25 Fun and Frugal Christmas Traditions

christmas cookies fun and frugal christmas tradition

Have an awesome fun and Frugal Christmas

Christmas is such a festive time! There are so many activities to do, things to see and memories to make.

But did you know that you can have an awesome Christmas, on a super tight budget? I promise, it is true!

We have been celebrating Christmas on a tight budget by finding fun and frugal Christmas traditions to do as a family.

Creating an awesome Christmas season, that your family will love and cherish for years to come does NOT have to cost a fortune! I want to give you lots of frugal Christmas ideas so that you can make your own awesome Christmas memories and stay in that tight budget!

Note: some links in this post contain affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase, at no cost to you. Click here for our full disclosure


Frugal Christmas Traditions

25 Days of Christ. This awesome ornament kit helps you and your family focus on the true meaning of Christmas. There is an ornament for each day of December, followed by a scripture that goes with it. This is the kind of tradition that you can do year after year with your family.

Get the 25 Days of Christ, and start a new family tradition, here!

Build a Gingerbread House: Whether you choose to buy a kit from the store, or to build your own with graham crackers, this is a fun Christmas tradition My kids love getting to decorate their own little house and put it on display for the season. We love doing this as a family night early in the month of December. Click on the below to get that gingerbread house, or to find one you will love!

Pickle Ornament: When I was growing up, we had the pickle ornament tradition. This is such a fun addition to Christmas morning. The parents hide the pickle ornament on Christmas Eve, after the kids are in bed. Then, Christmas morning, the kids have to search for the ornament. The kid who finds it gets an extra small present. Get your own pickle ornament and start this fun, frugal christmas tradition with you family! Click the image below!

Hot Chocolate Bar: Sipping a mug of hot chocolate is definitely a favorite for this season. As a twist on a Christmas party, have a hot chocolate bar. Invite your guests to bring a topping, or their favorite hot chocolate flavor. Try different flavors and mix and match toppings!

This is my FAVORITE hot chocolate to use as a base for a hot chocolate bar. Click on the image to get your own!

Elf on the Shelf: If you want to encourage your kids to “be on Santa’s Good List”, and have a lot of fun, Elf on the Shelf may be the way to go! Check out these creative Elf on the Shelf ideas on the County Living website: 50 Funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas.

Get Your own Elf on the Shelf here:

Little Lamb from Bethlehem. If you don’t want to focus on Santa and his Elves, the Little Lamb from Bethlehem is a great alternative to Elf on the Shelf. It focuses more on the story of Jesus’ birth and focuses on the true meaning of Christmas. Click on the image to get your own Little Lamb and start this sweet tradition in your family!

Christmas Movie Night: Plan a family movie night, but watch a Christmas movie. Or make it a Christmas Movie Marathon. Pick out your favorite Christmas movie, or try something new and discover a new favorite as a family! Some of our Favorite Christmas Movies are:

Read Christmas Stories: There are so many books with fun and special stories about Christmas. You can pick a new one to read each night before Christmas. Need some ideas for good Christmas stories? Check out these ones:

Yearly Ornament: Every year we like to get an ornament that represents something significant that happened that year. For example this year we took our kids to Disneyland. So we bought a Disney Castle Christmas tree ornament. It helps us to remember significant events from the past year, and tells a small story about our family.

Bake Christmas Cookies: It isn’t Christmas without cookies! Making and decorating Christmas cookies is so much fun, and the kiddos love the freedom to decorate how they want.

This is our favorite mix for making Christmas cookies:

Caroling: After you bake all those cookies, consider delivering them to some friends and neighbors–with a song of course! We love going to the houses of our friends and singing a song or two to help them celebrate the Christmas season!

Visit a Live Nativity: Check around your local area and see if any churches are putting on a live nativity presentation. This can be a really special experience to teach about the birth of Christ and create an experience your family will remember for years to come.

Cookie Exchange Party: This Christmas party involves Christmas cookies! For this idea, everyone brings a certain number of cookies (say 2 dozen). Then you can mix and match your treats to create your own plate of yummy cookies to take home. All while talking, laughing and enjoying each other;s company of course.

Tree Lighting: Some towns will have a special event where they light a town Christmas tree. This can be such a fun way to welcome in the holiday season and get started with the “christmasy” feeling.

White Elephant Party: Want to exchange gifts with friends? Host a white elephant party. Each person brings a random gift, usually with a low budget to buy it. Put the gifts under the tree. Then assign each person a number. Person number 1 gets to pick a gift first, then person 2 can choose to steal the gift or pick a new one, and so on. This is such a fun party/gift giving alternative!

Christmas Lights, in the car: You can enjoy the beauty of a Christmas lights display, from your car! Bundle everyone up in warm clothes, and search out neighborhoods that go all out on their Christmas lights! It makes for a fun, and free, night together as a family!

Countdown to Christmas Chain: Make a paper chain with strips of construction paper to countdown to christmas. You can then wrap the chain around your Christmas tree, or hang it close by so kiddos can see how many days until Christmas.

Host a Christmas Potluck: Putting on Christmas dinner can be expensive. But if you decide to share Christmas dinner with friends, you get the benefit of having a big Christmas dinner and sharing the cost of the dinner. We did this last year and LOVED it. Each family was responsible for part of the meal and we all got to spend Christmas with friends, since we are so far from family. 

Read the Nativity from the Bible: One of my favorite Christmas memories growing up was having my dad read the story of the birth of Jesus, right from the Bible, on Christmas Eve night. It really helped us to remember why we celebrate Christmas and made the evening even more special.

Letters to Santa: Have your kiddos write their letters to Santa! This will help them get excited for the season (if they weren’t already), it will let YOU know what they want for Christmas (YAY) AND it will help them work on their writing skills (WIN!)

Track Santa on Christmas Eve: We love watching Santa’s progress around the world on Christmas eve, through the NORAD website. Check out it this year!

Go Sledding: Christmas is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoor sports of winter, if you have snow of course. Head to the mountains and go sledding for a day! Then you can come home and warm up with hot chocolate.

Christmas Symbols Nights: Take a night and talk about the different symbols of Christmas, for example what the tree, the star and the candy cane all represent. Check out this page for ideas for sharing the symbols of Christmas: The Meaning of Christmas Symbols

Give Service: The Christmas season is an amazing time to serve our neighbors and people in need. There are so many opportunities to help others. Doing so never costs anything, and creates a special memory for your family knowing that you helped someone in need. You could shovel snow from driveways, serve at a soup kitchen, put together holiday meal sets for families in need, help with a toy drive… the options are endless. Find a need in your community and see if your family can help.

Watch Hallmark Movies: This is more for you moms. I am a sucker for the Hallmark Christmas movies. Are they repetitive? Yes. Do I know how they will end within 5 minutes of the movie? Yes! Do I watch them anyway with a silly smile on my face? Yes! Are you a Hallmark Christmas movie fan? 😉

Final Thoughts on having a Frugal Christmas

As you can see, you can have an amazing Christmas season, full of memories and fun, and you don’t have to spend a fortune!

We love doing almost ALL of these frugal Christmas traditions and making memories that our children will remember and love for years to come!

What are your favorite frugal Christmas traditions? I would love to know so I can try them out and add them to this list! Let me know in the comments!

25 fun and Frugal Christmas traditions

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