7 ways to have a jolly festive season on a tight budget

The festive holidays can still be enjoyable if you don’t have money to splurge. Picture: RDNE Stock project/Pexels

The festive holidays can still be enjoyable if you don’t have money to splurge. Picture: RDNE Stock project/Pexels

Published Dec 21, 2023


The festive season is a period of great excitement and love as families and friends spend quality and fun time together after a long and tough year.

For some, these gatherings are the first time many people have seen their loved ones since last year and, as such, there is a great desire to do everything you can to make it the best of times together.

If you are on a tight budget though, you may find yourself opting out of the festivities or feeling pressure to spend money you either do not have or cannot afford to spend.

To help take the pressure off and ensure you still get to experience everything that is great about the festive season without feeling guilty or depressed, here are some great tips:

1. Gift from the heart

Instead of heading to the shops and buying gifts for the sake of buying them, you can get creative and make personalised gifts like homemade candles, baked goods, or handmade crafts. It adds a personal touch while also saving you money. Plus, it will also give you more pleasure in giving someone you care about a gift that came from your heart instead of a shelf.

2. Shared dinner parties

Potluck-style gatherings where each guest brings a dish is a great way to still spend many fun and social hours with your friends and family, but without the burden of providing all the food. If everyone brings something different, it does not only save them money but makes the dinner parties diverse and interesting.

3. Don’t buy decorations

Festive decorations are amazing ways to cheer up a space, but it is no secret that decorations can cost way more than many people can afford. And if you didn’t take advantage of the sales on decorations after the festive season, you may find yourself in a space that lacks the cheer you want. So create your own festive decorations using inexpensive materials like paper, ribbons, and recycled items. Look online for a variety of great ideas. This won’t just save you money but can get the whole family involved in decking out your home in your own special way.

4. Social nights without spending a fortune

Some of the best nights out are actually when you are home, or in a home of a friend or loved one. You can host game nights with friends and family and enjoy activities like board games, card games, or even video games. This will give you hours of entertainment, fund, and laughter without spending much money at all.

5. Take your festivities outside

You can take advantage of all the wonderful things your area may offer by planning outdoor activities like hiking, picnics, or beach days. Not only are some of the best memories made on these kinds of days out, but they are usually free.

6. Host a movie marathon

Just like a games night, you could host a movie or TV series marathon at home. Everyone can bring their favourite films or series, creating a fun and cosy atmosphere without the expense of going to the cinema. If you all contribute to your viewing pleasures with holiday-themed movies, this will make your evening even more special.

7. Secret Santa gift exchange

If you’re exchanging gifts within a group, consider having a Secret Santa. This way, everyone buys just one gift, ensuring every person receives something special without overspending. There are also a number of different types of Secret Santa gift exchanges; some see you buying a gift for a particular person while others see you drawing numbers for a random gift – and even give you opportunities to swap them with other people whose gifts you may like better.

Ultimately, the festive season is about spending quality time with loved ones and appreciating each other's company, not about how much money you spend. With creativity and thoughtful planning, you can have a memorable and enjoyable festive season without breaking the bank.

IOL Business