Ronali is a freelance writer, editor, and affiliate marketer.
Are you still dealing with the effects of the 2020 pandemic? Even if you haven't lost your job, or you may have settled for underemployment or freelancing, you may have thought about the advantages on cutting back on your expenses during the upcoming holiday season.
On the other hand, you wouldn't want to act all stingy and Scrooge-like and dampen the Christmas spirit, either.
Read on for tips and suggestions on celebrating Christmas without burning your budget.
(1.) Write Holiday Cards
In this age of email and instant messaging, a lot of us crave that personal touch of snail mail. Writing holiday cards is a fun activity that would delight your loved ones.
You don't need to spend a small fortune on Christmas cards. You can get postcards, or buy a box or two of those generic-looking holiday cards.
Depending on the recipient, you can write meaningful or inspiring messages, or inject humor by adding puns or jokes. You can even add colorful doodles, squiggles, or stickers.
(2.) Schedule Video Calls
One of technology's greatest advantages is, it can help foster relationships, even if people live far away from you or even overseas.
If you're single but in a long-distance relationship, you might want to make that video call to your boyfriend or girlfriend extra special by having a glass of wine or champagne nearby.
You can also reconnect with high school or college friends, former colleagues or roommates.
If you're married and have children, schedule an hour or two of video calls to their grandparents or cousins.
(3.) Watch Christmas-Themed Movies
There must have been movies centered around Christmas that you've missed before, or reboots of your favorite childhood classics.
The holidays are a good time to binge on those flicks. Have around 5-6 Christmas-themed movies lined up, and get the family or your friends together. Prepare a tub of popcorn, or mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows and cookies.
(4.) Make DIY Ornaments
Can't help but sigh over those pricey Christmas decorations sold at stores? Lest you think your house will be devoid of the holiday spirit, why not make your own decorations and ornaments?
You can put a Santa hat over your child's stuffed teddy bear, and place it beside a table lamp. You can buy fake pine cones, ivy, and berries from an arts and crafts store, and wrap them around a large embroidery hoop to make a wreathe.
You can also recycle any junk lying around the house, like cardboard, plastic bottles, old magazines, etc. Look for video tutorials on how to turn them into festive decorations.
(5.) Host a Potluck
If you're dreading over the thought of expenses accumulated by throwing Christmas parties, have potlucks instead. Keep your guest list limited, and assign one dish per guest. By having potlucks, you may only need to prepare a dish or two at a time.
(6.) Have a Secret Santa
This is a good way to end a party. Instead of shopping for Christmas presents for all your guests, you only need to buy one item. You can also rest assured that you and the rest of your guests will receive a gift.
You can spend a weekend afternoon with kids at the orphanage, or play cards or dominoes with the elderly at nursing homes.
It's amazing how our perceived lack pales in comparison to others, when we expose ourselves to volunteering.
(8.) Plan Some Low-Cost Activities
You might bemoan the fact that you don't have enough money to go to a holiday concert, take a trip, or splurge on a Christmas shopping spree.
But the truth is, there's a ton of free or low-cost activities you can enjoy during the Christmas season:
- Play card or board games with your family and friends.
- Finish a couple of crafts projects.
- Put together a scrapbook.
- Read (or tell) stories together.
- If you have the skill, crochet or knit coasters, scarves, or sweaters.
- Bake some cookies and cupcakes and use red and green frosting.
- Tick off books from your to-be-read list.
- Cook a batch of pancakes or waffles for your family, and enjoy them on Christmas morning.
- Visit a craft fair or bazaar.
(9.) Take Photos
Gather some inexpensive props, like Santa or snowmen hats, gaudy neckties, feather boas, odd-shaped glasses, reindeer ears and red noses, and use your phone to take holiday photos.