The True Cost of Celebrations
Aside from Christmas and birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter and Father’s Day are the most celebrated occasions around the world. And although they have great meaning to us, they have quite another for retailers, because when these dates fall, these occasions mean a chance for business to make lots of money.
This is perfectly demonstrated in the Infographic – Cost of Celebrations – from financial solutions specialists Baines & Ernst. In the UK alone, Valentine’s Day is worth £2.4 billion, while Mother’s Day is worth £1.5 billion, Father’s Day is worth £1 billion and Easter accounts for 10% of UK chocolate spending for the whole year! Popular gifts for lovers include £467 million on jewellery and £87 million on fancy underwear. As you’d expect, Mother’s Day is the biggest event in the cut flower industry, where business increases by 40% and over 7 million bunches are sold. Dad’s get £198 million worth of tools, appliances and DIY goods, but the most popular gift is actually a tie!
Whatever the occasion, there seems to be an emphasis on how much you spend, but during a time of austerity, it’s important to remember that it is the thought and effort that really matters rather than how much you spend. With the country on the verge of a triple dip recession, people understand how hard times are financially, so huge expensive gestures of love are not always expected. If you’re on a tight budget, it’s time to get creative, so here is some advice for the thrifty individuals who still want to give a thoughtful gift…
For your partner
Buying a shop-made card is very easy and quite often is the quickest way to give loved ones a token of appreciation. However, whilst getting a Hallmark Valentine’s Day card is always lovely, getting something which has been made personally is a lot more meaningful. It’s not difficult to make a homemade card and if you choose to do so, you can make it very personal to the two of you. Rather than just a generic romantic image, you could perhaps use a favourite photograph of the two of you to decorate the card.
And why stop at just a card? Anyone can buy themselves a shop-bought present, so giving a gift that money can’t buy is the most thoughtful thing you could do. Write your loved one a book of ‘vouchers’ they can cash in at any time. Be creative – perhaps a back massage, a night of babysitting, a favourite cooked meal or even control of the TV for the evening! Think about what your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife or partner would really enjoy and what you could do for them as a treat… without moaning!
For your parent
One of the most precious things you could do for your mum or dad is to thank them for the great childhood you had, and what better way to do this than with sharing your memories with them? Whether you create a photo album with pictures of the life you’ve shared together or a scrap book filled with photos and notes or even with a home video with special messages from all the family, your parent will be truly touched.
Meals are always a popular choice, but rather than share a restaurant with other people, why not do something more personal? A family meal at home is perfect, or you could have a buffet-style gathering and ask other family members to each bring a dish. Or, you could organise a family picnic and games in the park or drive to a lovely country spot, enjoy a walk and grab a spot of lunch.
In the UK, 90 million Easter eggs are sold each year, which means each child on average receives 8.8 eggs – that’s a lot of chocolate! And when you consider that 19% of kids say they make themselves ill by eating too much over the Easter holidays, do they really need that many? Make Easter more about games and fun than mountains of chocolate – why not spend time together painting boiled eggs and planning egg hunts or egg rolling games with the kids? Or if your children do get lots of eggs, why not melt them down and make some cakes for all the family to enjoy? You’ll have fun baking together and they’ll still get a chocolate hit!
Whatever you do on each of these celebrations, just think a little differently and you could end up giving the greatest gift ever… and still having money in your pocket!