It was a cold evening in autumn that year, with precisely five days left till Christmas. Dad had just returned, and our tiny eyes quizzed the gloomy look on his face. This was a first for Katelyn and me because he usually would give a bear hug as we ran to welcome him, tickle our sides, and throw us up while showering us with kisses and calling us special pet names. But he wouldn't even spare us a glimpse that day.
"What's wrong, honey?" my mum called out from the kitchen, apparently surprised. My dad suddenly broke down, oblivious to our presence in the room, and gave us the shocking news that would later change the course of our lives forever. The family business was closing down because it had run into debt and had to be mortgaged to the bank since we couldn't pay it back.
While the adults mourned the loss of the business and the new normal we were faced with, our childhood minds only had one question. What would Christmas feel like now that we were broke and probably couldn't afford the loads of toys and gifts we usually received because we had to live on a budget? We always had enormous family Christmas dinners, expensive toys and decorations around the tree, and other fun activities to look forward to. But all that had to change now.
Thankfully, mum saved Christmas that year, and the experience changed my perspective forever. Like my family, you are currently plagued with questions on how to make the most of Christmas, so this article is for you!
Here Are Seven Ways To Make Christmas Special On A Budget;
1) BE VULNERABLE
It's okay to desire a fancy celebration with your friends or loved ones. But if you currently cannot afford your dream Christmas, you need to accept this and admit it to the important people in your life. One of the defining moments for my family that year was being able to talk about and accept our new reality. We reaffirmed our love for each other and made a strong resolve to make the most of the time we had to spend with each other.
Every one of us contributed our quota in efforts and ideas. For example, Kate and I helped to cut out ribbons into pretty shapes for the decoration. We also designed some nice cards, which we used to ask our extended family if they would like to contribute something towards the family dinner we were going to host.
Since we were kids, they found it cute rather than offensive. Compared to if our parents had to ask them directly for support When your closest people know your actual state, it's easier to be a team together. Knowing that you all were a part of it makes it special.
2) BE CREATIVE
Think about suitable replacements for some of the fancy gifts you should have bought. My dad gifted us a gratitude journal containing a list of reasons why he was grateful for us as a family. Mum gifted dad a handmade gift item she bought from a local store, instead of the usual yearly luxury gifts. Try something new and unique with; affordable options.
Our handmade gift packages have also been curated to meet your needs this season, you can check our catalog to see which suits you best.
3) BE SIMPLE
It's okay to be simple really. You might need to write this in a note and stick it somewhere you can always see and be reminded of it as you plan. There's beauty in simplicity too, it doesn't have to meet up with standards of the extravagance cliche that comes with the season. Create your special. As long as it puts a smile on your face and helps you bond with loved ones, it's PERFECT enough!
4) TRY THRIFT SHOPPING AND SPECIAL SALES OFFER
This would require you to devote time and attention, but it's always worth it eventually. Most of your favorite brands offer special sales discounts during the festive season; pay attention to find out which brands are offering them and compare prices to see which is most affordable for you.
Thrift shopping is also a cost-effective means. You would be surprised at the decent items you would find at a reasonable price. You can also assign friends or some members of the family to go shopping with you. Take goofy pictures while at it; you will create beautiful memories that way.
5) PLAN MEALS AHEAD
Your meals do not have to be expensive to be nice. Research new homemade meal ideas that you can try and that would still fit into your budget. There are several blogs online to help you out with this. Make the best use of them. You can also look up old cookbook recipes or ask other people for ideas. My mum made us an apple pie recipe her aunt had taught her that year.
6) PLAN FUN ACTIVITIES
Try attending a Christmas Carol with your loved ones. Fix a day to bake and take cookies to homes or picnics where you can extend love to other people. Try outdoor games or invent new game ideas your family can find exciting. There are tons of activities you can try without spending money.
I remember my sibling and I participating in scavenger hunts that Christmas. Little gift items like stickers, sweets, and bubble makers had been hidden around the house, and we had to find them if we didn't want to miss out. Ask friends or loved ones to suggest something for everyone to participate in too.
7) BE WILLING TO ENJOY IT
As simple as this sounds, it is the most important tip to note. If you made the best plans but are still pessimistic at heart, it would frustrate your experience. Do not make your joy conditional on the quality of what you have; instead, choose to see the beauty in every moment and appreciate it. You may not have everything you wished for, but you still have the gift of life and a chance to make it better next year.
If you have other ideas, you can share them with us in the comments section.
Have a wonderful Christmas celebration!