5 Budget Friendly Christmas Traditions

Dear Diary, 

I have always had the Christmas tradition of waiting until the first snowfall after October 31st to put up my Christmas Tree. Oh, I should add that the snow has to stay on the ground as well. I bet you can guess what I woke up to this morning. Our very first snowfall of the season. And to answer that question you might be having YES I will be putting away all my fall decor and be putting up at least one Christmas tree today. 

With the fresh snowfall and bringing out of the Christmas Tree, I tend to reflex on our past Christmas's when all the children were at home. My children can tell you how Christmas crazy I have been known to be over the years no matter our financial situation. I make the most out of every Christmas and 2020 will be no different. Thanks to COVID-19 I don't think our schedule will get any busier this year. Things will be different but it doesn't mean we have to step away from our family traditions it just means they will look a bit different this year. 

In my Christmas on a Shoestring I talked about creating or having traditions for your family to do. I am going to give you a news flash - they don't have to cost money. I like to keep our traditions simple and cost-effective which means traditions under $10. 

Traditions are only traditions if you do them year after year. That is what makes it a tradition after all. Our family went through a brief transition when 3 of my 4 children moved out of our home to pursue further education. This meant changing some of the traditions and also giving some up and making new ones. Here are some of the traditions we have kept over the years. 

Christmas Lights
Make some hot cocoa at home and plan a night to go for a ride to see the Christmas lights where you live. There are some spectacular displays out there to view with your family. Make some cookies the day before and hide them away to surprise the family with them on your drive. 

Christmas Movie
Pop some popcorn and plan to do a family movie night and watch your favourite Christmas movie. We like to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation every Christmas eve.

Special Days
My family has a special day when we decorate our Christmas Tree and we always set aside days for baking. December 1st marks the first day that I play Christmas music in our house. I know the stores have them playing before then but for us, that is the day. 

Advent Calendar
This year I was lucky enough to find a tea advent calendar. I love to have tea every morning and I can't wait to start my tea advent calendar this year.  

There is nothing like a game night by the tree to help get into the Christmas spirit. Spending time with your family is a much better investment than any gift you can buy. 

I would love to know what are some of the traditions you do with your family. 

Until next time, 


Christmas on a Shoestring ($100 Budget)

For the past two years, it seems as though all that is happening is prices are increasing at a very quick rate. It is hard to keep up with the day-to-day expenses without feeling the pinch. I know that we are not the only family feeling the economic turn. We have been told her locally that our hydro prices are going to go down effective November 1, 2022, but we shall see how that reflects with our monthly bills. 

Growing up there was times when money was very tight. My parents always made Christmas special. I learned from a young age that money is not required for making a truly magical Christmas. In fact, those can be the most memorable and joyful Christmases ever! I am writing this post in hopes that someone else might benefit from our hardships and joys. 

I know my family is not alone in their struggles financially not just at Christmas but all year round. Christmas seems to magnify those struggles even more because you always want to be able to provide your child/children with a Christmas to remember and in this day in age of so much consumerism it makes it difficult to get away from that. 

Almost 10 years ago we were hit with the news just before Christmas that our middle daughter was gravely ill and the expectations of her survival were definitely up in the air. I will let you all know now that she did survive and we are beyond blessed to have her still with us. When something like this happens you can't but not help to realign how you look at things. 



This year I spent some time going around looking at various stores' Christmas decor for inspiration. I had no intent on purchasing any of it but I wanted to get some ideas of how to decorate with what we already had at our house. Thankfully we have our tree because of my allergy to real trees we always put up an artificial tree. 


I have always found that the time we spend together playing games, baking, doing a movie night, or even just talking are the memories that last a lifetime for my family. 


Look around your house at the toys you purchased your children last year I bet very few of them are being played with now. I know over the years I have noticed that there were a few of the gifts we gave our children that they lost interest in very quickly. 

As a family we have decided to draw names for Christmas, it started with just our kids drawing names amongst themselves, and now my husband and I draw names with them. We make it a Secret Santa exchange with a set price limit of $40. To make this easier we email out a questionnaire for everyone to answer so that they have some idea of what the other person would like for Christmas.

Even this year I have not yet decided if I will be doing stockings for everyone. I might just do some of their favourite snacks in their stocking.


Even if you have limited resources it is the perfect time to start new traditions! Every Christmas eve we take a drive and look at the lovely Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music. I think keeping the traditions going is really important for us as a family and even creating some new ones that are fun. 


I have fond memories of making Christmas treats during the holidays. My children all love baking and helping me in the kitchen and creating different treats for us to enjoy over the holidays. 


No matter how little money we have we always make sure that we give what we can to others so our children know what is it like to give to others in need. Teaching your children to serve others is important. 

Every Friday I will be writing more about our $100 Shoestring Christmas and different things I have found to make and do with my family to make the Christmas season more memorable and fun. If you have any ideas you would like to share with my family of things you have found in the past that have helped you stay on budget for Christmas please feel free to share them with me and my readers. 


When I do something I am an all-in kind of girl or nothing. This can be a good thing when it comes to wanting to live on one income and raise 4 children. Frugal living is about being economical and resourceful with our resources. It definitely doesn't mean being cheap. As a matter of fact, I prefer to buy quality items that might cost a bit more upfront but it will last longer and wear longer because of quality. For me, it is about being intentional with the resources we have been given and not wasteful. 

There were years when living frugally was definitely not a necessity but something I strived to do so that we could enjoy a few things in life while living off one income and raising a family. I am not sure why most people don't start out trying to be as frugal as possible in life. It truly is one of the main things I hope my children have learned by my example over the years. I also understand that some people find it overwhelming to even start to change the way they have been living and others have never been given the tools to live frugally. 

I like to get the most out of my money all the time whether I am purchasing groceries, household goods, or even a car. I want to be a good steward of what has been given to me. 

Some of the frugal things I have done over the years is ... 

Cut my own hair and my families - This has been such a useful thing over the years and has also come in handy during the pandemic when all hair salons closed down for a period of time. I had everything on hand to cut hair and I was not afraid to cut it. 

Make my own bread - I love knowing the ingredients in my bread. I also the way it makes my house smell so good when it is baking. There is nothing better than fresh bread out of the oven still warm with butter on it. 

Buy clothing at thrift stores or on clearance - Clothing can be a huge expense and I like to make quality purchases but for a fraction of the price. People donate very good quality clothing that you can pick up cheap at the stores. 

Shop the Local Buy and Swaps - If there are larger items you need to purchase remember to keep your eye out on your local Facebook marketplace. I sometimes have a few things that I would like to have and I just keep my eye out on the marketplace for them. Also, be strict with yourself so you are not caught making purchases of things you don't really need. 

One in and one out rule - I try to go by the one eat and one out rule when it comes to purchasing items. All items including housewares, decor, and clothing. It helps my house from getting cluttered. 

Frugal living looks different to everyone. To me, it is really watching what I spend my money on groceries, clothing, or anything else. It is saying no to friends when they are going out to dinner because it is not in my budget. I know what I can afford and have no trouble at all saying no to things I can't afford. I am trying to live my life to the fullest while living on a small budget after all. 

What does frugal living look like to you?

Until next time, 



There is nothing better than waking up in the morning with no real plans for the day. It allows my family to think of a place to go and explore for the day. Day trips take very little planning because they do not require a lot of money but they do require a bit of packing so that you can enjoy the day to the fullest. 

If it was just my husband and I packing wouldn't be a huge deal but with children on board it means you do have to pack a few things for your own sanity. I like it when the whole family can enjoy the day trip. 

Some of the items we always pack for our day trips are the following - 

- Thermal Cooler bag - to put in all our items we like to keep cool like salads, cucumbers, cherries, grapes, etc. 
- Insulated Cups - we use Bubba's at our house because they keep your drinks cold for many hours while traveling we even have a very large one so we can refill our water while on the road. 
- Large Bag - Depending on the weather but I throw in some towels, a bag of chips or any other items we might need on our trip
- Plastic Dishes - we don't like to eat off of paper plates or dishes so I purchased a set of plastic dishes with cutlery to put in our bag to use on these trips. 
- Sunscreen - always a must to protect our skin from the elements. 
    We prefer day trips over long weekend trips because when it comes down to it we prefer to sleep in our own beds at night. Once we have decided where we are going for the day I make and pack up some food for us to eat while we are out. Not only does this cut down on the cost of the trip but it gives us a chance to find a different place to picnic and explore while we are out.

    We also like to play games while driving down the road our favourite is the alphabet license plate (really not the technical name but it is what we call it) as we drive down the road we start with the letter A and go through the alphabet to see how many time we can complete the whole alphabet. 

    Let's Chat!

    Do you go for day trips with your family? What do you pack with you when you go? Do you play car games on your way to your destination?