20+ Tips for an Amazing Christmas on a Budget

Celebrating Christmas does not have to be synonymous with maxing out credit cards and emptying your bank account. Knowing your priorities for the holiday is the first step to making it through Christmas on a budget. 

Christmas on a budget doesn't have to be depressing and stressful. Use these 20+ tips for an amazing Christmas on a budget.

Common priorities:



Family Traditions




Knowing which one of those come first for you and your family will determine how you budget your money. For my family, this is our order of priorities. Our faith comes first and that means that even if we don’t have money for a fancy dinner and a bunch of presents under the tree the holiday is still meaningful to us when we take the time to remember the ‘Reason for the Season’. 

You may notice that for us gifts are at the bottom of our priorities. That doesn’t mean that we don’t want to give our children gifts, it simply means that we can make do with what we need to do for gifts. We always have a set amount that we will spend for gifts and we stay within our budget even if that means fewer gifts than normal. 

I remember a year not too long ago when we didn’t have any money for Christmas. My family remembers it as our best Christmas ever because we made a concerted effort to spend more time with each other and we developed some new family traditions that have stuck with us even though the past few years have been a lot better financially. 

 Ideas for an amazing Christmas on a budget.

Make your own Christmas decorations instead of using store bought items. 

Things found in nature like pine branches and pine cones make a very festive addition to your home when paired with a little bit of cinnamon for scent. Make a garland by using a colored ribbon and stringing the pine cones. 

Use one of these great garland ideas:

Gingerbread Salt Dough Garland from Sugar Aunts.

Work on your preschoolers fine-motor skills with this festive red and green straw garland

Go all-natural with dried citrus and apples with this amazing garland. 

DIY Christmas Ornaments:

Cupcake Liner Christmas Trees

Use pipe cleaners and beads to make these fun ornaments.

Make this Christmas last even longer with these handprint ornaments that you can hang year after year!

These ribbon Christmas trees are so simple, but so beautiful. 

Or use some popsicle sticks to create these child-inspired ornaments

Plan your Christmas meals around your ‘must-haves’ and then use cheaper filler items. 

Get your turkey on sale. If you have space, buy two because that makes for some really cheap meat later on.

Start purchasing things that can be frozen ahead of the holiday rush. This will help you spread out the cost and beat holiday mark-ups. 

Instead of purchasing rolls, start a family tradition of learning how to make them from scratch. 

Cut your own veggies for a veggie tray and save on the pre-cut versions. 

Have an amazing Christmas on a budget.

Don’t plan your gifts around the latest fads.

Instead of trying to get in on the mad rush of Black Friday, assess your child’s true loves. 

Does your child love crafts? Use the weekly coupons from the craft store and build them their own craft supply box. 

Is your child interested in science experiments? Explore Pinterest and build them an experiment kit complete with the instructions rather than buying a store bought kit. 

Many times the only thing setting apart a homemade gift from a store bought gift is the plastic packaging. Get some pretty bags or boxes that can be used to store the gift even after Christmas day is long gone. 

This list of DIY Christmas gifts is full of great ideas! (Even if crafting is not your “thing”.)

A DIY play mailbox can be a great pretend play gift for a little one.

Re-make a book that has finished it usefulness into a fun chalkboard book for endless hours of creativity!

Here’s a list of 30 more great ideas for inexpensive gifts that can be tailored to fit your budget. 

Don’t let money ruin this Christmas for you. No matter how much or how little you have doing Christmas on a budget doesn’t have to mean your holiday isn’t absolutely amazing. And just think how much more you will enjoy Christmas when you don’t have spending regret hanging over your head on December 26th. 

And we have just what you need to stay organized, sane, and on budget this holiday season! I’ve been using this Christmas planner for years and years! It’s a blessing. Get yours today!

Christmas-Planner 2015

How do you stay within your budget for Christmas? I’d love to hear your ideas! Please share them in the comments here!

Kim lives with her husband and four lovely daughters in the Republic of Georgia where they have been missionaries since 2006. She is in her 6th year of home schooling with her little ones and loves creating engaging activities to enhance their schooling. You can follow their adventures homeschooling overseas and while traveling full-time in the U.S. at Life Over C's.



  1. I love your budget Christmas ideas – we are trying to reduce the commercial aspect of Christmas this year. I would love for you to link up this post (and any other frugal posts) to our weekly #frugalfamilylinky hope to see you there!

  2. What a great roundup! Thank you for featuring my list of DIY Christmas gifts. 🙂

  3. Other fun and free ideas: Go look at Christmas lights and displays in your home town, visit area churches to attend concerts, plays. and live nativities, and use the public library for Christmas books, movies, and kid’s activities! Merry Christmas!

  4. One of the ways I’ve handled the holidays is by looking for deals all year. I keep a box in my closet, and when I come across good sales on things I know my family would really enjoy, I buy them and put them away.

  5. We host an extended family Christmas (after our immediate family has Christmas morning) and it’s a potluck versus feeling obligated to make all the dishes ourselves. There are also 9 grandchildren, 6 of those being my neices and nephews, so we have all decided to draw names for gift giving. It makes it very nice and inexpensive to have each child draw another cousin’s name. We even have a dollar limit so the pressure is off. In addition, holiday decoration and party supplies are purchased at the dollar store. The kids always make decorations, but buying wrapping paper/bags/bows, candles, etc for a buck each saves a ton of money.

  6. Great tips! I love the gift giving tips! I used to go all out for my kids and have been slowly dwindling down to less gifts.
    I noticed the more gifts I gave my kids quicker they opened them and not only did it make more mess, but it seemed to make them more strung out and hyper.
    The less gifts I give the more time they spend with each gift.
    I have always tried to pick things that I think they will like, but what great gift giving ideas you gave.
    As for stocking stuffers, I am sticking with what I did last year, a small goldfish, a few chocolate candies and a few gold coins. Basic, simple, and they LOVED the coins!

  7. We only buy three gifts. We give one after each meal…they have plenty of time to enjoy their gift and often their siblings. There is none of that crazy “feeding frenzy”. Some gifts might be a bunch of smaller things…crafting or art supplies. The best part is you can really control spending, and still buy high quality toys. I alway watch for good sales, and normally still keep it below $100 for each child.

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