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.
Christmas is a feasting time so I like to have plenty of food – snacks/appetizers, treats, and a special dinner. I find that planning my holiday foods at least a month in advance makes it easy to save money by procuring what I can ahead of time. It spreads out the costs and possibly saves more money if I can buy things on sale or use coupons.
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. Store all your bags in the largest bag, folding them in half (horizontally) once if needed.
Sell/Donate 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!
If I don’t feel like it’s worth the time or effort to try to sell something, I just donate it. Making tax-deductible donations is another way to be frugal, and allows you carry on the holiday spirit of giving. Don’t feel bad about it – you have already thanked the giver of the gift, and they felt good giving it to you. Their intent in giving it to you was not to give you overcomplicated feelings or guilt over items you can’t use.
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.
One thing to keep in mind when selling anything that is intended to be used for Christmas is that anything sold after the two weeks before Christmas might not get there in time. So plan accordingly and be sure to get your listings up early!