A roof over our heads. Having friends and family in our lives and a loving dog (or three!) that’s waiting to cuddle with you on the couch. There are more than enough reasons to celebrate this year.
But when you think of Christmas, your head immediately goes to lavish dinners and expensive gift exchanges. And yet, there are lots of ways to celebrate the holiday season without putting unnecessary strain on your checking account. So if you’re working with a tight or almost inexistent budget this year, here are 5 simple ways to celebrate Christmas without spending money.
- Use Meaningful Things to Decorate
You don’t need to spend money on new decorations this year. Use things that mean something to you and your family to deck out your house. For example, you can use mini-frames that have photos of you and your loved ones for tree ornaments. Ask the kids to pick a handful of items that make them happy like miniature toys, trinkets, DIY projects, and drawings, and hang them from the tree or in their bedrooms.
- Plan a Few Experiences for the Holidays
Instead of gifts this year, spend your hard-earned money on some holiday experiences that everyone can enjoy like a Christmas concert, a cooking class, or watch a parade in your hometown. You don’t even have to turn the car on to make Christmas extra special.
- You can build a snowman in your own living room with this Do You Want to Build a Snowman kit.
- Arrange a winter scavenger hunt and have the kiddos look for things like pine cones, plants, or candy canes.
- Or learn how to make a snowman WITHOUT snow with this insanely cool video tutorial.
- Host a Gift Swap
Gift exchange parties put an interesting twist to traditional gift-giving. Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate Christmas without spending more than $10 bucks:
- Secret Santa: everyone draws a name without revealing who it is. Each person will buy a gift for them on Christmas day. You can put a cap of $10 max.
- Host a Yankee Swap Party: Ask your guests to bring a wrapped present. Then, let everyone choose a number. When it’s time to open the presents, people will get to pick from a gift pile based on the number they have. And it has to go in order!
- Host a Cookie Exchange
A great way to enjoy yourself this holiday season without breaking the bank is with a cookie exchange party. Ask guests to bake a few batches of their favorite cookies. The idea is that everyone gets to try different flavors or cookies during the party. Put on some music and play a few games. Have everyone take turns tasting cookies and guessing what flavor they are and who made them. When the party is over, everyone will take dozens of different cookies home. So make sure to have a variety of cookie containers on hand so everyone can take their cookies with them.
- Throw a Cookie Decorating Party
Make the cookies the night before just in case anything goes wrong and stock up on sprinkles, chocolate chips, and candy hearts. The more special the toppings, the better.
- Try to get some decorative eyes to make Santa and reindeer cookies.
- Have a nice batch of royal icing, some food coloring, and some piping bags handy.
- Make beards and snow with cream cheese and Reddi-wip cream.
If you don’t have all the ingredients, you can have every guest bring their own decorating toppings.
Whether you share the cost of a gift, make homemade desserts, or plan a decorating party, you can make Christmas a memorable time for everyone in your life.