‘Tis the season to be jolly…and broke. Hosting Christmas can be expensive but with a little bit of elbow grease and budgeting, you can have a wonderful holiday season without breaking the bank. Here’s how to host Christmas on a budget.
Create a gift exchange
Organise a gift exchange with your friends or family and make it Secret Santa-style. Set a limit on what kind of gifts can be exchanged (something like £10) and then let the fun begin! It’s always more fun to get creative when giving gifts, and you’ll save yourself some money in the process.
Buy second-hand toys for your children
With budget ever-tightening as the cost of living crisis continues to squeeze families, many parents are considering buying second-hand toys for their children this Christmas. It’s a great way to save money without compromising on child entertainment; used toys, provided that they are still in good condition, are perfectly acceptable and typically just as much fun as new ones. Your kids won’t even notice they’re not new and you will have peace of mind knowing that your budget is not overstretched. So take advantage of the second-hand toy market this festive season and save yourself some hard-earned pennies (or pull off Christmas for less.)
Host a potluck
Rather than having your guests bring presents, ask them to bring food instead. Ask each guest to bring something they enjoy making—like their famous pie or special cocktail—and you can provide some snacks as well as the main course. This way everyone gets to contribute something special that they love making and it will take some of the financial burdens off your shoulders too!
Meal plan your Christmas dinner
In our current economic climate where the cost of living is skyrocketing, being mindful about budgeting for your Christmas dinner is an important consideration that will help bring peace of mind to you and joy to your family during this festive season.
Meal planning can help you save money and save time, especially during a budget crunch. With the cost of living crisis, it’s essential to get creative when planning meals this winter. Start by budgeting out your groceries per week and designating a certain budget for your Christmas dinner ingredients. Determine what dishes you need to purchase ahead of time and find smart ways to make them cheaper like buying ingredients in bulk or looking for store sales.
You can also cut costs with meal prep portions throughout the week leading up to the big day. Take some time each week to create new shopping lists for these meals that fit within budget guidelines and make sure that each dish will support your plan for an affordable Christmas dinner!
Serve turkey on a budget
Christmas can be a budgeting nightmare, especially when you factor in the cost of preparing a full-fledged Christmas dinner for meat eaters (I’m a vegan; happy with just the veggies!) By taking the time to identify budget-friendly recipes and techniques, you can reduce the expense of your traditional turkey feast and enjoy a delicious holiday meal without breaking the bank.
Scouting out budget options such as frozen turkeys will help minimize costs, and tapping into some budget-friendly recipes such as roasted turkey with sage butter can add flavour to your dinner table without maxing out your budget.
You don’t need to buy a huge turkey to serve everyone; would a turkey crown work? Or a traditionally cheaper cut of meat?
Spend less on wine without compromising on taste or quality
When budgeting for your Christmas dinner, why not save some money by choosing cheaper wine? Contrary to popular belief, less expensive wine can still provide a delicious depth of flavour and surprising complexity, and it won’t leave you feeling guilty about price tags. Why not give Campaneo wine a try; it is available from Tesco and offers a tasty budget solution to your seasonal celebration. It’s perfect for extra special occasions when cash is at a premium!
What to look for when buying wine on a budget
If you’re looking to treat your friends and family to a nice bottle of wine without breaking the bank, there are a few strategies that may come in handy! Firstly, it might be worth taking advantage of membership deals; while they tend not to apply to budget bottles of wine, they’ll help you save money in the long run!
And don’t forget to look out for reviews online; there are plenty of wine critics out there willing to share their opinion of budget wines. So go and stalk some wine experts’ Instagram accounts – finding good-tasting wine on a budget can get much easier this Christmas!
Make your own Christmas decorations
Skip over pricey decorations at stores and get creative at home! You can make festive wreaths out of pine cones, holly branches, and twine. Or create paper snowflakes for windows or walls with construction paper and scissors for a simple, yet beautiful, decoration. There are even plenty of tutorials online that show you step-by-step how to make simple yet stunning decorations from items around your house like wine bottles or old mason jars! And if you don’t want to spend any money at all, try collecting fallen leaves or pine cones from outdoors for free decorations!
Ditch the expensive parties and host a festive get-together at home
With budget being a buzzword this Christmas, one of the ways you can save money is by creating your own budget-friendly entertainment for get-togethers and parties. Forgo a night at the movies or dinner out – host a Christmas game night at home!
By hosting games like ‘Christmas Movie Trivia’, ‘Christmas Charades’, and ‘Name that Christmas Tune’ right in your living room (or on Zoom – click for ideas) you can create an inexpensive yet creative alternative to holiday entertainment.
Not only will these homemade games give everyone an opportunity to have some holiday fun, but they are sure to bring some extra cheer to your celebration as well. So if you’re looking for budget-friendly entertainment this Christmas, why not start building those decks of Christmas trivia or perfecting your charade scripts – with a little bit of creativity, it’s never been easier or more affordable to make memories with friends and family.
Save up your loyalty points to swap over Christmas
I shop at Tesco all year round, and this loyalty strategy has earned me so many Clubcard Points to swap for days out, goods and subscriptions etc. that I gift to friends and family at Christmas. I also use a bank that has a loyalty scheme. I have racked up £100s over the year so that I have been able to gift my dad 2 really good Red Letter Days vouchers for his birthday and Christmas presents. Just those two strategies alone have essentially saved me £100s on Christmas presents, and no one is suspecting I didn’t pay cold hard cash for them – until they read this of course!
Start saving now to spread the cost of Christmas next year
With Christmas around the corner, budgeting is a key part of ensuring you don’t find yourself overwhelmed by the costs. For the last two years, Park Christmas savings have made it simple for me to budget for Christmas expenses and spread out the cost over the year to make it easier on my wallet.
With three children, it’s been both a lifesaver and an absolute joy to save for Christmas this year! And when the ‘payout’ day comes around it’s like I’ve won the lottery… it’s just all my own cash I saved all year coming at once!
Every penny counts, so use Park to break down your Christmas spending and craft a monthly budget that will help you save money before the end of the year. With Park Savings, budgeting for Christmas is easy so that you can stay in control of your finances and enjoy a stress-free festive season without breaking the bank and dreading how you’ll get through January with no cash!
Ready to host Christmas on a smaller budget this year?
With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can have an amazing Christmas without breaking the bank. Hosting Christmas doesn’t have to be expensive – try organizing a gift exchange with friends or family instead of buying individual presents; host a potluck dinner so everyone contributes something special, or make decorations yourself rather than spending money on expensive store-bought ones. Whatever methods you choose, there are plenty of ways to save money this holiday season while still having an unforgettable time! So come one, come all – ’tis the season for hosting Christmas on a budget!
Last Updated on June 30, 2023 by Lucy Clarke