In the run-up to Christmas, you have Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Manic Monday and all kinds of other activities committed to either make you miserable because you cannot afford to buy what’s on offer or distract you and move you off course regarding your financial life goals for your new reality after a life-changing traumatic transition like Divorce. Maybe as part of your healing, reinvention and transition journey you are now running your own business, running your ministry, managing the new dynamics in your home, gone back to studying or even being much more effective at your 9-5 job. Any or all of these new ventures as part of your strategy to achieve financial independence and fluidity.
Whatever it is for you, don’t be surprised that many of your clients, mentees, suppliers, prospects, colleagues, partners, stakeholders, fellow students, team members, flock, bosses etc have also been bitten by the Christmas bug and everything seems to be quickly grinding to a halt, many may not even be settling their financial obligations, contacting you to reschedule payment to the new year. No man is an island and try as you might you may find yourself getting more unproductive and de-motivated because of this as the Christmas break looms, business everywhere seems is becoming slower, with many of your clients, suppliers, prospects, colleagues, partners, stakeholders, team members etc now more focused on either pulling sickies at work to shell out instead for last minute Christmas pressies or unnecessary online purchases rather than paying your invoices, collaborating with you on some venture or simply delivering quality and timely services.
If you are like me, you are always trying to figure out last minute presents too. I love Christmas and all this season has to offer, but sometimes the time gets away from me and I am running out to Bluewater or any other shopping mall I can get to not, a week but sometimes a day before Christmas.
Not I this time ….says Zina 🙂
After getting a divorce, you may be finding yourself a bit disoriented, overwhelmed and of course a little tighter financially than you have been previous years.I know that was my reality years ago when my girls were still quite young, right up to their pre-teen years. Money, in particular was tight. For fear of not being able to buy them beautiful Christmas “pressies”, I would spend the whole year shopping for my daughters and then hiding them away, so much so that when it came to present wrapping time, it was no mean feat. I had bought so many gifts, sometimes even forgetting where I had hidden them around our home. Honestly, you would think I had twenty children and not two. I had fretted so much, I had maxed up my credit cards and really spent more than I could afford or budgeted for. That was me then not now. Jesus remains the reasons for the season. I definitely no longer overspend nor do I fret over Christmas.
I have been where you may be right now, trust me I know the compelling pull of Christmas adverts, the Christmas songs playing in the background in every shop, bus and train you find yourself in, the pressures from your family to buy the newest fad and you look at your bank balance or in your wallet and you become depressed, forlorn and anxious.
Believe me, when I say, there is no reason to fret about this, there are plenty of options for you if you are on a budget. Options for coming up with last minute Christmas Present ideas that your friends and loved ones will love.
Plan Your Budget
Let’s start from the top, whether or not you have been able to save throughout the year for Christmas and chances are that perhaps you may not have done so, what with the state of the economy, the uncertainty of Brexit if you are here in the UK with me and of course the issues in the world at large, at this time of year, when it comes to Christmas shopping, it's always a good idea to plan and put yourself on a strict budget. Give yourself a total pound or other currency amount and then decide how much you'll spend on each person. If you need money for entertaining, decorating, food, or other things, budget for that as well.
Remember to check in with yourself from time to time to make sure that you remain on budget. While it may be extra work, it'll save you the stress of dealing with big credit card bills in the new year come 2018.
Pinterest...or the internet in general...has truly changed the world as we know it. We have the ability to find out how to do just about anything at our fingertips. With all of this knowledge easily accessible, it is feasible to make handmade gifts for family and friends.Handmade gifts are given straight from the heart, will definitely provide memories that last a lifetime. Not only that, they become important reminders that the Christmas season is not only just about spending money.
If you are known as an excellent cook, you may want to consider making baked goods. You can make a few different types of Christmas fresh baked cookies, pies, hot sauces or jams and package them up to give to friends and family.
My background is Nigerian and one particular Christmas special is Chin-Chin.
Chin-chin is a popular Nigerian deep fried sweet dough snack. Chinchin can also be baked though the baked version isn’t as popular as the fried version. Chinchin can be prepared hard, soft or in between. The girls and I like ours soft with just a bit of crunch.
If you would like to recreate it at home for your family, neighbours and friends, here’s the basic recipe for the “in-between” version; not too hard or soft but definitely crunchy. If you prefer you could make hard Chinchin, by not adding baking powder and the egg. Also add more flour to the dough when mixing; to achieve the firm dough consistency.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour (1/2 kg or 500 grams)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar ( 8 tablespoons)
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter - softened 8 tablespoons or 1 stick or 113 grams
- 1 teaspoon orange zest - grated from one orange (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- A pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Oil for frying - I use canola
- In a bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, milk and orange zest then keep aside.
- In a large bowl rub in flour, butter, baking powder, ground nutmeg and salt with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
- Add egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to form a dough. Transfer dough onto floured surface and knead for one minute.
- Cut a small portion of the dough about the size of a golf ball then roll out to 1/8 inch thick and cut with a knife or pizza cutter into squares or thin strips. You could also use a pasta maker to cut it.
- Heat oil in a large pan on high heat for about 10 minutes (for about 1 1/2 litres of oil) then reduce to medium and start frying chin chin in small batches. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan so your chin chin doesn't soak up the oil. Fry each batch until golden brown then remove and place on paper towel to drain the excess oil.
- When chin chin cools completely, store it for up to a month in an airtight container. Enjoy as a snack with juice, milk, or your favourite drink!
Perhaps you could go adventurous and make different flavours like coconut or chocolate flavoured chin-chin, then you could gift wrap them in small cute jars and tie them with red bows to represent the spirit of Christmas.
D.I.Y. Beauty Gifts
A few years ago, my friend's cousin made little jars of body scrub. She was able to get all of the ingredients at a fairly low price and she made many gifts with those ingredients.
This is another time when Pinterest could be helpful. With just a quick search, you can find ideas that meets the needs of the people in your life. Other examples include:
- · Hand sewn quilts or crocheted scarves
- · Framed photo collages
- · Personalised scrapbooks and journals
- · Custom made jewellery
Shop on Deal Sites.
While it can end up taking a great deal of extra time, make sure you do your homework when it comes to shopping for deals. Prices can vary greatly from vendor to vendor. Luckily, the internet can be your best friend when it comes to shopping for deals - Groupon and Wowcher readily come to mind. The only words of caution I would add would be to thoroughly do your homework, read the reviews and read the small print. Online shopping is great, it allows you the luxury to do a comparison bowse then shop quickly and easily from the comfort of your own home.
The Gift Of Experiences
This could mean a number of things. You could give someone a gift card or gift certificate to a new restaurant, you could plan to take a family member or friend somewhere, or if you are talented in a certain area you could offer them your services for free.
For example, if you are a massage therapist you could offer to give your friends and family a free massage or a few free massages.
Give Of You Time.
No matter what you can or cannot afford, there’s always one gift that you can give to others: the gift of your time.
If you enjoy providing gifts to others, then this is really a wonderful gesture. Don’t dwell too much on the amount of money you have, especially if it is really tight for you right now.
Christmas will only be as commercialised as you allow it to be to you. Although it costs
nothing, your time is the most precious gift of all.
There are many ways that you can give of yourself to others this Christmas season:
- Be a Mother, A Father, A Sister, A Brother, A Friend who listens
- Spend time with a loved on
- Help someone with their household chores - perhaps your neighbour
- Babysit for a mother or father who really needs a break
- Let others know that you are available anytime they may need your help
The most important thing to remember is that it is not the cost of a gift that matters, it’s the thought that really counts. At the end of the day, your friends and family will be touched that you thought of them. Sometimes, they may like a gift you made just for them better than a gift you purchased!
Whatever you do, take the process in your stride, it is all part of your Believe and Live Again recovery, bounce back and transition journey from being a “we” to becoming a “me”.
If you would like to have an informal chat about it, don't hesitate to get in touch on: +44 208 938 3672 and myself or a member of my team will gladly schedule a Complimentary Believe and Live Again Discovery session or a 30 minute "Forgive and Let Go" consultation and together, we could be embarking upon the Believe and Live Again 5 R's journey to heal your heart, outgrow your challenges and let go of the past so that your glorious future can finally emerge.
Once again, I invite you to contact me or schedule a time to talk, call: +44 (0) 208 938 3672 (24 hours) or click on the pink "Contact" at the bottom right-hand side of this page and this will take you into my "Let's Talk" contact form. Kindly complete the form and you will get a callback.
In the meantime, Keep Smiling, Keep Strong and Keep Believing (that you can).
Best Wishes and God's Blessings
Inspirational Woman of the Year Award 2017
Best Selling Author – Reinvent YOU! How to Move from “We to Me” After Divorce
Multi Award Winning Serial Entrepreneur
Divorce Reinvention, Abuse and Breakup Recovery Coach
World’s Number 1 Mum
Zina Arinze, the proud mother of two wonderful gifts - her daughters, is a bubbly woman of faith fondly known as the Divorce Reinvention Queen, International Speaker, Best Selling Author, Radio Broadcaster, Talk Show host, Multi-award winning Business Start-up expert, Serial Entrepreneur and founder of Believe and Live Again: a Post-Divorce Lifestyle Coaching, Abuse Recovery and Reinvention Mentoring service helping female professionals, businesswomen, entrepreneurs and women of faith around the globe, swiftly recover from the grief, trauma and stigma of divorce, separation, domestic abuse or relationship breakdown by giving them clarity for their radiant future so that they are able to smoothly transition their mindsets from “we” to “me”, reconnect to their positive of self, regain their feminine power and walk in the healing restorative power of God. A lawyer by training and armed with an MBA and membership of several professional and entrepreneurial boards, Zina has over 15 years in IT Project Management Consultancy, Training and Capacity Building experience from the Public, Private and Not for Profit sectors. Zina is also very passionate about Gender Empowerment, building lasting relationships and encouraging the discovery, development, and deployment of hidden talents.