Christmas on a Budget

I don't know about you, but for me funds are really tight this year for Christmas! I am a person who enjoys giving much more than receiving but this year has been full of unexpected expenses that have really put a crunch in my pocket book.  The worst part of having a little to nothing budget for the extras in life is that the little perks of Christmas time are really hard to make happen.

Traditionally, my son and I love to bake cookies and other desserts and pass them around to friends.  We also love to think of nice things to do for other people and bless them.  Most of all we just enjoy walking around the mall and enjoying the ambiance of the Christmas lights and season but a trip to the mall typically means, purchases.  He wills see things he would like to buy for others, we will have a special lunch or we will buy that festive hot cocoa.  These things are great but when you are on a very little budget these nice things suddenly come with mixed feelings.  That extra purchase, lunch or hot cocoa suddenly become a thing to be feared.  Those "extras" might spread you so thin financially that you are not sure how you'll buy all the groceries you need or how you will clear your mortgage/rent check.

These feelings are terrible to encounter any time of the year but tend to take a harder hit to us emotionally during the Christmas season.  I decided to do a little digging online to find some low to no budget activities that you can do with your children to keep the Christmas spirit engaged and alive in them as well as within your peace of mind.

Here are some of the things I found:

1) First and foremost, read the Christmas story in the Bible.  At no cost to you, you are instilling the greatest story every told into your children's lives.  All other things are just for fun but this is the foundation for the Christmas holiday.

2) Go on a Christmas scavenger hunt around your house.  Challenge your kids to find items that they can make an ornament out of, a wreath out of or even just something to string up for a silly Christmas decoration.

3) If you live where it snows, go sledding or have a snowball fight outside.

4) Make a Christmas masterpiece with ice cubes and food coloring.  Freeze colored water cubes and then let your kids paint with them outside on thick paper.  It's safe if they put the ice cubes in their mouth and makes a pretty art piece.  They can wear plastic gloves if you are not wanting them to dye their hands.

5) Make paper snowflakes and string them up around the house or their room.  To do this, fold up a paper into a square or a circle and begin cutting randomly.  When you open the paper you will have a unique snowflake.  This is a great teaching lesson too of how each person is different just like each snowflake.

6) Go to local and free events.  Typically your city will have an events calendar and there are activities that will not cost anything to attend except the gas to get there.

7) Have a holiday movie night.  Make this a big deal and pop some popcorn.  You can even invite their friends over to make this more of a holiday party that they'll enjoy.

8) Make Christmas gifts.  Typically family and even friends will love to receive a homemade present from you and your kids.  The sentiment is far more valuable than the gift.  Chances are they will be relieved that you didn't dig deep your budget to bless them.   For homemade gift ideas click here!

9) Drive around town looking at Christmas lights.  As you drive pick your favorites and leave a Merry Christmas card or note on their doorstep.  It can read, "We drove by and enjoy your lights which are the result of your hard work.  Thank you for blessing us and Merry Christmas!"

10)  Make ornaments for your tree.  You can do this by using card-stock paper, markers, crayons, glue, glitter and other accessories you choose.  Trace your children's hand or have them draw whatever they wish.  Punch a whole and string with a ribbon.  After they are finished drying place them on the tree.

My favorite ornaments are from a recipe my Aunt gave to me.

4 oz. can (1 c.) cinnamon

1 tbsp. cloves
1 tbsp. nutmeg
3/4 c. applesauce
2 tbsp. white glue

Combine cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add applesauce and glue. Stir 2-3 minutes until smooth. Divide into 4 portions. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut into festive shapes. Use straw to make hole on top of ornament.
Place on wire rack to dry. Thread with ribbon. More glue and applesauce may need to be added to obtain desired consistency to roll out.

These keep your house smelling great all season long.  Each year if the smell needs refreshing, simply use a little sandpaper on the back and they are good as new.  I still use these from over 10 years ago!

I hope that you find these tips and budget-friendly ideas useful!  Have a very, Merry Christmas!


  1. Thank you! Great ideas that we will do! Merry Christmas!

  2. My children are fully aware that Christmas is about the birth of Christ. We also celebrate Hannukah as Jesus did in the Gospel of John (Chapter 10, verse 22--Called the Feast of Dedication). The story of Hannukah reminds my children that the soldiers of yesterday and the soldiers of today still fight for our right to worship God. They receive eight small gifts from the dollar store. Then, for Christmas, they are to choose a gift to fit into each of these three categories: something they need, something they treasure, and something the want. For example: A need would be clothing, shoes, etc; A treasure is something that is sentimental to be kept for years to come (jewelry, a Bible, a book--not an expensive electronic gadget); A want is their toy/random item that they have been longing for. Jesus received three gifts, therefore, my children receive three gifts. We have a birthday cake in Jesus' honor on Christmas Eve and we open our gifts saying, "Happy Birthday Jesus, I will open this one for you" the following morning after a short prayer. When my youngest asks about Santa and if Santa will deliver gifts, my answer is, "It is a miracle of God if there are gifts under this tree. Some gifts are not found in stores or wrapped in boxes. You are my gift and not found anywhere but in God's heart." This is how Christmas should be.....