This time, last year, my husband and I were preparing for our first Christmas. Since this was our first Christmas as a married couple, we thought it would be a good idea to host (make the home a little homier with family for the holidays). Married for a few months with a humble budget, put us up for the challenge of successfully hosting without rebelling against the bank account… Determined to stay within our means while mapping out a Christmas we can thoroughly enjoy, we took the following steps.
1. Buy a Real Tree
Let me tell you… walking into an apartment with a real tree was really weird! Even though we bought it at the Home Depot, it still felt like I chopped it from the backyard and into the house. The city girl in me could not wrap my mind around the idea. Moving on…compared to a fake tree, it cost way less! You can purchase one anywhere from $20-$40. It also smells wonderful!
2. Purchase Basic Decor Items on Sale
With Michael’s endless sales and coupons, it’s easy to purchase lights, ornaments and tree skirting without spending a ton.
Warning: Know what you want before walking in. Craft stores are wonderful for saving some dollars, but can very well be your budget’s biggest enemy, if you are not careful… (speaking from experience friends!)
3. Do a Gift Exchange
This works if everyone in your party is at least a teenager/young adult. Not sure how well this would work with young children (although, that is an interesting idea)… So instead of purchasing a gift for everyone, create a gift exchange with a spending limit. Since my family were visiting from different states, we used Elfster as a tool to pick randomly selected names.
4. Use Gift Cards as Game Prizes
Our family played good old fashioned board games with a bit of competitive incentive by incorporating gift cards as prizes. This is an easy way to get everyone involved and interacting in a fun and healthy way. Games + Prizes = good healthy bonding time.
5. Make the Most of the Moment
Just remember to have fun and enjoy the time you have with good friends and family! It is a gift and a privilege to be able to spend the holiday season with loved ones. The holidays can be messy, and at times, stressful, but do not take the time for grant it, my friends! Time flies when you don’t make the most of the moments.
I hope this gives some encouragement as you prepare for the Holidays with your loved ones. 🙂