Free or Frugal Christmas Traditions

The Christmas season can feel busy and hectic with all of the parties, activities, and celebrations.  It can also feel expensive with all the gift giving, food preparation, and travel.  Here are some simple frugal Christmas traditions that your family will love and your budget will too!

Welcome back to our Frugal Festivities series where we’re sharing 25 days of Christmas Cheer on a Budget!

Okay, now let’s talk about family Christmas traditions that won’t break the bank.

Looking at lights

When I asked my blog readers to share their favorite frugal Christmas traditions, this one came up a lot.  No matter where you live, there’s probably an area near you that is known for having an amazing Christmas light display.  If you don’t know where it is, ask around.  I promise you’ll find one!  Walk or drive around the neighborhood as a family to oooh and ahhh at the lights together, then have hot chocolate at home together!


Caroling from door to door definitely isn’t the popular holiday tradition it has been for past generations, but it’s still a favorite.  You might not feel comfortable caroling to the doors of strangers, but caroling to the doors of old friends or neighbors is a great way to share the Christmas spirit.  If you’d rather stay indoors and gather around the piano, singing carols together in your own home is also a well-loved tradition.

Homemade cookies

You can make this one as simple or complicated as you want.  You probably already have most of the supplies you’ll need right in your pantry.  Sugar cookies are a favorite with my kids.  They love using our Christmas cookie cutters and decorating their creations with frosting.

This isn’t just fun for kids, one of my blog readers, Darcy, says for the past 10 years she and her 4 grown daughters get together and bake Christmas treats, then divide it all up to take home. They always end up with a big variety of cookies, candies, and Chex mix to take home.

Nativity play

I love the tradition of acting out the nativity. Whether you’re with a family of three or an extended family of thirty, it’s always a special experience to watch or be in a nativity play. Costumes make everything more exciting, but it doesn’t take much more than a few bath robes, sheets, and towels to outfit your cast. And maybe a baby doll if you don’t have a live one!

Making ornaments

With just simple craft supplies and household items you can make a whole slew of beautiful ornaments for your Christmas tree. Just do a search over on Pinterest and you’ll be blown away!

Advent calendar

There are so many different advent calendar ideas out there. If you don’t already have a family favorite, do a little search on Pinterest to see all the great ideas for advent calendars you can easily make. Even a simple paper loop chain is a fun way to count down to Christmas! Kids especially love to count down the days to Christmas and with just a little extra thought it can be a great opportunity to teach and focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Watch Christmas movies as a family

One of my readers, Shannon, shared that her family loves watching Christmas movies together. There are so many great Christmas movies, I’m sure your family has some favorites that can become traditions if they aren’t already.

Christmas themed puzzle

Another reader, Linda, shared that she gets a Christmas themed puzzle from the dollar store that she leaves out for family to put together. What a fun project to work on during family time together!

How about you?

What are your family’s favorite simple, frugal Christmas traditions? Let us know down in the comments and maybe your traditions can spread to other homes!

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