Christmas Cheer vs Christmas Fear

December 27th, 2012 - Posted by in Blog, Debt Free in One year

At Christmas it’s the time honoured tradition that rings true for so many singletons this year I traversed the land in order to “visit” my parents in the Isle of Ireland.

I am NOT a mad cat lady!

We are a simple family really that usually buys no gifts for each other and barely manage to get the tree up by Christmas Eve to put anything under it ( although my Dad spoiled the surprise this year and told me he got me a new teacup and saucer with cats on it – mere testament that my parents are resigned to the fact their “near 30 year old” daughter might be hanging around for the next few Christmas’s and might like catsGREAT! ).

We would rather sit and chat while the wind howls outside and rain beats down in epic proportions than watch mind numbing TV. It’s been a while since we had a white Christmas but I wish and hope and press my nose against the window in vain anticipation of those little white flakes just in case this year is the year.

My household in Northern Ireland holds my penny-pinching mother and my wondrously frivolous father. And in the NSK festive house I have made the open fire today. As you can see from the picture Mother is drying citrus skins which makes wondrous fire lighters and snap, crackle and pop their hearts out (..we are proper skin flints!). However there was that one incident whereby my mother threw more than a “couple” on the open fire and risked etching herself a new hair line. We don’t talk about that any more though!

If this isn’t penny-pinching to a superior degree then I am Mrs Clause!!!

At the heart of the lessons taught among many uses for citrus peels, they have brought my brother and myself up to realise that….one cannot live on credit cards and overdrafts alone!”

Hence Christmas is a quiet affair, bringing us together for that one time of year where our little family can catch up and contemplate the gifts we didn’t buy each other as we stopped gift giving when I was about 15 years old.

I can’t say I wasn’t a little disappointed now and then when my mother and father wouldn’t know what to buy me or just plain couldn’t .

Perhaps what they did give me, which was the knowledge of good and evil financial doings, is a much better gift  that many folks have lived without. And are now suffering for???

Fantastic one liner for a gobby 15 year old!                                  

So nothing fills me with more dread when I see folks running like lunatics to and fro stacking their cupboards ready for the familial invasion that only this season can attest to. Contemplating pay-day loans and credit card debts to buy presents and a small fortune on a mammoth turkey can’t truly make a person happy really! (May I just add that my wondrous 86 year old Granny who has no money-saving inclinations whatsoever has purchased an organic 18lb turkey that only cost £28. Ho ho ho!)

However terrifying the prospect of challenging other women in the aisles of mayhem I managed to drag my carcass out of bed early and accompany / protect Mother on a trip to Lidls today for bargains! 10 bottles of non-alcoholic Shloer later for our tee-total Irish family ( yes you heard it hear first ) and I had had enough. There were rumours that last year the fire brigade were used to filter people in and out of Asda because it got so bad. People were actually taking things out of other peoples trolleys!

It ain’t cheaper folks…

It astounds me dear reader how much people spend on their Christmassy endeavours. I on the other hand see it as a wind down to the year just gone and the desire to start the following 365 days on a better note. I always ensure no credit cards and no overdraft exist when I enter the following year. Good eh? Shame I manage to rack it up throughout the year leaving me with a tradition that I can’t break and a slight shaky panic all wrapped up ready for New Year’s Eve!

Now having watched Home Alone many times as a child I used to wish for a Christmas like they had on that movie..

  1. With lights bright enough to blind passing pedestrians..
  2. Masses of gifts all mainly for ME
  3. Home-Made cakes, bread, buns, scone and pies….
  4. Home-made decorations ( stringed popcorn and paper chains anyone?)
  5. Oranges with cloves shoved in them that you forget about until February,
  6. Mistletoe with a man under it not Granny..
  7. and Candy canes..that match my Christmas elf socks?

However it is something that is still attainable for me – once I clear my debts by the end of the year, start another challenge to get my own house / shed / tent and possibly extend my family beyond my cat. But what I will NEVER do is get into debt over Christmas. Now dear reader – how much have you spent on Christmas this year?

So instead of the excitement of a Christmas Home Alone in my house, we have the following…

  1. A very large turkey for a supposed “vegetarian” household.
  2. A mangy second hand Christmas tree with 10 year old decorations.
  3. A smelly Labrador with fluffy reindeer antlers on his head..(he loves it really!)
  4. Balloons that we inadvertently on purpose throw at Granny for cheap entertainment.
  5. Rain and lots of it…
  6. Delightfully colourful “discussions” over what to watch as we only have one TV..
  7. ..and FINALLY… a few days in the field which got me into debt in the first place in order to “test” Daddy’s new spade. TREATS!!!
Despite the Christmas I have lined up and the fact I may just depressed my readers, I shall still make it fun. We don’t need lots of things, expensive gifts and enough food to make us sick in order to be HAPPIER…. it is however bath night and I’m first in the water this time (ha ha ) so I bid thee goodbye and a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!………If all else fails at least I know I am having a better time of it than those poor cretins on Eastenders!


  • Abundant1972

    Ha Ha Ha!!! Your post made me laugh so much – your poor Granny!!! Target for balloons and spurned under the mistletoe!!! I’ll be over next year to defend her honour!!!

    What made me laugh was that you received a cat cup and saucer!!! I made the mistake of telling my mother I liked cats one year when I was younger… and since then I get presents also adorned with felines! I stopped commercially doing Christmas many years ago (mainly because I choose to celebrate Solstice) and it is soooo nice to be out the rat race that time of year! LOL re. ASDA… I can well imagine it gets like that! However – my dear Mother will insist on buying *me* gifts and this year she surpassed herself. I received a child size mug with a cat on, a facecloth with a cat transfer on, a tea towel with a cat on, a pocket diary with a cat on and a wall calender with – you guessed it – a cat on. I keep telling her I lodge with a REAL cat now – she no longer needs to provide substitutes!!! I’m a 40 year old guy by the way. Check out my ‘not amused’ face —> :-/

    Now – I’ve been following NinjaSavingKat (NSK) for a few months now and trust me when I say she rode forth into December with a challenge called ‘December Debt Destruction’!!! She threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to have 20 no spend days and a reduced grocery budget and to plan my spend days in advance. This girl means serious business. Tough??? You bet ya! However – having a structure and someone like NSK watching over you actually really worked!!! Yes I had the odd slip but she’s not about blame – just encouragement. I’ve found a whole new way of living – that actually makes living frugally – fun! Going it alone can be damn hard work – having a NinjaSavingKat was much more enjoyable…

    Maybe you could make a cat-themed membership pin badge to go along with the rest of my lovely (!) cat-themed life!!! Now there’s an incentive to sign up if ever there was one!!!

Featured on

Featured on
Visit press page »
Blog Authors
Blog Categories