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A Magical Christmas Without Spending Money ~ Frugal Living

The holidays can put a strain on us both emotionally and financially. The pressure to deliver a spectacular Christmas can come with a high price tag. I've experienced nearly 50 years of Christmas', many of them with little or no money. Some of my fondest memories are of the Christmas mornings when few presents were under the tree. It is the little things that bring a feeling of wonderment and awe to the holiday season.

Here are a few of my budget-friendly Holiday ideas to make any Christmas season magical without breaking the bank.

Decorations for the tree

  • Old ski-passes on a ribbon

  • Pictures for Christmas in the past in popsicle stick frames or dollar frames

  • Popcorn and cranberries on a string

  • Pinecones tied with a ribbon to hang

  • Paper rings connected

  • Paper snowflakes hung with string

  • Sting ribbon strips over bows

Decorations for the home

  • Fresh pine bow around the house, on the staircase, or on the mantel. You can make a wreath in the shape of a broom using ribbon to tie the bows together. These can be found for free in the woods or at any tree lot (even Home Depot).

  • Paper snowflakes on windows or hanging from the ceiling.

  • Candles from the dollar store.

  • Put a tea light in a paper lunch bag outside by the door or driveway


  • Free online holiday music or music from the library

  • Having peppering mocha flavoring for hot cocoa or coffee

  • Make a pourri of lemon and orange slices, cloves, and cinnamon for a pot of water and keep it on low, making the home smell delightful.

  • Make a new holiday drink recipe

  • Watch new and old holiday movies


  • Take a walking or driving tour of Christmas lights in the "wealthy" neighborhoods (they tend to have spectacular light displays)

  • Bring a thermos of hot cocoa and go on a chilly walk or hike through the woods or on a greenway path.

  • Enjoy a fire in the firepit at a State park or coals in a grill while enjoying a pot of chili (from scratch or a can) and marshmallows or s'mores.

  • If you have snow, grab a sled from the dollar store and find the nearest hill

  • Decorate sugar cookies


  • Cookie exchange: each guest brings a dozen cookies and a drink of their choice (for example wine, soda, tea, eggnog, beer). You supply the home and paper plates. Each guest will leave their cookies and take a dozen new cookies from other plates.

  • White elephant with gifts under $5

  • Scavenger hunt: either hiding items inside the home or finding things in nature. This is very fun for families with small kids.

  • Include grandparents or the elderly in your community. They usually have fun and unique ideas for Holiday games and traditions.


  • Spend $25 at the dollar store buying gifts & items for the homeless shelter.

  • Spend time with the elderly at retirement centers.

  • Volunteer at the homeless center.

  • See how you can be of service at Children Group Homes (orphanages).

  • Ask your local church or school how you can serve the community.

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