Christmas should be about fun, relaxation and spending time with loved ones, but all too often it can turn into a huge financial pressure. From the gifts to the food and festive activities, Christmas can leave your bank balance groaning under the strain.
The good news is that it is possible to enjoy Christmas on a budget without sacrificing the best parts. Here are a few ideas about how to get in the festive spirit without spending a small fortune.
Don’t Pay for Santa Photos
If you’re got young children, meeting the big man in red might be a highlight on the run-up to Christmas. You might therefore be tempted to book a slot at one of the local grottos for your child to meet Santa, receive a small gift and have a photo with him.
While it’s a fun experience, it’s an unnecessary expense and usually comes with a considerable cost. The gifts are generic and are rarely something that your child would really want.
As an alternative, look out for opportunities to meet Santa in your local shopping mall, stores or walkabouts. There are lots of places which have a Santa that you can meet for free, and if you have a smartphone, you can still get that magical photo for the album.
Get Your Craft On
If you plan ahead, you can pick up a stack of Christmas decorations in the January sales at a tiny fraction of the price. However, if the local stores are all sold out or you forgot to look, you don’t need to suck up the cost of buying everything at inflated festive prices.
It’s possible to make almost all of the decorations for your homes and you don’t need to be an experienced crafter to achieve fantastic results. Sites such as YouTube and Pinterest have simple tutorials which are easy to follow. Salt dough decorations are a good place to start: all you need is flour, water and salt plus whatever paint or glitter you choose.
As well as saving money, making your own decorations means you can have exactly what you really want and you won’t be stuck with what the shop had left in stock.
Create Family Traditions
Christmas traditions don’t need to involve spending money but they can really ramp up the feel-good festive mood.
A night out at the cinema to watch a Christmas film is certainly fun, but it’s not a cheap activity. A budget-friendly alternative is to have a movie night at home. Snuggle up under a cosy blanket with a hot chocolate and your favourite snacks, and pick a film from Netflix or whatever streaming service you have. If you really want to make it feel like the cinema, throw some popcorn in the microwave or cook kernels on the hob and you’ll almost forget you’re not at the local Cineworld.
Other activities you could try include:
- Taking a walk to look at Christmas lights in gardens and windows
- Setting up a Christmas treasure hunt around your home
- Family games night with whatever board games you have already
- Making a family Christmas video
- Attending a candlelit carol concert
- On Christmas Eve, track Santa’s progress around the world, courtesy of Noradsanta.org
There are lots more possibilities, see what others you can dream up!
Looking for More Inspiration?
If you’ve found these ideas useful and you’re interested in more suggestions on how to do Christmas cheap, you might want to check out this guide. With thoughts on how to economise on food right through to gifts and discounts, you might be able to save yourself some serious pennies!