Make a Thrifty Christmas into a Merry Christmas
Make Your Christmas Merry Even If Money Is Tight
I grew up during the 1950s and at times the family struggled with lay offs, bills, a recession and a house full of children. Despite that, our Christmas holiday was a happy time for us all. Perhaps the lessons learned by my thrifty parents during their childhood in the Great Depression prepared them for those lean times.
I'll share with you some tips for turning your homemade Christmas into one of the best the family has ever had.
(photo: Christmas card made with stamps by my sister, Shannon Marie Hyle)
Unplug the Christmas Machine
I read this years ago and it made a big impression on me. It's time to read it again to refresh my memory for why I don't want an overly-elaborate, overly-expensive Christmas.
Christmas Fun in the Good Old Days - My sister and dad - a 1950s Merry Christmas
Turn Off the TV and Get the Family to Interacting
Sure the kids want to watch the Charley Brown Christmas Special, but get them away from the commercials. Those persistant ads just build Christmas wishes and dreams that Santa won't be able to fill this year. Borrow some Christmas videos from the public library and watch those together (no commercials).
Get the children involved baking cookies, making gifts for each other, and putting up the decorations. These are things they will remember years later as family fun times.
I was sold when I saw the words easy-to-make. We are all busy and my craft skills aren't the greatest. That's why I need a book like this.
Will This Year Be a Thrifty Christmas for You?
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Free Activities for Your Merry Christmas
for a frugal holiday
Communities have many free events during the holidays. To find these, check through the newspaper event listings, look on community bulletin boards, check online and call around to likely places (church, library, museum). It doesn't cost money for the family to attend the downtown tree lighting ceremony, to go Christmas caroling with a club you belong to, or to attend the Christmas Eve church service.
Book for the Thrifty Christmas - Available on Amazon
Check at the public library to borrow these books for free. Most libraries will have a big display of Christmas books and craft books all ready for you to browse.
Can You Sew? Make Unique Gifts for Family and Friends
Make Some Gifts - Homemade = Love
Here are craft projects tested by me or my mom. Just follow the instructions to make some one-of-a-kind gifts that you won't find in a store. Perhaps they'll be handed down for years to come.
Check eHow and WikiHow for Crafts to Make for Gifts
- Make Clothespin Reindeer Ornaments | Discovering Mom
This easy craft can involve the whole family. The reindeer made from clothespins look great on your tree and make wonderful gifts for friends and neighbors. Here's how to make them. Instructions Difficulty: Moderately Easy Things You’ll Need: 3 woode
Making Christmas Presents Together Makes Great Family Memories
Nancy Carol Brown Hardin from Las Vegas, NV told me "As a single mother, my children and I made painted cookies together and we also made wooden painted Christmas ornaments. They loved doing it because they could personalize them and see the ornaments on the tree. They still have fond memories of both things...they didn't realize that we were poor and I was trying to find ways to make their Christmas Merry."
Switching to Homemade
Helping Others Makes You Feel Good
"The richest people in the world are not millionaires. They are volunteers."
Volunteer for the community Christmas dinner for the poor. Everyone in the family can help serve food, clear tables or other assignments. It gives them a chance to see some people who are in great need, even homeless and to feel good about helping.
Find Ways to Contribute Your Time and Caring
- Random Acts of Kindness - Teaching Our Kids to Make ...
Teach your kids how to make the world a better place one random act of kindness at a time!
- Random Acts of Christmas Kindness
It's a sad Christmas if someone lacks gifts or food. When others see that and help them out, that sad holiday becomes a joyful one. A random act of kindness gladdens both the giver and the receiver.
- Teen Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteering helps teens become more involved in their community, explore their interests and gain valuable new skills. This article looks at volunteer opportunities for teens, along with the benefits and challenges of teen volunteering.
- Volunteer Projects for Teenagers
This is a pretty good list of Volunteer Projects for teenagers. The Salvation Army,Adopt a Highway and the Humane society are a few reviewed here.
I used to make Christmas decorations at school when I was little, but I think doing this as a family tradition so you have something unique to remember each year, maybe a family photo for each Christmas turned into an ornament, is something that will be cherished for years to come, and it's inexpensive too. Christmas gifts don't have to be expensive, it's really the thought that counts after all, and the memories that follow year after year.— Tony Payne from Southampton, UK
Christmas Decorating on a Budget
- How To Make a Homemade Christmas Tree with Branches
Christmas Trees. How to Make Homemade Christmas Trees. Step by step instructions to Make Your Own Christmas Tree
- How To Make Paper Snowflakes (Step-by-step)
A paper snowflake is a very festive craft during the winter and also one of the easiest to make. Here's how to make a classic 6 point snowflake out of paper with video and step-by-step instructions. Fun DIY paper snowflake Christmas crafts.
- Make a Pinecone Pixie Ornament
Gather pinecones, acorns with the caps on and follow my directions to make a cute ornament.
Read Christmas Stories
Get these books from the public library and read some aloud or have family reading time in the evening. Turn off the TV and let everyone read on their own.
Check the titles listed below or get old favorites.
Best Christmas Pageant Ever (great to read aloud)
You have the whole family laughing (yes, even dad) when you read this super-fun book. Just imagine the worst behaved kids you can think of, then imagine them in the Christmas pageant. Chaos follows.
A Cup of Christmas Tea
Light a candle, settle the family with some hot chocolate or cups of tea and start reading this to them. It will inspire all of you to reach out to someone who may be lonely at Christmas.
This story is great for reading aloud as the program for a club meeting. I heard this done at a Rotary meeting and it lends itself to a dramatic reading.
Find Simple Craft Projects to Stretch the Budget
More Craft Ideas - for special gifts that are inexpensive
- How To Make a Scrabble Necklace Using a Scrabble Til...
Would you like to learn how to make this beautiful piece of art(scrabble necklace) using a scrabble tile, an image of your liking and a few other things along with a little bit of technique? I will teach you how to do it right here on this lens! I...
- DIY Christmas Gifts and All Occasion Gifts
This page has a whole bunch of good ideas for anyone who likes to give and make budget friendly gifts. Have fun and enjoy your creative side!
- DIY Gifts for Teachers
Remember a gift does not have to be expensive to let a teacher know they are appreciated; simple is probably a good thing. If you still can't decide, a homemade thank you card from your child is fine!
- 101 Budget Gift Ideas Under $10
The wallet is empty, the budget busted or you live on Social Security... whatever the reason, you need to find inexpensive Christmas gifts for under $10. Maybe you have a gift exchange at work with a $10 maximum or maybe you just have a really long..
- DIY Gifts Under $10 (Many under $5)
Many of my DIY gifts started out as one thing and ended up another. In fact several of the DIY gifts shown on this page came about by accident.
More Tips for a Frugal Christmas
- Free Christmas Gifts To Give
Everyone likes a good deal and having free Christmas gifts to give to others is cool. The economy has been tight so saving a few coins by employing freebies will work for anyone. Free Christmas gifts can keep the cost of Christmas gifting to an all..
- How to Make a Free Christmas Wreath
Christmas is an expensive time of year for most people, so I try to economise as much as possible. A couple of years ago a friend gave me an idea for how to make a free Christmas wreath, and I've been developing and perfecting the...
- 20 Easy - Cheap DIY Christmas Gifts
These 20 easy-cheap DIY Christmas gifts will take the stress out of Christmas. Just see what you can make for the price of a cup of coffee. Included are ideas for stuffing stockings. Enjoy!
- Christmas on a Budget
If you are of the millions who find themselves struggling around that time of year, because you just cannot seem to locate the extra money. You are in luck, there are some thrifty ways to have a remarkable Christmas, on a budget.
© 2009 Virginia Allain