As you can see from my previous posts, I tend to focus on Christmas or holiday-related posts this season. It’s primarily because it’s what many people call “the time of the year” season.
You may think that this post is the same in content as the one I published a week or two ago, that is, the Tight Christmas Budget? 10+ Low-Cost and Free Gift Ideas. But it’s different. This post focuses on how you can enjoy holidays on a budget while the previous post is about budget-conscious gifts for your loved ones.
Two days ago, I heard on the radio that according to a study people will spend on average $900ish this year compared to last year’s $800ish. This means this season is going to be more expensive.
This doesn’t mean that you should be spending a lot of money.
The truth is, you can have a great Christmas season without breaking your bank. I still remember the days when my family only had food on the table on Christmas Eve and Day and not a lot of gifts. I still remember how happy we were simply because we had each other.
My family or should I say well-extended family still carries out that tradition of getting together each year. The only difference is Christmas has really gotten a little bit more expensive now. We used to be 11 in the family (i.e. mom, dad, brothers, and sisters). Now, we’re 30 and that’s only my extended family (i.e. mom, brothers, sisters, in-laws, my wife and daughter, nephews, and nieces).
We used to make food for 11 people, now we make food to feed a battalion. We used to exchange gifts but now we have to either give gifts or exchange gifts among 30 people. Even small-dollar gifts can add up when you are talking about gifts for 30 people.
There are ways you can enjoy Christmas on budget. That I can say with certainty. My family has managed to enjoy our Christmas season without going over the budget or going broke.
Here are some ways you can do to enjoy this season even when you are on a budget.
Spend time with family.
Christmas is about family. This is what my parents taught me when I was a little boy. I have always believed that Christmas is really about family.
No matter how many gifts you have it means nothing if you are not with your loved ones during Christmas. Again, this is how I was brought up.
Time with family is priceless. I told my wife that once our daughter is grown and no longer lives with us, we will make sure that we are in the same roof on Christmas Day. For me, there’s no better gift and feeling than knowing that you spend time with your loved ones in one of the most important occasions of the year.
Extend help to others.
Christmas is about giving. But it doesn’t mean that you should buy gifts and give them to others.
Every year especially during Christmas season, my family volunteers to help out different organizations. We extend our time to the Church to help out packing goods for homeless people or families in need. We donate goods that we got from couponing. We send money to my sister in the Philippines to buy grocery items, which will be given to those families that need some food assistance. These are some of the things that we do every Christmas season.
Helping others is one of our ways of giving thanks to the many blessings we receive. It is also a way that we show our daughter that helping makes a big difference in the lives of others.
Create your own gifts.
I tend to look at other people’s trash as treasure. I tend to re-invent or re-use things that are no longer useful. That’s just how my mind works.
I have often given gifts to people I know using materials that I already have in the apartment. In short, I make DIY gifts.
I like personalized gifts. I like receiving gifts that have value in them. I know a lot of people close to me who feel the same way, too. For me, the most valuable gifts are those that are made with heart. The truth is, I prefer to get a handmade picture frame than a new smartphone.
If you ever want to create gifts for others, there are sites that you can get inspiration from. I like to go to Pinterest because there are a ton of great gift/craft ideas that are too easy to make.
It may sound cliché, but it’s really the thought that counts when giving gifts to others.
Cook and bake.
Christmas won’t be Christmas without good food and good company.
Cooking and baking are two ways you can interact with your loved ones. Just because you’re bad in either of the two does not mean you can’t help out. If you’re that bad, you can help with getting all the ingredients on the table, cleaning the stove, etc.
Kitchen has always been one of the places where everybody can be loud. At least, in my family, kitchen is where we talk a lot. We spend more time in the kitchen than in the living and dining rooms.
If you have a big family like ours, most of your day will be spent cooking and baking. So, why not make the most out of the time in the kitchen? Get your apron on and get dirty with cooking and baking.
It may become a messy kitchen but I’m quite sure you’ll have a good time when you are working together with your loved ones to make your Christmas meal or feast.
Watch classic movies.
Once the baking, cooking, eating, cleaning, and opening of presents are done, my family goes to the living room, take a seat, and watch our favorite Christmas movies. Some of us, though, will just stay in the dining room and just chat for countless hours.
But for those of us who go to the living room, we watch our favorite movies. We always love to watch Elf , The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and Home Alone 1 and 2. Those are staples in my family and we never get tired of watching them.
You don’t have to spend money to watch your favorite movies. If you have Netflix and/or Hulu, good for you because there are a ton of shows in there. If you don’t have either of those two, don’t worry and don’t spend a lot of money to go to movie theaters. TV networks do show Christmas movies, too.
Plus, you can always run to Redbox to get some movies.
What’s your favorite thing to do during or days leading to Christmas? What do you do to make sure you enjoy your holiday while on the budget?