Did we really need that life-enhancing TV purchased on credit card on Black Friday?

Black Friday

Black Friday - Credit: PA

I’m wondering how much longer I can avoid the fact that Christmas is now less than three weeks away.

I managed it quite well on Black Friday so passed up the chance to bag a life-enhancing flat screen TV, have a punch up with a total stranger and share in the £500 million credit card debt racked up across the country over the ‘sale’ period.

I even missed out on the shops’ second day of retail magnanimity: Cyber Monday. I’ve no idea what that one even is, but I suspect it involves more mass hysteria and a lot of people parting with a lot of cash they wouldn’t otherwise have spent yet somehow feeling they’ve done well out of the experience.

It’s just as well I didn’t venture out on either of those days. Who knows how it might have ended? I could have been like Louise Haggerty, a 56-year-old hairdresser who reportedly grabbed a Dyson Animal Vac (reduced from £319 to £159) after scuffles at her local Sainsbury’s meant she missed out on the 40-inch TV she had gone for. “I just wanted something,” she explained. I wonder if she’ll feel the same way when her post-Christmas credit card bill arrives.

Anyway, enough about all that. Christmas is even closer than it was when I started writing and I’m no nearer to solving the particular problem I have this year. How can I - or anyone for that matter - have a thrifty Christmas if a) you haven’t taken a vow of poverty; b) you have children and c) you haven’t been immunised against the aforementioned Shopping Fever, which is especially contagious in capitalist societies at this time of year?

My good intentions include budget setting, less gluttony and making gifts instead of buying them. But I’m worried that as December 25 approaches the numerous glitzy store displays will have done their job and, driven to desperation by hearing Noddy Holder shriek “It’s Christmas” across the airwaves for the umpteenth time, I’ll fall prey to the subliminal message that you can’t have a good Christmas without spending a fortune.

So I’m looking for your tips on how to have a thrifty, fun Christmas... before it’s too late.

• Email sheena.grant@eadt.co.uk or tweet using #ThriftyLiving.

For more Thriftty Living, see Sheena’s web page