Frugal Christmas

Christmas is a great time to save money and still have fun. We have decorations, events, and gifts that will cost you next to nothing and keep your budget intact over the holiday season.


Check with your church calendar to find when their Christmas play will be put on. If it is still early you may want to volunteer your services or even choose to participate in the play. Many schools will also have plays or concerts that are always a fun time and will put you in the holiday spirit.

Many communities have holiday themed parades. You can pack your own snacks and fill a thermos with hot chocolate and enjoy the beautiful festivities. Avoid buying anything that they may sell at the parades or festivals.

Load up the kids in the car and take a scenic drive through town to look at Christmas lights. Many newspapers will feature a list of addresses for homes that participate in the communities “house decorating contests”.


The best and least expensive decorations are ones children make at school and bring home. You can add little touches to them as well. Candles go a long way and can usually be bought very cheap. Cut some branches from your Christmas tree to “spruce up” your decorations.

Save jars to put candles in. You can fill the jars with peppermints, pebbles, or sand, and then drop a tealight candle in there. Tie a ribbon around the jar for the final touch. Group with other jars of different sizes and you have a nice holiday candle display.

Take down your picture frames and wrap them like a gift, then hang them back on the wall. This one is always a big hit. Wrapping paper can be expensive, but if you wait and buy it after Christmas you can save a ton. You can also use it all year, for birthdays, weddings, or any other holiday, just use the side with no printing on it and decorate it yourself.

Don’t bother buying gift tags. Use scraps from wrapping paper for the gift tags. You get to use up unused wrapping paper and you don’t waste money on overrated tags.

Gift giving game

Here is a fun idea for gift giving at a large family gathering. Everyone brings a gift that is under five dollars. It can be a funny gift, or something from your house, or a nice gift that you happen to find. Every person in the room draws a number for the order in which they pick a gift. The person who drew first will go and pick a gift under the tree and open it. The next person can either take the gift from the first person or choose a gift from the tree. If the first person’s gift is taken then they have to pick another gift from under the tree. The next person always has the option of taking anyone's gift before them or choosing from under the tree. You continue to go down the line of numbers until the last person has picked. Everyone is too busy having fun to care about the value of the present, which is the spirit of the holiday season.

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It is our policy at Pioneer Credit Counseling not only to help people get out of debt, but also educate in sound budgeting practices.

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