Celebrate & Save: 5 Keys to a Merry, Thrifty Holiday

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As the holidays approach, what should be a joyous time can instead be a source of anxiety for many families on tight budgets. But it doesn’t need to be! Especially if you place the emphasis on loved ones, delicious food and drink, and much-needed relaxation─with gifts as an accent, rather than the whole show. These tips can help ensure a happy celebration with minimal financial strain:

Simplify the décor

If a Christmas tree is a family tradition, you can save money by cutting and hauling your own. Also, as December 25 approaches, trees often go on sale. If you prefer a live tree, small ones are reasonably priced and can become part of your landscaping post-holiday. As for other decorations, using what you have already, or buying items from your local Goodwill or second-hand store is cost-effective and planet friendly.

Get creative

If you enjoy creative pursuits, handmade items make unique, treasured gifts. Do you cook, bake, preserve, or make flavored liqueurs? Or maybe you can sew, knit or crochet. If so, scarves, hats, shawls, wine bags, totes, hand-crafted libations, pumpkin or cranberry bread, homemade jam, or personalized Christmas stockings are beautiful options. If you do beadwork or ceramics, draw or paint, you have additional, equally charming possibilities.

Gift green & smart

In terms of gifts, consider gently used options, especially for books. www.amazon.com offers used books in very good condition on virtually every subject─sports, politics, food/cooking, travel, fitness, health, green living, gardening, dance, art history, crafts, children’s stories, and much more. To give books is to encourage new ideas and to cultivate the intellect. Abraham Lincoln once said: “The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read.”

Re-invent the potluck

Putting on a holiday feast can be daunting from a financial standpoint, but never fear. If you want to host without overspending, there are solutions. First off, guests are usually quite willing to participate if they can. That could mean bringing a side dish or some good wine, baking the pies, making gravy, even bringing a ready-to-serve turkey! Delegating as much as possible will save money and allow others to feel involved in the celebration.

Embrace frugal fun

Simply gathering family and friends is cause enough for celebration in these busy times. Once together, there are numerous ways to share time that don’t cost a cent. Break out the board games, set up a hand of gin rummy, share family stories fireside, watch home movies, enjoy a casual wine tasting, provide pre-baked cookies for kids to decorate, borrow a Karaoke machine, plan a fantasy vacation together, or just reminisce.

Would you not agree that the holidays should be about love and celebration, not stress and financial strain? So, craft your experience accordingly. Cheers!

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