The holiday season is a busy time of year that can come and go quickly. If you spend all your time focusing on getting more money just so you can spend more money on gifts and activities, you may not have time to actually enjoy this time of year.
One thing I like to do to slow down and enjoy the holidays is participate in several of my favorite traditions. Traditions are great because they allow you to bond with loved ones, create new memories and cherish older ones.
Plus, holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive if you’re on a budget. Here are 7 frugal holiday traditions to try this year.
1. Decorate a Christmas Tree or Create a New Ornament
This is one of many frugal holiday traditions that most people have. If you already have a Christmas tree and lots of supplies, you can reuse them year after year. To switch things up, we also like to create new ornaments each year.
There are tons of ideas for easy DIY ornaments on Pinterest. You can also just take a small family photo and add a border to it so it can hang from the tree. Get creative!
Also, don’t just limit this tradition to your own home. See if you can volunteer to help decorate Christmas trees in your neighborhood as well. Each year, my son’s Cub Scouts pack volunteers to help decorate Christmas trees at the local library and we always make it a family tradition where everyone helps out.
2. Make a Gingerbread House
If you like crafts that you can eat, making a gingerbread house is a fun and frugal holiday tradition you can do every year. You can usually get a gingerbread house kit for under $10 at your local grocery store. There are also kits that you can use to make a gingerbread train or village and even a holiday train made with Rice Krispie treats.
It should come with everything you need to create a tasty gingerbread house but you can always buy extra candy to add to it. You can also try to make your own from scratch if you’re up for the challenge.
3. Bake Christmas Cookies
Staying in and baking Christmas cookies is one of the best frugal holiday traditions you can try on a chilly day. You can buy ready-made cookie dough at the store or make your own cookies from scratch.
At my house, everyone loves the snowman sugar cookie dough and it’s super easy to make on a Saturday afternoon while we drink hot chocolate and watch movies.
You can even invite friends and family to partake in this holiday tradition by creating an event. For example, each year, my church hosts a holiday cookie exchange. Each person needs to prepare at least 2 dozen of their best holiday cookie. Then, we all exchange with each other so we end up trying at least a dozen at the event and taking 1 to 2 dozen cookies home for the rest of the family.
4. Look at Christmas Lights
Looking at Christmas lights can usually help you get into the holiday spirit. Some people come up with some pretty awesome displays as well. Make it a family tradition to drive around your neighborhood and check out Christmas lights in the area then vote on the best ones.
You may also want to see if your local area provides a holiday lights viewing experience. We have a free drive-through holiday lights display that we check out each year. Others charge a small fee and if you have kids, you may be able to take them to a holiday lights train in the area. Or, you can just stick with free options.
5. Go Sledding
If it usually snows in your area, you’ll want to try to go sledding at least once to see how you like it. All you need is a sled, weather-appropriate clothing, and a steep hill (plus snow of course).
You don’t have to buy a fancy sled either. Plastics ones for Walmart will d0 or even items you already have that have a flat and sturdy surface (think large empty storage containers or even a mid-sized laundry basket).
We actually found our sleds for free during the spring when a neighbor put them out on the curb for garbage day. We were walking around the neighborhood and saw that the sleds were still in perfect condition so we took them home.
6. Go Caroling
If you and your family or group of friends like to sing, consider going caroling each year. I don’t see people do this much often anymore and it’s a bummer. Caroling can be a fun way to get people into the holiday spirit and also get yourself excited for the season as well.
Growing up, my sister had a keyboard and we learned to play a few songs. She also liked to sing and I was pretty average myself 🙂
We would go to a few nursing homes around the area and sing songs for the residents and they loved it. I was pretty young when we did this but I still remember the experience while some of the Christmas gifts I received as a kid have been long forgotten.
7. Give Back
Giving back to others should be on everyone’s list of frugal holiday traditions. It’s what this time of year is all about. While at the forefront most people are celebrating consumerism and retailers are raking in a ton of profits, there are other people who need help and support.
Perhaps you could volunteer at a homeless shelter, sponsor a child in need for the holidays by providing an item from their wish list, or visit a nursing home to keep the residents company or help with an event.
There are so many ways to help out in your community year round and even more when the holidays roll around so this is a tradition everyone can adopt.
What are your favorite frugal holiday traditions?