In the red: Last-minute shopping doesn't have to be a panic
Saturday 18 December 2010
And so here it is, my final column before Christmas. Usually, come this time of year, I would be complaining over how little I have in the bank, despite having just been paid. Christmas presents, I would be saying, they really bleed you dry.
Not this year. Oh no. Totally different kettle of fish. Have I suddenly had a pay rise? Become better at managing my budget? Managed to do all my shopping on a shoestring. Alas, no. I just haven't done any yet.
This is your cue to scream, collectively, "Panic!" But scream all you like. I won't be budged. "Last-minute" is my watchword this year and I don't care who knows it. True, last time I said this I wound up in HMV buying my dad a Kylie Minogue calendar on Christmas Eve (it was, I feebly explained, "ironic"). But this year, there is one crucial difference: I know what I'm getting. All I need do is arrive in store and hand over the cash. Minimal shopping time equals minimal expenditure; this has been the mantra that I have taken to repeating.
If only the same could be said of my Christmas party. People came, incidentally –which was an excellent and somewhat unexpected, turn up for the books. Some 40 guests arrived in total, all crammed into my postage stamp flat. And it was jolly good fun (too much you might say; I managed to miss the final hour, conceding defeat to the forces of mulled wine. Then again, the end of a party is so tedious, isn't it?) But it wasn't cheap; social occasions never are. There's the booze, the food – if it's December, the festive decorations. Unlike many costs, though, I tend to think that these are worth it. After all, life would be miserable without friends and family and wine-fuelled gatherings. What would be the point of the weekend if we closeted ourselves away? Certainly, the hangovers, the mess, the money all add up – but then what, after, all is the point of living? Or, for that matter, of Christmas?
So this year, if there's one thing I've learned about the festive season, it's that money spent on getting together trumps money spent on gifts. Who wants some frantically chosen John Lewis thingummybob when you can have canapés and smokers' corner? Who needs stockings when you can have sausages (mini ones, of course)? Who wants presents so long as there are party poppers? Sounds great, doesn't it. Now, let me just practise that one for Christmas morning.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...
Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...
£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...
Day In a Page
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000