866** per year - a huge amount to be able to add to the Christmas present fund.

"Also, consider other ways you can make savings this time of year. To help parents, we have put together these simple ideas of fun ways for families to come together and really ‘make' this Christmas the best yet."

CVS' tips for ‘making' this Christmas the best ever

Spending less can often mean giving more, especially when it comes to presents for relatives such as grandparents. Here are some ideas for ‘making' Christmas:

- Get handy - Handmade Christmas cards are fun and easy to make, highly personal and will always be well received. One idea to try with the children is to create a design using an upside down hand print to become Santa's face and beard. Stick on eyes and add rosy cheeks to bring extra charm to the design.

· Get cooking - Stained glass window biscuits make a beautiful and edible Christmas tree decoration. Use seasonal biscuit cutters to create trees, stars, bells and present shaped biscuits then cut out an identical shape in the centre of each biscuit and pop in a boiled sweet before putting in the oven. Remember to make a small hole at the top of each biscuit so you can thread ribbon through for hanging, then bake and decorate with icing.

· Get foraging - Pinecones can make a festive and charming decoration. They are versatile and can be painted and hung on the tree or around the home. Place in silver bowls/cups/candlesticks and top with glitter covered cardboard stars as tabletops; or even use them to decorate the cheese board and fruit bowl.

· Get snappy - Collect together photographs from Christmases past and from members of the family. See how far back you can go by involving grandparents, and see what precious stories and anecdotes can be uncovered along the way. Copy the images and use them to make unique place settings or gift tags,

Computershare Voucher Services is the largest dedicated childcare voucher provider, handling childcare vouchers for over 100,000 working parents every month, via 12,000 organisations.

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