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, http://www.MoneySavingMom.com, for high-value coupons, online bargains, freebies, and practical ideas and inspiration to get your life and finances in order.