Despite our best planning and intentions, by the time the Christmas season rolls around, our bank account is squeezed just too thin.

If you are on a tight budget this holiday season, you can still create an enjoyable and even a magical Christmas season for you and your family.

You don’t need a lot of money to pull off Christmas, and no matter what your reason for cutting back this Christmas season, there is something here for everyone.

As a mom, I know just how much you want to create the most magical Christmas season for your kids.

Living on a tight budget can not only make daily life hard but when Christmas rolls around it can get even harder.

With these Christmas on a budget ideas, you’ll still be able to have a magical Christmas.

You can learn how to do Christmas on a budget when you get a little creative and think outside the box with these tips!

Plus, you’ll learn how to have a Christmas on a budget by shopping smarter and making your money go farther!

With a little creativity, here are some fun & unique ways you can spend less money and still have a magical Christmas season with your kids, and celebrate Christmas on a budget.

So let’s get busy saving money on Christmas!

christmas season

Wrap Every Little Thing

Sometimes unwrapping the presents is way more fun than what is inside.

This is especially true for your younger children during the Christmas season.

If you don’t have many gifts to put under the tree this year, wrap everything, even your stocking stuffers. Yes, I wrap every teeny tiny item inside my kids’ stockings! Even the candy bars and bags of socks and underwear!

These Christmas on a budget ideas will not only help with stretching out Christmas morning for as long as possible, but it will make it more fun.

For example, if you buy your kids a multi-pack of matchbox cars, open them up and wrap each car separately.

There will be more presents for your kids to open, and you just made one gift into four. That’s how to do Christmas on a budget friend!


Planning Is Key During The Holidays


Download these FREE Christmas Prep Cheat Sheets so you get ahead (of the spending) this year.

christmas season

Get Crafty

Store-bought Christmas decorations are expensive! I made this glittered fruit centerpiece in the photo above for less than $5 total! Put the glittered fruit in a bowl and add some ribbon and you’ve got a really festive centerpiece. Or, hot glue them on a wreath that you made from a few branches out of your Christmas Tree.

Whether you are looking for ornaments for your tree or just a creative way to deck the halls, look no further than your own hands this Christmas season!

Creating crafts with your kids is not only a great way to spend more time together, but your house will be full of beautiful, low cost, Christmas decor! That’s how to have a Christmas on a budget!

You can even take this a step further and make your gifts this Christmas season. (Here’s 30 DIY Gift ideas that cost less than $10 each!)

Baked goods, homemade candles, and even DIY Lip Balms are all great gift ideas that will be just as amazing as the store bought ones.

You know who loves homemade gifts? Grandparents! They already have so much that something you made with your hands is more meaningful anyway.

There are usually several FREE DIY eBooks on Amazon that are filled with ideas for making gifts using everyday materials you probably already have in your pantry for a lot less. It’s a great way to start saving money on Christmas!

christmas season

Keep Christmas Morning Breakfast Simple

It’s easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.

There are adorable pancake molds and fun new Christmas food to make for your Christmas morning breakfast.

If you’re on a tight budget, you need to keep it simple, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose the fun this Christmas season.

Pancakes, fruit, and bacon can be easily shaped into Reindeer, and you can turn those boring cinnamon buns into a cute Christmas tree!

By keeping the breakfast menu simple, but the arrangement fancy, you can have fun without the excess expense. You’ll be saving saving money on Christmas in no time!

christmas season

Think Of FREE Gifts To Give 

While the Christmas season is the season of giving, if you are working with a small budget, you might need to hone your spending a little this year.

Explain to your extended family that this year you are focusing on just your immediate family in order for you to figure out how to do Christmas on a budget.

You can make it up to them next year, but this year you need to focus on your family and that is okay.

If this is just not possible, or you are embarrassed to do so, think of FREE gifts you can give to them so that you still have something to give without the expense:

  • Make them a “homemade coupon booklet” in which you could promise them a future experience such as a day of canoeing once the weather is warmer and the holidays are over.
  • There is nothing wrong with secondhand gifts, as long as they are in excellent condition. Check out thrift stores, Craigslist, eBay, ThredUP, and even Goodwill to find brand new items for sale. I once found a box of Pampered Chef goodies! It had never even been opened. {In case you are curious, there was a whisk, spatula and a baking stone inside the box, I think people kept passing it over because the spatula and whisk were loose inside so it sounded like the piece inside was broken. I simply asked if I could open the box to see the contents and boy was I pleasantly surprised!}

Over the past couple of years, we have also put more of an emphasis on creating memories with experiences rather than presents during the Christmas season. It’s one great way on how to do Christmas on a budget.

A gifted trip to the beach, a day of hiking and exploring can all be done on a tight budget, but you will be creating more memories that will last longer than a present will.

christmas season

Limit the Number of Gifts

When it comes to the Christmas season, we use the holiday as an excuse to buy more than we need.

Limit the number of gifts you give each person to help you save money this Christmas season.

If you’re going for a more minimalist Christmas this year, consider using this as a guideline and buy one of each “type” of gift:

  • A gift they want (just ONE thing they’ve been hoping for)
  • An item they need (like clothing or shoes)
  • Something to do
  • A book to read 

This will work for everyone on your list, and ensure that you aren’t blowing your money on gifts they won’t even use.

Last year for my extended family, we pulled names for the adults so that one adult only had to buy for one other adult, kinda like a secret sister gift swap.

We even added a dollar amount limit to the gift which was super since I have a tendency to go overboard.


Planning Is Key During The Holidays


Download these FREE Christmas Prep Cheat Sheets so you get ahead (of the spending) this year.

christmas season

Shop at the Dollar Store

Instead of spending hundreds on your decor and stocking stuffers, shop at The Dollar Tree!

You can find coloring books, Christmas tins, and even craft supplies all in one store during the Christmas season!

And you can also use coupons at The Dollar Tree too.

christmas season

Shop Yard Sales, Secondhand and Dollar Stores for Decorations

While Target may have beautiful displays of artificial trees and ornaments galore this Christmas season, it’s best to stay away from these stores (avoiding the temptation) until they clearance their holiday items.

Instead, shop at yard sales, secondhand stores, and Dollar Stores if you must have some new holiday decorations this year.

Yard sales are a great place to find decorations throughout the year.

Just make sure to put those items with your boxed up Christmas season items so you don’t forget about them.

Places like Salvation Army and Goodwill have gently used items that will be perfect for decorating your home, plus, it’s fun to hunt down a good deal on a barely used Christmas season decoration!

christmas season

Make It From Scratch

The Christmas season is one of the best times to get baking and it’s a great way how to have a Christmas on a budget.

For one, baking items will be in abundant supply (and least expensive) this time of year, and second, it’s a fun way to spend time together!

Bake cookies for Santa together, or make your festive holiday treats for friends and neighbors.

While it may be tempting to head to the store to buy these baked goodies when you get busy, you’ll spend twice as much and it won’t be nearly as much fun!

Look at this adorable way to make a Gingerbread House (really called a Graham Cracker Cottage) using super inexpensive ingredients. It’s the perfect addition to the Christmas season and a fun activity to do with your kids.

christmas season

Keep It Simple

The Christmas season is one of the few holidays where people tend to go a little overboard.

You don’t need a house full of Christmas lights, a million presents for your kids, and the most expensive fruitcake you can find to have a great Christmas.

Focus on the little things and keep things simple to avoid overspending during this Christmas season.

You will still make great memories by watching Christmas movies with a cup of hot chocolate as you would be going to the movies.

And you will have just as much fun driving around to look at the neighborhood lights as you would attending a Festival of Lights.

The importance is not in how much you spend, but how present you are with your family during the Christmas season.


Planning Is Key During The Holidays


Download these FREE Christmas Prep Cheat Sheets so you get ahead (of the spending) this year.

christmas season

Shift Your Focus

Last but not least, remember that this Christmas season is about giving and spending time with family.

The entire season really has nothing to do with Christmas trees or presents, but about the birth of the baby Jesus.

You might not have many presents under the tree this year, but remember that this Christmas season is about so much more than the gifts you receive.

It’s about the miracle in the manger that day, and about the love and time spent with your family.

You can still deck the halls, bake cookies for Santa, and put something under the tree this Christmas, even if you are on a tight budget.

If you follow these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to save some money for Christmas and make it happen for a lot less.


Your Turn: What are some ways that you stay on budget during the Christmas season? What frugal events have you created to have fun but stay on budget? Share with me below!

christmas season
How To Celebrate The Christmas Season On A Budget