I’ll Be Broke For Christmas

Haha, remember that old song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, – well, I wonder if the spirit of ol’ Bing would update that to I’ll be broke for Christmas. Hey, I’m not complaining because I know a lot of people out there are in the same spot. This year has really sucked wet mops in the financial department. And I think we feel it more around Christmas time because when we want to be generous this time of year. We want to splurge and shower our friends and loved ones with gifts and delightful things to eat, plays and shows, parties – the whole ball of wax. But alas…what’s a Christmas time junkie to do when she’s short on cash?

Well, I don’t know if it will help but I’ll give you my own version of Christmas on the cheap. Here’s what I do (in no particular order):

1. I comb the thrift shops, discount stores and Blockbuster’s clearance shelves for Christmas movies, especially funny or obscure ones. (Yesterday I got four for under a buck each at a Goodwill).

2. I check the grocery store flyers for whatever is on sale – say if they have ham for $1 a pound, well then, that’s my Christmas meal.

3. I make collages of old christmas cards and frame them by borrowing existing frames I have around the house.

4. I go for walks and collect pine cones and put them in baskets around the house to give it that christmas smell.

5. I prefer a live tree but they can be pricey so I got an artificial tree from the thrift store for $10 – it works – not perfect but hey, it’s a tree. Heck one year, I was too broke to even buy at the thrift store so I found a big tree branch, spray painted it silver and hung ornaments on it. Turned out it was really pretty and very unusual – lol.

6. I bake brownies for the mailman, my mechanic, neighbors, the local fire station, etc. who I want to give something to.

7. I shop the thrift stores for old christmas ornaments, or the dollar store is another great place to find stuff like that.

8. I invite friends for a potluck movie marathon. Four friends each bring a dish of some sort, add three movies and a couple of bottles of cheap wine or diet soda and you’ve got a party.

9. I drive around the neighborhood at night and admire the Christmas lights and displays – or walk if the weather is nice.

10.  If I’m exchanging gifts with friends, we set a limit, like $5 and we stick to it – usually they end up being gag gifts but that’s the fun of it. Although, you can find some great fuzzy socks or a decent pen for $5 or nice note cards – which also make great gifts.

11. I live in California, so no building snowmen – but pine trees abound in my area, so I take a knife with me on walks and cut off low, soft pine branches and decorate my fireplace mantle with them, again gives that Christmas smell.

12. I get stocking stuffers at dollar stores and thrift shops or places like Big Lots.

13.  I’ve also been known to give coupons for 3 hours of pet sitting, or a home-cooked meal, a raking leaves.

14. I write Christmas stories or poems, print them on Christmas paper and give them as gifts.

Basically, I take whatever talents or resources I have available and I turn them into the most Christmas-y thing I can think of and you know what, it works. I have a great time and a great Christmas. How about you? What do you do when you’re having a broke Christmas?


copyright 2009

4 thoughts on “I’ll Be Broke For Christmas

  1. Great post of saving money for the holidays. A quality time spent enjoying the holidays doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Another tip you might add for cheap decorations is using popcorn to create string along decor! Happy Holidays – mattkendrick.com

    Hi Matt & welcome,
    Good tip about the popcorn, although I don’t have the patience for that sort of thing – you could find some very cheap costume strings of beads and use those instead too. Thanks for your comments.



  2. Ooh. Brownies. Yum. I have to go make some now.

    I buy my kids necessities, like socks and underwear and toothbrushes, and wrap them all pretty and pretend Santa brought them. It’s worked every year, and it makes more presents under the three…they think it’s way cool to get fun socks.

    I’ll also hit the Target dollar spot for stocking stuffers, and all my friends get jewelry I’ve made especially for them.

    A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?

    Absolutely! So you must eat brownies. LOL. Hey, my mom used to do the same thing – like you said, it’s about the presents under the tree, not necessarily what’s in them. 😉


  3. With postage and shipping charges constantly rising, even a minimal stocking stuffer for my out-of-state siblings is getting prohibitively expensive. I may finally resort to “cards only” next year.

    Hey Girl,
    I hear ya – however, I have recently become acquainted with the usps flat rate boxes. Small, medium and large. The medium and large have
    a 70 lb weight limit and are $9.50 & $13.50 respectively. The small is really tiny but if you have small treasures for overseas friends, it’s a bargain at $12.95 – stateside it’s about $4.80. Even cheaper I think if you do your own click and ship from your home computer, which you better believe I am doing. LOL.

    So, if you’re sending gifts, think flat rate and smaller is better. It’s a thought anyway.



  4. Annie, I think all your suggestions are great! In fact, I fully support them in opposition to the insane buy-a-thon that Christmas has become. I don’t really have a lot of suggestions, but our family chooses names–that cut down on buying for the adults.

    Next year, I’m thinking of cutting out all gift-giving. I used to get upset because my DH isn’t much of a gift-buyer…but you know what? I don’t care anymore. I have everything I need…and then some.

    Merry Christmas, Annie. I think you’re swell!

    Hey Sandy,
    Wow, I’m so glad to see your spirits have really raised. That time with friends was good for you, wasn’t it? Honey, I think you’re swell too.

    Have the merriest of Christmas’s honey. You deserve it.



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