Christmas can be such a busy and expensive time, but it doesn’t have to be.
What I remember most about Christmas as a kid were the simple traditions – singing Christmas songs, driving around looking at holiday lights, baking cookies. Presents were fun of course but not everything. Yet it seems like they’re everything in our world today! But you can still enjoy a meaningful Christmas without all the “stuff.”
Here are 20 tips for a festive and frugal Christmas, as well as a free printable list and gift coupons that you can customize and give!
Free printable gift coupons
There are 2 sheets of gift coupons. One sheet that’s already filled in, and one that you can fill in yourself!
The gift coupons already filled in include:
- A coffee date
- A hike together
- A night of babysitting
- A home cooked meal
- A load of washed and folded laundry
- Breakfast in bed
- A batch of homemade cookies
- A dog walk
I think this gives you a great place to start – there are countless gifts you can write in! Print as many as you want.
Print them all here!
Here are 20 tips for a festive and frugal Christmas!
Create a realistic budget and stick to it.
Determine what you’ll spend now so you don’t easily go over your limit.
Need help setting a budget and keeping your spending in check? Get my FREE budgeting and planning worksheets here.
Start planning early.
Once you have your budget set, do some planning. What does each person like? Are there gifts you can make?
Plus, items can sell out early, especially if they’re in high demand. Every year I have found that I can’t get many gift items in mid-December. They’re already gone! So to save the most money, and avoid the pressure of “having” to find that perfect gift, start early!
Don’t go overboard on gifts.
Make a list of people you plan to buy gifts for. And remember – not everyone needs a gift. You can give some people a thoughtful card. In fact, some might appreciate that more. And don’t be afraid to discuss gift-giving rules with family so everyone’s on the same page.
Start buying as early as possible.
Keep your eyes open for the perfect gift as soon as you are able, and when you find something, grab it! Keep a stash somewhere safe in your home for these gifts. I keep items in my closet (shh…don’t tell my kids). Plus shipping can take a while in many cases. So don’t wait too late in the holiday season for gifts, except maybe holiday gift cards, as these often do go on sale in December.
Go thrift shopping for gifts.
You can find some great, new items in thrift stores. Also, consider consignment sales. I love Just Between Friends kids consignment sales. I’ve sold items at these sales myself, so I know the quality is great. And there are usually several in November near me. At these sales they have NEW toys and other great gift items.
Give homemade baked goods as gifts.
Do you have any special homemade cookies or breads to bake and share? I love making and gifting banana bread – I highly recommend this banana bread recipe as it’s my favorite.
Gift your skills or time.
Can you offer babysitting services? Can you teach something? Or repair jewelry really well? Consider gifting your skills or time. Also consider creating coupons to give of your talents, like these free printable ones! They have some ideas and there are blank ones you can fill in with your own ideas!
Do a gift exchange instead of buying a lot of gifts for everyone.
If you have a lot of family or friends to buy for, the costs can add up fast. Have each person in your family or friend group randomly pick a name of another person to get a gift for so everyone gets one gift.
Plan meals and snacks in advance to avoid buying too much.
Scheduling meals and snacks for your family and any parties you may have and shopping for deals on these items will make sure you only buy what you need.
Want more ways to save on groceries?
- Sign up for my free printable planner which includes meal planning and recipe worksheets!
- Use my free coupon database and coupons.com database to search for and print any coupons available for your grocery list items.
- Check my Month to Month Shopping Calendar for this month’s sales and seasonal produce!
Make homemade Christmas cards and gift tags.
A homemade Christmas card can be cheaper and mean so much. Here’s a Christmas Tree Pop Up card that the kids or anyone can make!
Reuse Christmas gift bags.
Often, gift bags are in great shape after just one use, so why not reuse them? Plus, shop the day after Christmas for the best deals on gift bags for next year.
Have fun making Christmas decorations.
Decorating can be more special when the decorations are homemade, and they can be so simple to make! There are tons of ideas on Pinterest. Or if you aren’t particularly crafty, you can shop thrift stores for secondhand decorations, or get them cheap during sales after Christmas.
Use cash only – no credit cards.
Unless you’re paying off your bill in full each month, avoid adding more credit card debt for Christmas. Just pay with cash – you can put aside cash in an envelope, label it, and put receipts in it to keep track of your spending. Every year we put a little each month in a Christmas savings account so we can withdraw the money in November, so it’s ready for us when we need it. And when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Have a neighborhood cookie swap.
Invite a few neighbors to bring 2-3 platefuls of homemade cookies, and then each neighbor gets to take home some of each. Or invite family and friends to bake together for an afternoon! Play some Christmas music as you bake.
Get a smaller minimalist Christmas tree.
Where to get these? Check out thrift stores or Facebook marketplace. Decorate with only lights or homemade ornaments for a minimalist look.
Use pinecones, holly leaves, and fir tree branches to decorate.
Bring the kids outside for a winter scavenger hunt to collect these, then paint or arrange them in your home.
Print a free scavenger hunt here!
Pass on a family heirloom as a gift to someone you know it will mean a lot to.
Is there a baby blanket, jewelry item or other heirloom that could be treasured by someone special?
Do fun things that won’t cost anything, like a Scavenger Hunt, Christmas Movie Marathon, etc.
Or enjoy driving around looking at Christmas lights in your area. Here are some in the Twin Cities.
Give homemade jellies, jams or pickles as gifts.
Anything in a jar is fun to give and receive. Or make homemade hot chocolate bombs as a gift!
Discover the true meaning of Christmas!
The true meaning of Christmas is to give up one’s self and think of only others, as Jesus gave up his life for us. How can your family serve others? Volunteering? A random act of kindness? Brainstorm some ways to give together!
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