You don’t need a lot of money to enjoy a memorable Christmas season with loved ones. In this article, we’ve put together seven ways you and your family can make the holidays special on a budget:
Bundle up in warm men’s, women’s, and kids’ winter coats and spread cheer throughout the neighborhood by singing Christmas songs. If you live in a close-knit neighborhood or are part of a homeowner’s association, there may already be a caroling event on the roster that you and your family can participate in.
When it comes to the rest of you and your family’s caroling gear, stay comfortable in relaxed fit kids’, women’s and men’s jeans with turtlenecks and sweaters. Layer on flannel shirts over turtlenecks and tees for extra warmth; reach for traditional red plaid and wintry buffalo check to keep the look seasonal.
Footwear is just as important as your outfit when canvassing the neighborhood in a caroling excursion. Women’s boots are a must, and you can find the same winter boot styles for men and kids, too. If the weather’s mild, you can swap the winter boots with athletic shoes designed for walking for maximum comfort.
Another way to take the pressure off and increase enjoyment this Christmas is by establishing a firm gift-cost limit. Gather your family and vote on what a reasonable spending limit is for each person’s gift, then agree to stick to it. There are gifts $100 and under and gifts $25 and under, so you can find something that fits into your household budget.
Even if you’re using last year’s artificial Christmas tree and ornaments, decorating the Christmas tree is a special part of the holiday season. Make it memorable by serving Christmas cookies and hot cocoa or punch, while playing Christmas music in the background. You could even request that your family wear their Christmas sweaters for the occasion, or even invite some friends over for a tree-decorating party.
Coordinate the rest of your home with the tree by placing accent items around the room. Christmas rugs in colors that match your tree ornaments can tie the look together, along with festive accents such as gently flickering candles on the coffee table and Christmas stockings hung on the mantel.
Christmas photo shoots are fun to do for your annual holiday card, or just to mark the season. You don’t have to head to a local portrait studio to get pro-quality photos, either. Your smartphone and a little creativity is all it takes to capture a collection of holiday photos you’ll want to show off.
Outfit the members of your household in matching family pajamas. Even the dog can wear a sweater or coat that coordinates. If you’re not the pajama type, go upscale with matching sweaters in a luxe fabric such as cashmere or wool. Set a luxe background with decorative garlands and white lights at the staircase or pose in front of your Christmas tree.
Instead of spending too much to host a holiday meal for friends and family, invite everyone to bring their favorite dish. That way, you’re spending less money on food while creating a diverse holiday spread without as much work. If you’re concerned about too many duplicate dishes—such as five family members bringing mac-and-cheese, for example—coordinate via group text, email or social media messaging app.
Another low-cost holiday activity is watching Christmas movies. Start a tradition by watching the same movies each year, with some new releases thrown in here and there. The best movies to watch are the ones that enthrall your family, which may depend on the age of your kids. If you have elementary school kids or older, include some of your classic movie favorites such as It’s a Wonderful Life in the mix.
Keep everyone comfortable during the feature films with cozy throw blankets. There are kids’, women’s and men’s flannel PJs, in an array of holiday colors and prints. You can wear them with matching PJ tops or even well-worn T-shirts, then top with flannel robes if extra warmth is needed. There are kids’, men’s and women’s slippers in styles including moccasin and bootie to keep everyone’s feet toasty and warm.
One of the most memorable things to do during the holiday season that costs nothing but time is volunteering. The whole family can help a local charity, whether it’s serving at the soup kitchen or handing out holiday care packages at the hospital. Check with your local United Way or even your community’s Human Services Department to find out about volunteer openings during the holiday season.
These are just some of the ideas you can try to make this Christmas festive and fun on a budget. The most important thing about the holiday season is giving thanks and enjoying time with loved ones, which doesn’t cost a thing.