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A frugal Christmas can be a wonderful thing! Wouldn’t you love to have less stress…and not go broke while you try to keep up with it all this year?

Not long ago we watched an old home video of Christmas morning when our oldest child was 2 years old.

It was adorable, of course, and I loved looking back at how simple our life was then.

But the most striking thing was watching him enjoy his gifts.

Santa had brought several toys. But only one gift held his attention.

His new basketball hoop.

He picked up that ball over and over. “Basket! Basket!”

I watched a younger version of myself show him the other toys he’d received, but none of them held his attention like that basketball.

Christmas is such a magical season for people of all ages. But as we get older, we tend to complicate it.

We worry about getting the perfect gift and buying “just one more thing.”

It doesn’t have to be that way!

A couple of years ago, we decided to escape that rat race. Each year we try to simplify where we can. But in our #yearofno, we’ll be doing that even more.

How to Celebrate a Simple, Frugal Christmas

These simple Christmas ideas are perfect for families with kids that have to celebrate a cheap or free Christmas this year.  Learn how to have Christmas on a budget with these special traditions that are short on cost but big on love.

Cutting Back

Many people have the love language of gifts.  (If you haven’t read The 5 Love Languages, I highly recommend it!)

You don’t want people to feel forgotten at Christmas.

And not everyone understands the simple, frugal lifestyle we choose to lead!

But when you’re digging out of debt or trying to save money, you don’t want to put gifts on a credit card, either.

In our #yearofno, I pulled together a list of cheap gift ideas that many people would love to receive! 

Sometimes, even the cheapest gift ideas cost too much.  That’s why I also created this list of inexpensive Christmas gift ideas

Many of them are very cheap, or even free!

Sticking with simple ideas like these keeps your budget in check…and it lets your loved ones know that you didn’t forget about them in this gift giving season!


We had a family portrait taken this year.

That would usually make me anxious to mail out photo cards at Christmas.

This year, I’ll create a simple card to share via Facebook and email instead. This will save the cost of the cards and the stamps.

Other ideas include finding cards at the dollar store (sometimes you can find packs of 10 there, making them just ten cents each!).

Or you can get creative and craft your own.  My daughter would love doing this, and that makes the cards even more special!

Christmas Decor

My husband is a bit of a Clark Griswold. He loves to deck out the house with Christmas lights.

I usually try to grab another wheel of lights to add to his collection every December. It’s our way of slowly building up to the great light extravaganza he would love to have.

And by buying LED lights, we keep our electricity costs from going too high.

There are so many adorable decor ideas out there that it’s hard to pass them up!

Try to stick with what you already have, but use those decorations in different ways.  Maybe a different spot in the house, or pair them together with other decorations in a new way.

Pinterest is chock full of simple, free, or cheap ideas!

Check out other ways we have learned to live as a frugal family here!

Building a Christmas Fund

For our family, the biggest and most impactful change is that we have a Christmas fund this year.

I’m embarrassed at the amount of Christmas gifts we’ve put on credit cards over the years!

The only way to dig out of debt is to change your basic habits.

There are so many ways to fill a Christmas account!

If the money runs out, be sure to get creative…or skip gifts rather than going into debt.

You might also check out the 7 Ways to Pile Up Christmas Money series.  It’s full of ideas for filling your Christmas fund!

What We WILL Be Doing


That seems like a lot of no’s!

And we have spent a lot of our time saying “no” to things…but always so we can say “yes” to the best things!

The most favorite traditions usually don’t cost much money.

Snuggle up and read your favorite Christmas books.

Put on jammies, grab some hot chocolate, and hit the road for a Christmas lights scavenger hunt!

Look for local Christmas events that are cheap or free!  In our area, there are train displays, live nativities, concerts, festivals, and more.

Sing Christmas carols, decorate cookies, and spy (not so naughty) antics from your Elf on a Shelf.

Celebrating a simple Christmas isn’t about depriving yourself!

Spend time with your loved ones.  Enjoy each other!  

Live as simply as a two year old with a basketball.

 How do you simplify Christmas?

Simple Christmas ideas. Enjoy gifts, decorations, and traditions without spending a lot of extra money this year!