Once upon a time I loved Christmas shopping. Each year I would carefully curate a collection of gorgeous gifts for my family and friends.

And then I had kids. And so did most of my friends. In the five years since, my Christmas shopping has consisted of a well-intentioned early start followed by a last minute mad dash to the finish line involving a post-bedtime trip to the shops for Christmas late trading. I can’t say it speaks much to well thought out gifts and it certainly doesn’t provide much opportunity for saving money!

Considering that the average Australian is buying for 9 people at Christmas time and spending roughly $525 (or $700 if they are parents), I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling the effects of the mad Christmas rush on my both my mental state and my wallet.

My Christmas shopping challenge

We also have multiple December birthdays in our family so this year I set myself a challenge:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Do it on a budget

I went in to Big W armed with $250, a gift list of 9 people: my 2 daughters, my parents, my husband, the dog, a Kris Kringle for a friend plus gifts for two of our friends kids, with just 30 minutes to shop!

The result

Here’s what I managed to pick up, all for $240.60 so under my $250 budget (all prices are in store prices on the date of purchase).

9 Christmas gifts for less than $250

For my girls I bought LEGO Disney Elsa’s Market Adventure ($25) and LOL Surprise Kids Safe Headphone ($25). My husband (AKA kid #3) is getting a Superman Pop Vinyl DC Comics Figure ($19). For my Dad I picked up the Taken Trilogy DVD Set ($16) plus a box of Personalised Cadbury Favourites ($8). I was actually surprised to hear that DVD sales are on the rise!

I wanted some beauty products for my mum so I found two little sets – The Art of Makeup Colour Smokey Eyes Collection ($10.50) and Profusion Cosmetics Eye & Cheek Artistry Make-Up Palette ($27.95). For my friend I chose How To Be Perfect by Holly Wainwright ($16).

For my friends Harry Potter fan I managed to find a Harry Potter Night Light Alarm Clock ($28) which I am not ashamed to say I want for myself. And I know you can’t go wrong with Hatchimals so I also picked up a Hatchimals Colleggtibles Collector Case ($20).

I spent $25 on our dog. He needed a new bed so I got him a Perfect Pet Medium Round Pillow Pet Bed plus a little Christmas toy stocking.

Because I had a little money leftover I also bought myself a little gift of some Christmas pyjamas ($10) plus I spent $16 on wrapping paper, which got me more than 30m – should last me a few years!

Christmas shopping on a budget

To be honest, I didn’t think it would be so easy to stay under a budget. I can’t remember the last time I was able to go shopping on a budget and not end up forking out extra cash. I do shop at Big W regularly so I knew I would be able to get great pricing but I was in and out in less than 30 minutes with spare change to boot.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels like Christmas is getting crazier by the year. Paring it back this year has done wonders. Here are a few tips:

  • Bigger isn’t always better. It’s so fun to spoil the kids, and if you have the money and desire to do it then go for it! If you don’t, focus on what they will love that won’t have you paying it off for years to come. You might like my 60 gifts under $60 Christmas gift guide!
  • Write a list. I don’t do anything without a list. Know who you are shopping for and keep track of what you buy them, recalculating your budget as you go.
  • Wrap as you go. Rather than staying up until all hours on Christmas Eve, wrap presents as you bring them home (remember to use a different paper for Santa!). A good tip is to have a different colour wrapping paper for each member of the family or to use those sticky gift labels so you aren’t guessing who a gift is for on Christmas morning.
  • There is nothing wrong with regifting, as long as you don’t give it back to the person who gave it to you! Before you regift, check inside the box that there isn’t a card or note from the original gifter. At the end of the day, it is far better for a gift to go to someone who needs it rather than ending up in land fill! This is also a cute way to reuse your old Christmas cards.
  • Handmade gifts are also a beautiful touch. You could bake cookies for your kids teachers and pop them in Christmas tins you buy from Big W or perhaps a ceramic pot you get the kids to paint plus some seeds they can plant. Here is some Christmas craft inspiration to get your started.

Christmas gifts 2019

Good luck with your festive season shopping and Merry Christmas – I hope Santa is good to you!

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How I did my Christmas shopping for 9 people with less than $250