The holiday season has nearly arrived, and with it, festive decorations and an abundance of tempting Christmas treat in supermarkets. It's the most wonderful time of the year to spend with loved ones, relax at home, and get in the holiday spirit.
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash
Preparing for this holiday season can be a lot of fun, but it can also cost a lot of money. When you add up all the expenses associated with this one day—from presents to decorations to Christmas dinner to after-dinner drinks to the cost of energy used by lights and appliances—it can be quite high.
Whether you've saved up for the season or plan to use a credit card to cover some of the season's expenses, it's important to stay on top of your finances or activate your card in advance so that you can enjoy the best parts of the holiday season without worrying about money. We've compiled a list of inexpensive holiday activities so you can have a merry time without going into debt.
Make sure you are recycling your Christmas decorations instead of buying all new ones every year. This is not only a more eco-friendly way to celebrate Christmas, but it also saves you money and the hassle of buying all new decorations. Because producing them is an energy-intensive process and the materials used are typically not biodegradable, it is best to keep using your artificial Christmas tree if you already have one. It's important to remember that if you want a real Christmas tree, you should buy one that was harvested in a responsible manner. Alternatively, you could buy a small tree or plant and decorate it to your liking, or you could rent a tree. It doesn't even have to be a Christmas tree!
To avoid the use of plastic, alternatives such as wood or glass ornaments have often been costly. Beautiful seasonal decorations can be made from natural materials found in a nearby wood, forest, or even park. Supplies needed include pine cones, bits of wood, twine, and specific leaves and plants.
Presents Made from Scratch
The last few years have seen a huge uptick in the popularity of handmade or secondhand presents, thanks in large part to the rise of online marketplaces like Etsy, Pinterest, and Depop. After all, isn't vintage just a fancy term for used? These days, it's nice to give a present that has a little bit of personality, and the popularity of repurposed items, vintage clothing, and vintage games has made this possible. If you want to show someone you care, making them a gift shows that you put in the effort to make something special. No need to be a master craftsman or artist to give a handmade gift that will be treasured. This can be as easy as a framed photo or as elaborate as a homemade cake, depending on your skill set. It will be much more appreciated than any other store-bought present if it is presented nicely and accompanied by a card written from the heart. Have a look at the Christmas treats to make for your loved ones.
Adding Joy to Gift-Giving
Having to buy presents for everyone in your family or circle of friends can get expensive, but a Secret Santa exchange can help you avoid that. Even though it's nice to be able to show your loved ones how much you appreciate them, they probably wouldn't want you to embarrass yourself and would be happy to participate in a game of secret Santa instead. That makes it a cheap way to give something to everyone on your list, as you'd only have to buy one gift per occasion.
The Christmas Dinner
It's not a good idea to get everything you need for your holiday meal from a single store. Find the best prices by looking around. The night before Christmas, many grocery stores also offer deep discounts. The risk of not finding anything the night before Christmas really isn't worth it, so it might be worth going for a look around the supermarket the night before, maybe not for something as important as a turkey.
Make sure you know how much money you can spend on Christmas dinner and what you need to buy before you head to the store. That way, you won't be tempted to pick up unnecessary extras as you peruse the aisles. Keep in mind that supermarkets are set up to encourage you to spend as much as possible, so it's important to come in with a list of what you need and what you can live without. Make a game plan and consider what you can put off until the days after Christmas.
Choose energy-efficient lights with on/off switches, and remember to turn off any lights or large decorations that draw power when you're not using them or when night falls. To save money, try using tinsel or homemade baubles to decorate your tree and home instead of lights. Put some cosy throws on the couch and a few extra blankets around the house instead of turning up the heat. Keep warm by dressing in layers (a sweater, a pair of wool socks, a blanket, etc.), closing draughty doors, etc.
Have a wonderful Christmas and you don't have to worry about anything. After all, Christmas is the time for cheer and wishes. You'll be much happier if you make the holiday season about spending time with loved ones rather than collecting material goods.
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