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How to enjoy a frugal Christmas

Unfortunately many Canadians will spend their Christmas in a less financially stable position than they would like. If this is the case for you, we share some suggestions on how you can enjoy your holiday even on a tight budget.

handmade christmas ornament that is heart shaped hanging from a tree

Give many small gifts rather than one big one

If finances are tight but you don’t want your kids to know how tough things are, give them several small gifts rather than one large one. And try to spread the gifts over different areas of their lives. For instance, get them a backpack for school, a pair of pyjamas for bed, a good book for quiet time and a toy or activity for playtime. This way they’ll have a new and exciting item in every area of their lives and feel surrounded by gifts. Plus, these small presents won’t cost you a fortune.

Go homemade for friends and acquaintances

Between extended family, co-workers and social acquaintances, it’s easy to rack up a lot of people you feel obligated to give to. But no one would want you to run yourself into debt just to get them a fancy gift. Show you care with a small, homemade token. For example, bake a big batch of brownies, cut them up and divide them among attractive display bags. Secure the bags with ribbons. Write up a lovely card that expresses how important that special person is to you, and attach it to a bag of brownies. Your words of appreciation will mean more than any costly gift, and the brownies will be an extra-sweet touch.

DIY holiday decor

If your place is in need of some holiday decor but you can’t afford to get anything fancy, rely on your craft skills. Visit your local dollar store, and put together some inexpensive Christmas tree ornaments. Shopping at budget stores makes it very easy to create small displays and festive arrangements that can be scattered around your home at a very reasonable price point.

Avoid spending money on entertainment

There’s so much to do around Christmas time that requires little to no money. Watching Christmas specials on TV, tobogganing, cooking together and playing card or board games are all great ways to enjoy time with your family in a budget-friendly way. So pass on the costly movies, shows and dinners out, and make the most of your time together. After all, that’s what the holiday is really all about!

A woman with a surprised look holding a stack of Christmas presents

Shop early

The worst mistake you can make when trying to save money at Christmas is to shop at the last minute. Not only are prices high, but when you can’t find something at a decent price, you’re likely to panic, spend more and not be happy with what you’ve bought. This includes everything from gifts to groceries. Keep an eye out for sales at your favourite supermarkets and department stores, and take advantage of anything you can snatch up early. Many cooking ingredients can be purchased in advance and frozen or stored in the pantry, and there’s no limit on how early you can track down gifts, so don’t wait.

More Christmas tips

Your foolproof guide to Christmas tree decorating
Get ready for Christmas now: 4 Tips
10 Fun gifts to give this Christmas: Ditch the gift cards!

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