8 Frugal Holiday Tips

8 Frugal Holiday Tips

Reading Time: 3 minutes


For many people, getting back to basics and keeping the expenses down during the holiday season is critical. It’s not as hard as you might think. Make some changes by using these eight frugal holiday tips to keep it simple and simply wonderful!  

The holiday season will soon be upon us. Some people get drawn into the hustle and bustle of the seasons but desire to change all that. You can avoid the overwhelm of the holidays by using these tips to keep them simple so that you can enjoy the season!  

1. Don’t Be Afraid of Using Alternative Gift-Wrapping Options  

You can use the Sunday comics for wrapping gifts to keep them bright and colorful. Brown wrapping paper is cheap and can be stenciled or drawn on to make a personalized visual treat.   

If you are not the artistic type, like me, colorful stickers are a great way to use a personalized approach. You can add the favorite colors and themes of those you’re giving gifts to make it meaningful.   

I like to purchase retro Christmas stickers and Christmas colors of twine to decorate plain brown paper for wrapping gifts.  

2. Recycling and Reusing Gift Wrappings  

I am not talking about re-gifting. Giving a gift you received last year might not be the best thing to do. What if you forget who gave it to you and give it back to the same person? Yikes!  

But reusing gift wrap, ribbons, bows, and tags from gifts you have received throughout the year is a great way to stay frugal.   

Put them all into one box and store them in the attic or somewhere out of the way until you’re ready to wrap gifts.  

3. Repurpose Holiday Greeting Cards  

Reuse last year’s Christmas cards. Those lovely pictures shouldn’t go to waste. Cut the front of the card off and use it in all kinds of ways!  

  • Simply cut off the front of the card and turn it into a holiday greeting postcard.   
  • You can also use a little craft inspiration by adding a little ribbon around the edges and using them as gift wrapping decorations or labels.  
  • Use them as a door prize handout by writing a number on the back.  
  • Use them as part of playing fun holiday games.  
  • You can also use them to decorate by attaching them to a string of Christmas-colored yarn, twine, or even tensile. Decorate hallways, fences, walls, or above the mantle for a meaningful decoration that welcomes guests throughout the season.   

 Just collect all your cards and save them in your wrapping box for use next holiday season.   

4. Craft Your Own Cards and Envelopes.   

Go to an art store and buy an envelope maker with glue. You can use these to create different envelopes and create your own gift envelope and greeting cards from newspapers, handouts, and used wrapping paper! 

5. Homemade Gifts Say It Best!   

If your budget is limited this year, bake cookies, cupcakes, cakes, breads, or anything you are good at baking. Most of these items can be cooked earlier and frozen until needed. Put them in a gift bag, put a sticker on the bag, and you’re done.  

6. Secondhand and Flea Market Finds   

Secondhand stores are filled with amazing finds of unique items. You never know what you might find to fit that special someone on your list this year. Where else are you going to find a toy that hasn’t been made since 1982 that holds a cherished memory for your recipient?  

What about that person that loves collecting something old or unique? Secondhand stores and flea markets are sometimes the places to find something unfindable.  

7. Holiday Meal Preparation — quality over quantity saves time and money!   

Serve the main course, two or three side dishes, and one or two desserts. Add a nice bottle of wine and enjoy!  

We often overcook, overeat, and consume leftovers for weeks. Cook less and enjoy more!  

Another idea is to go with a potluck. Plan the menu and have each guest bring one or two items off the list. When the meal is done, have each guest wash out their dish and fill it with leftovers to take with them. 

8. Create Decorations with Nature and Food  

Leaves, berries, pinecones, fruits, plants, etc. are all great for use as decorations. Tea lights, candles, bowls filled with strings of white lights, or just using strings of white lights enhance any scene.   

There are many ways to decorate a home with food. Cookies or treats in holiday-decorated bowls, a snowman made of petite sandwiches decorated with carrots, lettuce, or any other food you want on your “snowman sandwich.”    

Pinecones you have cleaned, scented, and put in Christmas netting are a great decoration and parting gift for your visitors.  

Preserve and decorate an apple with cloves as an aromatic decoration and takeaway gift.  

You can avoid the overwhelm of the holidays by remembering to keep them simple so they are simply wonderful! Happy Holidays!  

Originally published in the November/December 2022 issue of Countryside and Small Stock Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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