Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas on a Budget

You may remember my post on Is your fridge empty?  Like a lot of people worldwide, we are all having to make sure that we are spending wisely, cutting back on the extras and budget carefully.  It's a challenging thing to do - especially during this time of the year. The pressure to get all the right decor, get those expensive gifts and that big Christmas lunch!  How do we manage during this time?

We used to be consumed with doing Christmas right - the right gifts, the right tree, the right decorations, the right food - but really if we really want to get it right - we need to be looking at Christ.  I know its not easy when you are surrounded by friends and family who seem to have more, but I know what happens if you give into the pressure - come January and February, you can't pay bills, and you have overspent - suffering in the following months with budget issues because the budget was spent over Christmas.

I have decided to run a series on how to prepare for Christmas on a Budget and have fun doing it!  (of course we do, we don't want to be miserable and be so consumed with finances that we can't celebrate!)

I decided to start with the gifts as these normally take the most time to make or find.  You also don't want to be running around looking for gifts 5 days before Christmas - by then everything is gone!

The series will include:
 * Gifts
* Decorations
* Wrapping and Bows
*  The Meal
and anything else I think of along the way

Join in on the fun, send me your ideas, share some links.... join us on this journey.  

Christmas Gifts (Part 1)

Buy Basic Craft Colours
Before you start, if you do decide to craft your gifts and decoration, get some red, green, gold/silver paint.  It helps.  Or choose a colour theme - then you only need to get one:)  But again paint isn't always necessary - go natural!  I love natural, not only because its cheaper but because I think that its important for the children to focus on beauty and not on bling.
  Recycled or Re-purposed Items from a Second Hand Store
One year I bought a number of second hand wood items for about R5 each, sanded them down, put pictures on with modge from recycled wrapping paper and then varnished them.  They were a huge hit! Again be careful don't spend a fortune on modge podge or paints. Rather do this if you already have the materials or if you know where to get this fairly cheaply.  Some of the items I used were wooden cutlery tray, condiments holder, knife holder and a salt and pepper shaker.

 Cookies in a Jar

 There are so many recipes online.  Choose a simple one.  If you want to make a more expensive variety then "upsize" it but just the layers with a pretty label and a cute lid will make this special.  In fact a lot of my friends have never seen this before (except the ones who enjoy reading blogs) so I know this would be a real winner.
Go Online - Gumtree/ Craiglist
I find these especially useful for gifts for children. They often want the big things which cost big bucks!  However if you look around you may find unusual gifts for them.  Be careful though that you don't pay for anything in advance.  Go and look first.  Also anything electrical is a bit suspect as it might not work when you get home because they don't tell you about a fault that exists or lose wiring.

Gift Movie/ Slideshow
This is especially a good gift for Granny's and Grandpa's or close family members (your friends might not appreciate a slide show or movie of your children).  Its so easy to do.  All you need to do is choose a selection of photos.  Choose the order you want it in, add music - and you can even make it a movie and its a wonderful keepsake. Software for this type of gift is free.  You can use a basic image program like Picasa. Get the children to make their own personalised cover and you can add words to pages as well.  It really is quite nifty and Granny and Grandpa will be very impressed.

5$ Store
There are usually a few goodies that I enjoy getting from a $5 store, and make great gifts.
Colourful nail polish - there are few teenagers who don't love fluorescent pink, crazy orange or sky blue nail polish.  With the current trends in nail art, this will be a great Christmas gift for any teenage girl or younger.  Even Ruthie (3) LOVES nail polish.(and her mother mind you)

These few ideas should keep you busy for a while. Keep a look out for the next edition of  Gifts for Christmas on a Budget

If you have a post on how you keep to a budget over Christmas time, why not pop me an email and I would love to host your article as a guest post.  Otherwise as always, leave a comment. 

And if you have done so already go and enter our Giveaway, you have till Wednesday!


  1. Fantastic idea to make Christmas a little easier on the pocketbook. Thanks for sharing your creative ideas and insights!

  2. Thanks Bryan, great to have a man visit this blog!

  3. Hi Melanie the Ideas magazine has a whole issue that helps doing elegant home made gifts that don't look like "budget"...items..well worth the money!

  4. Thanks Jenni, will look out for that!

  5. Ohhh I love your ideas! Especially the slideshow one...had never thought of that before!!! Look forward to reading more!

  6. Thank you! Feel free to add some of you own:)

  7. I love those dollar stores, it's amazing what you can pick up that look good but don't cost very much. Its a great place to buy jars and bowls that can be used for biscuits, jams and chutneys etc...

  8. AWESOME! This is perfect:) I am seriously loving your post! It is so informative and I think my subscribers would really enjoy reading this. I would love for you to come share it at Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on Frugally Sustainable (http://frugallysustainable.blogspot.com/2011/11/frugal-days-sustainable-ways-3.html). I really hope that you will put Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways on your list of carnivals to visit and link to each Wednesday!

    Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable
    Here's the link: http://www.frugallysustainable.com

  9. Great post! I love the name of your blog!! I'm blog hopping and found yours. I'm excited to be following! Would love for you to check out my blog! Bonni from http://www.mombyexample.com

  10. Thanks Bonni. Just headed there, what a lovely family!

  11. Andrea thanks for the invite, I will definitely add you to the list:)

  12. I love the wood/modge podge idea. I'll keep it in mind for next year!

    We did themed baskets this year, peppermint baskets! We made peppermint soap, chocolate peppermint hard lotion, made up Minty Christmas cookie mixes in jars and included peppermint bark and other peppermint candies in them!

  13. I love the sound of Mint - anything! So fresh and smells delicious!

  14. Great ideas, I love the slide show idea. I too am having a frugal Christmas this year, it is amazing what nice things you can find for very little money if you just look around, it is nice doing things simply. :)

  15. Great ideas, thank you for sharing!

  16. Fantastic ideas! We did the cookie mix in a jar last year and they were so well received. I even got a request for another one this year! Lol!

  17. I had to rush off to google cookies in a jar - definitely going to remember this for gifts next year as I think I am a bit late this year.
    Wonderful post


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