You can still have a wonderful Christmas without much money. The frugal Christmas tips below will help you make the most of what you do have.
Frugal Christmas Decorations
Make natural Christmas decorations from whatever is in your backyard. For instance, if you have a pine tree, you can make a pinecone wreath, a centerpiece out of pine clippings and pinecones, or pinecone ornaments. You can buy the crafting supplies at Dollar Tree and you could decorate your whole home for under $20. All you need is a little creativity (or Pinterest) to come up with some ideas.
Along those lines, there are many stylish Dollar Tree DIYs that you can make for cheap like snowman tulle wreaths, oversized ornaments, snow globes, etc. Check out the Dollar Tree DIY Facebook groups for some great ideas about how to make Dollar Tree Christmas decorations.
If you don’t have time to make your own Christmas decorations, you could always buy them second hand. Thrift stores and flea markets have tons of Christmas decorations that are in great condition. You can also find really cheap artificial Christmas trees there.
Frugal Christmas Gifts
The best way to save money on Christmas gifts is to make them yourself. People tend to appreciate them more than store bought gifts because they are more thoughtful and take time. You can make delicious homemade fudge, candied nuts, and peppermint patties for friends and neighbors. For family gifts, you can make DIY gift baskets from Dollar Tree items (e.g. spa baskets, movie themed baskets) for more specialized gifts. For the women, you can make homemade beauty products like bath bombs and lip scrub with ingredients already in your kitchen. For guys, you can make beer coasters or a pallet sign for his man cave. Pinterest has so many awesome ideas for DIY Christmas gifts!
If you have a special skill like soap-making or jewlery-making, why not use that to your advantage and make a unique, handmade gift. Even if you just have a hobby like photography, you could make a photo ornament from a picture that you’ve taken so consider what you are good at and think about what you could make with it.
Dollar Tree is a great resource for many Christmas items, not just gifts and decorations, but for Christmas cards, stocking stuffers, Christmas wrapping paper and much more! For wrapping paper, I like to buy the Kraft paper because you get a lot more for your money. I can wrap all my presents with a single roll. You can accent the paper with baker’s twine, potato stamps, and jingle bells. You can customize it anyway that you want so it’s more fun than just buying regular wrapping paper anyway.
Frugal Christmas Dinner
To start with, you need make a budget and plan it out ahead of time. Make a shopping list and stick to it. There are going to be different sales every week leading up to Christmas so you’ll need to know what sales are best and when to buy. Don’t wait until the last week before Christmas. If you are buying any brand name foods, always use a coupon and your cash back apps. Take the time to cook from scratch by making your own pie crusts, stuffing, whipped cream, etc. Don’t buy precut vegetables to save time because it will cost a lot more money. Consider frozen instead of fresh for meat and produce because it will be cheaper most of the time. Also, it’s important to keep it simple. It’s easy to get carried away, but try to stick to 4 or 5 basic sides, don’t waste too much money on appetizers (stick to simple ones like deviled eggs and vegetable platters) and skip buying alcohol. For the sides, use vegetables and fruits that are in season (root vegetables, cranberries, pomegranates, etc).
Potluck is definitely the way to go, if you can. Of course, that’s not always possible if many of your guests are traveling from out of town, but It’s more fair that everyone split the cost of the dinner by bringing something on their own even if it’s just things they pick up at the grocery store like drinks, rolls, chips, etc. If you can’t and you have a large crowd to feed, buying in bulk will be the cheapest thing to do if you have a membership at Sam’s or Costco.
Frugal Christmas Traditions
There are many things you can do as a family that don’t require much spending money. Some examples include:
- Driving around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music are one of my favorite things to do.
- Checking out Christmas books from the library and read them to your kids
- Make homemade Christmas cookies and candies
- Watch Christmas movies and drink hot chocolate
- Mail a letter to Santa
- Make s’mores in the fireplace.
- Hang mistletoe
- Make your own Christmas ornaments
- Make your own Christmas cards
- Take Christmas photos
- Attend a church Christmas play
- Elf on a Shelf (Dollar Tree sells elves for $1 each)