To say that I love holidays is an absolute understatement. While I wait until after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas, I am in the spirit right around the time of Halloween (frankly, I’m in the spirit year-round, but have to contain my crazy).
As much as I love Christmas, it can also be one of the most stressful times for me too. When you live on a strict budget, it feels like any added expense will just make the house of cards fall down. I’m practically a miracle worker when it comes to using money-saving apps, but the holidays can still pose a huge financial stress on just about anyone. Luckily, I have five ways to make the holidays special on any budget…
I looooove Christmas movies. (And Hannukah, I mean Eight Crazy Nights is great). We have a fair collection of holiday movies, but you can easily rent on Amazon, at Redbox (just remember to return it…it’s an issue for me, haha), or from your local library. So, we pop some popcorn, make my mom’s yummy No Bake Cookie recipe, cuddle up in blankets, and watch a movie together. Low key, low to no cost, and one of the easiest ways to get in the spirit.
A lot of us have our favorite family recipes around the holidays — one of our’s is mentioned above – no bakes! Yum! If you don’t have any family cookie recipes, don’t worry — Pinterest has you covered. You can get as basic or as ornate as you want. It’s crafty, fun, and gives you an opportunity to make cheap gifts for your neighbors. 😉
Christmas lights watching
Z and I could literally go out every night to look at Christmas lights. Sometimes I’ll make some hot cocoa to put in travel mugs, get in our comfy pjs, and just drive around until we find good neighborhoods. We’ve stumbled upon some pretty amazing houses, and when E is with us, we have a grading system. Easy, fun, can be spontaneous, and FREE (okay…you use some gas, but totally worth it).
Create a Holiday Playlist
It’s no secret that I love a good playlist. I can’t go a day without music, it’s true, and around Christmas time is no different. Ask your family what some of their favorites are, so everyone is “in” on the tunes.
Holiday Books for Each Day
So, there’s a thing on Pinterest that has an Advent Book calendar tradition. As much as I loooove this idea, buying 25 books is tough for anyone on a budget (heck, buying one is hard enough). How can you still embrace this great idea without breaking the bank? THE LIBRARY. Seriously, if you’re not using your local library, what are you doing with your life? Bring out a new holiday themed book each morning or evening. Not only do you get some reading time in, but it’s centered around the season and FREE.
Listen, I know the holidays can get you down when you’re not “equipped” financially. It’s tough, but it also gives you a chance to focus on your family in the present moment, and isn’t that what the holidays are really about anyway?
What are some of your cheap or free holiday traditions? I’d love to hear them in the comments!