The holiday season is a time of year many people look forward to, but it does bring stresses of its own—especially when it comes to your spending. Between holiday gifts, travel, meals, and other activities, it’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars beyond your regular monthly budget.
Whether money is tight this year or you’re just looking to trim your expenses around the holidays, you don’t have to sacrifice the joy of the holiday season in exchange for a little extra savings in your pocket. Here are six ways to continue spreading joy while cutting back on holiday spending.
1. Volunteer with a local nonprofit or charity.
Many organizations use the holiday season to fundraise or build up charity donations to help those in need around the holidays. By donating your time to these organizations, you can get in the holiday spirit and serve those in need while saving money at the same time.
This could include preparing and/or serving meals at a local shelter; gathering winter clothing, food, or toy donations for families in need; or other volunteer opportunities available in your community. Find a cause that matters to you, and use the gift of service to spread joy to others.
2. Go caroling.
Singing is an easy way to get in the holiday spirit. Local organizations organize caroling as a way to bring holiday cheer to people in your community.
3. Visit a local nursing home.
The holidays can be a lonely, difficult time for many individuals, including those living in nursing homes. To help them get through what can be a difficult time, consider paying a visit to read a holiday story, play games, perform holiday music, or provide other entertainment and fellowship that brings the joy of the holidays to nursing home residents.
Before making a visit, contact the nursing home director to ask what kind of activities might be appreciated by the nursing home’s residents and to find a good time to schedule your visit.
4. Give the gift of service in lieu of a present.
Gift-giving is often a source of joy for both the giver and the receiver, but the cost of buying gifts can add up quickly. One way to preserve the joy of giving without the cost of buying gifts is to offer a service as an alternative to buying anything.
Feel free to get creative when exploring these options. You could consider cleaning someone’s home, shoveling snow, taking family photos, teaching them a craft or skill, or offering other services that demonstrate the spirit of the season.
Other ways to give can include baking holiday treats, hosting a meal or gathering, or helping your kids with an arts and crafts project, such as creating homemade ornaments, holiday decorations, or photo frames that can be gifted to family and friends.
5. Take advantage of free holiday events in your community.
Most local communities are home to organizations that offer low-cost holiday fun for families and anyone looking for inexpensive ways to participate in these seasonal activities.
Check your local area for free theater shows, concerts, tree lightings, Christmas markets, parades, volunteer opportunities, and other events that are open to the public. These events offer a great way to spread joy during the holidays while also helping you connect with your community.
6. When it snows, plan a playdate outside.
If you’re lucky enough to have snow during the holidays, you can turn this into a fun activity for kids in your neighborhood. Plan a playdate with your children and other kids to suit up and play games in the snow, building snowmen and snow forts, making snowballs, sledding, and other winter fun.
No one can resist the novelty of playing in the snow. And it’s a great activity that anyone can enjoy for free, making it a sure-fire source of joy at the holidays.
Cutting down on your holiday spending doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice these seasonal celebrations. A little creative thinking and resourcefulness is all you need to enjoy a full, joyful holiday season while saving money at the same time.