How to Have a Frugal and Happy Christmas

Happy Holidays!  Ok, I’m not nuts, but at least this post makes more sense when I start with that.  You might ask ‘what the hell is wrong with this guy?’  It’s about 50 days to Christmas.  You’ve got tons of time to deal with all that stuff later.

Actually if you holidays ever seem to go like mine you never seem to have enough time right around the holidays to actually enjoy them.  You are so busy the two weeks before Christmas going to parties, shopping, baking, putting up the tree, putting up lights on the house and cooking up a storm for the big event.  So how do you deal with it?  Well here’s my rescue list to have a happier and frugal Christmas.

  1. Start Now.  Don’t wait, don’t push it off.  Doing a little bit every couple of days right now makes things a lot easier during the major time crunch at the end.  For example, put up the Christmas lights now and then just plug them in next month.
  2. Make a Budget.  Decide right now who you are going to buy for and roughly how much each.  Write it down and track what you spend.  It’s amazing how much you can keep your spending down if you realize you already overspent on Mom, so that slightly cheaper gift for Dad will keep your budget in tack.  Also keep presents to those people that really matter like family and close friends.  After all how well do you really know your paperboy?
  3. Make a Plan.  For all those non-present related tasks.  Plan your holiday treats and pick up the groceries by Nov. 15.  That gives you lots of time to get the baking done before the parties start.  Pick up stamps and cards if that is your thing and have that Christmas letter written by Dec. 1.
  4. Delegate.  Nothing works wonders on stress better than sharing the work load.  So feel free to ask for help.  I’m hosting Christmas dinner for 17 people and I’m not even slightly stressed.  Why?  Because we turned it into a pot luck.  I’m doing the turkey, stuffing and gravy.  After that I’m delegating out all the other food to everyone else.  After all no one minds cooking a single dish.  We all hate having to cook ten dishes by ourselves and then clean up afterwards.
  5. Cut Back.  Just because you get invited to five Christmas parties doesn’t mean you have to go to them all.  Also you are not required to try and visit all your family in a week off between Christmas and New Years.  Cut back on things you don’t care about to allow yourself time to actual enjoy the holidays.  Also consider letting yourself worry more about finding a good gift for a person rather than a pricey one.  As I’ve mentioned before to other people I don’t ask to see a receipt of my presents so I don’t have to know you got it for 60% off and I don’t care.  If you are really into cutting back you can even try the buy nothing Christmas.

So what’s your tip for a happy and frugal Christmas?  If you have one please share and leave a comment.

8 thoughts on “How to Have a Frugal and Happy Christmas”

  1. I really dont get this attitude to christmas. I dont “do” christmas. I dont shop, cook or really engage in any of it. I dont buy (or receive) christmas presents. I dont rush around and engage in mindless consumerism. I dont have christmas parties to go to. I suppose this makes me unconventional.

  2. Xmas is always astronomically expensive for me since moving north. Getting home is a bear in the winter, no direct flights, and we always spend a fortune in Dubbilin no matter what. It’s worth it to spend time with my gran, but the dates don’t line up for my vacation time this year. So we’re actually saving money by going to the Bahamas instead (if I ever get it booked).

    I do WWF adoptions for gifts, and expect something similar, if they must send anything, from friends and family. 31 year olds don’t need presents, although it never works with my mother though!

  3. @guinness416 – we went to the bahamas recently for xmas it was FANTASTIC – we didnt book a package but booked it all seperately and went island hopping – fabulous memories – not a cheap holiday but worth every penny – make sure you get to the out islands

    Have fun


  4. Thanks, Claire. I’m avoiding packages too (we’ve got thousands of starwood points to use on the hotel room) which seems cheaper, as well as more flexible.

  5. Great post, people seam to be thinking of Christmas earlier and earlier each year. The supermarkets near my house were selling Christmas stuff in October.

    I plan to have a frugal Christmas by not spending a penny, thats my strategy lol

  6. Great post. I’d recommend the site put together by our mennonite friends:

    Under ‘alternatives’ there are dozens of buy nothing gift ideas.

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