With Christmas barely a week away, magic is in the air… but most people are keeping a *very* close eye on finances. Like me, you may be counting the days until the December pay-check and the green light to finally top up your savings account and put a stop to the spending spree.  Like me, you may also be very conscious of the fact that gifting doesn’t entirely stop after Christmas!

I bet that you too know a few people who curse their January birthday just a bit! With a Bday stuck between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, can one hope for more than unwanted Xmas gifts, easy vouchers from high-street shops and discounted chocolate? I like to think the answer is yes!

We may all be exhausted and gifted-out after the holidays (not to mention, trying to save up for Valentine’s Day and, you know, the rest of the year), but that doesn’t mean our loved ones shouldn’t receive all our care and attention for their special day! So, how do you keep spoiling your friends and family when you don’t think you can spend one more penny? Here are some ideas …

First of all, remember it’s all about planning. It may be a bit late to mention this, but perhaps for the years to come you could factor January birthdays (and other special occasions) into your Christmas budget.

Yes, that requires some organisation, but come the New Year, you’ll be happy you anticipated and put enough aside to surprise your sibling, parent or bestie with those new noise-cancelling headphones they’d been dreaming of, or a sumptuous afternoon tea in a charming hotel.

Put some effort into gift buying. Birthdays are just as much about surprising your loved ones as Christmas is – this is their very own day, and you shouldn’t be afraid to go all out. But! Fairly enough, you may not have the biggest budget out there. So, it’s time to be resourceful!

If you’re thinking of finding gifts from the Boxing Day sales, don’t just grab the fist glitter jumper or sweets hamper from half-empty shelves. Head to smaller independent shops which may be offering discounts on original and hand-made goods – these will feel much more personal than generic high-street gifts.

Remember, the internet is your friend here. You could find amazing bargains after Christmas time! Since you can do this in the comfort of your own home, spend some time on it and choose gifts well.

Try and find something that will help your loved one start his or her new year with a bang! Think classes to help them improve their skills (language, photography, drawing …) – you could find dancing classes under £10, or online language courses under £50!

Why not go for a nice meal in a new restaurant, a spa treatment, or a day out at the museum? An experience is always a memorable gift (plus, they may already have enough new toys from Christmas!), and you could find these budget experiences and many great birthday gifts for less than £25 on sites such as Groupon.

Do organise something for them! Come the new year, many people have had enough of festivities, and those born in January often pass up on parties. That’s no reason not to have a friendly gathering! Show your loved one that friends are still willing to give their time, and organise a little birthday bash.

If late nights and dance fests are not an option, why not plan for daytime get-together? Book some tables at a nice coffee shop, or invite your close one and some friends at yours for a relaxed afternoon of chitchat, snacks and pampering!

Account for New Year’s resolutions, and opt for healthy treats and an assortment of herbal teas; or, you could plan an active afternoon and bring the group on a hike, an introduction to indoor climbing, a trampoline centre… The giftee will appreciate the time and effort you put into planning the day, and will enjoy quality birthday time without the craziness that comes with holiday celebrations!

*Collaborative post

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