Thrifty Christmas Tips

image I’m absolutely shocked at what people seem to spend on Christmas presents these days! The idea of going into credit card debt for months after the holidays just to buy Christmas presents nearly knocks me off my chair! What ever happened to the days of Laura Ingalls where a hearty meal or a handmade doll was something special? When did we shift our focus from being with those we love to shopping ourselves to death and filling our homes with STUFF? I think we’ve bought into the lie that more is better and we’ve taken for granted the simple things. With the economy in the shape that it is hopefully more people will return to a life of simplicity where gratefulness and contentedness is the norm.
Christmas doesn’t have to be chaotic, expensive or stressful. Here are a few ideas for making your Christmas celebrations more peaceful and thrifty:

*Buy something that the person needs and would enjoy. - I remember how excited I was as a kid when I would get a new nightgown each Christmas. It was something I needed and because I grew up on hand-me-downs it was great to get something brand new!
*Give handmade gifts. I was totally excited when a good friend of mine gave me a set of fabric napkins that she had made. Not only are they a great way to save money, they’re a great GREEN option too!
*Don’t spend a lot on each person. - You might be surprised how far $20 can go!
*Give homemade goodies from the kitchen. Food and treats make excellent gifts because EVERYone eats! It’s a universal present! Some good ideas are cookies, fudge, home-made pasta, canned jellies, salsa, sweet breads, teas, or cookie mixes in a jar. It’s fun to get together a gift basket of things like these.
*Don’t be afraid to give something that’s been gently used. This is especially true of baby clothes and kids toys. This is after all one of the major themes of recycling (Reduce, REUSE, recycle). Most years we give our daughter something purchased from a garage sale and she loves getting something new to HER.

*Finally, take advantage of gift bags. I love gift bags because they’re reusable. As opposed to wrapping paper, they can be re-gifted many times before they need to be thrown out. I even re-use the tissue paper (unless it’s been torn). 

  • Last year we started a new tradition.  We sewed several cloth bags in various sizes that we will continue to use each and every year instead of gift wrapping. 

    Since our family lives 700 miles away, we have always made gifts for them.  I feel like it is a way for my kids to learn more about the interests of our family and feel a connection to them. 

    However, I do feel many families need time to get used to the idea of making homemade gifts for each other.  I think our society has made “homemade” gifts seem like they aren’t worth as much - sad, but I hear many friends say there is no way their family would go for homemade gifts.

  • Cathy, that’s a great idea about the cloth bags. Good for you! :)
    It IS sad that some have downplayed homemade gifts. I’m blessed to be in a family that values them. I do think there are different levels of homemade gifts. I’m not really into homemade nick-knacks or craft-sale type stuff. I like to make functional items. For instance, I’m planning on making some wire napkin holders along with some cloth napkins for one of my relatives. My specialty is jewelry since I have a jewelry business. I also dabble in stained glass, mosaics and a tiny bit of sewing. It would be good if more kids could learn real skills like woodworking, sewing, cooking and gardening.
    I totally understand though that not everyone is gifted in making things. I have a few friends and relatives that would really struggle in that area. For them, it may be better to concentrate on buying more functional gifts and spending less overall

  • Very True!! Its so sad on how people carried away so easily while forgetting the actual purpose of Christmas!! :(
    You have inspired me to promote ‘Go Green’ policy :) Thanks a lot!

  • I do think there are different levels of homemade gifts.I have a few friends and relatives that would really struggle in that area.

  • Thanks for providing all the great ideas that will be helpful to everyone.

  • Great suggestions these kinds of gifts can make some great memories and some fun conversation pieces over the holidays. Nice fun post.