Christmas For The Frugal Family

As the mom of the household, I tend to feel like making Christmas fun and exciting for everyone is my duty! But that doesn’t mean spending money left and right. I’ve come up with many ways to make Christmas special that can be done without being wasteful with money. Here are my top tips!

Limit the amount of kids’ gifts

Although it can be fun watching their reactions, kids don’t really need a lot of gifts at Christmas. When I was in Japan, I observed that my host brother was extremely happy to get a single, small toy for Christmas.

Nobody had taught him to expect truckloads of big wrapped presents on Christmas morning. I try to keep this in mind with my own kids!

Agree on a budget with your spouse

In our family we call this the “$20 rule.” We can’t spend more than $20 on a gift for each other.

Give DIY gifts

If you’re crafty, giving a DIY gift will be easy and fun. But if you’re not, don’t worry – you don’t have to be a knitter or a sewer or a painter in order to give a nice handmade present.

There are lots of easy DIY gift ideas that anyone can make – easily!

Make Your Own Christmas Cards

Receiving Christmas cards is one of those little things that many people enjoy, but it can get quite expensive for the sender.

Skip The Grand Dinner

Well, don’t actually skip dinner on Christmas or Christmas eve – just go with something less expensive than a $60+ heritage ham.

My mother usually made a large baked ziti casserole, which definitely cost less than $10 to make.

I love the Japanese Christmas tradition – KFC! Hey, everyone loves fried chicken… and it’s cheap!

Our family decided to try it last Christmas, and it was very well-received. Everyone had plenty to eat (about ten of us) and it only cost us about $50. I loved that the cleanup afterwards was quick and easy.

We’ll see what I do for next Christmas. I decided to stop eating meat at the beginning of last year so we won’t be doing KFC again. I’ll update this page with better low-cost & easy vegetarian Christmas dinner ideas later!

Save Your Gift Bags & Wrapping Papers – And Reuse Them!

I always save gift bags and nice wrapping paper. Why? Because it’s so handy to have it around – for free – when I need to find something to wrap a gift in.

Gift bags are especially sturdy and will still look good as new if you’re careful when you open the gift you received.

Ebay Gifts You Received (But Won’t Use)

Every now and then I receive a gift that I can’t use. Usually it’s clothing that’s either not my size or not my style.

When this happens, I’ll keep the gift in its packaging and list it for sale on eBay. Lots of people get money for Christmas, so I usually find it quite easy to sell what I don’t want to keep on eBay. Getting a little extra cash after Christmas is like a holiday bonus!

Make & Sell Handmade Ornaments on Etsy in November & December

When I was a kid, we used to make Christmas ornaments in our girl scout troop and sell them at the local holiday craft market.

So for a few years now as an adult, I’ve made some Christmas ornaments to sell on Etsy during the holiday season. It’s a fun way to make extra money for the holidays, as long as you’re keeping track of your expenses making the crafts.

Now that my own kids are getting old enough, I’m thinking of making a tradition of making and selling ornaments, together.

Christmas photo created by mdjaff –

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