Guest post from Sara of Save Money, Live Joyfully:
Being on a budget can be especially discouraging during the holidays. It’s easy to look at what we “can’t afford” or what we “don’t have”, that we lose sight of the beauty of the things and people around us…the lifelong memories we can create with little or no money.
Here are 7 of our family’s favorite frugal Holiday Traditions.
1. Decorating Christmas Cookies
My husband and I started this tradition when we were first married 10 years ago, and have carried it on with our two children. We start with a simple sugar cookie recipe, cut out shapes using Christmas cookie cutters, and decorate with whatever we have on hand (like sprinkles, chocolate chips, or even marshmallows).
It’s an inexpensive way to get into the holiday mood, (most baking supplies go on sale this time of year), and we look forward to kicking off the Christmas season with some goodies to share with friends and neighbors.
2. Making Homemade Ornaments
I do a homemade ornament with my kids each year to hang on our tree. It’s been as simple as tracing their handprint onto construction paper, cutting it out and sticking a pipe cleaner through it — but it’s a beautiful reminder to cherish the moments since each progressing ornament shows how quickly they’ve grown from year to year!
3. Looking at Christmas Lights
Our town has many beautiful light displays, and on several evenings before Christmas, we like to take a few sugar cookies, maybe put some apple cider into respective sippy cups, and drive around looking at all the lights while blasting our favorite Christmas music CD.
4. Christmas Eve Pajamas
Following a tradition dating back three generations in my family, our kids get to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and it’s always a pair of pajamas and a book.
I try to find clearance items throughout the year, so the pajamas may have cost less than $5 and the book may have been from the dollar store, but it’s still one of our favorite traditions.
5. “Adopting” Someone
Helping someone out during the holidays doesn’t have to cost money, but we always try to find a way to bless at least one family during the Christmas season.
Whether it’s giving them some of the gift cards we’ve collected through Swagbucks so they are able to buy a gift for their children, babysitting for a single mom so she can get some shopping done, visiting a nursing home and bringing handmade cards and a listening ear, or inviting someone who has no family over for Christmas dinner, you don’t have to spend a lot to bless someone else.
A small gesture to you may mean to world to someone else.
6. The Sounds of the Season
My two year old was born deaf, and last year received cochlear implant surgery that gave him the incredible gift of sound. Our newest tradition (but one of the most meaningful) is listening for specific “sounds of the season” wherever we go (bells, carolers, wrapping paper, even the timer on the oven I use when baking), that our son is now able to hear.
“Junior can hear _____!” we’ll exclaim when we hear a new sound, as a reminder that the best gifts in life have nothing to do with packages and bows.
7. Christmas Morning Communion
It’s a simple act, but before opening any stockings or presents, our family takes communion using some toast and apple cider as a reminder that Christmas isn’t about the WHAT, it’s about the WHO, and His perfect gift to us.
These are a few of our family’s favorite frugal family traditions — I’d love to hear about some of your in the comments!
Sara is a homeschooling momma to 6-year old Tater and 2-year old Junior. Her hobbies used to include sleeping, reading, and cooking for fun, but then she had children. She blogs about special needs, money (and time) saving recipes, and homeschooling at Save Money, Live Joyfully.