No, you’re not just imagining those “Jingle Bells”, it’s that time of year. The time where tradition takes charge and where we all have the opportunity to give thanks and celebrate with our loved ones. However, showing love and affection doesn’t have to be pricy. There are a variety of ways to spread holiday spirit and cheer without breaking the bank!

Shopping For Gifts On A Budget

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Gifts for loved ones can often be expensive. Savings reports the average American planned on spending $801 on gifts in 2013. Though that number has decreased almost 6 percent from the 2012 figure, it could go down even further. Here are a few strategies and ways that you can control your budget and keep your holiday spirit intact without losing anything:

  1. Be aware of your budget– Set a limit; make a concrete number and stick to it. $600 means $600, not $625.
  2. Use debit instead of creditDebit makes you spend the money you have. With credit, the time it takes you to pay off that fee allows for additional interest to build and eventually be paid off.
  3. Make a list (no impulse buys) – Making a detailed list of items to purchase and people to buy for, gives your venture more focus. It also cuts down on excess.
  4. Do your research– Research to find the most inexpensive options.
  5. Shop Online– There are usually special deals for items available exclusively online. And there are generally ways to get shipping at a discount or even free.
  6. Homemade gifts– If you have the materials, try to make a few presents this year. Anything sewn or hand-woven pleases the eye and also shows a personal touch.
  7. Travel wisely– Determine the cost of that “winter excursion” before actually booking the ticket.
  8. Don’t wait until the last minute– the phrase, “while supplies last” shouldn’t be taken lightly. Take advantage of days where there are special sales, such as “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.”

DIY Decorations

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Decorating the tree or your house doesn’t have to cost more money or be dull. Some ways to spruce up the trimmings around the old homestead include:

  1. Make a bow wreath– You can make one by gluing various colored bows together in the shape of a wreath.
  2. Create an advent calendar– Paint and treat an old frame and then cut and paste the numbers from an online template.
  3. Decorate with fancy pinecones– Dip pinecones in gold paint and add glitter for a sparkling effect.
  4. Add special touches– Wrap bows around dining room chairs and ornaments for extra sparkle and charm.
  5. Turn pillows into presents– Wrap a pillow in ribbon and then put a bow on it!
  6. Show off your cards– Mount and drape your holiday cards around any type of board or attach to your refrigerator.
  7. Let there be light! – Light your driveway or street with luminaries, it’s festive and pretty.
  8. Make paper angels– you can make them out of cardstock, paper plates or spare sheets of paper.
  9. Glam up your glasses– Put seasonal candy (mints, candy canes, chocolates) or lights in glasses to give them some extra flare.


Ways To Share Your Holiday Spirit

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Acts of kindness are always appreciated, especially during holidays. These acts can be as simple as helping a neighbor decorate their house, assisting with snow removal, or sending someone who’s having trouble a greeting card. Volunteering is also a great way to show off your holiday spirit. American Red Cross has a great letter program called “Holiday Mail for Heroes.” The program allows you to make and send holiday cards to deployed men and women in the armed forces. These cards will liven spirits and show that we are thinking of our soldiers. Also, don’t forget about families in need. Food drives and donations are made especially available during the holiday season. Anything extra you can do for someone else shows how much you care and it won’t go unnoticed.

The togetherness and warmth of the holidays overshadows everything else. Don’t let money limit your holiday spirit. Be creative and open to DIY ideas and see where they take you!