Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Although celebrating Christmas can be very expensive, you can also celebrate Christmas on a budget and still have an enjoyable holiday. Early planning is really the key, but even if you have to create a great Christmas in a rush, it can be done with a little time for thinking and a list. For easy organizing, you can divide the celebration aspects of Christmas into four main groups: decorations, gifts, food and events.
Events would include low cost or no cost seasonal activities to help celebrate Christmas on a budget such as taking a tour of the Christmas light displays in the neighborhood or going to a free Christmas concert. For snowy climates, building two snow walls in the yard as opposing forts and dividing family and friends into two teams to pelt the other side with snowballs can make for an afternoon of free fun for all. You can serve hot chocolate and Christmas cookies afterwards when everyone is in the house warming up.
Buy the types of cocoa or cocoa mix and Christmas cookies that you can afford. Consider your options and choose the best ones. Rather than buying a package or two of hot chocolate mix and one or two packages of store bought cookies, that same money might be better spent on a can of real cocoa powder and some ingredients for baking your own Christmas cookies. Look through some cookie recipes online or in cookbooks to find delicious ones with simple, inexpensive ingredients.
If you're short on time, you can make rolls of refrigerator cookies when you do have some time and then just slice and bake them when you need them. As a bonus, your kitchen will smell wonderful and homey each time you bake a batch and it's an easy way to celebrate Christmas on a budget. Plus, simple homemade cookies placed in an inexpensive Christmas tin or glass jar make great budget-friendly Christmas gifts that those with a sweet tooth are sure to appreciate.
Other inexpensive homemade gifts include simple knitted scarves and unique, handmade Christmas ornaments. If you sew or are a crafter, look through your scrap fabrics and leftover beads and trims and use your imagination to create special Christmas gift ornaments. If you need to buy gifts, a great way is to start early in the year and buy little items on sale that you can put together in different combinations into baskets or bags and give those as presents.
Decorations can be pricey, so it's a good idea to keep things simple. Think about the places in your home that could best display some Christmas decorations. Even a few Christmas ornaments hanging from ribbon at different heights can look beautiful in front of a kitchen window and this is a great way to help celebrate Christmas on a budget. Something as simple as fresh apples mixed with pine cones in a wooden salad bowl can make a low cost centerpiece for the Christmas dinner table when it’s flanked by a candlestick on each side. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and have fun when you celebrate Christmas on a budget!
One thing I used to do when I was low on money at Christmas was what I call "creative re-gifting". Instead of going out and buying new Christmas presents, I'd look around my house for things I could re-gift to others, like magazine collections or DVDS I no longer watched or crafts I made just for fun. I knew my closest friends and relatives would understand my financial situation, so they were probably going to accept those gifts in the proper spirit of the season.
I'm glad I'm in a better economic situation now, but sometimes I think I was happier when I celebrated Christmas on a budget.
When I was living on a very tight budget, I bought a lot of my Christmas presents at one of those "everything's a dollar" stores. You'd be surprised at the kinds of things you can buy there, like magic tricks, toys, snack foods and wrapping paper. I didn't have too many people to buy for at the time, but I did want to get my friends and relatives a little something for the holidays.
One Christmas gift idea on a budget is to buy different kinds of snack food, like cookies and nuts and trail mix, and put together a package for starving college students. Each snack only cost a dollar, and five or six different varieties made the package interesting.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!