I love Christmas, with the glistening lights and fallen snow blanketing everything. Cookies and gingerbread houses. Eggnog and hearty laughs with family over delicious spreads of food. Rampant consumerism, however, is not very kind to my wallet. So here are some frugal ways I will be celebrating Christmas and ushering in the New Year without breaking the bank.
A holly jolly Christmas.
Feeding the hungry and less fortunate. There is a homeless shelter located just a few blocks from my apartment in the city, which offers meals and other supportive services, such as counseling and medical care, to the poor, homeless and destitute. During the holidays we enjoy packing up a large box of spare canned goods and other treats and games to contribute to the shelter. Winters in my city especially are absolutely frigid and the shelters offer patrons a hot daily meal and a brief respite from such biting weather. Look up shelters in your area: generally they rely on generosity and always are looking for those willing to donate time, money, food, clothing or medical supply donations to help their cause.
Volunteering my time. Numerous individuals are without family and may feel isolated during the holidays, and it particularly can be a lonely period for many. One of the most precious gifts to offer is of our time: volunteering at a senior citizen residence, for example, or other organizations dedicated to helping those most in need. Or you may wish to mentor or be paired with a hospitalized or disadvantaged child or work with youth groups. Search local area listings for ample and boundless volunteer opportunities—and what a precious gift to give!
Beginning a festive new family tradition. Nothing is more cozy than establishing a festive new (and silly!) family tradition, and the holidays provide an excellent opportunity to do so. Not only is this activity completely free, but it has an added benefit of providing more cohesiveness and a special bonding between participants. As our family forges new rituals and melds them with the old, those activities become more meaningful each year and we have tons of fun with it. Recently we’ve established a tradition of creating home-made eggnog while watching the Grinch right before Christmas, and now it is cozy ritual we treasure and really get a kick out of!
Having a recipe swap. Now is the time to get your eager little paws on Grandma’s special cookie recipe! Yummm! Encourage family and friends to whip up some tasty treats and then host a recipe swap party of sorts. As everyone shares, this really is an excellent method to build up a bursting catalog of scrumptious recipes. You even can be creative and establish decorations that surround particular Christmas themes. And best of all, what an amazing gift. Who doesn’t appreciate heavenly food?
Comparison-shopping online for gift needs to save a bundle. When there is a particular gift you would like to give, scouring the web for the absolute best prices on all of your gift needs is essential. Take time to conduct proper research: compare prices of a particular product, sniff out which store will match competitor’s sale prices, and keep your eyes peeled for that holy grail of free shipping.
Building a Christmas bonfire. Cue friends and family…and some S’mores! Every year my in-laws do a gi-normous bonfire on their land and it quickly has become The Event of the town. Huddled around the fire at night in woolen mittens and scarves, shivering deliciously. Gazing at the icy stars. And someone somehow always manages to bring a nip of rum, ho ho ho! But regardless, we all look forward to this Christmas holiday bonfire celebration with great anticipation. And it is a frugal way to establish unforgettable memories with loved ones.
Frolicking in the snow. Because nothing says Christmas like plopping down in the snow and creating a snow angel!
With some forethought and a dash of creativity, the holidays don’t have to be a source of financial stress or endless consumerism. Happy Holidays from Broke-Ass Student!