The holidays are often moments when we tend to spend a lot of money. You have groceries, decorations, gifts etc. However, there are also moments when we can be a little tight for cash. What can you do then to still make it a Christmas to remember?
On a budget
For this reason we found it a challenge to look at “Christmas on a budget”. What kind of things are available when you are of limited funds? Where can you shop? How do you plan accordingly? We went on a small search of local shops to see what kind of budget-friendly products we could find. There is a sidenote however. Lots of stores are currently coping with big delays in deliveries from suppliers meaning many of them don’t have their Christmas stock yet.
The key to a nice Christmas with delicious food, presents & decorations is to start planning and organising on time so you’ll have a gameplan before Christmas. The sooner you start with planning, the more prepared you’ll be.
The first thing you need to do is determine your budget for Christmas and also decide who you want to celebrate it with. Will you celebrate the holidays with just your family? Are you inviting the inlaws for dinner? Do you want to ask the lonely neighbour from the corner to join? These are all very important decisions that will determine which direction your planning goes. If you want to add a nice outing into the mix aswell than this too needs some predetermined consideration.
Once you decide with whom you’ll celebrate Christmas or who you are visiting, the next step will be figuring out your menu for the days. If you are with a bigger party it can also be fun to divide the dinner courses amongst them. This will create some diversity in meals and splits the costs.
Having a three-course dinner is always a nice idea. You’ll have an appetizer, main course and dessert.
Appetizer: think of a soup, salad or a shrimp cocktail. It can be a nice stock or even a light broth.
- homemade: remember to visit the market of choose something that’s on sale in the supermarket.
- Salad: choose a variety of greens. It’s very tasty and a feast for the eye. Add a few nice ingredients like cherry tomatoes or croutons but also find a special item like strawberries of a cheese. Add a homemade dressing and you’re good to go.
Nowadays you can find lots of nice menus and recepies online for both the experienced cook or the newbie.
Maincourse: meat, fish or vegetarian. There are many options to choose from which don’t have to be hard to make. Turkey, chicken, steak or even game for those who love it. A roulade can also be a very good and easy solution that doesn’t cost that much.
In regards to fish, think of salmon, trout or seabass. If you choose fish as a maincourse, due keep in mind that it has a shorter preparation period than meats will have. Find a good fish with complementary vegetables and you’ll have a mouthwatering dish in no time. Look for nice recipes online or browse through the foodmagazines.
- At a local market you’ll find good fish for decent prices. A fish seller can also give you some good tips for your menu.
Dessert: pie, cake, icecream or pudding. Anything is possible. Simple choose a favourite. It can be as easy or complicated as you want. Go to Pinterest for some good ideas if you need the inspiration.
Ofcourse gathering the family around a gourmet or fondu also works. Especially if you are celebrating the holidays with children.
You can choose to give a present to everyone invited. But it can also be a nice alternative to play secret Santa or draw names instead if you’re with a bigger party. Have everyone make a wishlist. If you know this in advance, you’ll have time to hunt for bargains or browse through discount flyers. Homemade gifts are also a nice touch.
- A knitted/ crochet skarf or hat, a homemade wreath, bird house or model plane. Kids can join in on the fun. The possibilities are endless.
- The expand on the holiday fun simply make it a family activity. Have a scavenger hunt or create an art project.
Start with an inventory of the decorations you already have. Make a list afterwards for the things you want to add or still need. Stores start fairly early each year with displaying new Christmas products. We already found some nice goodies at Action and TK Mexx for example. Check out a Kruitvat, So Low or Big Bazer aswell. Don’t forget the supermarkets. Once they get into the Holiday Spirit you will find they have some nice gift ideas too.
Start your Christmas shopping on time and don’t mind buying decorations when you see them. Our golden tip: the Thrift shop or Marktplaats. If you like vintage then you will find some beautiful treasures here for wonderful prices. Also consider selling your old Christmas decorations here. It saves money, prevents unnecessary buys and helps another person.
Usually you’ll find a lot of fun shows around the holidays. Visiting a theme park, ice rink or movie theater can also be a fun outing. Especially during Christmasbreak. Choose to plan ahead. Figure out what you want to do. You’ll find bargains and discounts ahead of time.
- Choose who you want to spend Christmas with and which things you all like to do.
- Look into what is available around the holidays.
- Keep track of flyers, commercials and store brochures. You’ll find plenty online aswell.
- Check vakantieveilingen.nl or Hotelspecials etc.
- Use your airmiles.
- Ask for movietickets for your birhtday.
- Save up for a weekendtrip.
- Checks B&B’s. Those can be cheaper than a hotel.
- Supermarket promotions.
There are plenty of possibilities to be found. The golden tip: Plan ahead!
Right now a lot of stores are still waiting for certain Christmas stock to come in. Due to the delays some even had to postpone their planning. So when everyone has had a chance to stock up, there will be a follow up of this blog. We can give you all the tips in the world about a budget-friendly Christmas. But it is more fun if we can show you! As soon as all the stores have their inventory, The Christmas Girls will set a budget and show you the possiblities with that limited budget. To be continued.
Spirit of Christmas
Obviously Christmas is something you do together, not alone. We shared our Tips & Tricks. Now we are asking you to do the same. Do you have a good idea? Do you know a nice shop? Do you have an idea for presents on a budget? Let us know by leaving a comment on our blog or on our social media.
See you soon!
The Christmas Girls