Christmas is hovering over us; the lights are up, the trees are for sale and everywhere we look we are saturated with festive cheer. Christmas at the best of times is expensive and with the economy suffering it is in no more so than this year. However if you are savvy and prepared you can make this holiday season work for you and have yourself a frugal Christmas.
Got a new credit card or better yet a black ski mask for your Christmas shopping this year? You don't need to resort to quite such drastic measures. You can still get Christmas gifts on the cheap and reap the rewards of an economy in peril. The shop owners have things just as bad as you do and they are desperate for the Christmas flux of sales. There are a number of websites that are aimed at making your shopping needs less strenuous this winter check out this list of gift ideas on the cheap. Or even cheaper still check out how you can make your own.
I don't want to come off as preachy or trite and as bad as you think you may have it, let's face it, if you are sitting on a computer with internet reading this a lot of people have it a lot worse than you do. I'm not saying you need to give your money but your free time is a commodity that can be just as useful. There are a number of charity organizations in every major city that are simply desperate for volunteers. Make it a family outing or go on your own. Christmas got lost in commercialism when Coca-Cola made Santa red and a little reminder of what the holiday is about will put things back in perspective.
To go out, or not to go out?
You will be littered with party invites this festive season, the theaters and cinemas will both be tempting and your social calendar is going to be maxed out. All of these social engagements pile up and as will your debt. There are however alternatives that won't leave you housebound and broke. Instead of going to the movies rent one or catch one on TV - the broadcasters are particularly generous this time of year. Take a drive and take in the Christmas lights or go caroling. Have a family or friends game night all of these things are free and easy.
Make the most of the weather
If you are in New York or London you will know that when it snows the pace of things slow down and our malignant cities have a certain sense of innocence to them. The parks will fill up and most likely you will get nailed in the face by a snowball – embrace it, hit Central or Hyde and make the most of it. Both cities are expected to get some frosting this season. While we in the west will be red in the face those of you in Australia of course can be working on your tan. Hit the beach or pool take up surfing and build a Christmas sand castle. Whatever the weather get outside and enjoy it.
We all know the big sales start in January you could of course delay the gift giving until then. Buying thousands of ornaments every year? Why not make your own, or even your own wrapping paper? Decorate your house in shrubbery, cook all kinds of festive things, compare the prices of supermarkets but most importantly of all – don't let the cost of the season get the better of you and have yourself a Merry Christmas.