How To Make Your Thrifty Holiday Special

by | Jul 3, 2020

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Not only are we trying to apply everything we can to our financial goals this year, we’re also trying to teach the children minimalism and intentional shopping. Even though we live in a big house we still have to keep clutter to a minimum or else we’ll get overrun. So sometimes it’s hard to make your thrifty holiday special but here’s what I do.

How To Make Your Thrifty Holiday Special

We are drowning in over consumption. Every Christmas I seem to go overboard with spending and end up paying for it all year. Even if you’re spending very little money, here are some things to make the holidays special.

Re-purpose your decor.

  • Fill a fancy dish with extra tree baubles.
  • Cut some pieces of pine and put them into an old vase.
  • Set holiday decorations on a nice serving tray.

There’s limitless possibilities with a bit of imagination to make your home festive on a dime.

Purchase the gifts second hand or make them yourself.

  • I love thrifted gifts – why pay $50 for a toy you can get used for $10.
  • As far as DIY gifts are concerned, most people will appreciate the time and thought you put into it far more than anything off the shelf.
  • Even young children will relish in something hand crafted just for them.

Wrap absolutely everything.

  • This little trick adds a lot of holiday magic for the kids.
  • When filling their stockings, pull small items out of their packages and wrap them individually.
  • If you’re buying someone socks wrap every pair.
  • It’s cute and even if the gift isn’t that exciting (socks) unwrapping is half the fun.

Host potluck holiday gatherings

  • Holiday entertaining is expensive and you’re on a tight budget but rather than skipping out on the festivities, offer to host a potlock style event.
  • Ask everyone to provide an item to contribute to the meal and you have a party for on the cost of one dish.
  • Plan ahead with the guest list so you can tell everyone how many their dish should serve.
  • Ask guests to BYOB too.

Make Christmas morning magical

  • This is something that my parents did for me that was passed down to my own children: Depending on how many gifts you buy, only put out a couple or no gifts for your children.
    • I keep gifts that are for other people under the tree for that festive look still, and one gift to open Christmas Eve.
    • Everything else is hidden away.
    • After the kids go to bed we bring everything out and the impact is much more dramatic than if it was always under the tree.
  • Not everything is from Santa, in fact Santa normally only brings one or two large gifts which are typically shared and these are left unwrapped.
  • Hold over some decorations to put out the night before
  • Set the table fancy for Christmas morning breakfast
  • Hang extra Christmas lights around the room.

Focus on what’s important

  • If you know Christmas morning is going to be less gift heavy than previous years open the dialogue now with your children.
  • Talk about all the things that are going to happen and make presents just a small portion.
  • Explain to the kids that it’s not about the amount of gifts under the tree but the thought and value (emotional, not monetary) of them.
  • Help them carve out an intentional wish list that focuses on things they really want and need.
  • Ask them to choose one gift that they would prefer over everything else and use that as your main shopping guide, if possible.
  • Tell them straight up if something they really want is not possible – do not say “wait to see what Santa brings” if you know for sure he will not bring it. I choose to say “Santa doesn’t bring such expensive gifts because he has a lot of children to deliver presents to.”

Do more giving

  • Shift the focus of conversations to giving gifts to others.
  • Help the kids made crafts and gifts or take family photos.
  • Shop for gifts together and teach intentional, thoughtful gift giving.
  • Bake or make food gifts together.
  • If you can’t afford to donate money, give your time or used items to charity.
  • Help your kids sell old belongings online to earn money to buy presents for family or friends.

What little things do you do to make your thrifty holiday special?

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