Now that I have your attention… But isn’t that what’s on everyone’s mind this holiday season? And saving money during the holiday season is really just a matter being creative. When you think about it, the things that really make the Christmas season special don’t have to be expensive – and might even be more meaningful if they’re not. One of the things that most surprised me when I moved to Spain was a very low emphasis on Christmas gifts compared to the material culture I had left behind. It was hard to get used to at first, but over the years I’ve come to see just how nice it can be to minimise consumerism. Not only do you feel less stressed, but gradually you learn to emphasise other aspects such as the chance to build family ties or even reduce the huge impact a consumer-oriented Christmas has on the environment. As a foreigner living in Spain I feel I save tons of money on food at Christmas simply because the price of a Spaniard’s favourite holiday ingredients goes up while my choices stay the same. Keep an eye on the news (great way to practice your Spanish) and you can see for yourself how the price of shellfish, “jamón serrano” and so many other delicacies goes through the roof. All it takes it to dress up a free range chicken instead of a turkey and you’ve cut costs right there. Serve it up with your favourite Christmas pudding with candle light and the sound of carols wafting in the background and you’ve got a special occasion. A booming economy encouraged many people to make travel a part of the Christmas season. Now, with the steep financial downturn, we have to ask ourselves: if people have travelled from across the globe to enjoy the wonders of Andalucia, why would we need to enjoy our holidays anywhere else? The weather is ideal and we have charming day trips just waiting for us on all sides. Finally, saving money really translates into slowing down. And slowing down is the number one way to enjoy life more. So, if the “crisis” is affecting your pocket book this season, try to relax, go with the flow. Forget about what you don’t have and can’t afford and enjoy what you’ve got.