We don’t spend a lot of money at Christmas. Sure, our spending increases, but only slightly. There are many reasons why we do Christmas on the cheap: I’m far too practical to want to make our bank account hemorrhage more than it already does; I despise shopping; I grew up having simple yet intimate holidays in rural Manitoba; and my husband and I met abroad, and spent most of our holidays backpacking through various countries.
So given all this, why would we spend a lot now that we’re having our first Christmas ever at our home in Calgary?
Here are 5 ways we do Christmas on the cheap:
(1) Buy used. As I’ve mentioned before, my husband is addicted finding deals at garage sales, flea markets, and auctions. As a result, our tree, decorations, Christmas cards, wrapping paper, outdoor lights, and stalker-Santa (who hangs from our front door) were purchased “nearly new.” Even Mr. Claus shopped second hand: he’s bringing William a giant Robosapian and a few Hot Wheels cars, and Vivian’s getting an easel and some art supplies.
(2) Limit gift giving. We don’t give gifts to everyone. We buy practical gifts for our parents, do not give gifts to siblings, and tend to exchange presents with nieces/nephews only when we’re together for the holidays.
(3) Prepare simple meals. I’m not even cooking a turkey this year. Okay, who am I kidding, I’ve never cooked a turkey in my entire life, though I have massacred the odd chicken. This year, I’m cooking (i.e. heating up) a ham for Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, we’re having an international tapas of sorts: my husband and I are preparing some of our favorite dishes from abroad, including hummus, Greek salad, Thai chicken fried rice, and lefse (which my mom graciously made and delivered last week).
(4) Limit alcohol. My husband does not drink, which means we tend not to have any alcohol in the house. Thankfully, I have good neighbours; thankfully, they don’t like red wine, so when they get some, they call me over to drink it. We call it “community service.”
(5) Start simple traditions. Christmas Day is going to be a pajama day. Both William and Vivian received pjs from their Pajama Grandma (everyone needs a Pajama Grandma), and so we’ll all stay cozy for the day. I’ll put on fuzzy slippers to make a Canadian breakfast: homemade waffles, maple syrup, whipped cream, and back bacon. And we’ll play with our presents, whether they’re big or small, new or slightly used.