"It's the most wonderful time of the year,” touts a classic Christmas song. With all the hustle and bustle of shopping, office parties, and get-togethers with close friends and family, for many it really is the most joyous season. For others, who may not have an unlimited budget for gift giving and entertaining, it can be stressful or depressing. Here are a few simple ideas for having a merry Christmas on a frugal budget so you can still enjoy the beauty of the holidays without feeling overwhelmed.
Focus on the Experience
For so many around the world these days, money is tight. People are out of work, or are underpaid. Children often unknowingly put pressure on their parents to buy them the latest electronic gadgets and fashion trends so they can keep up with their peers. Instead of feeling stressed at Christmas about not being able to afford these high-priced items for everyone in your family, consider giving them an experience.
For example, you can take your children to see a Christmas lights display. Check your local supermarket or online deal site for coupons. Many times you can find a family package rate, or discount tickets. Think of how much fun you will have piling into the family car, driving along a lake or other venue where there is a spectacular display of lights.
Crank up the Christmas tunes on the radio as you drive along, and you will be giving your children a wonderful, priceless holiday experience that they will always remember. And, this means so much more than an expensive gift they will soon forget once the novelty wears off.
Give Practical Gifts
At this time of year, there are many items people need, rather than just want for Christmas. Perhaps your sister just had a baby, and you want to give her something extra special this season. Consider a practical, useful gift that both mom and baby will really appreciate. For example, a reasonably priced gift idea might be an Ingenuity baby rocker, bouncer, or playard. These all make wonderful gifts for both baby and mom that they will be able to use all year long.
Add a Personal Touch
You can make this affordable gift option even more special by wrapping it along with a note offering an afternoon of babysitting. If you have teenage children, this is a great way to get them involved in the habit of practical gift giving, too. Along with providing a welcomed service to the new mom by giving her a few hours to herself, you will be teaching your children a valuable lesson in helping others in ways that only cost time rather than money.
Plan Frugal Decorating
Having a festive environment can help lift your spirits if you are feeling stressed about not having enough funds this holiday season. Decorating your home can be a family event. Hang lights, put up a tree, and make a wreath for your front door out of inexpensive materials. Make a list of the decorations you would like to have for next year, and then buy them after Christmas this year. Many stores put all Christmas decorations on sale for more than 50 percent off on December 26th each year.
Christmas really can be the most wonderful time of the year on any budget. There are many ways to accomplish this task. With a little planning and effort, you can give your loved ones a beautiful Christmas full of irreplaceable memories that won’t break the bank.