How can I Celebrate Christmas on a Budget?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
Homemade cookies can be a good gift.
Homemade cookies can be a good gift.

Although celebrating Christmas can be very expensive, you can also celebrate Christmas on a budget and still have an enjoyable holiday. Early planning is really the key, but even if you have to create a great Christmas in a rush, it can be done with a little time for thinking and a list. For easy organizing, you can divide the celebration aspects of Christmas into four main groups: decorations, gifts, food and events.

Bright red and green apples can be used to create an inexpensive Christmas centerpiece.
Bright red and green apples can be used to create an inexpensive Christmas centerpiece.

Events would include low cost or no cost seasonal activities to help celebrate Christmas on a budget such as taking a tour of the Christmas light displays in the neighborhood or going to a free Christmas concert. For snowy climates, building two snow walls in the yard as opposing forts and dividing family and friends into two teams to pelt the other side with snowballs can make for an afternoon of free fun for all. You can serve hot chocolate and Christmas cookies afterwards when everyone is in the house warming up.

Homemade knitted blankets are thoughtful, yet useful gifts for Christmas giving.
Homemade knitted blankets are thoughtful, yet useful gifts for Christmas giving.

Buy the types of cocoa or cocoa mix and Christmas cookies that you can afford. Consider your options and choose the best ones. Rather than buying a package or two of hot chocolate mix and one or two packages of store bought cookies, that same money might be better spent on a can of real cocoa powder and some ingredients for baking your own Christmas cookies. Look through some cookie recipes online or in cookbooks to find delicious ones with simple, inexpensive ingredients.

A potluck Christmas dinner, where each guest brings a different dish, helps to keep costs low for everyone.
A potluck Christmas dinner, where each guest brings a different dish, helps to keep costs low for everyone.

If you're short on time, you can make rolls of refrigerator cookies when you do have some time and then just slice and bake them when you need them. As a bonus, your kitchen will smell wonderful and homey each time you bake a batch and it's an easy way to celebrate Christmas on a budget. Plus, simple homemade cookies placed in an inexpensive Christmas tin or glass jar make great budget-friendly Christmas gifts that those with a sweet tooth are sure to appreciate.

Homemade blueberry bread can be served with coffee when entertaining holiday guests.
Homemade blueberry bread can be served with coffee when entertaining holiday guests.

Other inexpensive homemade gifts include simple knitted scarves and unique, handmade Christmas ornaments. If you sew or are a crafter, look through your scrap fabrics and leftover beads and trims and use your imagination to create special Christmas gift ornaments. If you need to buy gifts, a great way is to start early in the year and buy little items on sale that you can put together in different combinations into baskets or bags and give those as presents.

Making, rather than buying, your own hot chocolate can allow you to celebrate Christmas on a budget.
Making, rather than buying, your own hot chocolate can allow you to celebrate Christmas on a budget.

Decorations can be pricey, so it's a good idea to keep things simple. Think about the places in your home that could best display some Christmas decorations. Even a few Christmas ornaments hanging from ribbon at different heights can look beautiful in front of a kitchen window and this is a great way to help celebrate Christmas on a budget. Something as simple as fresh apples mixed with pine cones in a wooden salad bowl can make a low cost centerpiece for the Christmas dinner table when it’s flanked by a candlestick on each side. Don't be afraid to use your imagination and have fun when you celebrate Christmas on a budget!

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Discussion Comments

Phaedrus

One thing I used to do when I was low on money at Christmas was what I call "creative re-gifting". Instead of going out and buying new Christmas presents, I'd look around my house for things I could re-gift to others, like magazine collections or DVDS I no longer watched or crafts I made just for fun. I knew my closest friends and relatives would understand my financial situation, so they were probably going to accept those gifts in the proper spirit of the season.

I'm glad I'm in a better economic situation now, but sometimes I think I was happier when I celebrated Christmas on a budget.

RocketLanch8

When I was living on a very tight budget, I bought a lot of my Christmas presents at one of those "everything's a dollar" stores. You'd be surprised at the kinds of things you can buy there, like magic tricks, toys, snack foods and wrapping paper. I didn't have too many people to buy for at the time, but I did want to get my friends and relatives a little something for the holidays.

One Christmas gift idea on a budget is to buy different kinds of snack food, like cookies and nuts and trail mix, and put together a package for starving college students. Each snack only cost a dollar, and five or six different varieties made the package interesting.

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    • Homemade cookies can be a good gift.
      Homemade cookies can be a good gift.
    • Bright red and green apples can be used to create an inexpensive Christmas centerpiece.
      By: tesgro
      Bright red and green apples can be used to create an inexpensive Christmas centerpiece.
    • Homemade knitted blankets are thoughtful, yet useful gifts for Christmas giving.
      By: Arienne McCracken
      Homemade knitted blankets are thoughtful, yet useful gifts for Christmas giving.
    • A potluck Christmas dinner, where each guest brings a different dish, helps to keep costs low for everyone.
      By: .shock
      A potluck Christmas dinner, where each guest brings a different dish, helps to keep costs low for everyone.
    • Homemade blueberry bread can be served with coffee when entertaining holiday guests.
      By: dolphy_tv
      Homemade blueberry bread can be served with coffee when entertaining holiday guests.
    • Making, rather than buying, your own hot chocolate can allow you to celebrate Christmas on a budget.
      By: haveseen
      Making, rather than buying, your own hot chocolate can allow you to celebrate Christmas on a budget.
    • Homemade, do-it-yourself gift cards are a budget option.
      By: 14ktgold
      Homemade, do-it-yourself gift cards are a budget option.
    • Handmade jewelry is a budget-friendly gift.
      By: jameslyons
      Handmade jewelry is a budget-friendly gift.
    • Candles in red and green will create a holiday atmosphere.
      By: ID1974
      Candles in red and green will create a holiday atmosphere.
    • Knitting someone a present with yarn could make for a great, inexpensive gift.
      By: adam36
      Knitting someone a present with yarn could make for a great, inexpensive gift.
    • Popcorn can be strung alone or with cranberries to create an inexpensive garland.
      By: Przemyslaw Sitek
      Popcorn can be strung alone or with cranberries to create an inexpensive garland.
    • People on a budget may participate in a gift exchange and only buy one present instead of several.
      By: Dustin Dennis
      People on a budget may participate in a gift exchange and only buy one present instead of several.
    • Putting together an inexpensive gift basket is one way to celebrate Christmas on a budget.
      By: sherrie
      Putting together an inexpensive gift basket is one way to celebrate Christmas on a budget.
    • Handmade Christmas ornaments can make thoughtful gifts.
      By: Ekaterina Garyuk
      Handmade Christmas ornaments can make thoughtful gifts.
    • Inviting a few close friends over for a get togethers is more cost effective than hosting a large party.
      By: CandyBox Images
      Inviting a few close friends over for a get togethers is more cost effective than hosting a large party.