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7 Ways to Reduce Your Christmas Expenses

Ronali is a freelance writer, editor, and affiliate marketer.

Learn how to cut back on your Christmas expenses.

Learn how to cut back on your Christmas expenses.

The Importance of Cutting Back on Christmas Expenses

The 2020 pandemic has led many people to rethink their lifestyles, routines, and spending habits. Losing one's job or settling for underemployment might have caused a decision to go at a slower pace and switch to a more minimalist mindset.

With the holiday season looming just around the corner, many are still filled with dread about the possible expenses they might incur. However, there are several ways to prevent accumulating a ton of expenses related to what should otherwise be a festive Christmas season, or at least keep them manageable.

Skip the Wrapping Paper and Ribbons

A sheet or roll or two of wrapping paper may not cost much, but if you need to wrap several items (or more) as Christmas presents for your relatives and friends, your expenses might total to an amount that (yikes!) could allow you to buy a couple more gift items.

Instead, think of alternative ways to wrap your Christmas gifts creatively. You can get a roll of butcher paper or craft paper, secure your items with colorful paper twine or leftover ribbons, and glue or attach embellishments like:

  • Stars made with craft punches
  • Pom poms made with yarn
  • Colorful buttons

Make Your Own Gift Tags

If you're a decent calligrapher or have neat penmanship, you can capitalize on that by making your own gift tags. All you have to do is get a pack of cardstock and a couple of felt-tip pens or markers.

Reduce Your Budget on Christmas Cards

In this age of instant messaging, emails, Zoom, and video calls, writing brief holiday greetings on the blank side of Christmas cards causes you to pause and think about the weight and quality of your messages.

And yet, ordering boxed sets of limited-edition cards can be pricey. Even buying them piecemeal from the card section of a bookstore, gift, or souvenir shop can lead you to spend a small fortune, not to mention the costs of mailing them.

But don't rule out Christmas cards as "non-essential" this holiday season. Here's what you can do:

Buy a Set of Generic-Looking or Blank Cards

There are plenty of stores that carry these greeting cards, where they're usually sold in boxes, and 10 cards bear the same design, while another set of 10 has a different design.

Opting for generic-looking Christmas cards is less expensive, and you won't pay much for postage when mailing them because paper weight is less.

Email Your Holiday Greetings

If your budget is really tight, take advantage of free software and design your own electronic greetings.


Go Easy on Christmas Decorations

There's nothing wrong with buying Christmas decorations from a dollar store or general merchandise store. But why not take it a step further and look into what you may have stored inside your attic or closet?

You can hang up the same wreath or stockings you had the previous year. If you have a Christmas tree, just vary the ornaments to give it a different look and holiday feel. And if you're crafty and willing to recycle junk, you can decorate your home with DIY holiday crafts.

Choose the Gift of Time and Service

You don't need thick wads of cash in order to make a difference in people's lives this Christmas. Here are just a few things you can do:

  • Donate some of your kids' old toys and books to an orphanage.
  • If you have the skill, bake cookies or cupcakes for your friends.
  • Gather some arts and crafts materials and create a bunch of DIY greeting cards to donate to charities that mail them to orphanages, prisons, hospitals, and elderly homes.
  • Volunteer to wash your neighbor's car.
  • Take a pie, bouquet of flowers, or potted plant to an elderly neighbor.
  • If you have the skill, knit or crochet bonnets or beanies for children in orphanages.
  • Wake up half an hour early the morning before Christmas and make pancakes for your spouse or partner.
  • Offer to do the groceries so your partner can spend an afternoon pampering themself.

Host a Potluck

When throwing Christmas parties, tell your guests that you're turning them into a potluck. Have each of your guests bring one dish while you prepare one or two dishes yourself.

Potlucks give you great opportunities to enjoy the festive holiday season while still allowing you to save you money (and time and effort) on shopping for ingredients and preparing and cooking food.

Have a Secret Santa

This means you only have to buy a gift for one person while being reassured that you and all your guests will receive presents as well.


Get Inexpensive Props for a Photo Booth

Plan ahead for all those potlucks and events. Instead of spending money on giveaways or souvenirs, come up with a makeshift photo booth and ask your guests to click away.

Possible props could be:

  • Reindeer noses, antlers, or ears
  • A green or red necktie
  • Odd-shaped glasses
  • Shawls or scarves
  • Feather boas
  • Santa or elf hats
  • Snowmen top hats

Plan Low-Cost Activities

  • Get Together for a Family Lunch or Dinner: You can even ask some of your neighbors to come over or allow your kids to have their friends join you.
  • Schedule FaceTime or a Zoom Meeting with Relatives: This is a fool-proof, no-cost, and enjoyable way to catch up with your relatives, or even friends, in faraway places.
  • Spend an Afternoon Playing Board Games: Playing board games or even card games is a fun activity, and it can strengthen the bonds among family members.
  • Watch Well-Loved Christmas Movies: This can be an animated film or feel-good holiday flick that the entire family will enjoy. Serve a container of microwaved popcorn with ice-cold soda or juice.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.