When push comes to shove, we adults can do without the usual Christmas traditions, such as gift giving, fancy decorations, and platters full of cookies and candy.
But if you have a child, you probably want to give them a beautiful Christmas. The only problem is, if your income is low, you might think you’re going to let your child down.
Don’t fret, though. You can create a beautiful Christmas for your child without taking out loans or swiping your credit cards. Here’s how.
Frugal Christmas Decorations
Don’t worry about having a decked-out home that’s Instagram-worthy. Even though it’s easy to compare ourselves with others, it’s also easy to create a beautiful Christmas on a budget.
Christmas Tree Hacks
A live tree is usually an expensive investment. Instead, you can do something much cheaper but just as magical. Collect pine branches and arrange them on your shelves, mantles or tables. You can decorate them with homemade ornaments (we’ll get to that soon!) and lights.
If pine trees are hard to come by, gather branches and decorate them with tinsel, decorations, and lights, too.
It’s also easy to create a tree-shape with humble branches. With eight to nine branches of different lengths, you can create a minimal, eco-friendly “tree” that you can connect together with string.
On its own, it’s a bare frame, but once you top it with simple decorations and a string of lights, it a magical display.
Want to go even simpler? You can purchase a strand or two of lights and arrange them on your wall in the shape of a pine tree.
Lighting candles throughout your home adds instant magic, and they usually don’t cost very much. Of course, the Christmas-themed candles, which are colored and scented, are usually more expensive, but with a little savvy, you can find basic white candles in the home and cleaning section of your grocery or craft store.
You can even make mason jar luminaries with your child, and make your home look and feel cozy.
Frugal Ornament Ideas
With or without a Christmas tree, you can decorate your home with delightful ornaments that your children will love. That’s because they help to make them! Here are some simple and frugal DIY ornament ideas.
Painted pine cones
Pine cones are quintessentially Christmasy, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy them at your local department store. If you live near a wooded area, you can go foraging and find some of your own. Then, paint them with your favorite colors and top with glitter. Tie a string at the top and hang them throughout your home.
With a pair of scissors and some plain white paper, you can create lovely snowflakes with your child. And chances are you already have these supplies at hand!
You can string these delicate cut-outs together to create a wonderful banner that looks good in a bedroom, kitchen or living room.
Christmas ornaments don’t have to be expensive. With a quick stop to your local craft store, you can purchase popsicle sticks, kid-friendly paint and any other decorative bits you like.
Then, together with your children, you can create these adorable tree ornaments to hang throughout the home and add a touch of festive cheer.
Frugal Christmas Baking and Cooking
Christmas candy and cookies can be expensive when you’re buying for school, family, and friends. But why not make your own? All you need is a cookie cutter set, like this affordable Wilton's 18 piece metal cookie cutter set, along with some basic kitchen staples.
Butter, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, flour, salt and baking powder is all you need to make a playful cookie that you and your children decorate with homemade icing, sprinkles, and candies.
Remember, the memories you create with your children are ones they’ll carry with them for years to come – much longer than any toy or gift.
Budget-Friendly Dinner ideas
Traditionally, elaborate roasts are served at the Christmas lunch or dinner, but if a turkey is out of your budget, you can find a cheap roast that’s just as flavorful. The eye of a round beef roast is usually much cheaper than other cuts, and if you cook it in a crockpot, or slowly in the oven, you’ll have maximum flavor with minimal effort.
When it comes to sides, hearty vegetables are not only delicious and nutritious, but they’re usually cheaper since they’re in season at this time of year.
Carrots, potatoes, and squashes are delicious when roasted. And to fill out your table, don’t be afraid to reach for canned and frozen goods.
Make Magical Moments and Memories
You might want to bring your child to a showing of the Nutcracker, but tickets might be out of your price range. Instead, why not make a bowl of festive, homemade popcorn, and snuggle up for your very own, indoor theater?
Ice Skating and Sledding
If you live in a snowy area, you can bundle up and go sledding, and follow-up your wintery activities with a warm thermos of homemade hot cocoa or apple cider.
Listen to Christmas music
While you decorate or cook with your child, play festive music. It always improves the atmosphere and it doesn’t cost anything!
And with such a wide variety of Christmas tunes, you can find something that’s both soothing and relaxing, or poppy, fun and makes you want to hit the dance floor.
Gift Christmas Stories
If you and your child like to read together, you can borrow a nice collection of Christmas carols from your local library and spend time reading them together. This is a wonderful way to connect with your child and to help him or her to cultivate their imaginations.
Audiobooks are another wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit, and often these can be borrowed or downloaded for little to no cost.
Remember to Give Love and Attention
Want to know the best gift you can give your child that doesn’t cost a penny?
Love and mindful attention.
You can cover your child with hugs and kisses, and let them know how important they are to you. You can affirm them with compliments and praise. You can set down your phone and listen.
It’s easy for parents to feel guilty about what they can’t give their children. But it’s important to know that you, as a parent, have something that your child needs and wants from you: your love and attention. And this doesn’t cost anything but a little mindfulness and intention on your part.
You can create a beautiful Christmas for your child even if your income is low, and we hope you’ve found some inspiration to do just that! What are your go-to frugal Christmas tips?