25 Money-Saving (No Grinch!) Christmas Ideas

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 

 Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

The Christmas season is just around the corner, and it’s enough of a budgetary challenge to afford the presents under the tree.  According to a newly-released Gallup Poll, U.S. adults will spend approximately $885 on gifts this year.

Of course, Christmas doesn’t just revolve around presents, no matter what your toddler might think. You could white-knuckle a white Christmas and decide not to give presents this year, but that strategy can be difficult to execute.

Not many people are willing to be a Grinch and eliminate Christmas. But, as the Grinch realized, Christmas means more than what you purchase from a store. There are lots of ways you can add value to the holiday without adding unwanted debt. Here are 25 ideas on how to save money this Christmas:


  1. Start shopping early to take advantage of sales. Make a budget and stick to it.
  2. Books, calendars, Christmas ornaments, plants and candy make great inexpensive presents for adults.
  3. Cut down on the number of gifts for your kids. Parents usually overbuy and kids can become over stimulated by the excess.
  4. Find new or almost new gifts at second-hand stores or garage sales. Jewelry, scarves, and unopened games are great options.
  5. Consider handmade or craft gifts – these are the most treasured.
  6. Suggest a Yankee swap or Secret Santa with extended family to keep the number of gifts down.
  7. Baked goods and food baskets are both creative and personal.


  1. Make a Christmas wreath out of a bag of wrapping bows or evergreen boughs from your backyard.
  2. Buy decorations post-holiday for the next year and save up to 75%.
  3. String popcorn and cranberries for your tree garland.
  4. Consider an artificial tree – it will pay for itself in just a few years.

  12.Turn your pillows into presents by tying a bright bow around them.

  1. Showcase your children’s holiday school crafts around the house.
  2. Adorn cookie cutters with bright ribbons and hang from your windows.
  3. String the Christmas cards you receive or use a tack board to display.

Cards and Wrapping Paper

  1. Save wrapping paper through the year and re-use it.
  2. Gift bags can be re-used multiple times. Or, decorate a plain bag with stickers.
  3. Use the comic section or brightly colored catalog pages for wrapping paper.
  4. Use old Christmas cards for gift tags.
  5. Send postcards or letters instead of Christmas cards.
  6. Let them know you care: give close relatives a call rather than send a card.

Christmas Entertainment

  1. Stream free Spotify or similar music service to play holiday tunes throughout your home.
  2. Break out some song sheets and have a Christmas Carol sing-along around the fireplace.
  3. Check out Christmas books and videos from the library for evening entertainment for the kids.
  4. Take a drive and enjoy Christmas lights in your city or town.
  5. Host a family cookie night and bake and decorate together.

To make Christmas memorable without spending too much money, all it takes is some planning and ingenuity. If you need more ideas, check online: there are so many ways to save this holiday season!

For more ways to stay on budget this holiday season, download our free Holiday Spending Guide. 

Holiday Spending Budget Template

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About Author

Hanscom Federal Credit Union
Hanscom Federal Credit Union

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