Cheap Christmas Ideas

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Cheap Christmas Ideas - Holiday Celebration Cents

holiday celebration cents
Looking for cheap Christmas ideas or ways to celebrate Christmas without going broke?

If your Christmas money is limited and you are wondering how to survive the holidays, you are in the right place.

The holidays are always a time when we stress about money. Between buying gifts, decorating, planning festivities, and putting together a great meal (or meals), it's no wonder so many wallets tremble in fear at the mention of Christmas.

I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way. Read on for some great, cheap Christmas ideas and ways to celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank or going into debt.

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Cheap Christmas Ideas: Find Free Activities

It is not necessary for you to spend a lot of money on Christmas celebrations. Instead of expensive activities, look around for free, local events. Some places to look would be your local website, your community bulletin board, school newsletters, mommy group forums, church bulletins, local newspapers and magazines, and of course word of mouth. You can also check at various businesses to see if they will be offering any special events or discounts for the holiday season. Often, family-friendly establishments will have free admission or discount days throughout the year.

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Make Your Own Entertainment

Instead of looking for holiday offerings of things to do with your family, get out there and do things yourself. Make your own family traditions. Here is a list of suggestions of ways to celebrate Christmas:
  1. Go Christmas Caroling
  2. Put together paper bag meals and pass them out to the homeless
  3. Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  4. Volunteer to visit nursing homes
  5. Volunteer to visit orphanages
  6. Have a decorating contest
  7. Build a snowman
  8. Have a Christmas movie marathon
  9. Drive or walk around to view Christmas light displays.
  10. Donate old toys and clothes to a homeless shelter

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Dollar Store Decorating

When it comes to decorating, you don’t have to spend a ton of money. Your local dollar store could be a wealth of cheap yet attractive decorations. If you have a Dollar Tree in your area (where everything is $1 (or less), it is well worth the visit. Especially since they now accept manufacturer coupons. Jackpot!

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Homemade Decorations

Instead of buying all of your decorations, make them yourself. Gather together a bunch of arts and craft supplies (with plenty of red and green materials, and have at it. Not only will you be saving money, but you will be doing something as a family. It could be a nice family tradition. And it’s always cool to see things that you made years ago still being used around the house.

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Recycle your Christmas Decorations

Keep your Christmas decorations instead of getting rid of them. Box them up after the holiday season is over and store them away for next year.

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Have a Christmas Decoration Swap

If you are the type of person that absolutely has to have new decorations each year, try having a Christmas decoration swap with other families. Everyone could bring the decorations that they no longer want and swap them out for things that they do want. To be fair, there should be a rule that you can only take as much as you donated. That way, no one person leaves with all of the goodies.

Get a Fake Tree

Instead of springing for a real “Christmas” tree, buy a fake one. They can be decorated just as nicely and reused for several Christmases to come.

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Potluck Dinner

Instead of stressing yourself (and your wallet) creating a huge menu for Christmas dinner for the extended family, make it into a potluck dinner. Everyone bring a dish or two from home to share. That way the burden does not fall on any one person (or branch of the family tree).

Set a Set Spending Limit

When it comes to Christmas decorations and frivolities, have a set budget. Know how much Christmas money you can spend prettying things up. Stick to your entertainment budget. In fact, you could have a jar dedicated to Christmas money that you add to throughout the year.

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Homemade Gifts

Make homemade gifts for others in your neighborhood and spend some time on Christmas Eve passing them around. Some people that you should consider are your neighbors, the postal carrier, and service professionals (such as the police department and the fire department). Baked goods are usually a good choice, but you could even do arts and crafts Instead of going out and buying a ton of Christmas cards (that you will likely never use completely), why not make your own? Make it a family event.

Gift Swaps

Instead of buying a ton of gifts, have everyone submit a list of one or two things that they would just LOVE to have. List those things on slips of paper, fold them, and drop them in a box. Then everyone can randomly pick one or two slips of paper. As a family you can decide the rules for whether you buy one or both items and whether you will reveal who bought what.

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Shop Early

To save money for next Christmas, you can actually start buying things after this Christmas has passed. Especially when it comes to holiday-themed items like gift wrap and decorations. Stock up when they go on clearance after Christmas and you will be all set for next year. There will be more on this topic next week.

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Shop Late

If you aren’t too particular about what decorations you get, you may want to consider shopping late for them. Go out on Christmas Eve and buy your decorations then spend some time with your family putting everything up. A lot of stores will mark down decorations right before Christmas in an effort to get rid of them. So waiting until Christmas Eve to buy can save you money.

Celebrate Late

Another of our cheap ways to celebrate Christmas would be to celebrate it late. Christmas day could be for spending quality family time together. Visiting friends and family. Going caroling. Volunteering. Watching Christmas plays. Attending church services. Then you could take advantage of post-Christmas prices to buy gifts at a discounted rate and exchange them.

Plan Vacations in Advance

If you know you will be going on a vacation for Christmas, don’t wait until the last minute to get everything settled. Buy your flight tickets, book your hotel reservations, and arrange for a car rental months in advance. The longer you wait, the more expensive thing will become.

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Consolidate Holidays

If you are visiting family for Thanksgiving but will not be able to visit them for Christmas, have a little Christmas at Thanksgiving (sorry that is so convoluted). Exchange your Christmas gifts during your Thanksgiving celebrations. It’s up to you whether you want to open your gifts then or wait for Christmas. But half the fun of giving a gift is seeing the joy on the person’s face when they unwrap it, right?

Cheap Christmas Ideas: Put on a Play

If your family is into the creative arts, put on a performance for your friends, family, and neighbors. Whether you do something traditional (The Nativity Story), literature-based (A Christmas Carol) or something that you guys write yourselves (fun!), you’re sure to have fun and create a lot of awesome memories.

Do you have any other cool, cheap suggestions on ways to celebrate Christmas?

tell us what you think

Sneak Peak at Next Week

Like this section on frugal celebrations? Next week we'll be talking about how to save money by shopping in advance.

Related Pages
  • Your Gift Closet
  • Holiday Gifts for the Extended Family
  • Holiday Gifts for Friends and Neighbors
  • Holiday Gift Planning Guide
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