Inexpensive Holiday Traditions

by Kay Lynn

Disney - Christmas on Main Street USA (Explored)This is one of my favorite times of the year with the emphasis on giving, family and religion. All three may have a part in your holiday traditions.  It’s easy to stress during this season as well due to the cost.

Years ago I started a new family tradition as a way to deal with two hyped up little boys.  To divert their attention I took them to the movie theatre so they wouldn’t think about or ask me about presents or Santa for a couple of hours.

It worked and now even though they’re grown it is still a tradition.  My fellow bloggers shared some great ideas that show you can celebrate the holidays without blowing your budget.


1.  Make spice ornaments. These are great for the tree and on top of that they are low cost and smell delicious.

2. Decorate the tree. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff has a 24 year old tree missing one leg so it gets propped up every year (made me think of Charlie Brown’s tree:”).

3. Make Reindeer Food. Kids love to spread reindeer food on Christmas Eve. I wish I knew about this when my boys were little.  It’s simple to boot!

4. Reuse. I reuse boxes and bags, but some people go further by saving wrapping paper, bows and tags.  The Greenbacks Gal uses the same bags each year for gifts to her daughter.


1.Hot Chocolate Box. Make boxes of hot chocolate to give as gifts for teachers and more. At $3.25 including the boxes, it’s a great deal.

2. Ornament Exchange. This is a great way to give gifts, build up your collection and have fun.
We always save and reuse our wrapping paper and bows. I mean, I still have bags with the “to” our daughter “from” us on them, and they will get a gift in the same bag this year!

3. Holiday Budget. Challenge yourself to find something for everyone on your list without breaking the budget.  Can you do it on $100?


1. Bake Cookies. I remember baking dozens of cookies every year with my mom and siblings.  Of course, many got eaten as well!  Some people make gingerbread houses but I haven’t gotten that ambitious yet.

2. Make A Chocolate Log. Make a chocolate sponge in a big flat 1/2″ thick piece, spread a tasty filing on it (coconut cream filling is nice) and the roll into a log. It can then be decorated with chocolate icing and candy’s to look like a log.


1. Caroling. Gather friends and family and spread some Christmas cheer caroling. It’s been a long time since I’ve had carolers.

2. View Christmas Lights.   Many cities have a street or neighborhood that goes all out on the holiday decorations.  Even without that, just drive through the neighborhood and enjoy the decorations while listening to Christmas music.

3.  Watch Holiday Movies.  Watching favorites with a fire in the fireplace, homemade kettle corn, and hot chocolate is a wonderful life.  Recommendations include It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and  National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

4. Volunteer.  Aid agencies need help throughout the year, but activities amp up during the holidays.  Volunteer to serve food, hand out presents or whatever needs done.

5. Build a Snowman. Those of us in warm climates can’t participate, but this is fun, exercise and a group activity all in one.

You can have a wonderful holiday season without overindulging on food or money.  What’s your inexpensive holiday tradition?

Special thanks to all the bloggers that contributed to this article: Nikki from Coupon Cookin’, Andrea from The Greenbacks Gal, Brandi from Savin Some, Penny from The Saved Quarter, Mrs. Not Made of Money, Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff, Amanda from Frugal Confessions, Forest from Frugal Zeitgeist and Heather from Inexpensively.
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Nikki December 20, 2010 at 9:53 am

Thanks Kay for sharing these wonderful ideas. I always enjoy reading your posts.

Financial Samurai December 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Wonderful ideas and great traditions! A little different in San Diego vs a freezing area like the East Coast, but still nice all the same!

Everyday Tips December 20, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Loved the picture. The holidays are the best. I am so enjoying the quiet time with the family.

Mike Ramsey December 21, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Thanks for the seasonal post!

As Christmas festival is going on so this post is really very helpful.

What I would say that decoration needs lots of money if you be a little creative while decorating then you can do it inexpensively as well and the look would also be natural.

Buck December 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Fun article especially with the holidays around the corner. My company had an white elephant gift exchange. It was so fun. Apparently there was miscommunication as half the room emptied their house of an item they no longer needed and the other half bought gifts. You can guess which gifts were more popular. Swapping and stealing ensued, but it was all in good fun. 🙂

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