The holidays are here and you’re not sure how to spend time with your family without breaking the bank.

You want it to be a Merry Christmas, but you can’t afford all those expensive gifts and dinners out. But don’t worry you don’t need them! Here are 8 ways to make this holiday season merry and bright on a budget. These tips will help you celebrate the holidays without going broke!

1. Go Christmas Tree Hunting

Christmas tree hunting is one of the best ways to cut your holiday expenses this year at Christmas time, especially when you have a family. It’s also an environmentally conscious decision to opt for a real tree. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 25 million trees are sold each year in America alone!

Christmas tree farms offer you the perfect opportunity to go out and enjoy a day with your family while searching for a beautiful fresh or pre-lit real Christmas tree.


2. Go Metal Detecting

Not only is metal detecting a fun activity for the whole family, but it can also be profitable if you find something valuable while out metal detecting. There are many great websites dedicated to helping you learn all about metal detectors and how they work. My favorite site about metal detecting is Metal Pursuits created by Chad Eicher, check it out it has a lot of useful information. 

If you do find something valuable while out metal detecting with your family, you can sell the item and be able to fund your Christmas holiday. Just remember to determine if there are any legal requirements that would prohibit this activity in your area.

3. Create Your Own Christmas Tree Decorations

Making your own tree decorations is one of the most affordable ways to get in the Christmas spirit this year. You can pick up some inexpensive ornaments at craft stores, dollar stores, and second-hand shops.


You can also make decorations out of used items like paper cups, egg cartons, and lids. Paint them a bright color and then cut them into the shapes of bells, stars, and angels. You can also create your own tree topper by painting a plastic bottle and adding tinsel, pompoms, and glitter.

4. Decorate Your Own Gingerbread House

Decorating gingerbread houses is one of the most fun things you can do as a family this Christmas. You don’t need to buy a kit – you can make your own gingerbread house with graham crackers and icing.

You can really have fun decorating your gingerbread houses by adding candy, sprinkles, chocolate chips, gumdrops, or any other inexpensive goodies you find at the dollar store!

Make sure you let the kids eat the leftover bits of crushed crackers for a fun snack.


5. Make Paper Snowflakes

Making paper snowflakes is a fun and festive way to spend time with your family this Christmas.

You can simply cut out your own shapes from any piece of paper. Get creative by trying different patterns, colors, and even hanging them on the tree!

6. Go on a Christmas Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are a great way to keep the kids entertained and engaged this Christmas.

Create your own scavenger hunt by hiding items around the house or yard that relate to Christmas such as candy canes, bells, nutcrackers, an angel tree topper, Santa hats, etc. Make sure you hide all of the items in plain sight so younger kids can complete the hunt.

7. Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

Huddling up for a movie marathon with your family is a great way to stay warm this holiday season. You don’t have to go to the theater or even watch new flicks – you can enjoy all the old classics from years gone by!

Try watching old specials like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

8. Go Ice Skating

Going ice skating is a great way to enjoy the outdoors this Christmas.

You can pair this activity with other festive events like seeing holiday lights or attending a local craft fair. You could even bundle up and have a picnic at the rink before taking to the ice!

Whether you opt for classic skates, rentals, or bring your own, ice skating is a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy!




9. Go Sledding

When it snows, don’t let the kids stay inside and watch TV. Bundle up and go out for some sledding fun!

Get a big cardboard box and draw a sled pattern on one side – remember to leave an area to put your feet. Tape the flaps closed and then decorate as you see fit. You can even add a piece of plastic over the cardboard so it’s easier to slide. You can also buy sleds for as little as 50 cents at any dollar store, thrift shop, or garage sale.

10. Build a snowman

It may seem simple, but there’s nothing more fun for kids than rolling around in the snow to make their own winter wonderland. Make it extra festive with a great big smile and some buttons made out of coal or rocks.

If you have any spare gloves or hats lying around the house, try using them as part of your snowman’s formal attire.

11. Bake Christmas Cookies

Baking cookies is the perfect activity for kids this holiday season.

Let them create their own special recipes by rolling out dough and adding their favorite ingredients like M&M’s, sprinkles, chocolate chips, or even gumdrops! This is also a great way to sneak in some healthy ingredients like fruit or vegetables.



12. Wrap Presents

Wrapping presents is a fun family activity to do together this Christmas – especially if there are lots of little kiddos in the house!

You can also turn it into a contest by seeing who can place their name tags on the presents using only one finger – whoever gets tagged has to do the next present, and so on.

13. Have a Cookie Swap

Invite your family and friends over for a cookie exchange this Christmas! Bake up some cookies with all of your favorite ingredients and then let everybody pick their favorites!

If there are any leftovers at the end of the night, they make great treats for your teachers, mailman, or other service people.

14. Carve a Pumpkin

The smell of pumpkin pie is synonymous with the holiday season… so why not have fresh-out-the-garden pumpkins on display too?

Carving pumpkins is a great activity for kids this Christmas – plus it makes the perfect decoration for your front porch!

15. Host an ugly sweater contest

Ugly Christmas sweaters are all the rage these days, so why not get in on the fun? Invite friends and family over for an ugly sweater party this year where everyone dresses up in their best (worst) holiday attire.


To Conclude:

No matter what your family’s holiday traditions are, there are always ways to save money and do more with less. If you really want to stay on top of the game this Christmas, start planning now – that way you can organize your time and budget ahead of time.  

And don’t forget about the most important part – having fun with your family! The memories you make during the holiday season are priceless.