Having and Hosting A Very Merry Christmas On A Budget

Christmas is only weeks away and it is easy to get over whelmed or carried away this time of year, but we need to keep in mind that this is not what the holidays are all about.  With this is a cost efficient guide, you can make this Christmas a very merry one for sure!   Below are some guidelines to help you breeze through this holiday season, adding smiles to your family’s faces, minus the fuss and stress.


Having and Hosting A Very Merry Christmas On A Budget:

Christmas Trees & Decor:

Invest in an artificial Christmas tree.  I have been using the same artificial tree for years and its still going strong.  Invest in a sturdy artificial Christmas tree that you can get use out of for many years.   This immediately cuts costs this holiday season by saving on a Christmas tree that costs a small fortune.  If you purchase a real tree year after year just for the scent, check out Yankee Candle’s Room Sprays to spritz the tree or the area around it for that “real Christmas tree” or holiday smell.

Keep the decor simple, yet fun.  Red, white, green, silver and gold are Christmas color staples for this holiday season.  If you incorporate these colors together with items you already have in your home, the items can add pops of color and will work well with your other holiday decor.

Take advantage of Christmas ornaments and the many ways you can use them.  Ornaments not only make for adorable, budget friendly centerpieces, but can be placed in vases and hurricanes or used as “place cards” for place settings. (My “How To: Making  Placecards Out of Christmas Ornaments” coming soon!)

Check out your local Dollar Stores for great holiday finds.   You would be surprised what kind of Christmas decor your local Dollar Store carries.  You can find plenty of great holiday items  like ornaments, stocking stuffers, wreaths and figurines for just a dollar!

Gifts and Stocking Stuffers:

Coupons, coupons, coupons!  I can’t say enough about the use of coupons!  Let coupons be you friend this holiday season.  I always stress the fact that using a coupons does NOT make you cheap, it makes you a smart consumer!


Check your local ads and flyers for deals and steals.  Stores and media have lead consumers to believe that they will most likely only find the best deals on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but that is absolutely not true.  Stores from now until Christmas will be hosting special events and sales, so keep your eyes open always!


Explore layaway options.  Kmart, Walmart and other main chain stores now offer layaway options to help you pay for your items over time from now until Christmas.


Secret Santa and Grab Bags.  This is perfect for the office as well as the home. I have heard of many large families doing 1 main gift per family member in addition to a Secret Santa or grab bag.  Secret Santa and grab bags add excitement to Christmas morning as well as help keep the spending to a minimum when needed.


Make a list and check it twice.  Write out a list of all the people you need to shop for.  Remember to include bosses, teachers, and other non-family members in the list so you know exactly what kind of budget you are looking at.


DIY Gifts ideas. Take advantage of DIY recipes and gift ideas found on Pinterest for people like your boss, teachers and other people to cut costs on gift giving this year.  Click the picture below to be linked to some fun holiday recipes.  Just make and wrap in clear plastic with some ribbon! 

Avoid using credit cards if you can.  Avoid racking up a huge credit card bill that you will be paying off after the holidays are long gone.  If you need to use a credit card this holiday season,  use one with low interest.


Stocking Stuffers.  Stocking stuffers can become very pricey.  You can keep the stockings affordable by checking out your local dollar stores or clearance & sale items on sites like Toys R Us, Walmart, Homegoods and Target.  You will be surprised what you will find in the clearance section!


Parties and Entertaining:

Simplify the holiday parties and dinners.  In my category entitled “Entertaining on a Budget” as well as  previous posts, I feature tons of  tips and tricks on how to host elegant dinners and holiday parties on a budget.  To check out these tips and tricks on fabulous entertaining on a budget, click here!

Giving and Helping Others:

Don’t forget to give when you can.  It has always been said, it is better to give than receive.  Donate to a local charity or good cause this holiday season.  This will remind you to be grateful for what you and your family already have and continue to receive and will put into perspective what is too much or over board.

Clean up:

Don’t just throw your decor in a box for next year. From organizing your decor for next year to safely putting ornaments away, tips and tricks for cleaning up after the holiday season is over the correct way, coming soon!

“I’d like to add that even if you can’t afford a thing this year, Christmas can be spectacular knowing that you won’t miss out on what it’s really about.” - Charlene @ The Optimum You

A Lot on Your Plate reader Charlene makes such a valid point.  The holidays are not just about the presents. They are about family and being grateful for what you already have, even if it’s not a lot.  If or when things get tough, stay positive that things will get better.  That is what the holidays are truly all about.

Have any tips to help make this an affordable, budget friendly Christmas?  I’d love to hear from you!  Be sure to leave your thoughts and comments below.   How do you make your Christmas wallet friendly?

*This post will be updated many times from now until Christmas, so please feel free to check back!


  1. I’d like to add that even if you can’t afforf a thing this year, Christmas can be spectacular knowing that you won’t miss out on what it’s really about. This year we’re having a second Thanksgiving!

    • alotonyourplate says:

      You brought up such a valid point that I completely forgot to add to my post!! Thank you so much. I quoted you :)

  2. Great post! :)

  3. I will be following this post, its great :-)

  4. thanks for these wonderful x-mas tips and visiting YestoCooking!

  5. Thankyou so much for writing this! I’m actually in a panic because I’m moving on the 22/12 and alot of my funds are going into that. I hope everyone loves there hand made gifts ;-)

  6. You can make your own christmas wreaths really easily. Just make a chicken wire wreath shape, and cover it in leaves (ivy etc), then stud with a few bright red flowers. They look really spectacular, and make beautiful ornaments. They are also far cheaper than buying flowers from a florist.

  7. Great tips – looking forward to more during the holiday season.

  8. Such great money-saving ideas! Thank you!

  9. Fabulous advice. I really like the point about having an artificial tree and the suggestion to use room scent. I will definitely follow-up on this one! Merry Christmas from Thea

  10. This is such an invaluable list – thanks so much for all these tips! It can be so stressful around this time of year – knowing you can still throw a fabulous party on a budget is a relief :)

  11. These are some great tips. Thank you, Jess!

  12. I just came to know that I can use expired flour, salt and water to make salt dough so that I can hand make my own personal ornaments! Going to try them soon! Well it is really hard to beat your recommendation of $1 ornaments though. :)

  13. I love the secret Santa suggestion. It’s so much easier than buying 20 small presents.

  14. Great tips, thank you for this! I have a few myself: last year my friends and I had a pot luck pre Xmas lunch where everyone brought a dish and the host provided the drinks. This year I’m hosting a pre Xmas lunch and I will be providing the food and my guests will be bringing drinks and we will also have a secret Santa with a ten euro limit per gift. I also bought some really cheap battery powered LED lights which I will be using around my apartment to decorate. I put some up around my living room window and the other set will be used on my Xmas table like a runner. I also will have this as my center piece: http://twitter.com/Beerfoodie_blog/status/401644634872774656/photo/1

  15. Some great ideas! Christmas always ends up being more expensive than planned, and it’s quite difficult to avoid over-indulging. I’ll definitely be taking some pointers from this list! Thanks!

  16. Great ideas! And don’t forget that little things can really add up. I used to do a lot with stocking stuffers, but then I realized that I was pouring more money into lots of little things and had almost nothing left for the “real” presents. http://ohtheplaceswesee.com

  17. I think the best gifts of all for the holidays are those we make ourselves or when we give of our time, to those in need.

    You’ve got some good things on your list but the $ stores, that I wouldn’t be doing, based on how so many things sold at those stores, are made. People paid so little, working in questionable working environments, so that these products can be sold cheaply in North America. I like to feel good about what I buy and give and try to think of the bigger picture too.

  18. Some really great ideas here, thanks for posting:)


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