Frugal Holiday Traditions You Should Start This Year

Everyone loves the consistency of family traditions from year to year, but what happens when those traditions threaten to exceed your holiday budget? In my opinion – that means it’s time to start new ones. Give one of these frugal holiday traditions a try with your family this year.

Tip: Grab my Holiday Budget Worksheet to help you stay on track this year!

Light Hunting

Other than paying for the fuel for this activity, driving around and looking at Christmas lights is totally free. You can begin this fun tradition as early as Thanksgiving and keep it up all the way through Christmas – and sometimes even until the New Year. Pick a new neighborhood each night and make a special trip to see the lighted parks, hospitals, and downtown areas. You might even find that your area has a drive-through lights experience that costs little to nothing to participate in.

Baking Together

Even though you’ll have to stock up on baking supplies, you’ll probably be baking anyway, so use it as an opportunity to get the whole family involved. Not only will you have sweet treats to eat and share around the holidays, but you’ll have a kitchen covered in flour and great memories to talk about for years to come.

Handmade Cards

Christmas cards don’t have to be outrageously expensive. If you are the creative type, it might be worth getting the family together to make your own. Not only will this save you a few dollars but it’ll be more meaningful when your loved ones get something you put so much care into.

Hot Chocolate Parties

Even a really big batch of hot chocolate is pretty inexpensive to make, so it’s the perfect option for a holiday gathering. If you want to get even fancier, you can add things like peppermint and even spices to your hot chocolate parties on the cheap!

Tip: Jars of hot chocolate mix make great (and inexpensive) gifts as well!

Old Time Caroling

Not many people get carolers at their door anymore and a lot of people miss it! It costs nothing to leave your house and sing a few songs for the neighbors. Use common sense for safety when you’re caroling and make sure you travel with other people. Plan your songs ahead of time and keep the lyrics handy so you won’t forget a word.

Have a Big Breakfast

In our family, Christmas breakfast is a tradition. Before the gifts are opened, we sit down as a family to enjoy sticky buns and eggs with ham. Not only does it allow the adults to enjoy that first cup or two of coffee, but the entire group gets to wake up and prepare for the excitement about to take place.

Dollar Store Gift Exchange

Set up a dollar store gift exchange with your family. There are so many ways you can do gift exchanges but putting a one- or two-dollar limit on the purchase can make it a fun challenge for everyone. Want to make it even more challenging? Make it a white elephant gift exchange and task someone with getting the “dud” gift!

Santa Tracker

The Santa tracker goes up on December 1st and stays active until the big man in red is done delivering presents to kids around the world. You can start tracking Santa early on and get the kids hyped up before they watch the big journey on Christmas Eve. While you likely won’t see much movement at the beginning of the month, there may be a few surprises as Santa prepares for the holiday season!

Use Up Wrapping Paper

You’ve likely purchased a lot of wrapping paper for various gifts (and hopefully, you got a good deal on it) but what are you supposed to do with all the extra? I know that a lot of people are successful when it comes to storing wrapping paper for years to come, but in our home, it normally gets messed up or wet and is no longer useful the following holiday season. Instead of sticking it back in the closet, why not start the tradition of door decoration. You can use the leftover wrapping paper, as well as ribbons and bows to make each room of your home feel festive.

DIY Decorations

Decorating for Christmas can be expensive, but there are ways you can make it less of a burden on your budget. Creating your own DIY decorations is so easy to do and can make your house look really festive. Get the kids involved and start this frugal holiday tradition this year! You’ll love looking back on all the handmade ornaments for years to come!

Create Your Own Traditions

Ultimately, anything your family loves to do around the holidays can be considered a tradition, so don’t think you have to stick to that expensive gift exchange, or the need to travel thousands of miles in order to have an enjoyable season. I’d love to know – what frugal holiday traditions do you enjoy? Leave a comment below!