Thursday, December 11, 2014 / 26 Comments

How to Have a Frugal and Fabulous Christmas Day4

Welcome to day 4 of our Frugal and Fabulous Christmas series. My friend Tiffany at has a wonderful story and some great tips for you to have a great holiday.

A Frugal Holiday, A Valuable Holiday

After a large move over the summer, buying a home, having two
households worth of expenses while my husband finishes his
contract with the military… having a frugal Holiday is the approach we are taking. We try to be frugal at other times and have a budget for each month, but the holidays tend to bring out the spending in many.

This year we are determined to really stick to it! With a smaller
budget than we have had in other years, it is definitely going to be
essential we are aware of where out funds are going.

So what exactly am I doing to make have a frugal Holiday Season, but make it fabulous? DIY-ing it! I am making as many things as possible. Much of the supplies were found around the yard, at local parks, in the kitchen,and the recycling bin. Some of the other pieces we are adding to our found supplies, I am doing my best to find on sale (like fabric,yarn, spray paint, etc.), using coupons at the hobby/ craft stores, or purchasing from discount stores (think Dollar store) and thrift shops!

Now before you start to get too worried let me explain a little on
what I am actually doing for some of my DIY projects. We love to
have a cozy, rustic, cottage/lodge feel, which fits the style of our
home. The décor projects we chose are specifically to accomplish
this look and feel. Oh, and just so you know, most of our stuff is
across the country in a storage unit waiting to be shipped out to
our home, but right now we have zero holiday decorations, other
than the faux tree my dad gave us.

DIY Décor:

• I have done a ripped fabric garland made from left over fabric
from a previous sewing project, plus I got the fabric on sale
50% off! The twine I bought I was able to use a 40% off
coupon since it wasn’t on sale at the craft store and the
coupon was good for a regular price item. My youngest
(almost 5 years old) loved getting to help by ripping the
fabric pieces, and learning how to tie them into knots on the
string. He was so proud of himself he exclaimed “Mommy!
Now I know how to tie my shoes!” We finished the garland by
tying pinecones (hot glued to twine) 

• Another project we did was to make some salt dough ornaments
and paint them, which make fantastic keepsakes for when the
kids get older.

• Natural ornaments. We have taken pinecones and turned them
into a basic ornament for the tree, and gathered twigs to
bundle and decorate with faux berries (the berries are from a
previous craft project) and are able to turn them into a quaint
primitive ornament.

• I also have glass bottles that I recycled, and spray painted white
and red. White and red goes well for many holidays (think
patriotic) so I will leave some as is so they can be used for
more than just Christmas. Some of the bottles I have little
messages on them that serve as reminders of what this
holiday season represents.

• Reusing an old window (from my 1937 home that is no longer
needed) to decorate my fireplace mantle with greenery and
pinecones… I have a slight obsession with pinecones. You
will find them everywhere in my home.

DIY Gifts:

• We have made some handprint art for gifts because grandparents
(especially) really enjoy getting things made by the hands of
the grandkids. This also serves as a keepsake, and will be fun
to look back on in the future.

• Hand knit and crocheted items. Since I knit and crochet, I am
making several items as gifts for family members. Some of
those items include, scarves, mittens, hats, hand warmers,
boot cuffs, etc. We live in North Dakota, so these are some
serious essentials… you can never have too many.

• Baked goods with a healthy twist. I have stayed away from baked 
goods because there is never a shortage of them during the
holidays. BUT, I want to do some that don’t have such high
sugar content, and use ingredients to boost nutritional value.
Such as popcorn balls made with honey, instead of sugar,
then adding in dried fruit bits and chopped nuts. I am going
to do them more bite size so you don’t have the massive
popcorn ball that you never know what to do with once you
start, but can’t finish in one sitting. In turn that will reduce
the amount of wasted food.

Let me stress here, that I am trying to find as much as I can to do
with my kids, and involving them in the whole process. This is
fantastic learning as part of our Homeschool curriculum, and they
love seeing their creations displayed in the house.

For items that we are purchasing instead of doing it ourselves, I am
trying to stick to the concept of “adding value”. What does that
mean exactly? It means I’m asking myself, if I’m spending money
on (item) what value does it add to our lives (or the life of intended

• Is it something that they really need/essential? Items like
clothes, winter wear, household items (for adults of course).

• Is something they will be able to use for a long time to come?
This won’t always apply for kids since they grow out of most
things over time. Items like books,

• Will the recipient gain a new skill? Our kids want some ice skates
and hockey gear, which I think is something that adds value. I
also plan on getting them other skill building items such as
wood whittling/carving stuff, and archery items.

• Will the item be of quality? I am a strong believer in investing in
some quality items. Especially when it comes to skill building.
When working with the tendency for continuing use seems
more prominent. For example, I didn’t put much thought into
color crayons, until we started using higher quality items.

There really is a big difference in the final product of what  
you are making whenever you use a quality product to create.
Even though we are purchasing some things, doesn't mean we
have to go with new. We have found some fantastic stuff that is
practically brand new at thrift shops around here. Like... the child
ice skates that fit my 5 year old but were at least half the price of
most stores, but they are brand new! Zero wear. If I don't have to
pay full price on something, I most definitely will not.

My biggest take away from this holiday season, though, is not just
purchasing random items to stick under the tree for the sake of
having items in place! I’m not going to lie and say it isn’t tough to
restrain myself, or my husband, sometimes… but it will be worth it
in the long run. It is hard to stay on budget sometimes, especially
when the budget doesn’t stretch as far as we would like, but when
it comes down to it all… making memories is far more important
than the amount of money or gifts we get… or give out.

Not everyone will get a tangible gift from us, even though we
would LOVE to be able to, it’s just not what is doable for us. We
can spend time with our friends and family, though, and let them
know they are loved.
Sharing with Simple Saturdays Pink Saturdays Met Monday Show and Share Tilly's Nest Home Sweet Home Show and ShareAmaze Me No Place Like Home Show and Tell Pink Saturday

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  1. I am a grandparent and I would rather have a handprint keepsake or photo then any gift money could buy. You have lots of good ideas.

  2. Your home and tree sound charming! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great suggestions!! I am for using frugality at Christmas! Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!

  4. You have captured the essence of what Christmas used to be about.......and its perfect....HPS Michelle

  5. First of all, I'm SO excited that Christmas is a topic nowawdays! Just a wonderful reminder that it's that time of year again :) These are great tips to add to our repertoire! My hubby and I have been on a tight budget for a while since we have been paying off debt (we're finally debt free!) but now we're building up our savings. Holidays can get out of hand for us as well so this is a great reminder to NOT let it get out of hand ;)

  6. Wow, there are so many great tips here. THanks for sharing all of this!

  7. These are great tips. I love that you are DIYing it! I also love your concept of spending money on gifts that add value. This is super important, so your money isn't wasted.

  8. I love that you are going DIY this year. I think there is such a big focus on "stuff" that it's great to see more like this. I think homemade gifts mean more because thought went into making it.

  9. Thank you for this! I wish I could do more DIY stuff but I'm not really that talented. My daughter makes better things than I do, so she can do some things! She's the one who teaches me most of the crafts.

  10. These are some great tips! I wish I was more handy. I'm afraid that if I tried my DIY stuff would look like junk that I picked out of a trash bin. LOL. It's really hard to stay on budget during the holidays because it seems like if you give you person a gift, then you have to give one to that other person otherwise their feelings will get hurt and so on. The list just gets out of control!

  11. I have really been considering DIY gifts this year, going to be trying my hands on some with my sister :-)

  12. Wow, you are quite resourceful! What a lesson for you children about the value of industriousness.

  13. This is such a wonderful post! I love the DIY gift idea.

  14. Wonderful ideas! I do hate the thought (and have done it) of buying gifts, just for something to put under the tree. Love homemade gifts!

  15. I definitely needed this post! Frugal Christmas is necessary this year with a husband in medical school!

  16. There is nothing wrong with being frugal. My mom always watch your pennies and they will turn into quarters. I loved your idea about adding value! What a great perspective to think about!

  17. Being frugal during the holidays is the best! I am still a university student so I try my best to save money and still have fun during the holidays! These are such great ideas!

  18. For us growing up even now was always about spending time with family. We were frugal at best but by necesity and now I want that tradition to carry on

  19. These are really some great tips. I believe that Christmas is the festival of love and sharing good time with festival, not showcasing the world how rich you're by spending so much money on decorations!

  20. I haven't done anything yet to celebrate the season with my little guy. These DIY activities and gifts would be a perfect way to celebrate the season and share it with others. Our strict budget will allow for these awesome frugal ideas, too.

  21. I love all of your ideas. I think sometimes we forget the real reason of the season, and get caught up into buying a ton of stuff we don't need. I am getting into doing more easy DIY ideas. Thanks for the tips!

  22. Great ideas. I am sitting here tonight making our Christmas budget. It is hard this time of the year so I agree with all of your tips. DIY items are fun and way cheaper

  23. Being frugal or not around the holidays, I am always a supporter for DIY! It is so much fun and satisfying to make something rather than buy. Your DIY ideas are great! Hope you have a great holiday season.
    xx, Kusum |

  24. A couple years ago we made the decision to only purchase 4 gifts per kid: Something you need, something to read, something to wear and something you want. Since making that decision, we've had to be very intentional with what we purchase, which has made shopping so much harder (no more random gifts, just because) and so much cheaper -- not to mention meaningful. I love that you're doing DIY, too!

  25. These are great ideas. I totally agree that the holidays tend to be when budgets are blown and it can make for a sour start to the new year. I will def be trying to DIY many of our Christmas decorations this year.


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