This post was written pre-Covid, and is probably even more applicable now.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you click through and make a purchase, I may earn a commission, at no extra cost to you.
Christmas: a time of joy, excitement and celebration!
But maybe also a time of financial struggle, family stress, demands and exhaustion.
However your Christmas normally goes, I pray there’s something in this blog post to bring you greater joy this year, to help you save money, and to bring Jesus into your Christmas season.
There are a lot of ideas! They won’t all be for you. Skim through and read the ones that are most useful to you.
Or use this menu to jump sections:
- Prepare Your Heart During Advent
- Focus on Giving not Getting
- Support Christian Creatives and Charities
- Save Money (and Make Money)!
- Keep Healthy
- Think Ahead
- Break Some Traditions!
Some ideas may be too late for this year! That’s OK. There’s always next year! Use the social sharing buttons to pin this post for later:
Prepare Your Heart During Advent
I’ll be honest. I’ve never really celebrated Advent. The best we’ve done with our family is Advent calenders, which in recent years have been all about the chocolate!
This year I want it to be different.
I looked up what ‘Advent’ means. It is the arrival of a notable person or thing. Who more notable than Jesus? Whose arrival more worthy of our celebration? I encourage you to focus your December month on Jesus, not just His birth on Christmas Day, but His presence with you each and every day.
This section includes resources to help you do just that:
1. Redeeming Advent
I love this devotional with its blend of down-to-earth wisdom, humour and challenge. There are sections on redeeming our homes, redeeming our Christmas, redeeming our hearts and redeeming our communities. If you want your Christmas season to be about Jesus this year, then reading this book is a great way to start! For personal or group use.
2. Jesse Tree Ornaments
These 24 individually designed, hand-crafted Jesse Tree Ornaments by Gospel Centred Parenting are a beautiful way to build gospel-centred anticipation for Christmas Day.
The picture on each ornament corresponds to a story in the Jesus Storybook Bible (or an equivalent Bible passage), and so, for the 24 days leading up to Christmas, your family can hang an ornament and together trace the storyline of the Bible up to the coming of Jesus.
Jesse Tree purchases support the spread of the gospel, 10% of profits going to the work of Bible translation and distribution.
Alternative: Make your own Jesse Tree ornaments. Search online and you’ll find plenty of ideas.
I recently discovered 10ofThose. They are a UK Christian retailer who sell discounted Christian books and products (and have great bulk offers).
They have a lovely collection of Advent and Christmas devotionals, books and resources, including Children’s Advent 25 Book Pack (a book a day in the lead up to Christmas), Names of Jesus Advent Calendar, The Action Bible Christmas Story, and chocolate-free Advent Calendars!
4. Unwrapping the Names of Jesus
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Asheritah Ciuciu
An Advent devotional for personal or family use reflecting on the names of Jesus.
- Begins with an interactive family devotional that equips readers to celebrate Advent together.
- Offers five daily reflections that focus on that week’s name of Jesus.
- Includes suggestions for fun-filled family activities or service projects.
5. Free Advent Bible Reading Plans
6. Wild Advent: Discovering God Through Creation
Wild Advent: Discovering God Through Creation by Rachel Summers
Family activities to help you get out and enjoy creation, and shape your journey with God as you travel through Advent.
Focus on Giving not Getting
7. Remember it’s Jesus’ Birthday!
How do you celebrate you child’s birthday? With presents, a party, special food, a cake? Who’s it all for? Your child!
How do you celebrate Jesus’ birthday? With presents, a party, special food, a cake? Who’s it all for? Jesus?
Now, Jesus loves to share His birthday with us – it’s ok to enjoy all the trimmings of Christmas – but let’s not forget who the birthday boy really is!
What can we give Him? How can we celebrate and bring Him joy on His special day?
Ask your children what they would like to give Jesus on His birthday!
8. Involve Your Children in the Giving
Confession: some years I’ve bought all the presents, wrapped all the presents, and even labelled them from one person to another. It’s just easier!
The problem with this: the ‘giver’ wasn’t really giving a gift. They didn’t even see what they were ‘giving’ until the present was opened!
Not really the idea!
Obviously, you don’t want to drag your kids round the shops with you, but, if they’re young, at least involve them in some of the decision making, and some of the wrapping up. If they’re older, let them be responsible for their own present buying and wrapping.
Let them find joy in giving!
9. Offer Hospitality
Discuss as a family ways you can bless others this Christmas. Who’s spending Christmas alone? Who could you invite round for a meal, or to join you for some Christmas games? (Whether it be on Christmas Day itself or another day during the Christmas season.)
10. Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child, organised by Samaritan’s Purse, send shoeboxes of gifts to children around the world – children who may never have received a present before.
You can pack your own shoebox and drop it at a collection centre, or pack a shoebox online. Either way, your whole family can be involved in changing a child’s life.
Samaritan’s Purse not only distribute the shoeboxes, they actively share the good news of Jesus with the children and their families.
I’ve just watched the video of children receiving their shoeboxes on the Operation Christmas Child homepage. It made me cry so much. Watch it with your kids! I can think of no better way to give joy to someone else at Christmas and to teach your children the joy of giving!
11. Make Christmas an Opportunity to Share Jesus
- add a Bible verse to Christmas cards you give your neighbours.
- invite friends, family and neighbours to Christmas events that celebrate Jesus.
- give small gifts to your children’s classmates that share the real reason for Christmas.
- give small gifts that share Jesus to the children at your mums & toddlers group, or to non-churched kids in your neighbourhood.
Support Christian Creatives and Charities
12. Cheerfully Given
Cheerfully Given is a beautiful online shop selling Christian gifts, stationery and homeware reflecting the life found in Jesus. It was started to support UK Christian artists, designers and makers as they pursue their creative calling.
13. Mission/Charity Christmas Cards and Gifts
Buying from the following organisations benefits mission and charity work: Mission organisations and charities that sell Christmas cards and gifts.
Save Money (and Make Money)!
14. Cut Back on Presents!
Presents are exciting. They bring joy (usually). Christmas wouldn’t be the same without them!
But do we need so many of them? Probably not!
Discuss ways to reduce presents (and spending) within your own family and with wider family. Some ideas:
- only buy for immediate family
- only buy for the kids
- buy less for the kids!
- buy one family present instead of individual ones for wider family
- do a ‘Secret Santa’ where you pull names ‘out of a hat’ and each person buys for one other person only. (There are online tools for doing this. Just search ‘Secret Santa online’.) This is what we do in our family.
15. Get Free Presents!
16. Buy Second Hand!
Second hand can be ‘new’, or as good as, for a fraction of the price. Great places for second hand bargains are charity shops, eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Market Place, car boot sales or your local paper.
Search these places first before buying new.
Read my own Christmas second hand miracle story here: The Christmas Gift My Son Really Wanted.
17. Buy in Bulk
If you plan to buy presents for several people of the same gender/age, then it’s easier and sometimes cheaper to buy several of the same item.
18. Buy Cheaper Christmas Groceries
Wherever you normally shop, I suggest visiting Aldi or Lidl for your Christmas grocery shop. You will spend way less! Especially on turkeys! They also have a lovely selection of European Christmas goodies that you may not find elsewhere.
19. Use Your Air Miles!
Did you know that you can use air miles to buy from duty free online shops?
I discovered this one year when I realised all our random family air miles (which would never be enough to put towards flights) were about to expire. I bought most of our Christmas presents that year using air miles. What an unexpected gift from God!
Warning: Order early. Some of the items I bought took weeks to arrive.
20. Use Vouchers and Coupons
Now’s the time to check all those forgotten loyalty cards and vouchers. What have you got to use towards Christmas?
21. Buy through Boom 25
Boom 25 is a site where you have a 1-in-25 chance of winning your money back when you shop online. Just click through Boom 25 to your favourite online shop, spend what you would normally spend, and wait to see if you have won your money back.
You can also buy Boom 25 gift cards for most major shops, use them in store, and have the chance of winning back the cost of the gift card.
22. Send Parcels More Cheaply
Use Parcel to Go to compare UK parcel couriers and find the cheapest way to send your Christmas gifts.
23. Sell Items You No Longer Need!
Pre-Christmas is a great time to sell unwanted household items and toys. You’ll get a higher price.
It’s a great opportunity to clear out too. Though please check with other family members before selling anything that belongs to them!
Sell on sites like eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace.
A great site for selling books, DVDs, and computer games is Ziffit. Download their app, scan the barcode on the back of your book, DVD or game to find out how much money you’ll receive for it, package up the items you decide to sell, and drop them off for free at a local collection centre. Once the goods have been received and checked by Ziffit, you’ll receive your money!
24. Recycle Gift Wrap and Cards
Don’t just chuck the wrapping paper! As long as your kids haven’t ripped it to shreds, straighten it out, fold it up, and put it away for next year!
Keep Christmas cards. Cut out parts of the pictures to use as gift tags next year.
25. Make Your Own Christmas Cards, Decorations and Gifts
Ha! This might be more stressful than buying! Depends what you and your children enjoy doing together!
But it could be a more meaningful, cheaper option. A simple online search will bring up limitless make-your-own ideas.
26. Turn Your Heating Down!
A simple but sure way to save money, and an opportunity to wear your Christmas jumper!
- encourage family members to wear extra layers.
- be active outdoors – you’ll warm up, and your house will feel warmer when you come back in.
- have the heating on only at certain times of day.
- turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees.
- if you’re mostly in one room during the day, you don’t need to heat the whole house. Buy an electric heater to use in that room.
- switch energy providers – we save about £40/month with our recent switch to Green Network Energy. (You’ll get £30 credit if you switch to Green Network Energy using my refer a friend link.)
27. Grow Your Faith: Lose the Weight
- build confidence in your identity as God’s beautiful daughter.
- improve your body image.
- create a strong foundation of faith for healthy eating and physical activity.
Each day includes a Bible verse, a lesson, a faith-in-action step and worship songs.
Enter the Christmas season knowing you can enjoy your Christmas food as a beautiful loved daughter of God, while being proactive about your health.
No need to wait for New Year resolutions!
28. Watch Your Words!
‘My kids always get coughs and colds this time of year!’
How about saying, ‘Thank you Lord for protecting my children from coughs and colds this winter. I speak health to their bodies.’
‘We just keep passing this flu round!’
How about stopping the flu with the word and blood of Jesus: ‘I cut my family free from this cycle of sickness. I speak the blood of Jesus covering every family member. Thank you Lord for health, strength and healing in you.’
Don’t curse yourself or your family. Words have great power!
The tongue has the power of life and death. Proverbs 18:21
And what we speak usually reveals what our heart believes:
For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Matthew 12:34
And when we believe it and speak it, that’s usually what we get!
So, let’s believe and speak God’s truth instead:
My child, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:20-23
29. Vitamins and Supplements
However much fruit and veg you can persuade your family to eat, vitamins and supplements such as Vitamin C and Omega 3 are a great way to help your family stay healthy in the winter months.
I buy from Healthspan, a UK online supplier of vitamins and supplements. I trust them for their quality and price. Use coupon code LB-GNO to get 50% off everything, up till 31.12.19.
…and a little extra health tip to save you money:
30. Non-Branded Medicines
Non-branded medicines will save you a ton of money! Supermarket own brand medicines are usually exactly the same ingredients, and often exactly the same tablet (with different packaging) as the branded version!
This Facebook video is very revealing! It’s OK to buy non-branded for cheaper!
Easier said than done! It may be too late by the time you read this … but hey … there’s always next year!
And I am totally not a good example of doing this!
31. Buy Early and During Sales
Prices go up the closer you get to Christmas, especially with online shopping. Buy as early as you can! And make the most of sales throughout the year.
Boxing Day sales are a great time to buy reduced gift wrap and Christmas cards for the following year. Not that I’ve ever been organised enough to do this!
And, love it or hate it, Black Friday is a great time to buy heavily discounted gifts. (Just don’t end up buying more than you planned or budgeted for.)
32. Allow Postage Time
Allow enough time for anything you order online to reach you, especially if it’s coming from overseas. The small stocking fillers my daughter loves often come from China, (ordering from eBay or Amazon) and are much cheaper than buying locally … but need to be ordered well in advance. Last year, my daughter received half of her stocking gifts in the New Year. Ha! (Not that I’m any better prepared this year!)
33. Christmas Last Posting Dates
Get your Christmas cards and gifts in the post before these dates: Christmas Last Posting Dates in the UK.
Break Some Traditions!
Christmas traditions are great! I still remember the excitement of waking to a stuffed crinkly stocking at the end of my bed each Christmas morning.
There are some Christmas traditions you’ll want to preserve as a family. But equally, there are probably some traditions that wouldn’t be so hard to let go of.
Here’s a few ideas. They won’t all be for you!
34. Eat Your Christmas Lunch A Different Day!
Several times I have cooked our Christmas lunch for Christmas Eve dinner instead! We ate the same again (left-overs) on Christmas Day. It made Christmas Day so much more relaxed!
This is normal tradition in some countries anyway!
35. Don’t Cook A Traditional Christmas Lunch
When I was a child I remember my mum asking me and my 4 brothers what we’d like to eat for Christmas lunch. Our reply: toad-in-the-hole! (For you non-Brits, that’s sausages in batter – kind of!)
So that’s what she cooked!
We were happy. And so was she!
You could also do a bring-and-share with friends or family.
36. Eat Out on Christmas Day
Treat yourself and your family to Christmas lunch in a hotel or restaurant. Just make sure to book ahead!
37. Don’t Have Presents. Do Something Different!
When we lived in Turkey, we went skiing at Christmas. Not something you could do cheaply from the UK, but living in Turkey it was an affordable holiday.
Our ski trip was all our Christmas presents rolled into one. Easy! And we had several days of meals and our Christmas meal cooked for us!
Some ideas if you decide to have a ‘present-less’ Christmas:
- go on a family holiday
- arrange for a special day out another time
- buy an alternative gift where you can bless a family in another country eg buy a cow for a family in Africa. Scroll down this page for a list of alternative Christmas gift ideas.
Warning: Don’t just suddenly not do presents. You’ll have some very upset children! Discuss it as a family. Agree on a special alternative. And you can still do limited presents!
38. Don’t Give Christmas Cards
If you send cards to every distant friend and relative, every church member, and every child in your children’s classes, then rethink!
Save paper, and save money (on the cards and on the stamps)!
Of course your child may want to write cards to special friends, and you may have relatives who expect a card each year – it’s a nice way to keep in touch – that’s fine. But save yourself some stress, and limit the number you write and send!
Unless of course it’s something you love to do. Then go ahead 🙂
There you go! That’s my list of 35+ ideas for a more meaningful, less stressful, cheaper Christmas!
What other ideas do you have? What do you do with your family to make Christmas meaningful, and to save money? I’d love to know. Leave a comment below!
Above all, I pray you know Jesus close this Christmas time. May His peace and love fill you and cover you, hold you and keep you.
50+ Ideas & Resources to Help Your Family Grow in Love