Monday, 26 November 2012
Frugal Christmas ideas
Here are some frugal Christmas options for you to consider (apart from the 'make your own gifts' mantra), along with the eco-friendly Christmas ideas I posted about last week:
You can try using different wrapping for each person (saves having to buy or make gift tags). We use recycled paintings from daycare, newspaper, old craft paper and re-used Christmas paper from earlier years.
Advent calendar action
Make your own Advent Calendar - use 'experiences' rather than gifts for each day. Tie the experiences in with your Christmas plan eg. Christmas tree goes up on the first weekend in December; looking at Christmas lights happens on a Thursday after Little As training etc. There are so many lovely people sharing their ideas (such as this gorgeous one from Little Eco Footprints)
Bake Christmas themed cakes/biscuits for the children's lunchboxes and afternoon teas. It is all in the colour selection and presentation of course. Just a little something special in the usual weekly routine. You can find some great ideas here.
Go digital with your Christmas cards. I know there is nothing nicer than receiving real cards via snail mail, but Christmas cards are an expensive proposition. Of course you can reduce the cost by making your own but you still have to post them all. I think the e-card is the way to go; as long as you don't do the group email thing. Tacky!
Hand make your tree decorations (pre-schoolers specialise in this). A little bit of nature looks fantastic eg. a leaf bunting for tinsel or you can go the food option (popcorn strung has apparently been a staple in frugal circles for generations). Some lovely children's paintings with a Christmas theme around the place make for a lovely personal touch too. I buy one new Christmas decoration each year - something that symbolises the year we have had (and I usually buy it after Christmas in the sales).
It is always nice to have a family movie night on Christmas eve. There is always free-to-air TV but as they are full of commercials, you might like to consider other options. Try the drive-in for your Christmas movie night. It is cheap and fun and the kids can talk in their loud boomy voices without disturbing anyone (other than you!). There is always a DVD at home, which is even cheaper. Some of the old classics like "It's a wonderful life" can be picked up for a couple of dollars these days.
Our family swapped to Kris Kringle (aka Secret Santa) for the adults many years ago now. You set a sum that suits everyone's budget and just buy for one or two people. The first few years we did it, we got a name and the wish list from the recipient. Nowadays it is more about a fun gift and some Christmas joy.
Limit gift giving
None of us needs as many gifts at Christmas as we get. Limit your purchases either in number (Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read) or by budget. Set your budget and stick to it. Afterall, who wants to spend the first half of next year paying off Christmas? A much better way to do it is to spend half the year saving for it.
There are a thousand and one other things you can do to save money at Christmas. Tell me how you do it.