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A Frugal Family Christmas?

Is it Possible to Have a Frugal Family Christmas?

Of Course It Is!

Well, I wouldn't have any thing to write about here if it weren't possible. Right? And, here I am.... So, there's all the proof you need!

With some planning, a little creativity, and determination (not to give into consumerism) you can get through the Christmas holiday without breaking the budget.

A Personal Story | Holiday Decorating | Frugal Family Christmas Gifts | Christmas After Credit

The Frugal Family Christmas

A Personal Story

Let me first tell you a personal story. About 12 years ago I found myself a single parent with two young children and one on the way.

With the help of my sister, I made the long distance move back home. There, I lived in a separate residence on my parents' property. I've said this before, I am blessed to have a great family infrastructure that has helped me through some of my hardest times.

This is, undoubtedly, where I get my strong family ties and commitments.

Not long after the move, we had our first family Christmas in our new home. By that time, the "expected" baby had been "realized" for only three months.

I basically lived on the graces of family services, and my wonderful family, during this time. A frugal family Christmas indeed. However, it was a Christmas that created lasting memories.

I went to visit a dear long time high school friend of mine during the week before Christmas and during that time we (myself, my friend, her husband, and the four toddlers we had between us) spent quite a bit of time crafting ornaments to put on our Christmas tree.

You see, we had no ornaments, and this was my friends way of helping me decorate the tree and make it through the holiday. And, what a great job she did of teaching me a lasting lesson about a frugal Christmas. A frugal Christmas could just be your best family Christmas ever!

She pulled out every scrap of craft material imaginable. Even everyday items that we could recycle into crafts. Consequently, I have a treasured collection of hand made ornaments. None of which I expected to survive thirteen plus years of Christmas trees. I still proudly display them on the tree every year.

Among the variety of handmade wreaths, balls, crosses, Christmas trees, etc., my favorites continue to be the angels. Body and wings cut from file folders, arms made of q-tips or paper clips, heads made from cotton stuffed gauze and a variety of small wooden or styrofoam balls, halos of aluminum foil or pipe cleaners, and dresses designed from a variety of fabric scrapes. These are just a few pictured here with our Handmade Christmas Ornaments Ideas

That same year, my mother donated a collection of handmade beaded ornaments. A beautiful collection of crosses, snowflakes, icicles, and Santas just to name a few. These were handcrafted from beads by my Great Aunt and Uncle.

My mom also donated some very old ornaments, used on her tree as a child. These vintage ornaments were purchased by her father when she was very young. These are also very precious to me. This was an especially treasured donation since my grandfather was MIA in WWII.

It is my hope that these treasured ornaments will be passed from generation to generation until they literally fall apart and are not usuable any longer. I tell the story each year and always make a comment how special they are and what a miracle it is that they have survived so long. I do this to stress the importance to my children so hopefully they will carry on the tradition of caring for them and using them.

Start your own collection of handmade Christmas ornaments.

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Holiday Decorating

Here are some ideas for Christmas crafts and decorating to get you started on frugal family Christmas decorating.

Christmas Garland

Garland is an easy craft that children can really enjoy creating. Your imagination is the only limit to what items or materials can be used to create garland. All one needs is a threading material such as rope, string, strong thread, yarn, or even wire and, a variety of items to decorate your garland with. Your thread strength is determined by the weight of items you chose to string.

Just a few items you might use:

Garland can be used to decorate inside or outside the house and the family Christmas tree.

Christmas Crafts

An old fashioned family Christmas always include arts and crafts for the whole family to make. Make lasting family memories and get some extra "quality time" at the same time! Family Christmas crafts can are great for:

  • decorating your home or tree
  • Christmas dinner center piece
  • giving as gifts or gift wrap decorations
  • adapting to other holidays or occasions. Simply use theme specific materials to personalize for other occasions
  • bringing the family together for quality time!
  • Here are several resources where you can acquire free christmas craft printables and patterns.

    Northpole.com offers easy family christmas crafts. Get some great ideas.

    Celebrating Christmas provides you with a large collection of Christmas and Holiday Crafts. Find crafts for Christmas Ornaments, Santa and Snowmen, Christmas Trees, Christmas Scrapbooking and Card Making layouts and more! Recipes, Holiday Decorating, Christmas Tree Decorating and Theme Ideas, Gift Ideas, Party themes - everything you need to celebrate Christmas in style.

    When visiting these recommended sites, use your imagination to personalize or create new and different family Christmas crafts. They are not only resources for craft directions and patterns, but great idea generators! Many of my own unique ideas are spin offs from existing ideas.

    That's one of the great things about handmade gifts and decorations. Each gift is unique and can be change or adapted to suit a specific interest or need. There's no limit to what your imagination can create.

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    Frugal Christmas Gifts

    Frugal family Christmas gifts are many times some of the most treasured possessions people own. With gas prices sky rocketing and many families struggling to make ends meet today, these frugal christmas gift ideas are sure to come in handy.

    The handmade gift ideas here can be applied to any holiday or special occasion. That's the beauty of handmade gifts! They can be adapted to suit any theme or interest.

    Gifts should come from the heart, not your pocketbook! Coming up with gift ideas on a tight budget may seem difficult at first. Put some thought into your gifts and you will be rewarded not only with lower costs but more practical, useful, gifts for the recipient.

    Gifts thought out carefully and directed towards an individual's needs and interests are much more appreciated. Giving the gift that "Keeps on Giving" is easy if you choose a gift that reflects the recipient's interests or needs and is useful to them. Consider gift ideas you can make yourself.

    Hand made gifts are almost always lower cost than store bought alternatives. Planning and a little creativity can relieve a lot of stress during holidays and other special occasions.

    First, if you haven't already, review our tips to avoid compulsive buying and relieve stress

    You'll also find some great Low Cost Frugal Gift Ideas. Many are suitable for any occasion and can easily be adapted to suit the Christmas holiday.

  • During the Christmas, Halloween, and Easter seasons, handmade ornaments like wreaths, and other decorations are timeless gifts. If you have children they will love to help create personalized ornaments to give as gifts. Sure to become treasured seasonal ornaments and decorations displayed year after year.
  • Create a personalized gift basket based on the person's interests or needs. Baskets can be purchased at minimal cost at thrift stores, yard sales, the dollar store, or clearance sales at craft and department stores. If you're planning several basket gifts throughout the year or at Christmas, check out some wholesale online sources that sell in quantity but, sell to the public.
  • Have a frugal friend or relative? Here are some Gift Basket Ideas with the Frugal Gal in Mind

    There's nothing more appreciated than a personalized gift. And, everytime it's used, you think of the person who gave it to you. It gives you a feeling of importance somehow. Shows that the giver "really" had you in mind when the gift was made or purchased. And, it's likely to be a gift that doesn't get tossed in the closet, attic, or basement, after you leave!

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    Christmas After Credit Cards

    A crucial time of year is approaching for families trying to reduce debt. The holidays are always difficult to get through without increasing debt. I've found this to be especially true with my own family.

    Reflecting on previous years it's hard to say where my troubles began. When I was a single parent I had the blessings a great family infrastructure and a "secret Santa"; Both showered my children excessively with gifts at Christmas time.

    I call them blessings. However, had I a crystal ball at the time I would have definitely approached the subject of Christmas much differently. More frugally on the commercial side and more aggressively on the spiritual or celebration side.

    It is especially important during the holiday season to keep focused on financial goals. It's so easy to get distracted from goals with the excitement and anticipation of children mounting each day the holiday grows closer. I found it so easy in the past to switch priorities with the flip of a credit card!

    My children's happiness and their expectations easily rose above the need to be debt free each and every passing year. And so here I am today, still paying for Christmas's past and planning how I will approach a debt free Christmas.

    For years I had been telling the kids " This year Christmas will be lean. We just don't have as much money to spend this year." I had already discussed with the kids the changes in our financial situation. I explained in every detail how we got in debt, how important it was for our future to get out of debt, and how I had planned to accomplish eliminating the debt. Needless to say it was a rude awakening for them. But, even though I had made the speech, my actions did not confirm commitments at Christmas time.

    Each and every year I would over ride my sensibilities and splurge, always finding new credit or increased credit limits to subsidize the holiday. I knew this was a huge mistake. How could they take me seriously with such a blatant display of extravagance? But, I continued to do it anyway. Just a perfect example of how we let our emotions control our actions.

    But then came the year after. The year after I had maxed out every card and could no longer get additional or new credit extended. The year that I had no choice but to live up to my commitment. I must say it was rough. But I do believe in hind sight that it was harder for me than it was for them. So what's a mom to do? Be honest! It's always the best policy.

    Of course, since my children were no longer under the influence of the "Santa" legend, my job was made easier. I sat down with them again but this time I showed them the money so to speak. Or rather, the lack of money. I explained each and every expense in the budget. I compared it to our income. I showed them, on paper, that we were living on the bare minimum. Then I explained about our debt and how Christmas's past had contributed greatly to the problem. I stressed that this was money I spent that I did not have and that now was the time I had to pay back.

    I also explained that this would be the first year that I would not have those credit cards to turn to. I had no other option but to follow through with what I had been saying for years; This Christmas would in fact be very different.

    If you still have young children and you choose to de-commercialize the holidays, I recommend implementing some celebration changes now. Focusing more on the actual celebration, or spirit, of Christmas and minimizing the importance of gifts. Certainly a few specially selected or created gifts are more appreciated than an abundance of senseless short lived gifts.

    Teaching children how to choose or create gifts based on the recipients interests or needs is the best practice. I learned the importance of choosing just the right gifts because of neccessity. I also realized how senseless it is to over give. It is the few truly cherished gifts that stay the course. Abundance is discarded almost immediately! I saw it with my own eyes year after year.

    I know in an ever evolving technological society, the task of creative giving becomes more and more difficult. However, I also believe that the more technological our society becomes, the more we will miss, and long for, the simpler days of living. I'm already missing them and we've only just begun the technical revolution. Much technology today is short lived and constantly updating. It's hard to keep up without going into debt if you live on a modest income.

    Show your children a more meaningful Christmas now and not only might you save yourself some money, you won't find yourself trying to explain a lean Christmas holiday. Put it in perspective before it gets out of hand and everyone is saved a lot of disappointment and reality shock!

    Everyone deserves the right to live debt free. Being financially secure and independent is an option everyone can choose. Review the Three Simple Steps to Successful Debt Elimination

    If you use all the Debt Free Living strategies together you will be successful in achieving a debt free life...

  • Budget your money to live within your means.
  • Use money saving tips and strategies to save money everyday on everything you buy and do!
  • Eliminate debt and learn to manage credit properly.
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    Family Christmas Resources

    Celebrate Christmas in Style! -Click here to Download FREE Celebrating Christmas PDF Magazine. Packed with illustrated articles on holiday recipes, crafts, home decor, party planning tips, gift ideas and family fun activities for Christmas.

    Holiday Crafts, Games, Recipes You'll find lots of frugal family Christmas holiday ideas at NorthPole.com. Loads of fun free activities. Print coloring pages, create a personalized story, listen to, or read, christmas stories, get craft ideas, recipes, and more. A must visit family christmas site!

    Free Christmas Music - Holiday Music MP3 Downloads - Feels Like Christmas brings together a variety of free stuff to enhance your holiday. Music, clip art, recipes and more!

    Mrs. Clause's Kitchen - Holiday Recipes

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