5 Ways to Celebrate Christmas on a Budget


Today I want to share with you 5 ways to celebrate Christmas on a budget and have a great time doing it!

I want to thank Carol from Blue Sky at Home for hosting this fun Holiday Blog Hop

If you’re coming from Leslie at Feet Under My Table, I hope you enjoyed her sweet pine cone Christmas Trees.

my christmas tree with recycled white snowflake a way to celebrate Christmas on a budget

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I know it’s easy to lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas.

We all can get hung up in the business of the season and forget why we are celebrating in the first place.

However, the season is also meant to bring us joy and happiness, and all the things that go along with Christmas; gift-giving, celebrating with friends and family, decorating my home, and wrapping those gifts. It all gives me joy!

Christmas Wish

The best Christmas present is showing kindness to others and giving help to people in need. The real spirit of Christmas is being with those we love, Celebrating the birth of our Lord and all of the blessings that brings to our lives.

graphic for the holiday blog hop

Gift Giving on a Budget

We do something different now that our kids are older but you could certainly implement it with littles.

Something You Want
Something You Need
Something To Wear
Something to Read

It really helps to keep our spending in check and I don’t buy big gifts. Since they are all grown adults with their own money, they don’t need things from us. It’s more of a token.

Keith and I quit giving each other gifts a long time ago. We typically just buy a gift for ourselves that we want for the house. Last year we bought our Frame TV and it’s definitely a contender for one of our favorite home purchases. You can read about our TV HERE

close-up of my frame tv with halloween art from Etsy and black butterflies from Amazon

It’s so much fun to switch out the artwork each season or for a special occasion.

What to Buy for the Family on a Budget

Have you thought about buying gifts that are for the whole family?

Experience gifts are a great idea for this year since kids have been cooped up at home for so long. Passes to the Zoo, Museums, Water Parks, etc., are such a thoughtful gift. In years past we have given the whole family a vacation as their Christmas present. These gifts are making memories long after the wrapping paper is thrown away.

Games and puzzles are great gifts that the whole family can enjoy. What if you also added a popcorn machine for the family room? Again, you would be making memories and it’s something that everyone can have fun doing.

Inexpensive Gift Wrapping

I have been a fan of Kraft paper for a very long time.

gift wrapping with Kraft paper a trick to celebrate Christmas on a budget

I have been using brown and white Kraft paper for wrapping gifts for a very long time. You can get hundreds of feet of paper for under $30.

It lasts me for several years and I don’t just use it for the holidays. I change up the ribbon that I use to make it special, no matter what the occasion.

I’m a big fan of twine which is also an inexpensive option. I’ve been able to find some really nice twine options at Dollar Tree.

I also use ribbon that I can buy in bulk that again can be used for any occasion.

Last year I found some skinny ribbon in a blue and white check that was inexpensive and matched the ribbon I’m using on my trees.

I recently found out that you can get Kraft paper in different colors! Well, color me happy! I will definitely be buying some of that.

Other Uses for Kraft Paper

I don’t just use Kraft paper for wrapping. When our kids were younger I used to cover the kid’s table for special occasions and then provide a big basket of Crayons.

The big kids never wanted to move from the kid’s table because they had just as much fun coloring on the table as the littles.

I will definitely be bringing that back when I have some grandbabies of my own. (No Pressure Annie 🙂 )

Budget-Friendly Christmas Decor

I’ve talked about this before and while I like to switch things up at Christmas, I don’t spend a lot of money. The base of most of my Christmas Tree decor is white plastic snowflakes that I bought from Dollar Tree years ago.

close up of white dollar tree snowflakes on the christmas tree a way to celebrate christmas on a budget

Last year I just bought two spools of pretty blue and green tartan plaid ribbon that I’ve used as bows on my tree, ribbon around my dinner napkins, and woven through my garland on my mantel. I’m also dressing up the presents that are wrapped in white Kraft paper with this ribbon.

Tartan plaid ribbon used on the Christmas tree for a budget friendly decor

This year I’m going to do a natural-woodsy theme. I’m planning on using free materials that I can gather from outside. Twigs with berries and pine cones will be two items I will be searching for. I’m anxious to see what else I can find to use.


pitcher with branches and berries that I found in my yard for a way to celebrate christmas on a budget

Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

To keep the cost down on holiday entertaining here are some fun ways to enjoy company with a minimal investment.

  • Potluck Dinner – You could provide the main course and everyone else brings a dish to pass. You could even make it a heavy hors d’oeuvre event. Also, make it BYOB (Bring Your Own Beverage)
a potluck dinner to celebrate the holidays on a budget
  • Progressive Dinner – You can read about my Friendsgiving Progressive Dinner HERE and adapt it to a Christmas event.
  • Casual Meals
    • Chili & Hot Dogs
    • Taco Bar
    • Pasta Bar
    • Salad Bar
    • Sandwich Bar
  • Cookies & Cocoa – Host a little afternoon get-together and keep it really simple (everyone could bring cookies to share)
  • Game Night – Get together with friends or family and play some great games.
  • Movie Night – Watch some classic Christmas Movies and serve popcorn and warm cider.

Spending a lot of money on flowers for entertaining doesn’t have to be expensive. I’m such a huge fan of Trader Joe’s flowers. You can also find budget-friendly options at your local grocery store.

A casual Sunday Football Party is also a fun December idea for entertaining. You can read about my party HERE.

chili topped with cheese for a budget friendly holiday party

If we try to keep the reason for the season foremost in our thoughts, it makes it easier to stress less and spend less. It really shouldn’t be about the gifts. It should be about the people that you are with even if it is just your immediate family or close friends.

If you’re friends of Living Large in a Small House Blog, you have access to my FREE Printable Christmas guide which includes a budget tracker. That’s another thing that really keeps me in line. I set a budget and keep track of everything I’ve purchased. Knowing what I can spend keeps me in check.

I hope these 5 ways to celebrate Christmas on a budget will help you have a very festive time; without as much financial stress.

Thanks for tagging along!

Next up on the Holiday Blog Hop is Ann from Dabbling and Decorating. She is sharing her Christmas Dinnerware and her holiday tablescape. Make sure to head over to her blog.


A great way to remember these ideas is to save them to your Pinterest boards. You can find the pin button in the top right corner of the photo below. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest

direct access to all of the Christmas decor I love

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  1. We have drastically changed the way we spend at Christmas. Several years ago, we told our adult children “This is the last who-rah with ‘big’ Christmases (not that we went overboard before but we were definitely downsizing!) Anyway, we bought each one an iPad and that was it. The next year we reminded them and spent considerably less on each child. They didn’t mind one bit! We have downsized even more and now we exchange names and save the rest of our Christmas budget for a summer family vacation together. Everyone loves it! Merry Christmas to you and happy saving money!!

    1. I love that idea! I’m going to propose it to our kids. They all can afford to buy the things that they ask for and a vacation is memories that they will have forever! love it!

  2. HI Lynn! Love this reminder! Those blue and white chinoise ornaments are gorgeous (even if I cannot spell them correctly). Beautiful blog! xo laura

  3. I love your gift wrapping. It’s just beautiful. My mother used to wrap gifts with newspaper and I always admired it. Jazzed all up with ribbons and such.

    1. Hi Ann – I love the idea of newspaper! I just may try that.

  4. Leslie Watkins says:

    I love all of your budget friendly ideas! More meaningful now with increasing costs than ever.
    I’m a craft paper fan, too, and I love the little holder that you created for greenery! Genius!

    1. Thanks Leslie – I have a love-hate relationship with wrapping. I don’t like to do it but if I am going to do it I want it to be pretty and unique.

  5. Lynn, these a wonderful budget tips. We do thing differently with our family. The children all get a gift to open. The married couples can a join gift. Then all of adult children get money to spend on whatever the need. We never go overboard. Never have! The grands get a toy or two to open with an outfit and pair of pjs. They get some much from family.

    1. Hi Tammy – I think we are going to start a grab bag idea this year. I don’t have grands yet but I can’t guarantee all bets will be off when that happens 🙂

  6. Such good ideas here, Lynn!! I too am really pairing down on spending this season…I’ve really stuck to a budget per person and really try hard not to go over. Gifts are just things…spending time together and having food, playing games, etc…is what really matters!

  7. Lynn, I love your suggestions for keeping costs down at Christmas, and for simple ways to gather with friends and family to celebrate. The “want, need, wear, read” gifts for the kids is such a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. I think we are all going to be more budget conscious this year and your tips are spot on Lynn! I’ll be heading to Trader Joe’s for flowers and doing some foraging too this year!

  9. These are fantastic ideas Lynn! I especially love the “want, need, wear, and read” gifts. I hope we get to do something like this in our family some Christmas soon. It really is all about spending time together and not stressing about gifts and spending!!

  10. Great post with so many wonderful tips! We have always lived on a budget and have scaled down Christmas through the years! You don’t have to spend a lot to have a wonderful time with family and friends during the holidays! Blessings, Donna

  11. Lynn, I love your thoughtful ideas. Christmas shouldn’t cause us to go overboard and break the bank. I love your simple ideas for wrapping gifts – colored craft paper!! At a certain point in time, gifts aren’t as important as the people we share our lives with. Happy Holidays and I’m so glad you shared these ideas at Celebrate the Holiday.

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more!

  12. The adoult kids do a name drawing with a $ limit for gits. Grandkids still get gifts. We had planned a trip but had to cancel it for this year. Instead we we will be experiencing Christmas oin our son’s new home and attending the area ‘s events.

    1. Our Christmas is looking very different this year too. It’s the first year that we won’t be home.

  13. Lynn, these are all such great ideas. I love using craft paper and natural items, and anything that’s affordable but pretty! Everything looks so pretty. Thanks for the tips.

    1. I couldn’t agree more Angie!