Blessed By A Frugal Christmas

CIMG9329This year is going to be a frugal Christmas for us.  Having wedding items to pay for and creating a new budget for the two of us so close to Christmas has forced us to really cut back and consider every purchase we make this holiday season.  The discipline and excuse to really cut back is a good thing but missing out on the joy of shopping during this season is a little saddening.  As I have put together our decorations and planned our holiday gifts, I came up with some frugal tips for those of you out there looking to cut back a little as well. 

Be sure to scroll all the way down as I have a gift for one of my lucky readers. :)CIMG9437Furnish Your Tree with Creativity: Looking for new holiday ornaments?  How about something you already have around the house.  Think framed pictures of loved ones or create a theme.  Use kitchen utensils for a tree in the kitchen and toys or school supplies for the tree in the kids’ rooms.  Or do all of one color.  Creating a theme will make the tree stand out and draw your eye.

Borrow CD’s from the Library: You only listen to that Christmas music for a month (Well, at least those of us normal ones out there.  I know some of you are crazies.) so instead of stocking up on music via CD or iTunes, borrow instead.  Your local library should have CD’s available to check out.  Go early as they may get checked out (by certain people like me who check them ALL out…library hogger!).  CIMG9372 Make Paper Decorations: Use what you have around the house to make new items on the cheap.  Frame some holiday paper and add an ornament, have the kids (or you!) cut out paper snowflakes to hang from the ceiling or in the window, and a simple paper banner can showcase a holiday saying in just minutes.

DVR Holiday Specials: I always seem to want to buy Home Alone during Christmas, yet couldn’t give a hoot any other time of the year.  I do not own Home Alone but I am sure it will be on TV at least five times this month.  Record holiday shows on TV instead of renting or buying DVD’s to save some money.  You can go online to check your local TV listings and plan ahead.  We already have 5 holiday specials ready to record this week!  Then you have them available for when the family wants to sit down and watch something together. CIMG9427Shop Thrift, Dollar Stores, and After Holiday Sales: Many of my decorations have came from these places…you just have to be on the look out for stuff with potential and weed out some of the junk.  I stocked up on tinsel trees from the Dollar Tree last year and they add so much to my decor.  They add shimmer to the room without a lot of fuss.

Use Ribbon to Tie Things Together: I don’t mean just gifts here.  Use ribbon to create a common color theme that ties all your decorations together.  Add ribbons to your wreaths, trees, serving plates, children…whatever you have out.  You will be amazed how a little ribbon can transform a space and update old items. CIMG9335 When Buying Holiday Items, Consider All Year Around: I especially apply this to candles and air fresheners.  I am often tempted by those holiday scents but then find myself only having peppermint and pine to use when July comes rolling around.  I try to stick to vanilla and sugar cookie scent because they smell the same (you also don’t want conflicting scents if you have all the candles going in the house).  These scents often go on sale during and after the holidays so I stock up for all year.  They are festive enough for Christmas but safe enough to use all year around.  I also stick to only purchasing white or cream colored candles.  They match everything and I can change their look with some ribbon or a different candle holder.  Think long term investment on reusable holiday items instead of temporary shopping excitement.  I know, it’s hard.

Holiday Dishes: The above mentioned also applies to dishware.  I used to be a dish fanatic wanting every color and shape to match every holiday or mood I was in.  And that’s how I ended up with a whole bunch of mismatched dinnerware.  So when we got married I forced myself to stick to white.  It is timeless and matches everything.  When holiday’s come around I get excited and want to buy Santa platters and Easter Bunny appetizer dishes.  Having a couple items are fun but to save money and have less clutter it is best to have one set of year around plates and platters that go with any theme. CIMG9357 Use a Table Cloth for a Tree Skirt: No need for a tree skirt, just drape a table cloth or some fabric around your tree to cover up its little legs.  Much cheaper and way easier to match your decor.

Use What You Have and Be Content: Try to not get so hung up on everything being perfect or wanting more.  It is a great challenge but blessing to be content with what you have.  Plus, just the warmth of making the effort to make your home festive is the thing that really matters.  Whenever I enter a home decorated for Christmas, no matter the style or decorating ability, it makes me feel warm and welcome.  A home decorated with love is a beautiful home and that is all we need!

And so to add a little holiday warmth to your home, and a chance for me to spread some holiday cheer, I am giving away a copy of this Gooseberry Patch Christmas book!  All you have to do is leave a comment with your suggestion of a frugal Christmas tip and you will be entered into the giveaway.  Good luck and happy frugal fluffing!  I will name the winner in a few days…

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38 comments:

  1. If you are hosting a Christmas party this year, instead of spending a bunch of money on making cookies or other things, cut out pages of a magazine of cookie recipes and frame it for your guests to make for themselves.

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  2. Really cute wall decor that is super cheap is to get a package of 3 holiday gift boxes from the dollar store with pictures of Santa (I found some with vintage looking Santas) a quick swipe of mod podge or water down glue over the made boxes, a hole in the back and viola, cute wall decor for $1.00....looks cute on a mantel, on the wall, or on a shelf.....great giveaway!

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  3. Gift wrapping is where I always save the most money--there are so many things you can repurpose to save on wrapping. Comics plus twine is always a hit around here, and I have a friend who uses white butcher paper and simple ribbon. For small gifts, I also like to use pages from magazines.

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  4. I like to make home made gifts like filling a jar with the dry ingredients for cookies and covering the top with some pretty fabric and tie the direction on with some festive ribbon.

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  5. I really enjoy decorating my porch for Christmas. I have a grapevine wreath that I change out the bows and attachments on to make it fit all the seasons. It's really big so it acts as the main focal point on my porch.

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  6. I don't buy anything new until after Christmas when everything is on clearance. I look forward to the day after Christmas all year long. Plus if you continue checking back every few days you eventually get stuff at 90% off. I'm also trying to repurpose everything that I already have. I've been making decorations out of stuff that I've had for years and never knew what to do with and now it's a breath of fresh air to have new decorations. I'm also forcing myself to put my decorations in new places instead of their usual homes during the holidays. It looks like I have all new decor.

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  7. This year, I painted a cheap ($1.50) thrift store frame red and framed a pretty Christmas card I received last year. A really cheap way to make cute Christmas art.

    Also, hit the dollar store, you never know what you will find! :)

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  8. Yippee skippy, I’ve been eyeing this in the store but have not allowed myself to buy it. I just love Gooseberry Patch stuff.


    So many things you can do to cut the budget during the holidays. I’m a BIG fan of repurposing items. I just posted a blog where I repurposed my ribbon scraps. Find inexpensive ways to decorate your home during the holidays. I use ornaments to decorate everything. I buy the cheap plastic ones and go to town. What about spray painting twigs that you find outside white and sprinkling them with glitter, stick them in a vase and there you have it. To be thrifty you really need to think outside the box but thinking outside the box makes it even more fun!
    http://domesticprincessintraining.blogspot.com

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  9. Wrapping the gifts in cheap brown paper works for me. Then use twine to tie together and I always add something like Pinecones that you can collect for free. Also a nice way to get together and not have to spend so much is to do a Christmas Cookie Exchange.

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  10. Sounds like this just might your BEST Christmas ever if you ask me! I would love a chance to win this book! Gooseberry Patch is AWESOME!

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  11. Last year, my husband was looking at losing his job. We knew we had to scale way back and simplify. I have two very young boys and I did mainly a handmade Christmas, and decorated with what I already had. I didn't have money for new ornaments (we have a tradition of getting a new ornament for each family member each year), so I made the boys ornaments out of felt that I had on hand. They turned out better and more personal than anything I could have bought in a store. This year, I plan on making their ornaments again.

    I have to say that last year's simple Christmas was the best ever, full of love and traditions, even if it was short on cash.

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  12. I am definitely using what I have this year (changing it up a bit) and simplifying.
    PS I'm using burlap for my tree skirt. :)

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  13. This year, we used white packing peanuts and strung them on beading wire for garland on the tree! It looks so CUTE! I have to put it up on my blog.

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  14. I always look for stuff on clearnace after the major holidays. For example, after Christmas (usually wait for at least 75% off!) there's a lot of red accents available--dish towels, glassware, glittery heart ornaments, etc. Well, the next holiday I like to decorate for comes up in February (the 14th, to be exact!) and guess what--red dish towels, glassware and glittery heart ornaments bought at deep discount work just perfectly for Valentine's Day decorating! Plus learning to repurpose/repaint finds from Goodwill and thrift shops or rummage sales is another great way to pick up great decorations "on the cheap."

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  15. I LOVE this post. I was just going to create a post myself on this very topic. I love all of your ideas and I completely feel the same way.

    With the economy the way it is, I feel like this year more than ever people should be able to relax, take a deep breath and realize that there are no expectations on decor or gifts but to have fun and stay within your budget.

    I am a big dollar store shopper. I just found the cutest purple snowflake ornaments and hung them under a floating shelf, I also shop the Target dollar area and search for clearance items that are at least 50% but usually 75% off. Like many others, I too wait until AFTER Christmas to buy my goodies for the next year.

    For decorating, an easy way to make things look festive is to wrap two large pieces of art or a series of art you have on your wall with some fun wrapping paper and add a bow so it looks like a present. A simple gold or red wire berry strand wrapped around the bottom of candle is timeless.

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  16. my daughter has been making tons of projects at school,(hopefully they'll send them home in time--they waited until after thanksgiving to send all of her turkeys home!!lol) but i love hanging her projects up, they are so fun! not having any spare $ in the decorations fund makes this a perfect way to spread the holiday spirit!

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  17. I don't know if this counts as frugal, but this year I am making draw-string bags to wraps presents in. The reason behind this is because for the rest of the year they help keep things organized in our toy bin. Guess that goes along with your thinking year round idea.

    So many of the ideas you have are just practical and smart, we've done them for some time now I don't really think of it as being frugal really. Love making decorations for the tree with scraps of fabric, sure it's frugal but I look at it as a great chance to create memories and have my tree look like it matches me instead of the one in the store.

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  18. Love your ideas! It's definitely a frugal Christmas for us, too.

    One thing that I try and do is shop for gifts year round. That way, I'm not pressured to go out at the last minute and buy an overpriced gift that the person may not even like. If I'm out shopping anytime during the year and find something that I know someone will love, I buy it then and keep it 'til Christmas. The only problem with that is sometimes I forget where I hid them :)

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  19. Ask and Ye Shall receive!

    I made a post JUST for you!
    http://mysillybeanz.blogspot.com/2009/12/el-cheapo-christmas-decorations-snow.html

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  20. We too had to be extra extra frugal this year. We too got married (after 10 years together), have a baby on the way next month, had our 4 year old have hip and ankle surgery, and just the economy. So this year I am making gifts for my moms side of the family. We are sticking to one "santa" gift and a few smaller gifts for all of our kids this year. Then just a few stocking stuffers. My husband and I are not exchanging gifts since we buy for each other all year long. I did alot of dollar store stocking stuffer shopping this year too. I didn't buy any new decorations this year either, which I usually love to do. We get the kids new ornaments every year and this year, as well as last I am also making those.
    Love your blog by the way.
    Have a great day and a wonderful holiday season.
    Nicole M.

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  21. I mod podge Christmas tissue on mason jars (all if it is usually onhand) and add letters to spell NOEL or something else holiday-esque. Then stuff the jars with a strand of lights and viola super cute and super cheap Christmas decor!

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  22. I like to give family photos as gifts. This year, I am keeping our family photos a surprise until I give out copies to the grandparents on Christmas.
    I always shop the after Christmas sales for decorations- then when I unpack them the next year,it is a treat to see what I have put away.

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  23. I plan all year long for Christmas gifts, starting in about February. I usually pick one 'male' craft and one 'female' craft and then shop the sales/coupons/clearance all year to get the items I need. This is an especially frugal way to send gifts to the MANY extended family on my husband's side. A crafty gift is always best when dressed up beautifully, and planning ahead makes it frugal, fun and festive!

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  24. Frugal is the best way to describe this Christmas in our home. We are having an almost completely hand made Christmas--and spending VERY LITTLE! My husband just changed jobs recently after 14 years with the same company, and luckily he was able to get his foot in the door in another job...but at a very high price pay and benefit wise, LOL. So, we are having what I like to lovingly refer to as a "homespun Christmas"! I am taking a quilt class right now so I am making three table runners--most of the fabric I already had. My daughter and I just finished some darlling little ornaments using plastic snowflake ornaments that were 50% off (we got 24 for $7.99), and we made sculpey snowmen heads, baked them and glued them in the center of the ornament and attached a tiny tag with the year on silver cording for a hanger (really cute!). We are also trying our hand at marzipan fruits (she is quite the little sculpter) because they are so cute--and cheap to make. I am making shelves for my youngest daughter for her bedroom using two old drawers, and some 1x4 and quarter round, and paint! My son is getting a hat rack for his mass of hats. My oldest daughter and her hubby are leaving for boot camp the first of the year--and they are getting stationery, a journal, an address book (all of which I am making)--and Kringle and Noel! Kringle and Noel are little wooden elves that climb into our Christmas tree every year, and whom we LOVE to have visit. I am making them a set for their tree. And the list goes on...but it is a frugal/homespun wonderful Christmas!

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  25. We started a new traditions with our daughters this year. I wrapped the Christmas children's books that we already own and they get to take turns each night of the month; pick out a book, unwrap it and then we read it before bedtime. One problem: I didn't have enough of our own Christmas books to last until Christmas day! So, I'll be going to the library and checking out what I need. After wrapping them, I'll put an "L" for library and the date it is due back! :)
    They are loving this new little tradition!! and I love that book! ;)

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  26. Great tips by you and all the other comments others have left!

    I love saving money but still enjoy all the fun of finding good deals and making the presents and the house look beautiful!

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  27. My favorite thing to do to save money is to use my leftover scrapbook supplies to make beautiful tags for my gifts instead of buying them in the store. I think they look better than the ones you can buy and they don't cost me anything!!

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  28. I'm really not very good at this. I like to spend money way too much. So I will definitely use some of your ideas. One thing I do is use pictures of our family as gifts. Our parents don't usually want or need more stuff, but they always love new pictures. I put the new pictures in painted thrift store or other inexpensive frames and they are always a big hit. Thanks for all the great ideas!

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  29. My frugal tip for this year (and any other year) is to turn brown paper bags inside out & viola, instant rustic xmas.
    Let the little ones color on it & it becomes festive.

    Thanks for the chance to win :>)

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  30. Fun post, Ashley! I also do the tablecloth for a tree skirt trick... last year, I got a new plaid one on clearance for 75% off and I LOVE it!
    I've found some of my favorite vintage Christmas decor pieces at garage sales. I love the vintage figurines!

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  31. Last year I hosted a holiday swap with my friends. We all brought Christmas decor and ornaments that we didn't use or were tired of looking at and swapped for someone else's goodies. It was a great way to find some new to your decor without spending anything.

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  32. I think Andrea's idea of wrapping up books to unwrap and read with your children is a great idea! You could do this as an advent event. The kitchen seems to be where I have extra expense this time of year, I am tempted by all the food ideas and want to make things I normally would not and end up buying a lot of ingredients I only use a little of. I thought about getting together with a few friends and sharing the cost of all the ingredients and we bake together using up everything and each gets to take a share of the goods. Frugal and more fun! Ashley, I hope you have a wonderful first Christmas with your love! see you at the thrift store~Jacque

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  33. Gorgeous photos and great tips, Ashley!!! :)

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  34. We started scalling back last year for Christmas and I borrowed an idea from another blogger...I forget or I would credit....our children receive something 1)they want, 2)need, 3) something to wear and 4) something to read...that is it. No more crazy buying everything we see....they are into it this year and we are saving money. Another tip....I am picking up things on sale for upcoming birthdays...to store and bring out ...

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  35. I just found your blog and am loving it!! My favorite frugal thing is to stop shopping for the next years Christmas the day after Christmas. I find all my cards and wrapping paper and lights for great prices. Plus it is a great time to get some gifts for others - glass server sets or candles or Christmas Cds or pretty glass hurricane candle holders all for at least 50% off. The only downside is storage, but if you have room, it saves tons of money for the next year. (hartman302@gmail.com)

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  36. I am making most of my Christmas presents this year to save money!

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  37. Great ideas!

    How about using elements from nature for decor? Use pinecones and fresh greenery (Lowe's or Home Depot will often give away their trimmings from Christmas trees) to create a centerpiece or wreath.

    Also, frame or hang Christmas cards from year's past for instant holiday decor!

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  38. We decorate with things we make (kids 14/16) and enjoy being together. Gifts are consumables. Home smoked salmon, cookies, etc. We think if you want something else - go get it yourself! We give from the heart and make a lovely dinner to enjoy and laugh over.

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