Ahhh, Christmas. That beautiful time of the year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, time with family and friends, delicious feasts and treats, & spending an insane amount of money on unnecessary crap that everyone is just going to forget about a month later.
I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas. On one hand, I love the gifts. I love the mystery of seeing them under the tree, but not knowing what’s inside. I grew up with the idea of Santa Claus, and it was magical for me. On the other hand, I tend towards a minimalistic worldview and it truly bothers me the amount of wastefulness our culture tends to. Both with money and objects that are taken for granted.
So this year, instead of letting my “Christmas Spirit” take over and buy everyone I know ten unnecessary gifts, we went with the minimum. How little could we purchase and still have gifts for everyone? How did we pick gifts that meant something and wouldn’t just get thrown into the pile? Below, I’ve included all the things I chose for this year, plus some from previous years.
$1-10 – Print some special photos of you & your family. If you have a little more flexible Christmas budget, grab some cheap frames to put them in. If you really can’t afford much this year, give the photos in a beautiful Christmas card (you can get really big packs of cute cards for $1-2) and express your love for your momma.
$15-25 – If you watch for a special sale on Shutterfly, you can almost always find one sometime in the fall. Start working on a family calendarand purchase it as soon as a calendar or all-store sale shows up!
$2-15 – Take note of your dad’s favorite candies, snacks, etc.You can just get one kind, make a basket with assorted favorites, or better yet – make your own! Baked goods and snacks creatively housed in mason jars, tins or Christmas-y Tupperware will look just as wonderful as anything you could buy!
$15-25 – Grab a $15-25 gift card to a good restaurant. Offer free babysitting for the kids and there you go – date night in an envelope! Make sure to write a sweet little note along with it.
$5-10 – Desk/work supplies. Fill a little basket or box with pens, sticky notes, thumb tacks, paper clips, highlighters, etc.
$5-10 – Coffee or water tumbler that keeps things hot or cold for hours. Fill it with candy!
$5-10 – A t-shirt or hoody with their favorite tv characters, movie quotes or superheroes.
$0-5 – Creatively display how much you love them. A miniature journal, letters each day of the month, game cards hole punched together like a book… There are so many creatives ways to show them you love them!
$10-25 – 7 days of Christmas! Pick 7 small and sweet gifts and add a corresponding love note to each gift. Ex: his favorite baked goods, his favorite candy in a cute coffee mug, a “reasons I love you” journal, a pack of new underwear, a new movie, and that hoody he has been wanting forever. Write a cute little note taped to it and make his whole week!
$2-5 – Women are so easy! Just look through DIY projects on Pinterest and pick one! My favorites are bath salts (Epsom salts + essential oil + adorable jar + ribbon), sugar scrub (sugar + coconut oil + essential oils + adorable jar + ribbon), or other fun projects and people will be so impressed with your skills, they won’t notice how little money you spent on them.
$8-15 – Buy a cheap pair of fuzzy socks + fill with treatsaccording to your budget. You could do all candy, or if you have a bit more to spend things like nail polish, lip gloss/chapstick, jewelry, cute hair bands/bows/etc. are always good.
$5-10 – Grab a coloring book & pack of crayons/colored pencils. For an older girl, try a cute journaland some pretty pens.
$5-20 – If you are buying for a set of siblings, grab a card game or cheap board game for hours of fun. You’ll kill two birds with one stone!
$0 – Write a note to the kid/s and invite them over to a fun sleepover at your housewith popcorn/pizza/cookies and a movie!
$5-10 – Boys love adventures. For little boys, try sidewalk chalk, jumping ropes, toy cars/trucks, action figures, walkie-talkies, “spy” gear, light sabers, or anything small toy/activity that will keep their busy mind captivated.
$1-5 – Most boy moms attempt to limit sugar intake for their own sanity. You might just make that little boy’s Christmas by giving him his favorite sweet treats.
$10 – Grab a t-shirt or hoody with your boy’s favorite superhero or character.
$10 – Make a simple fleece blanket. Even if you don’t know much about sewing, with a good tutorial you can make a simple, square fleece blanket for the babe in your life!
$2-5 – You can’t go wrong with a classic baby book, and it is so much better than toys!
$5 – Diapers!
$5-10 – If you really can’t help yourself, try picking bibs, socks, onesies or pajamas instead of those temptingly adorable fancy outfits. Their mom will thank you for the practical items.
If You’re “Santa”
If you are the parent and are broke, but still expected to be “Santa”, try minimizing the number of gifts you give your children. You could limit the fun and unnecessary gifts to their stocking, and then give ONE big “wanted” item (a big toy/game/etc.), ONE book that is at their individual reading level and of interest to them, ONE outfit or clothing item that they wouldn’t normally receive (think something from a more expensive or fashionable store, something “everyone else is wearing”, or an item you’ve noticed them eyeing that they don’t necessarily need – not underwear or another pair of the jeans that they get need twice a year), and ONE item that they have been needing (this could be underwear :)… or towels, bedding, school supplies, etc. WANT – NEED – WEAR – READ. 🙂
I hope these ideas were helpful to you! Here’s to a minimalistic & cheap Christmas for all! XOXO.