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Frugal Living Christmas Ideas

Updated on October 4, 2013

Christmas Perspective

No season challenges frugal living like Christmas! We all want to buy gifts for our loved ones; we all want to decorate the house and tree, and we all end up spending way more than we wanted to or planned to. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way!

What follows are some suggestions to save money and still enjoy the holidays! Many I have borrowed from my childhood days, a time when life was simpler and creativity often found a way when available cash was in short supply. These ideas worked well then and there is no reason why they won’t work well now.

The secret, as always, is in changing your way of thinking. Money does not buy happiness, and the spirit of Christmas has nothing to do with retail shopping. Try these ideas this Christmas and see if you don’t agree.

Merry Frugal Christmas!
Merry Frugal Christmas! | Source

Re-think Christmas Cards

To be honest, our family does not send Christmas cards. They are expensive and postal rates are expensive, and for us it is a waste of money. So, what to do? The Age of the Computer has made this problem a non-problem.

· Construct an online Christmas card and email it to all of your family and friends

· Make a video and send it to family and friends; what a great personal touch this is.

· If you absolutely must send a card through the mail, then print one on the computer and give it a personal touch; so much better than a store-bought card.

Holiday gathering is all about family love.
Holiday gathering is all about family love. | Source

Wrapping Paper Is a No-no

Pardon me for being blunt, but the main idea of a gift is to show that you care; the gift is secondary to that display of love and affection. Third on the list, then, is how the gift is wrapped.

· Wrap the present in the comic pages from your local newspaper.

· Save gift bags during the year and re-use them. We have gift bags that are years old and we just keep using them over and over again.

· Save the gift wrap when someone else buys it and wraps your gift in it. Carefully unwrap your present and then fold the paper and store it for next year.


Christmas Decorations Do Not Have to Be Expensive

We never bought decorations for our tree or home when I was a child. No reason to when nature will provide all we need.

· Collect pine cones and spray paint them silver or gold. They make perfect tree ornaments.

· Collect fir boughs and make a wreath for your door.

· String popcorn for a great tree decoration. People have been doing this for hundreds of years and it still works beautifully.

· Use your kids’ artwork for decorations; this can be a year-round project that culminates at Christmas as you hang their artwork on the tree.


Clever ideas

Entertainment During the Holidays

Yes, everyone wants to go to the movies for the latest Christmas movie release, and yes, everyone wants to go out for a holiday meal, but we have found that simple is oh so rewarding. Try these ideas!

· Pour the family into the car and drive around looking at Christmas light displays in the yards of others. This is a win-win situation: they paid for the display and you see it for free.

· Get the family together and sing Christmas carols, or better yet walk around the neighborhood spreading cheer and singing carols.

· Get free DVD’s from the library. “It’s A Wonderful Life” is still the best Christmas movie and you can watch it for free. In fact, have a Christmas movie marathon!

· If you still have an overwhelming desire to spend money, then spend it on stuffed animals and distribute them to the kids in your local hospital. That is the true spirit of Christmas!

A great time to be creative and frugal
A great time to be creative and frugal

More great ideas

Gift Giving for a Small Budget

We can begin this discussion by saying that you should always budget for Christmas and then stick to that budget. There are just too many enticements during the holidays and too many reasons to spend. Set aside what you can afford and then stick with it.

· Agree with family members to do a Secret Santa gift exchange. Draw names so nobody knows who their Santa is, then set a money limit and buy that one gift.

· Make homemade gifts. They really do mean so much more because you made them. We make our own lavender gifts including necklaces and sachets, and they are wonderful gifts for very little cost. You can also make lotions, candles, soaps, or crochet or sew gift items.

· Re-use gifts. This is a tough one for many, but if you have a gift from last year that you just don’t like, then give it to someone else. It’s still new and might just be exactly what the next person wants.

· Again, make a video, that perfect gift where you tell your loved ones how important they are to you.

· Your children can make personal photo albums for family members, or make a craft gift.

· Take old blankets that you no longer use and donate them to the homeless shelter in your town.

· Make a Christmas photo album with pictures from past Christmases


Get Creative!

No, the holidays do not have to be expensive. There are so many ways to have fun, share in the love of family, and hardly spend a dime. Living Simple, remember, is all about quality of life, and there is no price tag on the quality of life.

One of the best Christmases this writer ever had was the year I dressed up as Santa Claus and distributed Beanie Babies to sick kids at the hospital. Now that was a season of giving I’ll never forget!

Get your whole family involved as you plan for Christmas. Brainstorm with each other about how you can save money and still have a memorable holiday season. This year, say no to the hype of the retailers, and say yes to the love and sharing that is an integral part of Christmas.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)


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