By Rachel Wait


Christmas with the kids - Top tips to make sure your kids have a magical time

All parents want to make sure Christmas is magical for their kids. But at a time when the cost of living is soaring, how do you make it special without spending a fortune?

According to ecommerce delivery technology leader Metapack, festive spending is set to drop by more than £4 billion this year as belts are tightened. Much of that fall will be made up by gift shopping, with many people deciding to solely focus on buying presents for kids to stop them from missing out. You only have to think back to your own childhood to remember how much more special Christmas is for children.

There are still plenty of budget-friendly ways that you can treat the kids to the Christmas they deserve. Here are some top tips for you.

Enjoy family days out for less

Taking a trip out as a family can quickly become expensive. By the time you’ve factored in travel, food, and the event itself, your bank balance will have taken a serious hit. But there are ways to cut down the cost of days out.

  • Always take plenty of food and drink with you if you can – that way, you won’t need to buy any extras while you’re out. Even if the weather is rubbish, you can still shelter under an umbrella, a tree or even in your car to eat your picnic. Give it a festive theme if you like, with turkey and cranberry sandwiches, mince pies and mini yule logs.
  • Make the most of any deals and discounts you spot. If you’re travelling by train, you’ll be able to benefit from 2 for 1 tickets at certain attractions. These include Cadbury World, the London Eye and Legoland, all of which will be particularly magical at Christmas time. You can view the full list of attractions here.
  • Visit free museums in cities such as London, Manchester and Birmingham. Some of these host Christmas events in the run up to the big day. Last year, for instance, the London Transport Museum offered an interactive ‘Fix Santa’s Sleigh’ experience, the chance to meet Santa himself and a festive trail around the museum.
  • For those families hoping to see the panto this year, check whether there are any operatic and dramatic societies local to you that are performing this Christmas. Ticket prices are generally kinder to the wallet compared to the big theatres, and performances are sure to keep your little ones entertained.
  • If you’d prefer to stick to the bigger venues, you can make your trip more affordable by booking group tickets if you can find some friends to go with you. Don’t forget to check out sites like Groupon too, as these often offer great deals.

Save on Santa experiences

Meeting Father Christmas is often a festive highlight for kids, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Most local garden centres have Santa grottos in the run up to Christmas that can be cheaper compared to other options, like the big department stores. Alternatively, many shopping centres offer free Santa grottos, although you may need to pay extra if you want your child to receive a gift.

If you can get into London easily, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland charges a small fee to enter, but entry to Santa’s grotto is then free of charge. Or, if you have National Trust membership, be sure to check out what’s going on near you as several estates offer visits to Santa’s grotto for a small fee.

To keep things really cheap, another option is to club together with friends and get two of you to dress up as Santa and his elf and pay doorstep visits to the children. All you then need to pay for is a small gift from Santa.

Boy meeting Santa
Christmas gifts under the tree

Cut the cost of buying gifts

Of course, one of the biggest expenses of Christmas involves the giving of gifts. But again, there are ways to cut costs. Keep an eye out for discounts and sales in the next couple of months to help you bag a bargain or two. Here at Savoo, there are many fantastic discount codes available at your favourite retailers which can help you cut the cost of toys and other items - plus, we donate up to 50% of our commission to charity.

Stores such as The Works and The Entertainer regularly offer discounts on Savoo, while PoundToy can be ideal for stocking fillers. If you’re looking for something a little different, My 1st Years offers a wide range of personalised gifts for younger kids, while Red Letter Days has a variety of experiences and days out for older ones, including theme parks, junior driving and animal encounters. You can often get a discount on your first order if you sign up to their newsletter too.

Finally, remember that Christmas gives you all-important family time, whatever your budget. While our top money saving tips from the experts can help you to save money, spending time with loved ones should be the most magical part of the festive season!