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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fa, la, la, Blah! – Christmas on a Budget

If you’re broke or money is tight, take comfort in the fact that you are in good company. The jobless rate is astronomical and many who do have jobs got them by taking pay cuts or kept them because they were willing to take a pay cut. Christmas catalogs arrive daily, Jingle Bells is already a jangling on many radio stations and television and storefronts are hitting us with ads and windows telling us that Christmas is about what we need to buy for people to tell them we love them. I like buying Christmas gifts just as much as any other person, but if you are feeling blue because you don’t have any money, or you have very little money this holiday season, take a moment to think of all the gifts that you already have and count those blessings.

Do you have a roof over your head, your personal memories intact, or your health? Do your children have their health, food on the table, clothes to put on their bodies to keep them warm? Can you count one other person that loves you? You are blessed if you can. Don’t you forget it!

I’m not going to give you a lecture on what Christmas is TRULY about, but I bet you can guess what I think. Since Christmas is about giving and not receiving, and we all do love to give no matter if we are broke or not, I want to give you some ideas on how to give cheaply. Do not spend one silly second feeling bad about yourself because you can’t give the expensive, unnecessary commercial gifts that you think you should. Rather than wallow get creative and then you will have the true Christmas spirit within you.

Ten Frugal Christmas Ideas
1. Bake some Christmas treats. Who doesn’t love a basket of baked goods at Christmas!
2. A bottle of wine with an ornament hung around the neck to make it festive.
3. Homemade soaps. Sooo easy, and if I’m saying this, Mrs. Craft-Challenged, then you know it’s true.
4. Homemade coupons. Some suggestions: Free night of babysitting for a friend or relative. A day of helping with yard work for a parent. A backrub for your partner or a homemade dinner of their choice. You get the idea, I’m sure.
5. Kids artwork for grandparents or a collage of family pictures.
6. Gardening gloves with a plant or flower seeds.
7. Basket filled with cheeses, cracker, and sausages or whatever floats your boat.
8. Books.
9. Movie theatre tickets.
10. A new CD

** If you are a writer you could write a poem or story dedicated to someone special.

I hope I have given you a few ideas. I would love to hear some of your frugal Christmas ideas.

Have a great day!

Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. I love all of these ideas, Julie. One of my favorite gifts I received last year was from my sister-in-law. She's a budding photographer and I fell in love with one of her photos and made sure she knew it. Well, I received a framed copy for Christmas and it hangs in my living room.

    If you have a talent, share it with others. You know what would be the greastest gift? Someone to help organize my office. I hate that type of thing. Or an offer to cook a meal on a day I work. Or make treats for my daughter's class.

    I also don't mind receiving re-gifted items. One of my co-workers gave away some things she didn't need anymore as Christmas gifts because she was downsizing. I received a CD that I've listened to so many times it has begun to skip. It was an artist I never would have known about if not for her.

    This seems to be all about me receiving. Hmm... LOL.

  2. Those are great ideas, Samantha! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Well, the first rule of thumb is don't have any kids! JUST KIDDING! I think if a far away daughter could come and visit, that would be the best Christmas present I could have.

    Aside from that, I wrote a song for my wife, and she said it was the best present she ever received

    So maybe material things are nice at the time, but they aren't the presents we'll remember years later.

  4. I've crocheted blankets for people as presents. Buying some yarn is a lot less expensive than buying so many other things. I also love to cook, so if I can't afford to buy presents for everyone, I'll host a family night and make a meal, then we can all play games or enjoy each others' company.

  5. As always, you have delightful suggestions for the holidays. I'm going to follow your advice on a budget for Christmas.

  6. I'm with David on the faraway kids visits being the best gifts of all.

    My husband and I both have large extended families. Some years, all the adults agree to only buy gifts for the kids. Other times, we've drawn names for gift giving. The kids are thrilled to get a bigger gift and the parents aren't scrambling to find inexpensive gifts for all 21 nieces and nephews.

  7. Catherine,
    I love your idea of cooking a big meal for everyone.
    David,aka Dad, send me the money, and I'll be there with bells on.
    I may try to convince everyone to buy just for the kids this year. That would save sooo much time and money!

  8. The first year I was away from my nieces and nephews (before kids for me) at Christmas, I embroidered sweatshirt for them. Plain sweatshirts are not that expensive and if you cross stitch or embroider, it is an idea. Who doesn't need a sweatshirt in the winter? I know people that now do this by machine, but I did my by hand and enjoyed it a lot.

  9. What a great idea, Amy! My kids would love that!

  10. Awesome ideas, Julie! When my son was a toddler, I dressed him up in an outfit for each month. A diaper, noise maker and party hat. A red and white heart shirt. A shamrock bib. You get the picture. Something for each month. Then I took pictures of him in each outfit and created a calendar for loved ones who weren't nearby. It was a lot of fun and everyone who got one, treasured it.

  11. Great ideas all of them. I am writing them down. Last year I did fruit baskets for everyone as I can't bake lol. I'm the world's worst in the kitchen. I absolutely love the idea about the calender Lydia! Brilliant. I may try that for mom and dad this year. Thanks for sharing Julie!

  12. When I worked in an office, one girl made Coconut Ice, popped small squares into Christmas decorated jars (recycled Moccona coffee jars with the sealable lids) and gave that to everyone. I still have that christmas jar downstairs. It comes out each year. :o)

  13. Julie, these are such great ideas! I'm always looking for more personal, creative gifts, and these are perfect! I also have done movies for family - picture or video collages put to music. The only thing is that it's incredibly time consuming and usually takes months for me to finish! Still, everyone seems to love when I do that :)