Gifts for Christmas, Christmas tree ornaments, Christmas food, Christmas cake....phew!
...it is a wonderful time of year...
It doesn't have to be.
- IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD IT, THEN YOU CAN'T HAVE IT
Apply this rule to all aspect of your frugal lifestyle, even when you're out buying gifts for others. It is very important that you always stick to your budget - if you spend more on one gift, then you'll need to spend less on another and eventually will find yourself in a bit of difficulty.
Don't forget Christmas is not about the SIZE of your gift but about the thoughtfulness behind it.
- NO GUILT BUYING
Don't try and match expensive gifts with gifts completely outside your budget.
Tell your friends and family that you simply can not afford expensive gifts and ask them to keep gifts "simple and thoughtful",
....better yet - ask them NOT to exchange gifts at all!
Then rather enjoy the gift of each other's company.
If this is not going to work with your family, then perhaps you can all agree to the Secret Santa approach.
You can still experience the "Christmas Spirit" while being kind to your pocket. Suggest to your family that each person only buy one gift for one other person.
Each person picks a name from a hat and only buys one gift below a specified amount for that person only.
The idea of "Secret Santa" is that the gifts remain anonymous but if you don't like that idea, then you can always let the person know it is from you.
- BUY IN ADVANCE
Don't buy on impulse or because you've left everything to the last minute.
Collect one or two gifts during the year whenever you come across a sale and store it in you gift cupboard.
- RECYCLE YOUR GIFTS
I recycle presents.
Whenever I receive a duplicate gift or simply something I do not really need, I add it to my gift cupboard.
Then when birthdays and Christmas comes along, I can visit the "gift cupboard" instead of the shops.
- MAKE YOUR OWN UNIQUE CHRISTMAS GIFTS
Making your own gifts for Christmas is not only cheaper and therefore frugal, but people also appreciate it a lot more.
It is easy to go into a shop and buy something off a shelf but if you make it yourself, you put a lot more thought and effort into it.
I love receiving home made gifts, it tells me that I am worth the effort, that someone has gone out of their way to make something just for me.
And that makes me feel very special and loved.
Try these simple gift ideas:
Clay handprints for Granny and Grandpa
- Patchwork gifts
Many home and craft magazines these days are full of easy "do it yourself" sewing ideas. You can use all your scrap fabric to make a patchwork quilt, pretty apron, placemats or even a shoulder bag.
Hot Chocolate Spoons
This unique Christmas gift is one of my personal favourites. Each spoon makes a delicious cup of real hot chocolate.
- Beadwork wind chime or necklace
Make a bead necklace or even a pretty wind chime out of coloured glass crystal beads and wrap it in tissue paper for another thoughtful, frugal gift. Visit your nearest hobby or craft shop and learn the art of beading.
- A Beach Towel bag
Take a medium size beach towel, fold it in half length ways and sew Velcro on the 2 sides, turning it into a bag with the top open. Complete the handy beach bag by sewing ribbons to the front and back of the bag to form handles. Now you have a handy beach bag and towel, all in one.
- Nifty shopping bag
Revamp a material shopping bag by sewing pretty ribbons or buttons on material flower cut outs and sewing these flowers onto the bag.
- Magnetic Memo Board
Buy a few small magnets from a craft shop and glue pretty buttons on the magnets. Stick double sided tape onto the back of a baking plate and turn an ordinary baking plate into a magnetic memo board.
- Stained-glass bottles
Make your own
Stained Glass bottles
by decorating old jam jars or wine bottles with stained glass paint, and fill them with
lemonade, Ginger beer, with flavoured sugar, Homemade chutney or balsamic salad dressing
Need more gift ideas? Try these
Frugal Gift Ideas.
- MAKE YOUR OWN GIFT WRAPPING AND GIFT TAGS
Gift wrapping paper and gift tags are easy Christmas Crafts, even the kids will enjoy.
Buy rolls of brown wrapping paper and with the kids' help, decorate the paper with painted hand and foot prints or make potato stamps by cutting a potato in half and then cutting a design on the potato - like for example a star.
Dip the potato shape into normal poster paint and decorate the brown paper.
You can similarly make Christmas gift tags from construction paper cut into small squares, decorated with glitter glue, ink stamps or even Christmas Stickers.
Punch a hole through the top of the card and thread thin paper ribbon through it to add the finishing touch.
- MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS TREE ORNAMENTS
My son is very proud of his
Christmas tree ornaments
and they not only have a special place on our Christmas tree, but also a special place in my heart.
You can make:
- MAKE YOUR OWN CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS
Make simple paper chains out of pretty tissue paper and liven it up with a bit of glitter before hanging it up
make Christmas balls. - Take several sheets of tissue paper, fold them separately into fans and without opening it, place them on top of each other. Tie them together in the centre and cut the ends on both sides in the shape of a point.
Now carefully unfold each layer and fluff each one as you unfold it. Hang your Christmas balls over your Christmas table to add to your table decor.
- USE EMAIL OR MAKE YOUR OWN CARDS
Save yourself the cost of buying Christmas or Birthday cards, envelopes and postage stamps and send your Christmas greeting via the Internet. If you feel that an email or E-card is too imporsonal, then make your own Christmas Cards instead - We had loads of fun making cards using Sand art, glitter, paper cut outs, paint and even stamps.
- EAT "IN" THIS HOLIDAY
Instead of having take out - fake it a little and save yourself a lot of money.
Make your own Take Out
You can save yourself a lot of money by simply learning how to make things like:
- CHRISTMAS FOOD ON A BUDGET
Most people are feeling the financial pinch, so ask those joining you for Christmas lunch this year to each bring a dish.
Instead of cooking a whole turkey or chicken this Christmas, serve
Christmas food that fit your budget
- Chicken and mushrooms in white wine served with rice or potatoes, buttered seasonal vegetables or
- Roast vegetables and for dessert
- Homemade Pecan Nut Pie served with whipped cream
Yum!! My guests didn't seem to miss the gammon or turkey at all!
- Make your very own Christmas Cake
I love this recipe - you can use it to make your own delicious
homemade Christmas Cake
or use small tins and make miniature Christmas cakes as gifts, wrapped in cellophane for friends and family.
- MAKE YOUR OWN ADVENT CALENDAR
You can make an advent calendar out of material for a beautiful, long-lasting calendar you can use year after year.
Or do what I did - and make this easy
Christmas wrapping Advent Calendar