When I was a kid I couldn’t wait for the Christmas season to come around, it was all about family and gifts. As a child, one of the biggest things was giving gifts from the heart that were usually homemade, or you spent hours looking for the perfect gift for someone at the store. For the most part, Christmas is different now, it’s gift cards or items that are all the rage that come with a heft price tag.
Christmas has turned into a holiday that many can’t wait to be over. It doesn’t have to be that way this year. If you’re scrambling around trying to figure out what to get this year, and if your family is on a tight budget and worried that financially you can’t provide great gifts for your loved ones, have no fear. I’m here to help you.
As a new mom on a tight budget I understand the need to make every holiday the best it can be, while still squeezing pennies wherever I can. This is my 10 Christmas gifts on a budget that can work for any size family.
I love Pinterest. There was an image on there for a Christmas Eve box for the family. Within this box was new PJ's, hot cocoa, popcorn and a movie for the family to enjoy for the night. The thing is most families do this as a Christmas eve ritual, at least mine does this on Christmas Eve. Making it the first gift and a family tradition is a big step in reapplying family love to the holiday celebration.
For your Christmas Eve box judge each person’s box by age. If you have younger children, maybe you prefer chocolate milk instead of cocoa and maybe a snack for the appropriate age if popcorn isn’t for them yet. PJ's are easy if you stick to these rules, stay away from characters from popular shows or movies. Instead pick sleepwear in solid colors that can be worn all throughout the year.
Opening one gift on Christmas Eve is an old Danish tradition
If you want to add a personal touch to each box, buy a pack of socks that represents each member of the family; but only put one pair in the box, you’re going to use the others for another gift! Finally, the movie, I would suggest a Christmas cartoon that is colorful with singing and laughter for smaller children to start. Depending on what time family night is started at, then more than likely the kids will be asleep before you finish the movie, and older kids can watch a movie after the babies are down.
Once everyone is ready for bed, the adults can get to work wrapping gifts and preparing anything that’s left on their Christmas to-do list. Don’t do it during family movie time, enjoy this moment and create lasting memories. Also, have wine and a snack ready for the parents to enjoy once it’s time for just the two of you.
This makes a gift option for grandparents. If you already have a picture or a footprint from the children, this is the perfect time to make copies or head to a gift center where you can make a print of the baby’s actual foot or hand and seal it at home with a message. This makes a great sentimental gift from the kids to a grandparent.
Maybe there’s a photo from when the baby was first held by their grandparents. You can go to the nearest hobby store and get a clear Christmas tree bulb and place the picture inside with a fine paint brush and glass paint write a message on the outside. Buying a wooden frame for the picture works as well.
If this is the first the grandparents are meeting the baby, this is the time for sneaky planning. Capture the moment when they meet the baby and save the picture. Plan to visit a store for some last minute things, make sure the store will be open and able to print your image. You should do it at night when everyone is sleeping so it can dry and be wrapped for Christmas morning.
When you’re getting out the decorations for the holidays or even just a random day with the whole family at the store, have everyone pick out a stocking for the year. Placing a price limit is perfectly fine, but picking ones with limited designs would be best. Purchase fabric glue and glitter and have everyone design and color their own stockings for the year.
You can save them to be used the next year as well if you’d like. Another great idea is buying a poster frame from the office supply store and placing the stockings in there for next year’s Christmas decorations. Each year you add to the previous year’s stockings as a family memento.
Growing up, this was my favorite part of gift opening because the stocking was always filled with practical and fun things inside. Those stockings you just decorated should be kept empty until Christmas Eve. After the kids have gone to bed, stuff them with little dollar store things until they’re full. You can limit the price to $ 10 dollars a stocking, because that’s more than enough.
You can put in the rest of the socks from the Christmas Eve box alongside the chapstick, nail polish, and hot wheels cars from the dollar store. You might also want to buy one big bag of candy or candy canes to split between all the stockings. The plan is to buy little things your family uses daily to fill the stockings with, nothing is too corny or cheap for this gift.
Gum is a great stocking stuffer and if you can afford it, maybe place a few dollars in the stocking for each child as well.
No one really enjoys getting clothes for Christmas when we were young but it’s one of those gifts everyone expects. Plus kids grow so quickly it never hurts to get the essentials like underwear and socks. That means the clearance rack. Nothing wrong with shopping sales items and if you start at the end of a season you get really great deals.
If not, buying t-shirts for cheap and shorts for the next season works as well. Be mindful of knock offs instead of name brand items and keep it simple. If you’re going the shoe route, wait until you see sales for Buy one get one 50% off. You can cover two people for very reasonable.
Not much to it, but let your children do it! There’s a certain age group where homemade gifts are the most ideal. Instead of giving your child money to go Christmas shopping this year, have them make a present. It can be whatever they think of, you just have to supervise it if they need help.
You can teach them to offer gifts from the heart and understand that it’s not about the money you spend. You‘re also encouraging them to be more creative and taking pride in the things they do. If you think they need help, offer suggestion that would work and are easy for them to accomplish. It saves you money and time from looking for a gift .
For the adults to kids or each other, gift “baskets”--not store bought--are fun to make. There’s no company in the world that knows your family like you do. You can buy a cute mug and fill it with your husband’s favorite coffee or cocoa for your kids. Buy baskets for cheap and do everyone’s favorite body wash and shampoos. Making a personalized basket for each family member makes the basket more special.
Spreading good cheer and love all year round is very important, but during the holiday season for those in need, you can really help, even if it’s only a little. Have everyone pick something they would like to help or volunteer with and place all the suggestions in a bag. Whatever activity is picked, decided as a family what to do.
Volunteering your time is always a great gift to a charity, but presents for children in need, blankets and food for the homeless or money is fine. Only thing is, it’s about saving money this year, so, if you’re going the presents route or money donation, have the kids help. Ask neighbors if they have anything they need done and explain to them what the money is going towards.
Allow kids to do chores around the house for a fee and tell them you will match anything they earn. Regardless if it’s $20 or $100, everything counts when it’s for a good cause. You’re giving life lessons to your children on giving back and being grateful for everything. You are also teaching them to respect all walks of life, because love is always unconditional.
Is there an item you really want to get for your child, but it’s more than your budget can handle? Search for it used. There are many forums, groups, and even internet sites like Craigslist where you can find used items to buy for cheap. If you can repaint it or fix it up like new, to save a few more dollars it’s worth the headache searching.
You might even consider putting things around the house on eBay too! Have things around the house you don’t use, try and sell them for half the price and put the extra money in your pocket for holiday shopping. Anything that doesn’t sell you can donate to the local shelters to help other families.
Baked good are excellent gifts for anyone you need to mail a gift to. Choose something that travels well, like cookies or a mason jar with your best cookie recipe already within it, include the bake directions. If you go the mason jar route, make sure to pack it so it doesn’t break with all the handling. You can mail things to family members from home they miss or you think they need, just check with the postal office to make sure whatever it is can go in the mail.
There is nothing like the gift of family. As moms we want to spend as much time as we can with our family. Bury deep in the foundation of family love within your children. Give them a warm meal in their bellies, lots of hugs and your attention.
Regardless if you have to work the holidays for your job, and plan an early or late celebration, traveling from one house to another to see everyone in one day might work for you, but in case it doesn’t, have everyone stop by your house at some point.
Be there, be present, love, laugh and smile at each other. There is nothing greater in price or quantity than the memories of being surround by the people who love you. It doesn’t cost anything, and if you can’t do anything else this year, give each person you love a hug and a kiss to tell them that you’re always there. Merry Christmas!