For years and years, I dreamed of having my own house to decorate, my very own Christmas tree to trim, and to host my very own holiday parties. And this year, this dream is finally a reality! For those who are new to our #InspiredOnOssington home, Dave and I purchased a century old home here in downtown Toronto, fully gutted it, and renovated it with our 4 bare hands. And after the long (and never-ending) journey of renovations, we’re finally in a spot to celebrate our first holiday season in our home.
As I began searching for all of my holiday must haves for our home and beyond, I came to the realization that the holidays really do rack up and there are so many things that cost a pretty penny (that I had no idea about).
Who knew that hosting a dinner party and buying tree decorations cost so much money?!
After coming to this realization, I started thinking about how I could manage our first holiday season in a way that wouldn’t dampen our celebrations, but also help ease the pain on my wallet (for December and beyond). The “first” of anything during the holiday season (First Tree, First Baby, First Home) can be super intimidating on both our brains and our pocket change. Together in partnership with my friends at PC Financial, I’m rounding up some of the best tips we’ve collected for our first holiday season at home. Hopefully, whether you’re celebrating your very own holiday first or not, it helps you save on your celebrations too!
Save Money During The Holidays
1RACK UP THE POINTS
Let’s face it, you’re going to spend money during the holidays. We plan for it every year and it always happens. Instead of complaining about it, I try my best to enjoy it! And a way to optimize what you’re spending on is making sure you’re collecting all of the points for it. If you’re not already collecting PC Optimum Points… what are you waiting for?! And if you are, we just learnt about all the incredible benefits that using a PC Financial World Elite Mastercard affords you. You get 3x the points on every single dollar you spend at Loblaw affiliate stores and the points you collect on everything will help with that January slump you might feel!
The kicker to the PC Financial World Elite Mastercard? There’s NO annual fees. I collect points on some of my other credit cards too, but they all cost an annual fee to use. And since Dave and I purchase basically everything from Loblaw affiliate stores, we’re definitely considering switching everything over. Between Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, and Joe Fresh, we could literally purchase everything on a PC Financial Elite Mastercard and get so many points to use back on our expenses. Happy New Year to us!
2PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
Dave always says I plan too far ahead… but when it comes to shopping, that’s definitely where my planning shines. Keeping an eye out for early sales and promotions (like a 20x the points event haha) can definitely help your wallet. We always make sure to keep an eye out for deals leading up to the holiday (and may have just gone a bit crazy at Shoppers Drug Mart’s 20x the points event a couple of weeks ago). In my defence, I have a lot of friends who love beauty products, so I did all of their gift shopping there!
3LEVERAGE ONE STOP SHOPS
Time is just as limited as funds sometimes and saving yourself time can also mean saving yourself money. Instead of wasting gas and time trekking from one stop to another to pick everything up, try finding somewhere where you can get it all. We love visiting our Real Canadian Superstore (for exactly that and exactly how it sounds). We’ve literally picked up our holiday home decor, our groceries, our party favours, and gifts all in one stop.
4PLAN A POTLUCK
Sometimes cooking for the whole family and friends of friends’ of friends’ can get costly. Definitely splurge on the holidays (it’s a celebration after all), but off-set that by encouraging everyone to bring their favourite dish. If you’re hosting, focus on the main and let everyone else help supplement that. We find creating a group chat to manage this is super helpful!
Dave and I love gifting over the holidays. One thing we’re trying for some of our holiday parties is planning a Secret Santa/Bring-Steal-A-Gift, so everyone can bring one thing and everyone leaves with something. You can set a budget or theme for yours too. We’re trying a “Holiday Yums” Secret Santa, where everyone brings a sweet treat to exchange. We’re swapping in these delicious and festive PC Salted Caramels (p.s. how cute is this box?! It doubles as an ornament)
I’m all for switching up home decor from season to season (after all, your home is the outfit you literally live in). To help avoid buying a whole new set for every season that passes though, try finding a couple of key statement pieces (like this Life At Home Lux Faux Fur Throw and two-sided Life At Home throw cushion) that stand out, but compliment your existing home decor. I love that these are festive, but can also last through seasons (even past the holidays).
Whether it’s your first holiday season in your home too, your baby’s first Christmas, or perhaps even the first time you’re hosting a holiday party, I hope these tips helped you out a bit. I know that the holidays can often feel stressful and expensive, but I’m committed to looking at the glass half full! Try to enjoy every moment, all the process, and the journey through the most magical season of the year!