Most people assume they're going to spend money, lots of money … during the holidays. There are gifts to buy plus food and new Christmas decorating ideas you want to try. So it's heartbreaking to read about parents who are forced to make trade-offs between healthy food, medicine and gifts they think their kids need. It was one of these articles that prompted me to share ideas for Christmas savings. With all the disasters that have happened in the last few months, it feels like we need to rethink Christmas. This could include reaching out to help others in need like those who lost their homes in Houston, Florida or Puerto Rico.
Christmas Memories are Always Special
Christmas is my favorite time of year for many reasons, most of which don't cost a lot of money. Maybe more folks were frugal when I was a child and Christmas savings was how we lived? Here are some of my fondest memories as a child:
- Visiting stores in New York City, all decked out in holiday decorations. My favorite memory from the stores we visited are the mountains of gift boxes in bright holiday colors.
- Making many batches of Christmas cookies, and wrapping them up as gifts for friends.
- Singing Christmas carols at church. Then going home and singing more songs as my sisters and I walked down the stairs with excitement, knowing we were about to open our presents.
- Playing a week long game of Monopoly with my sisters. We created “grownup checkbooks” so we had enough cash to keep the game going.
Maybe it's time to rethink what Christmas is about? Rather than listening to the brands we love, the stores we shop and family traditions that drive us to spend money, we can do things differently. Here are some of my new holiday traditions and like those from my childhood they don't cost much.
- Visiting New York City at Christmas to see all the decorations is one of my top priorities, especially when it means spending time with my best friend.
- Decorating my house instead of baking although I do try to whip up a batch of banana bread with cranberries to continue the gifting tradition.
- Making and decorating gingerbread houses. Then depending on where we live, having a party where everyone brings candy to share.
- Adopting a family so I can shop for kids toys and clothes. Our family stopped exchanging gifts years ago when my older son in his first job didn't have the money. Everyone loved this so it's one of our new family traditions with lots of Christmas savings. Instead we spend our time cooking together and playing games.
So here are my ideas for Christmas savings and decorating too!
Christmas Decorating Idea #1: Decorate Plants You Have
So I fell in love with the custom of decorating cactus in Arizona. You can buy small holiday hats to decorate your indoor plants, chairs, hooks … use your imagination and get the kids involved. The best part is you get to reuse them year after year and they're easy to store.
Christmas Decorating Ideas Using Existing Decor
Here are some decorating items from Amazon (click photo for more info).
Christmas Decorating Ideas Using Fairy Lights
Check out the variety of fun fairy lights available on Amazon …
Other Christmas Savings to Consider
Some Christmas wrapping paper is gorgeous. But is it really necessary? You can use old newspaper or brown paper bags that your kids decorate. The idea behind Christmas savings is really about testing your need before you buy something. How often will you use it? Do you have room to store it between uses, in a way that's easy to find when you want it?
My Christmas decorating secret like many other parts of my home is a budget. Pick 2, 3 or four boxes and when they're full, you've got enough decorations. If you buy something new, then you also want to give something so what you have still fits in those boxes.