Frugal Challenge-Christmas when Money is Tight

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Everyone loves the Christmas season ( well most everyone). It is such a fun time especially when you have little ones. Don’t let the lack of money ruin the fun, you can have a great Christmas on a tight budget.


Everyone always stresses about gifts when money is tight. What to get family members, friends teachers and everyone on your list. Ok first off don’t stress about it that IS NOT what Christmas is about. Family and friends completely understand that you don’t have the money for a lot of gifts ( and if they don’t well you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life).

Build some new traditions such as making cookies together, making decorations together, watching Christmas movies together, reading Christmas stories together ect.

For gifts for the family and friends
Gather up the kids and make gifts, there are so many ideas on Pinterest that don’t require much money just a few craft supplies and a little time. For friends have the kids help make Christmas cookies I mean who doesn’t like a plate of Christmas cookies or candy. You can also do coupon books that they can use throughout the year such as babysitting, mowing the yard, a plate of cookies just be sure to put things that you are not going to mind doing. If you hate mowing then putting that in a coupon book wouldn’t be a very good idea.


Don’t have many decorations make your own when I was little I remember making paper chains and Chinese lanterns to decorate the house with. When the girls were little I had two trees one with the decorations I had and one with home made decorations that we added to every year with what they made at school and what we made at home.

Gift wrap
There are so many ideas for gift wrap, newspapers, paint of color plain paper, use squares of fabric, ect.

Kids Gifts
This is the hard one we all want to get our kids the best gifts and lots of them. These you can make also I remember when I was little my Dad made us a stove ,sink , table and chairs and a couple toy boxes out of everything we ever got that is what I remember the most. I made the girls stuffed animals one year ( that they still have ).

Set a limit if you can afford to get one main gift and a few smaller gifts get clothes for a couple of them.

You can also go to the second hand store when you do think outside the box. You can always paint something to make it look new or if there is a half set of blocks and an other half set of different blocks get them and make a whole set. Make a kitchen use an old entertainment center ( you can practical find these for free) or an old side table a little paint and a few accessories and you have a kitchen that they will love and play with for hours. Get plastic cups and plates from the 2nd hand store even if they don’t match paint a cute little design on them for play dishes. What ever you can find it is amazing what a little soap & water and some paint can do for things. Get some clothes fro the 2nd hand and add a few bows, buttons or ribbons or even an iron on design to up date it.


Get different to medium sized boxes and tape shut and cover with contact paper or just wrap for a set of blocks. My Mom used to work at a place and they got tons of shoe sized boxes she would bring these home and we had so much fun with them we made forts and castles and everything in-between.


Make craft kits for the older kids get some yarn and hooks with a couple patterns for a crochet or knit basket ( if you do this and you don’t know how to knit or crochet see if a friend would like to teach them) One year I got the girls some fabric and a pattern for pajama pants. How about a scrap booking kit a lot of time the 2nd hand store will have a few scrap booking supplies and if not the dollar store usually has a few things.


If our child has a favorite author that they like to read hit up all the used bookstores and find as many as you can.


Encourage your older children to make gifts for the family.


The memories that you make with your Family will last a lot longer then what you bought them. So don’t let the lack of money put a damper on your Chrstmas.

12 Replies to “Frugal Challenge-Christmas when Money is Tight”

  1. NRP

    Ahhhhh boy, I absolutely LOVE Christmas, and absolutely HATE the commercialism it’s turned into.
    Being a little older now and an aging family, we all seem to have the same thoughts on “Stuff”.
    I will agree 1000% on the little ones, But guess what, I see dumpsters and dumpsters FULL of last years toys that got played with once and tossed for the next one…..
    Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not being Scrooge, just a realest.
    Think about this number for a second;
    Black Friday = $950,000,000.oo
    Cyber Monday = $800,000,000.oo
    and they figure well over 80% was put on Credit Cards……

    You really want to know what to “Give” others for Christmas? Give them your time, spend the most valuable thing you have…… Time

    1. Post author

      Oh I completely agree on the commercialism. It has gotten crazy I remember when I was young we just got a few things and they were things we really wanted or needed. We never had to get rid of stuff to make room for the new because we didn’t have much to start with lol. I tried to do the same with my kid’s stuff they really needed or really wanted. We really need to get back to the way things were. First, remember what Christmas is all about ( It is not about getting presents) and remember kids don’t need a mountain of toys and for that matter, adults don’t need a mountain of things that most will get put in a corner and never used.

      And on a side note, kids need toys that make them use their imaginations, very few kids have an imagination any more. I have been doing daycare for 14 years and the kids I started with could go out and play for hours some of the ones I have now are like there is nothing to do out here ( drives me crazy there are a ton of them for them to do and play with outside ) nothing makes them use their imagination any more so they don’t know how to anymore.

    1. Post author

      I do not know why but it kicked it into the trash I also found another comment from someone else in there. ugh, I try to stay on top of that but get in a hurry and don’t remember to look in there. Just let me know if it happens again I will try to start checking it more often.

  2. Kim-Pacific Northwest

    I have to agree with this one hundred percent- stuff has gotten in the way of the true meaning of Christmas. I only have one grandchild so it is very easy to get carried away but that isn’t in his best interest so I have to remind myself of that frequently and keep what is most important at the forefront.
    My grandson is 5 years old so teaching him the biblical Christmas story is most important right now. After that, it is spending time with family and then the importance of giving to others.
    His mom is on the same page as me which is wonderful. His dad sometimes gets a little carried away buying toys but they are normally thrifted so that is good.

    1. Post author

      Good for you. Just wish more people would start to realize this. It is crazy the kind of debt that people go into over Christmas. As NRP mentioned above your time is much more important the kids may not think so at the time but as they get older they won’t really remember the toys but they will remember the time spent together.
      Have a great day and thanks for stopping by.

  3. Tracey Rosenberger

    I love, love the idea of the tree for the handmade ornaments. I’m a no talent when it comes to art or decorations, but I can decorate a tree! I passed that obsession with Christmas trees down to my daughter, too. I didn’t put many handmade ornaments on the tree when my kids were little. Now that my daughter is having a baby, I’m going to suggest that she have a special tree just for those handmade ones!

    1. Post author

      I have to say it was my favorite tree when the kids were little to be able to see all the things that they had made over the years was great.

  4. candy

    We only do homemade gifts. Not about shiny lights and sparkle. About family, being together and remember our Lord and Savior. Found you on Blogger’s Pit Stop Link Party.

    1. Post author

      I love the idea of doing all homemade gifts. And you are so correct it is all about Family and the reason for the season. It really is sad how commercialized it has become.
      Thanks for stopping by

  5. April J Harris

    Christmas is about so much more than gifts and the things we spend money on, but it means a lot to be able to celebrate even when money is tight. I’m so very glad you shared this helpful, encouraging post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope to see you again this week!