Updated: Dec 16, 2020
How to Create a Magical Christmas on a Budget
'Tis the season for spending. According to a google search, the average American will spend in-between $700 - $1,000 this holiday season. If Christmas is going straight to the credit card, that puts a damper on anyone's holiday spirit. So how do you celebrate the magic of the holidays without feeling like a scrooge?
To avoid Overspending in December, November is my declutter all the toys month. Nothing helps you from overspending like donating a bag full of toys! Remember that must-have toy you bought last Christmas, the one that cost $40? Well, now it’s broken, missing pieces, and has been lying untouched for months. It is an eye opener seeing all the money you spent, just last year, go out the door to give you a quick reality check.
Set a Budget
Write down how much you can spend not how much you want to pay. Make a list of what you will need for gifts, travel, decoration, and meals, and put down the dollar amount that each item will cost. Then tally up the items. Does the total amount sit well? Can you afford to buy these gifts with the cash in your checking account? If the answer is yes, then you are all set. If the answer is no, then go back to your list and see what you can cut. Is there a cheaper option that you can do to make a heartfelt gift? Download our budget sheet
Create a List
Here is the most essential part: create a list of everyone that you need to shop for. Next to their name, write down the perfect gift and the amount. Tally up your list. Does it match your budget? If yes, then happy shopping! Remember not to get sucked into the sales trap. If the item is not on your list, keep walking, sister! If, like me, you find that the amount of money at the end of your tally far exceeds your budget, here are a few ideas to help you create a magical holiday AND still stay in budget.
How to Shop for Kids
1. Buy Something They Want
This is that toy they are dreaming about, the one that they saw in the YouTube video or the Amazon catalog. The one you know will be broken or discarded in a few months.
2. Something They Need
This can be for a sport or a hobby.
3. Something to Wear
Make it unique, this is clothing that is not customarily bought (Name brand, fun accessories)
4. Something to Read
A Book, Audible or a magazine subscription
5. Something to Do
Movie tickets, a show or museum
6. Something for the Family
Boardgame or puzzle
A science kit, Lego or art project
8. Bath & Body
That special lotion, the fun bubble bath, or bath bombs
How to Shop for Friends and Family
I come from a big family. A while back, we started to do things a little differently when it came to gifts and guess what, we loved it! Here are a few ideas from my family and what other families do to help keep the Holidays affordable and fun.
The adults have been drawing names in my family for over 10 years. We each draw a name and that's the one person that we shop for. The kids saw us doing it and wanted to do the same thing. As parents, we loved the idea, because now instead of having to buy toys for ten kids, we only have to buy for three or four kids.
*** I have a friend whose family not only draws names, but the gift has to be homemade, and the receiver has to guess who made them their gift. I just heard about this idea recently, and it made my heart sing. Talk about understanding the true meaning of the holidays.
At some point, we started inviting in-laws and friends to our holiday celebration and drawing names did not feel right. We wanted to still give a gift, but never knew who or how many people would be at the house, we decided to just start playing a game with a small gift. We have a poem that we read that corresponds with how we choose gifts. You never know what gifts you will end up with! It truly is a lot of fun.
Are you a whiz in the kitchen? Is creativity oozing out of you or maybe you just need a little inspiration? A quick search on Pinterest and you will see that the possibility for a DIY Christmas is endless and available for all skill sets.
The holidays are not about the perfect gift, the catalog style home, or the gourmet meals. It’s about family and friends, and spending time with those people is priceless. It’s about creating memories to share and look back on.
Happy Holidays to you and yours!