7 Ways to Have a Frugal (and Fun!) Christmas

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Christmas is right around the corner and everyone is on the hunt for frugal Christmas ideas.

Well, it’s more like 2 months away. But that feels like it’s right around the corner when you have people to buy presents for!

I think I feel a pang of anxiety every year around Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday, and yet there are some negative feelings.


Because I don’t think about it ahead of time like I should! Which means I don’t save up for it ahead of time, which also means that I work hard to find the extra money “lying around” to buy gifts.

Does that sound like you too?

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be like that, even if we forget to save up the money ahead of time.

Let’s check out some frugal Christmas ideas that are fun for the whole family!

Table of Contents

1. Give frugal Christmas presents

These usually involve making your gifts, to a certain degree. I know some may cringe at the thought of a DIY Christmas, but hear me out.

For one of the two Christmases we spent getting out of debt, we decided to make Christmas gifts. And only for close family; extended family and friends received Christmas cards with personalized notes.

One of the gifts I made were personalized photo coasters. And they were a hit.

We used these tiles, some Mod Podge, and printed pictures to make these. Super easy!

Some family members (who are more sentimental) received coasters with pictures of the family growing up over time. Other family members (with a big sense of humor) got the awful, close-up pictures of us that you cringe to look at.

Every time they or their friends use the coasters, it makes them laugh. And they still use them today!

We have made recipe book holders, sentimental Christmas ornaments in these small vials (we placed a small piece of the previous year’s Christmas tree in it), and other small gifts!

These frugal Christmas gifts aren’t anything you can buy at the store and can be super inexpensive.

2. Plan experiences rather than gifts

And no, I’m not talking about a trip to Disney World.

You could volunteer as a family, go to the candlelight service at church, plan out a fun camping trip, plan a new Christmas tradition, go caroling, or do a multitude of other fun things you could do as a family!

These are good ideas for Christmas gifts for family fun, even if they’re not tangible gifts.

It’s a good substitute for gifts to show the kids what Christmas is really about.

3. Only buy for close family

This doesn’t mean that you forget about everyone else.

Purchase the gifts you wanted to buy for close family (with a budget, of course!), and send holiday cards out for extended family and friends.

We like to write out personalized notes on each card, so they know they are important (because, of course, they are).

The thoughtfulness of sending a holiday card with a personalized message is something a lot of people appreciate.

4. Buy online

Buying online for Christmas is really gaining traction. And it’s actually a way to stay more frugal for Christmas!

Going to the mall or a store to do your Christmas shopping opens the door for a lot of impulsive shopping. There are so many other stores nearby that have great Christmas sales, fun gadgets, and gifts that you hadn’t even thought of.

That’s just a recipe for overspending!

By creating a list and setting a budget, then buying your gifts online, you’re reducing the chances for impulsive spending.

And if you don’t already have Amazon Prime (free shipping and quick!), you could sign up for a 30-day trial right around Christmas to use the perks.

5. Make some delicious gifts

If you can follow directions (a recipe), then you can make delicious Christmas gifts.

You can get as creative as you want here. I’ve heard of everything from baking Christmas cookies (these cute cookie boxes have a coupon as I’m writing this!), to making homemade jam in beautiful jars, to making candles (here’s some soy wax to get you started with great reviews)!

Pair these sweet gifts with a nice Christmas card and a personalized note, and you’ve got a complete and thoughtful Christmas gift.

6. Pause unnecessary monthly bills to save for Christmas

If you still need to save up some money for Christmas this year, try pausing some services you can do without for a couple of months.

Think cable, streaming services, lawn service, monthly subscription boxes, and gym membership. Sure, it might stink to live without something you’re used to. But think about it as a temporary loss for helping fund your family’s Christmas.

7. Be sure to use cash-back apps to save the most money!

Many people don’t know that they could be paying much less for things they are already buying, just by using cash-back apps!

Take advantage of all of the apps and browser extensions out there to ensure you are not only getting the best deal but the most cash back to use on other Christmas gifts.

You’ll be surprised by how much you can save!

Those are our frugal Christmas ideas!

What have you done in the past to have a frugal, yet fun, Christmas? Did you set a budget for Christmas shopping? Was it easy to shop under a budget, or more challenging for you? Do you have any frugal Christmas ideas to add?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Products mentioned in this post

Is money tight this year and you are looking for frugal Christmas ideas? Check out our list to save money and still have a great Christmas this year! frugal | Christmas | presents | ideas | DIY | handmade | holidays | holiday gifts

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Sophie

    Love this post! gifts don’t always have to be some grand gesture. My go-to present for co-workers and friends are sugar cookie Christmas trees!

  2. Leah

    This year’s Christmas will definitely need to utilize more frugal ideas. I’m loving your ideas, especially those cash back apps I forget about every single year! I also love the idea of experiences over “stuff” and helping to pay a bill. Thanks for sharing! What great timing!

  3. Alyssa Hixenbaugh

    I love all of these tips! I’m all about being frugal, and these ideas a perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Mihaela

    Oh, dear, if only my child wouldn’t decide to ask for most expensive gifts from Santa, ’cause they’re free, right? Haha. No way in the world I’m spoiling their happiness… Extra shifts for me:))

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