Savoring the Holidays — Even on a Limited Budget

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By Crystal Paine

Just because you have a tight budget does not mean you can’t enjoy Christmas. In fact, you might find that you enjoy the holidays even more when you don’t have a lot of money to spend. It forces you to slow down, simplify and get creative.

Give Experiences vs. Expensive Gifts

If you don’t have money in your budget to give your children expensive gifts, that’s OK! Focus your energy on making special memories together.

Check out Christmas movies from the library, listen to Christmas music on the radio or on Pandora, play board games, pop popcorn and make hot cocoa, and drive around and look at Christmas lights. Laugh together, talk together, be together. I promise these are much more important in the long run than being able to afford some high-dollar toy.

Give the Gift of Time

Get creative if you have a tight gift budget. Think of ways to bless your friends and family that require time and effort, not money.

Maybe you give your overwhelmed friend five hours of free organizing or cleaning. Perhaps you make some frozen cookie dough to give to your sweet-toothed aunt. You could even give your parents a free home-cooked meal at your house every other month.

Whatever you decide upon, make sure that it’s something that will truly bless the recipient and be meaningful to them.

Count Your Blessings

It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself when you’re in the midst of a difficult time — especially when everyone else seems to be celebrating and cheerful. But no matter how many difficulties you have in your life right now, there is always someone who is struggling more.

Focus on the blessings you do have. Challenge yourself to name these blessings out loud every time you start feeling discouraged about the hardships in your life.

You may not be able to change your circumstances, but you can always change your attitude. Having a thankful attitude can totally change your whole outlook on life and give you a spring in your step and a smile on your face, no matter how bleak life seems.

Crystal Paine is a wife, mom of three, and bestselling author of Celebrating & Savoring a Simple Christmas. Visit her blog,, for high-value coupons, online bargains, freebies, and practical ideas and inspiration to get your life and finances in order.

Angelia White decided to step out on faith with her dream of creating a lifestyle magazine for today's inspiring woman. One thing is certain: she is illuminated by her passion for life, encouraging change and inspiring women to live, dream and inspire their ways to greatness! She is definitely a woman on the move! Connect with Angelia on Facebook - and Twitter -, @angeliawhite, or visit


  1. Pingback: Savoring the Holidays — Even on a Limited Budget | Money Saving Mom®

  2. Heather G

    December 6, 2012 at 9:43 am

    I just wanted to say how true this is. We are unfortunately going through financial struggles ourself right now, and although we are slowly coming out of it. It came at the most inconvenient time of year. I have 3 children ages 5, 2 and 4 1/2 months, and I just cannot afford to buy them the pricey “cool” toys. I’m not worried about my younger two, they will never remember this christmas, however I did sit down and have a talk with my 5 year old. We talked about how times are hard right now and everyone has to make some sacrifices. So in exchange for my kids getting less toys this year, I created a special advent calendar just for them. I just used wood and fabric that I already had in my house, and they get to have an experience every day. Several of the days involve crafts, others have camping under the christmas lights and driving to look at christmas lights as you mentioned. My oldest also gets a Bible verse to learn each night so that she can learn the true meaning of Christmas. So although my kids aren’t getting as many gifts this year, its ok, because they are much happier because instead of toys that get played with a little then tossed aside, they get something way more precious, and that is time together as a family. Thank you for this post and I hope to inspire others to not worry about material possessions but to give a gift more meaningful because that is a gift that anyone will remember.

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