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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.

Source
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.

Source

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.

Source

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
Source

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

Source

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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    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Morning billybuc - excellent frugal ideas for Christmas. We had to come up with some during Christmas so many years, as it would seem that all of vehciles would break down right before Christmas, and so we had to use that money to get vehicles repaired. Well, we finally had to let the 1988 Chevy Blazer die, poor thing. LOL Great hub. Enjoy your day. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I do believe we have had a Christmas or two like that.....talk about get creative for gifts! LOL Thank you so much my friend; I see you have a new hub so I'd best head over to your site and see what you have treated us with this morning.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, my grandmother was very much a huge promoter of living frugally and for Christmas did so many of these things you described here, including wrapping with the Sunday Comics. She also took us when we were small to see the other Christmas lights in our neighborhood. She would have loved this article. I have voted up and shared all over, because I loved all your suggestions (you seriously brought back some great memories of my grandmother!).

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Christmas becomes a time of frantic panic. And people spending money on things they cannot afford. And kids who get tons of gifts open them and play with them and often forget them a few hours later. It does become a holiday of I WANT instead of sharing this time of year with cheer and fun. I love this time of year and hope for snow which we rarely get. I love your ideas and if people would just use them..they wouldn't be paying for Christmas the next 12 months. Voted UP.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 4 years ago

      Morning Billy! I know I didn't beat Janine. Your ideas are wonderful. We can be creative and forget about expensive gifts. I think the best thing is to share part of our riches with the needy. Drive by with our kids, and let them give to shelters or the homeless on the streets. I know for a fact that depending on our upbringing, our hearts will say, " yeah, right!" But we will be blessed somehow. On a September 11, this hub came perfectly on time. Have a good one Billy!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      All wonderful ideas! Another idea for gift wrap (especially for kids) is using cheap paper or a roll of butcher paper(I've had the same roll for years) and letting kids color or paint it. Heck adults could make some lovely wrap themselves ^_^

      I had a look at your lavender jewelry... beautiful!! I really like the necklace pictured will all the strings coming off it but I didn't see it available for purchase. I've bookmarked it for when I start my holiday shopping... which is coming up very soon now that I think about it!

      Bravo on another fantastic hub! Voted and shared!

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Great ideas here! I am the "Queen of Cheap". I save and reuse boxes and ribbon. I stopped sending cards out long ago. Instead of exchanging gifts last year, my family pooled out money and donated a scholarship to a high school senior who was going to Vet. school in honor of our beloved husband, father and grandfather. I wrote a hub about my daughter wining 18 college scholarships.

      I voted this Hub UP, and will share in all the right places.

    • profile image

      SilverGenes 4 years ago

      You've covered some really good ideas in here! And I agree that some of the most frugal Christmases are the ones we remember most fondly. Years ago, I saved Christmas cards from people near and dear to me so I had a box of lovely memories dating from childhood on. One year when things were very tight, we picked up some dollar store ribbon and attached them to the cards to hang on the tree. It meant more than all the store-bought things ever could. Another year, we made gold painted walnuts (not for eating!) and cut stars from pie plates. They looked great! Oh - I almost forgot about the fabric gift bags! It's a great way to use things that are worn out but have a little sentimental value. Stich up a bag, add a drawstring and voila! Now I have more ideas from your hub and can hardly wait to make this a warm and loving Christmas :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, we use these every Christmas! Everyone knows which gifts I give because of the comics! LOL By the way, they still love the gifts so I guess it makes no difference how you wrap them! Thank you dear friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, that's how it used to be for me....frantic panic. No longer...now I love Christmas on my terms, and those terms are in this hub! Thank you my friend!

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      kelleyward 4 years ago

      Another great hub packed with money saving ideas. Voted up and useful. Kelley

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Joseph! I hope some day you and I can meet, and sit and share talk and laughs. I would like that very much!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Sasha! I love your idea about the butcher paper...fantastic! And thank you for your kind words about the lavender....Bev does a great job with it!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, the Queen of Cheap...I love that! Yes, we reuse everything too and it makes no difference to our loved ones when they get the gift, which is usually handmade and definitely frugal. :) Thank you my friend; I don't remember seeing any hubs from you lately.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Silver, those are some great ideas that you shared! Thank you; I love that you hung the cards on ribbon!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Fabulous suggestions. Thanks for featuring my craft hub. I think when we take out the commericialism and the stress of making everything "impressive" we can really enjoy the magic of the holidays. Awesome hub!

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 4 years ago from South Carolina

      Glad to see you're getting a head start on the Christmas Season so readers can more effectively plan frugal, yet fun and meaningful ways to celebrate.

      Just reading many of your suggestions brought back great memories of homemade ornaments and gifts.

      Also, I agree that computer technology has made it easier than ever to personalize cards and I absolutely love getting video movies from relatives and friends. Some of them are absolutely amazing.

      Loved this and voted up across the board.

      Hub Hugs,

      Gail

      BTW: I bet you made an awesome Santa. Could just see the faces of the sick kids lighting up as you distributed the popular Beanie Babies!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelley, thank you my friend and have a great day!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tammy, I had to feature you since you got left off of the Thanksgiving hub; when I think of crafts I think of Tammy! Thank you my dear!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Gail, that may have been my most favorite Christmas; you are right, the faces on those kids was priceless. Thank you my friend; funny how many of the frugal ideas are ones we lived with when we were children!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Sorry to be a little late today..just brought my doggies for a walk! I adore the printed card idea... I like making my own on the computer and it also allows creativity. There are many egreetings sites too. Things are quite easy these days!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Wonderful hub! The Christmas I remember best as a child was when Mom was single and didn't have much money, so she made all our gifts--stuffed animals, decorative containers out of jars and little boxes. It was special. Thanks for the reminders. I love this hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, you are never late! :) Thank you and now start planning for Christmas; it's right around the corner you know.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's great Vicki.....how come I never see any hubs by you anymore....are you writing? time to check!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 4 years ago from Western NC

      Awesome ideas. I'm going to link this to my "Green Christmas" hub. I love your ideas on keeping it simple.

    • heartexpressions profile image

      heartexpressions 4 years ago

      Love it! Simple = Less Stress!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Cyndi; it won't win HOTD but it might be handy for someone. LOL Thanks for the link; if I remember I'll do the same....need to write that down!

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 4 years ago from California

      Hi Billy!

      I love your articles, but this one hit home and just read it out loud to my kids right before they went to school. We never had money for gifts or those little things others consider must haves for Christmas. This never deterred me from trying to bring some magic to my kids.

      I knew that I had to cater to their senses in order to complete the experience.

      1. Music- classic Christmas music was always present (background to opening presents) never TV.

      2. Homemade cookies and hot cocoa- They are in high school now and still expect this every Christmas morning, freshly baked cookies and hot chocolate with marshmallows.

      3.Home made presents- This turned out better than intended. All of my kids know how to sow, knit, draw, carpentry, cook, and mastering the art of turning other people's trash into treasure. This year my 16 year old daughter is making scarves, she is been working on them for 3 months. My son, made small jewelry boxes for his sisters, shh... is a secret.

      4.Tree decoration with what we have- small toys, old Christmas cards, beanie babies and even mismatched jewelry.

      5. I always make the table center pieces and door decorations. My kids call me "The Pine Cone Lady", they were a little embarrassed of me picking up pine cones, it wasn't until their own friends complemented the arrangements that they learned to appreciate them.

      6. Respect tradition- Ever since my kids were toddlers, we always watch the movie Dr. Seuss " How the Grinch stole Christmas". Singing along and making impersonations of some of the characters.

      7. Charity work- This is a tradition in the family since 2001. Is important to show the younger generation, that even if they think they have nothing, there is always someone out there that gives thanks just to be alive another day.

      I know, that even after I am gone, my kids will remember those special moments forever. Take care!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Heart, I like that equation, and it is so accurate! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ana, I love the Christmas you just described! What great traditions in your family and you are right, when you are gone your kids will remember forever. I think that is so cool! Thank you for sharing those memories!

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Up and awesome. I love this Hub. Christmas is becoming a financial freakout, and we're none the better for it. Recycling gifts is a great idea. I think your ideas about decorating are teriffic. The most memorable Christmas we ever had was when I was a (poor) law student in Chicago, a long way from home. We bought a scraggly Charlie Brown Christmas tree and decorated it with flat wood ornaments that cost next to nothing an had to be painted, which is what we did.

    • profile image

      summerberrie 4 years ago

      Billybuc, this brought back memories from my childhood too. We were not allowed to rip through the wrapping paper because my mom would fold it up and re-use it along with the bows. She really got a lot of mileage out of that paper! My mother in-law got really impatient with me one year while watching me spend "way to much time" wrapping a present. She'd say the goal is to get it covered and move on. I took it to heart and now I really do just "get it covered"! Thanks for jarring the memories. Great hub. Found it on my feed because mary615 shared.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      An interesting hub on the continuing quest to simplify and conserve, bill. You show your dedication and constant attempt to share the best of ideas and suggestions. I, for one, listen and appreciate.

      Five years ago, I made an informal announcement to my family and close friends. After much soul searching...and in my own attempt to simplify and be an "example" of Household Budgeting Sense....I told my sons and their families that they were to take the money they may have spent on Gram and Gramp....and as a "gift to us"...deposit into their kid's college accounts. We, likewise, would be sending "checks" to them, to either save for the kids or spend on them for necessities.....please no toys, if you don't mind.

      Other than this, our Holidays will be spent giving of our time, love and home made items to be shared with family members as we make our Christmas visits. One day will be set aside to give to or do for a charity....and the balance of the Holiday week, for rest and relaxation.

      I am happy to say, this was well received and has worked out beautifully. No more craziness....shopping, wrapping, delivering, lists, cards, mailing, nonsense a or OVER-doing......but focus on the real, true meaning of the Holiday. HOW did we ever drop that ball?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rfmoran, exactly. Two years ago I had the ugliest tree...it cost five bucks and was missing so many limbs....LOL....and I loved that tree and I loved decorating it with pine cones....it is the spirit, not the money, that makes Christmas special.

    • RobinGrosswirth23 profile image

      Robin Grosswirth 4 years ago from New York

      Love this hub too. I have a good idea that I used as a lesson: everyone brings in a piece of clothing that holds a memory. Each piece is stitched together to create a family quilt. On the quilt, each member places their own 6 word memoir http://www.smithmag.net/sixwords/. The quilt then should be used for:

      1. Covering and comforting a family member in illness

      2. A birth

      3.Celebrations

      This creates a lovely tradition.

      Great hub, Bill. And, you can wrap gifts in old maps not being used. It makes a cool covering.

      How about giving journals and have each person write a story to share on the holiday?

      You have a great fertile mind.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Summer, thank you for telling me that Mary shared; I appreciate that shout out to Mary. And I'm glad you enjoyed these ideas; there are thousands of frugal ideas for decorating; my main goal was to remind people about frugality and hopefully get them thinking about a simple Christmas where they concentrate on family and love.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, I absolutely love those ideas and traditions and hooray for you for changing the direction for your entire family. I will not go near a shopping mall over the holidays; there is no reason for me to do so. You have inspired me to dig deeper this year and find better ways to show the spirit of the holidays. Thank you my friend; you are greatly appreciated in Olympia, Washington.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Robin, I love the quilt idea, and wrapping in maps???? Why didn't I think of that, being an old geography teacher? I have so many maps sitting around....great suggestions my friend! Thank you!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

      Bill, great ideas. I always recycle gift wrap but have never done it with Christmas wrap (until this year) :o) I totally agree with you though that there are many lovely traditional things that have fallen by the wayside over the years in favour of purchasing the same thing instead of making it. I am definitely being frugal this year - daughter is in for a bit of a shock :o(

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Julie, your daughter and my son will be able to commiserate together. :) I will not return to the old days and the wasteful spending. It's frugal living all the way from now on for this boy.

      Thank you friend!

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      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I like a nice veggie dinner and listen to Christmas music on the radio all day.. I don't have to work this year, the whole company has it off, so I will also take pictures of the birds at the lake, and include them in my festivities, too.

    • sarahcherbert profile image

      Sarah Crandall Herbert 4 years ago from Grass Valley, California

      Great info you have here billybuc! The community that I live in does one heck of a display. One house even has "Eddy the Elf" sit in a little house made just for the occasion and he talks over a loudspeaker from inside the house. The kids love it and think that there really is an elf inside the house. The bring him pictures and baked goods. It has become a tradition for many of us. Eddy even fools some adults now and again. It is a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sarah, I love traditions like that one. Good for your community! And thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, somehow I knew you would be down by the lake at some point on Christmas! :) thanks my friend!

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Man, I agree 100%. I know people who use their credit cards to buy gifts, then it takes them all year to pay. This is so stupid.. I can remember as a child we did string popcorn to decorate our tree, we also cut the tree ourselves. Have we really forgotten the true meaning of Christmas? Great topic, great ideas..Thank's again..

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruby, we are from the same era, and people will say "but it was simpler then" and yes, it was, and it can be again...human beings made it more complicated and in the process forgot what the holiday was all about.

      Thank you always!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Hey, Bill, I just read your response. Yes, I'm still writing but not as many hubs as I would like. The four classes I'm teaching are getting in the way, plus the deadlines on some regular gigs I have. I am in the AP so I have to publish some. It's a hard semester. I feel that I'm back in grad school. I feel like I'm working 24/7. Going to have to cut back on the teaching and up the writing!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Some very interesting ideas. My good friend insists that Christmas is not about gifts but about family time, so all of her daughters bring their families over to her house (with all the grand kids) and they spend the day eating, playing board games, watching movies, decorating cookies and just enjoying spending the day together. They take a ton of pictures and make photo albums for each family. The grand kids get to unwrap the new board games and take them home at the end of the day (so they do get presents). They've been doing it for the last 6 years and it's something they all look forward to.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      TT, I think that's an incredible idea. We are doing the Secret Santa thing this year, so each of us will only buy one present and get one, and here is a dollar limit. Christ, I used to spend $500 for Tyler alone a ten years ago....no longer. Love what you told me; I'm going to suggest it to Bev.

      Thanks Sis!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Vicki!

      Yep, I knew you were back in teaching and it was taking time. I just started thinking that I hadn't seen anything from you in awhile, and since I don't get notified for everyone like I should be, I was worried I was missing a bunch of your hubs. I hope the teaching thing goes well and you still find time to breathe.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I'm trying to breathe, Bill! I'm impressed with how you keep up with everyone. I don't know how. I don't get notifications of each new hub, but I get the summary of hubs published every few days. I can't read them all but try to pick out a few a day to read. I'll be publishing at least 8 hubs per month and perhaps a few more. Just don't forget that I'm still out here somewhere! :-)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, I never forget friends....that you can take to the bank! :)

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 4 years ago from Canada

      billybuc, it is never too early to start thinking about Christmas (the temperatures got into single digits here last night) and you have provided some great savings ideas in this hub. Thank you for sharing!

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Christmas was a day that had no budget. Although, I do not like gifts myself, I was quite generous. I used to throw a Christmas swaray for anyone who wanted to come, packed with imported food,

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You hub contains some great ideas, as usual, Bill. A less commercial Christmas which includes thinking of other people and helping them in some way will almost certainly be a happier one!

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 4 years ago

      My family really just think of Christmas shopping as a great chance to save on important items like clothes, canned foods, and tools. The real special part for Christmas, in my family, is having the whole family together and celebrating another year of living and knowing we're all there for each other. My mom usually bakes during this time and we all chip in together to celebrate Christmas morning having breakfast together and then having dinner as a whole family. Unlike many people my age, I find Christmas not as a chance to get what I want but as a day to be with the whole family :)

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      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Thank you Bill - these ideas are great! They're going to come in handy this year more than ever. I love using pine cones as decorations and keep gift bags throughout the year to use for birthdays and for Christmas. I've decided that everyone is getting home baked cookies for Christmas this year. I'm looking forward to it, you're right - Christmas is about love and spending it with the ones close to you, or giving love and comfort to those that have none of these things. It's not about showing off with flashy presents. I wish more people would realize this. Creative ideas here, thanks! Voted up!

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      Ann Carr 4 years ago from SW England

      Hi billy! Yep, Christmas is great for giving and the whole point of it is to celebrate together, as a family where possible, or in a family of friends. I had great Christmases as a child, always involving family traditions of how the day was scheduled, always having walks (usually in the snow) especially on Boxing Day, out on the South Downs. It was always about people not things.

      As a family our cards were always limited to those we did not see at Christmas time, sending our greetings. All those we saw were of course greeted in person, with hugs and kisses.

      I agree that personal cards are so much nicer; I love getting them from the grandchildren and children.

      I use this year's Christmas cards to make next year's present tags; I use what I call 'crinkly' scissors to go round the edges of pretty scenes or designs, often getting several from one card - it adds to the individuality and also gives a more personal touch.

      Thanks for the great ideas - we won't be away for Christmas this year so looking forward to a great time with all the family.

      Another great hub; voted up and really, really useful! Enjoy your day! Ann

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      Giselle Maine 4 years ago

      A beautiful hub - not only is this practical and helpful for the budget, but following these ideas also means the focus is on the spirit of Christmas and not the commercialism.

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      Pete Fanning 4 years ago from Virginia

      Great advice Bill, especially the creative part. Taking the time to do something thoughtful is much better than buying something for them to regift! Voted up and awesome!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kaili, hello and it's nice to see you! You are so right; the holidays will be here quickly. Single digits??? Holy cow!

      Thank you my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, you definitely knew how to throw a party! Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia, I have found the rewards to be immense when I think of others first. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Keith, just another reason why I like you so much and respect you. For someone so young you certainly have your head on straight. Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mel, my hope is that many others will come to see the wisdom in this type of Christmas. Thank you for the visit and I will check out your new hub shortly.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Ann! So nice to see you again and I hope you are well! I love your idea of the crinkly scissors....wonderful thought. Thanks for adding to the brainstorming....have a great day in England!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Giselle, I have had it with commercialism! We are looking forward to a simpler Christmas with loved ones. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I agree, Pete, and thank you so much!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      Awesome hub Bill. We reuse Christmas bags from the dollar store year after year. Not only does it save money, it save the planet too! My daughter still loves making Christmas ornaments as her gifts to family members. Also, last year instead of all of the cousins giving gifts to all of the other cousins, we drew names. Saves a lot of money! Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, it sounds like you understand this concept quite well. Thanks for the great comment!

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      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      These ideas are just what is needed for many of us today who are on limited incomes. I personally love the way pine cones make the holiday so special. I love them in wreaths, around candles, as ornaments, etc., you can practically make all your decorations and gifts from these simple gifts of nature.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, so true! It will be time to start collecting them soon around here and we are going to decorate like crazy and it won't cost us a penny! Thank you as always!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      There are things here I do do, and things here I don't do. I am a gift giver...is there a gift givers anonymous? However, I save boxes and gift bags every year (some are almost as old as I am) in fact, I've trained my children so well...one year when my youngest son was about 15 we noticed he would periodically disappear while we were opening gifts. I started to watch him to see what he was doing and noticed. He would wait until someone 'opened' a gift in a gift bag, then quietly take the bag, go into his bedroom and 'wrap' someone else's gift!

      Voted this hub up, useful, and interesting.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, that is too funny! A little hoarder and frugal living guru in the making. LOL I love that! Thank you my dear friend and yes, I have always been a gift giver; now it's just the nature of the gifts that has changed.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Bill, excellent ideas to celebrate Christmas in a simple yet unique way.

      Diwali like Christmas is a big festival here and we celebrate it with a lot lighting and bursting of crackers. Gifting is an integral part of Diwali.

      We save the gift wrappings of gifts we receive to use for packing gifts to be distributed.

      Most of the gifts are saved, unless it is something we really want, and then passed on as gifts next year. This way we save money on buying new gifts every year as well as prevent wastage of the wrapping that the gift is packed in.

      Also we do not burst crackers at all. I feel it is a sheer waste of money. We enjoy watching others doing it.

      I've been using the flyers, the ones having only one side printed, received in newspapers to use as a rough pad for writing. I collect a bunch and just staple all of them together to make an excellent pad.

      I really love these wonderful simple to carry out ideas, that you put here.

      As you say its the feelings and love that counts, not the cost of the gift or celebration.

      Excellent job as always. Voting this up, useful and awesome. Passing it on.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, I absolutely love the idea of using the flyers for a writing pad. What a great thought...I'm going to do that as well.

      Thank you for sharing some of your culture with me, and for sharing your experiences with living frugally.

      Have a wonderful weekend my friend!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      What a lovely, heartwarming article which rings so true. I am a huge lover of Christmas, I always have been and had years of it being a wonderful family time as a child. So many traditions my mum had that I love to keep going. One is a desert she made only once a year, Christmas Day. She called it "Pineapple Pud" - totally laden with enough calories to see you going until the next year!

      She has passed away 15 years now and still every year I make this desert regardless where I have Christmas, be it at one of my brother's or my dad's or my place. I also always get asked if I am making it and can I make a small one for each brother!! They do make it sometimes but say I make it like mum did! LOL they know how to get around their big sister!!

      Making gifts is something I do now for family as I love it and I also have had to tighten the spending like everyone. I also hand paint or make cards for all occasions which I love doing.

      You have wonderful ideas about drawing from nature for decorating and ways to have entertainment by simply driving around at light displays - how lovely!

      I have seen some documentaries on some amazing ones in America that I would love to visit.

      Thanks Bill for this reminder of what is truly important and what is not at the holiday season. Apologies for this lengthy ramble down memory lane but you do bring it out in me!! LOL

      By the way I checked out your wonderful Lavender gifts and love the ladybird sachets for the car!! COOL IDEA!!!

    • Crystal Tatum profile image

      Crystal Tatum 4 years ago from Georgia

      Great ideas and you've published this plenty ahead of time, which is helpful. I always save gift bags and reuse. When I receive a gift in a gift bag, it's like two presents in one, because I know that's one less gift bag I have to buy.

    • MargaritaEden profile image

      MargaritaEden 4 years ago from Oregon

      Bill, your ideas are amazing as always, thank you for the money-saving tips, I will sure use some of them this coming Christmas season.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL yes, Crystal, I know that feeling. Thank you young lady and have a great weekend in Georgia!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, no apologies necessary! I love it when I get comments like this one. Don't we all want to reach our readers on some level and elicit a response like yours?

      I love the Pineapple Pud memory! How wonderful that you still carry on the tradition in your mother's memory. That one really touched my heart.

      Have a wonderful weekend my Irish friend!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hello Margarita; you are very welcome and thank you for the visit once again.

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 4 years ago from USA

      We use a few of your ideas, but I think it'd be nice to add the "video Christmas card" to our repertoire! Thanks!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Interesting perspective billybuc. The 2 worlds we all live in are so very different and yet they occupy the same space. Agree that a lot of people waste money on superficial things and in doing so create even more waste. Good hub to get people to thinking about how they can make Christmas and all holidays more affordable and meaningful at the same time.

      Up and sharing!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jelly, I'm glad I could be of assistance. :) I hope it works out for you and thank you so much for the visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Au fait....I like what you said, that we waste on superficial things and in doing so create more waste....very astute and so true. Thank you for the visit and the share.

    • totallyPATTI profile image

      Patricia-Ann Morrison 4 years ago from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada

      Frugal Christmas is the way to go!! TY for this Hub, Billybuc! I try my best to be frugal at this time of year... I make my own cards and gifts - each year I try to teach myself a new craft/craft technique and that is what (almost) everyone gets something of. :) I like making my gifts because I am thinking of the person it's being made for more often and in a happy way!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Patti, I agree completely; homemade gifts mean so much more. Thank you for the visit and the great comment.

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 4 years ago from Minnesota

      Great post! With so many resources out there now, we should be able to create some great gifts for our loved ones. I start shopping early and already have quite a few Christmas gifts for this year, it's much cheaper that way!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It is much cheaper, Pink, and a great idea! I might have to use that in the next hub. Thank you!

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I really enjoyed this article, Bill. You have so many great ideas for making Christmas special without breaking the bank. I love them all! I think sometimes the simpler things are the ones that can make the biggest impact, whether it be decorations, entertainment, gift wrapping or the gifts themselves. A personal video message or photo album received as a gift will likely be cherished long after most other gifts that would cost much more money. Voted awesome!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks again Kathy! I have done the video before and I can attest to how treasured it is for those who receive it. I hope some of these work for you; let me know how it turns out.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good morning, Billy

      I had seen that yo were possibly going to frugal us up for Christmas and you have not disappointed. Each year my daughter has asked what I really want for Christmas and I always say...pictures, pictures, and pictures. I have a gallery on my phone and a gallery on my computer but I also have a gallery on my walls. In addition, I have albums filled with pictures of my child and my grandchildren. So as one who likes pictures, the albums is always a hit. I guess my age is showing but the handmade things I receive far outshine anything I could have been given from a store. We always make things to give each year ...blankets, crafts, and so on, in addition to the photos. Again you have nailed it...thank you for sharing...Your east coast number one Fan, ps Have lovely week...it feels like fall is coming here...it is cool this morning...LOVE it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good morning PS, and thank you! Yes, fall has arrived. It is downright chilly here today....oh, and thank you for being my east coast number one Fan! I'm glad you liked this....I need to get more out.....time seems to be in short supply of late. :) Anyway, keep making those gifts and taking those pictures, and have a fantastic week.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      What a great hub Billy and certainly one I am saving to hand onto my family.

      Another 'Up up and away' for you once again my dear friend.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Eddy! I thought I would give an evergreen hub a try for a change of pace. Peace and love to you my friend.

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      Another wonderful hub from your economical celebrations hub series! So nice of you to dress up as a Santa Claus and distributed Beanie- Babies to the little kids. I can imagine their joyful expressions! You are absolutely right that Christmas is all about love and sharing. A wise hub filled with helpful suggestions!

      P.S. I seek your permission to grant me the honor of linking this hub of yours to my Christmas hub.

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & shared on Facebook

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ishwaryaa, thank you and of course you can link it to yours....give me a few minutes and I will do the same for you. You are a good person my friend; thank you and please, never change the core of who you are.

    • FSlovenec profile image

      Frank Slovenec 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Your Hub tells us to put the emphasis on family and true relationship rather than the gift giving, decorated, expensive keeping up with the Jones..Christmas.. the reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of the Savior Jesus Christ...thank you

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No doubt about it, FSlovenec, the true meaning of the holiday is oftentimes lost in the glitter. Great comment and I agree completely. Thank you!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      TIMETRAVELER2 4 years ago

      Having recently written a similar type of hub, I can honestly say that yours is so much better than mine! I can also share with you that I am so cheap that I have been known to iron wrapping paper that was on gifts that were given to me and use it again! No question that the old ways were the best, and I sure do miss them! Voted up, of course!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Time, that had me laughing! You aren't cheap; you are frugal. :) Sounds much better!

      I don't think I saw your hub; I'll have to go check. Thanks, as always, for the visit.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Great ideas. The secret to a frugal Christmas, is a frugal life all around. I make all my own gifts for everyone, and I feel much more satisfied. If I can't make it, I buy something they need. For example, today is my son's birthday. I wanted to get him a practical gift, so I am paying for his license renewal. It's what he wanted, and it's in my price range.

      I think it is crazy, just crazy for people to go into months of debt, just to buy gifts. I, will stick to my frugal living, and enjoy life. It is so much less stressful. Voted up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cloverleaffarm, you made a great statement right at the beginning....frugal life all around. One cannot fake frugal, or just call on it for certain occasions; it has to be a lifestyle. I love the gift you got your son; I would do the same.

      Thank you for the visit; lovely to see you at my humble site.

    • MarloByDesign profile image

      MarloByDesign 4 years ago from United States

      I agree with not sending Christmas cards to save money as postal rates are getting expensive. I end up throwing them away anyway, so this year I am not sending any to save a little money. Voted Useful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlo, I don't remember the last time I sent cards....and I doubt I ever will again. Thank you again for stopping by.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      All fabulous ideas. This year, I am not giving out cards. Everyone in my family and my friends are all in the same boat - practically penniless, so they understand. But, I do have some chocolate chunks stored from a previous candy-making project. I will be making candy pieces to hand out as I visit this year. Merry Christmas, billybuc.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, I love the chocolate chunks idea. It is all about the love involved in the gift and not the gift itself. Merry Christmas to you my friend!

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