Christmas is a matter of weeks away, and retailers are already getting into the swing of the silly season, with baubles, tinsel and holly adorning shops across the country.
New research from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a 1.2 percent increase in retail spending in the month to September, seasonally adjusted. Electrical and electronic goods retailing soared an impressive 9.2 percent, with the iPhone 6 release a suspected driver of this increase.
With spending on the rise, many Aussies will be falling back on their credit cards. But how do you wow friends and family with fabulous Christmas presents without getting yourself into debt? Here are some ideas that won't break the bank!
Christmas is a time for sweet treats, so why not wow relatives with a do-it-yourself brownie kit?
You'll need sterilised mason jars, some coloured twine, cute fabric, thick cream card and a calligraphy-style black pen. Don't forget your favourite brownie recipe, either.
Measure out the required dry ingredients and layer them in the jar — think flour, soft brown sugar, chocolate chips and cocoa. You'll need to make sure the jar is filled to the brim to keep the layers in place. Then you can place a square of colourful fabric over top and secure it with twine. Finally, write instructions for brownie preparation on squares of card. Usually this is as simple as mixing the dry ingredients with egg and oil. Tie the card on with twine and you've got yourself an adorable gift!
Candles make a great Christmas present, but you don't have to fork out for the trendiest offerings.
Pick some candles in simple glass jars and package them in hand-decorated brown card boxes, before tying with a silk ribbon in black, red or navy blue.
The personalised touch will make the present extra special.
It's tempting to buy pre-made hampers at department stores or supermarkets. But there can be hefty mark-ups, stinging your savings account.
Instead, make your own hampers. These are great presents for relatives — if you can't afford to splash out on numerous nieces and nephews, why not give a hamper that your relatives and their kids will all enjoy together?
Items like herbal tea, high-quality olive oil, chocolate are good additions. Transparent cellophane and brightly coloured ribbons will make the hamper a gorgeous sight!
There are many websites that will print your favourite photos onto canvas boards, both large and small.
Provided you order them with sufficient time for production and delivery, these can make for thoughtful gifts, without having to spend big bucks.
Finally, if you've got a friend or family member with a green thumb, why not give them a potted plant?
Dip the lower half of a terracotta pot into mint green, candy pink or lemon yellow paint, then flip it upside down and allow it to dry on newspaper. You'll get a fun ombre effect — pop in a cost-effective perennial and you've got a perfect gift for grandparents, siblings-in-law or even mum and dad.