How to Make the Best of Christmas When Time and Money are Short

Despite what the media and the TV adverts might tell you, Christmas isn't all about big presents, fancy new clothes and extravagant feasts spread across the table.  In years when money and possibly also time are tight, there are still plenty of ways to make Christmas special for your family.  Read on for how to make Christmas special with limited money.

It’s Not About The Big Presents And Fancy Decorations

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Christmas isn’t about the big presents and the fancy decorations.  It also isn’t about cramming as many activities and festivities into the month of December as you possibly can.  It isn’t about having the biggest Christmas party, or the biggest tree.

Instead, Christmas is about spending time with loved ones, exchanging meaningful gifts, and enjoying each other’s company.  And let’s not forget about the spiritual aspect of the season that often gets lost in the hustle and bustle.

Slow Down This Year

Start by slowing down this year.  It’s hard to enjoy this very special season when your calendar is so full that you’re simply rushing from one event to the next.  Instead of aiming to fit it all in, do it all, and go all out on everything from decorating the house to hosting various Christmas parties, slow down.  Take a breath and look around you.

Enjoy this time with your family. Snuggle up on the couch and watch a favorite Christmas movie. Make some macaroni decorations or paper chains with the kids.  Take a nap or sip a steaming mug of hot chocolate.  Slow down and soak it all in.  If you take the time to make meaningful memories, you have something that lasts a lifetime, far longer than last year's Christmas gifts.  Can you remember what any of those were by the way?

Scale Everything Back

The biggest problem with doing too much and having too much is that it all loses meaning.  This is particularly true around Christmas.  For example, a couple of well-chosen presents is much more memorable than a big pile of 25 to 30 things that looks impressive at first glance but are really just fillers.

Instead of going all out with the decorations, do a few things well and choose items that have meaning to you and your family.  Instead of buying more and more gifts, set a limit and spend both time and money on quality instead of quantity.  Instead of hosting huge Christmas parties or dinners, make something really nice for the people that mean the most to you - even if it is much simpler than you usually put on.

Spend Your Time Wisely

No matter how much time you have on your hands this December, use it wisely.  Think carefully about what you really want to do and what sounds like the most fun for your family.   What will help you create those wonderful memories that will last a lifetime? Make those things a priority and then work in the rest if and where it makes sense.

Time is a finite resource and we can't ever get it back, so spend your time on the things and with the people that are most important to you.  Prioritize what you really want to do and what brings you and your loved ones the most joy.  Maybe that’s making 5 different batches of Christmas cookies together, or maybe it’s taking a walk or a drive out to see the lights in your neighbourhood instead.

Money Isn't Everything

The same holds true when it comes to your finances.  You really don’t have to spend a lot of money on Christmas decorations and gifts.  Instead, spend wisely on a few things that are important to you.

If you want to buy your son that new bike he’s been wishing for to see that big smile on his face on Christmas morning, spend your money there.  Cut back on gifts for extended family and friends and stop feeling obligated to give everyone a gift.

Make a batch of homemade cookies instead and give those as gifts or try making one of these home-made Christmas gift ideas.  Get crafty if that’s your thing and come up with something cute but inexpensive.  Cut back on fancy decorations or expensive Christmas days out and events that don’t mean all that much to you, or you simply cannot afford this year.

There are lot of free and inexpensive things to do during Advent:
  • Go out and look at the Christmas lights
  • Make some Christmas decorations or crafts at home
  • Challenge yourself to make or repurpose gifts for each other
Related post: 15 Festive Things to Do for Free this Christmas

Focus On The Truly Important Stuff

In other words, force yourself to focus on the truly important stuff.  What do you want to remember come February?  Who are the people you want to spend this special season with?  What holiday events and gatherings are most important to you and your family?  Focus on the truly important stuff, be it spiritual or just for fun, and enjoy this Christmas.

Use both your time and your money wisely on what’s most important to you and your loved ones and you’ll have a wonderful Christmas.  No matter what’s going on in your life and with your bank account, by following these tips you can still make Christmas special by getting a little creative.

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