How To Have A Magical Christmas When You Have No Money

How to have a magical Christmas when you have no money
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December could be a very stressful time for many people who are struggling financially.

You might wonder, “How can I survive Christmas with no money?”

All the commercial ads, fancy decorations, Christmas movies, and social media influence make us feel guilty about having no money this December.

On top of that, Christmas expenses (such as food, presents, and events) can quickly get out of hand.

Financial stress and unwanted anxiety could easily lead many people to debt (huge bills).

31% of Americans took on holiday debt (spending on gifts, travel, and entertainment), at $1,381 on average last year, according to this article from MagnifyMoney.

Also read: Should I Pay Off Debt Or Save?

When you have no money for Christmas, it’s hard to do holiday shopping. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a magical Christmas.

I will show you how to have a fantastic holiday when you have no money for Christmas this year.

If being broke and having debts because of Christmas shopping make a magical Christmas, let others have it. I don’t need one, and neither do you.

Now let’s find out how to do Christmas with no money.

How to have an amazing Christmas when you have no money for Christmas this year

How To Pay For Christmas With No Money

1. Set The Right Mindset

A mindset shift is a game-changer. Once you change your attitude towards the holiday, you shift your focus.

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The definition of happy Christmas is in the eye of the beholder.

It’s a matter of choice.

I used to think you had to buy fancy gifts 🎁, decorate your house 🏑, and celebrate Christmas πŸ₯³ like everyone else; then you can say you had a fantastic Christmas.

However, I changed how I looked at Christmas and stopped giving myself extra financial stress years ago.

And the feeling has never been better than ever.

Gifts have little long-lasting impact (to some extent) on the memories that we cherish. How we spend precious moments with loved ones matters the most.

Ask yourself, what do you remember about last Christmas? Mine is all about the beautiful memory of fun and silly moments with my friends and family.These beautiful memories will last a lifetime.

Of course, I also love fancy gifts and holiday shopping or shopping in general, but they are pluses. They are not the core elements to make me happy and have a memorable Christmas.

Read on: How I Quit Buying These Things To Save Over $10,000 (#16 Is A Must-Try)

You DON’T need expensive stuff to create a magical Christmas.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of buying more during the holiday and rack up debts. Don’t touch debts whatsoever if you don’t want a vast holiday hangover in January.

Be realistic with your financial situation and live below your means.

Also read:

2. Be Honest When You Have No Money For Christmas This Year

Now it’s time to talk with your family and friends that you will not do expensive gift-giving (I will talk about how to do gift-giving with no/little money later) or anything that costs money this Christmas.

Doing this can make sure the whole family is on the same page. So when you are trying to save, your spouse won’t be spending like crazy.

Read on:

If you have kids (older children and teens), don’t be afraid to tell them there is no money for Christmas, and make sure they have a memorable Christmas in a fun and creative way.

Younger kids might not understand the difficult financial situation in the family, but they can pick up the feelings quickly.

So you want to set the festive mood for the big day to ensure kids can enjoy Christmas even without much money.

πŸ’‘Note: It’s unnecessary to detail your money issues with others except your immediate family.

Simply telling people that you can’t make it this year is enough.

The people who really care about you will respect and support your decision. I am sure they wouldn’t want you to get into debt for this holiday spending.

πŸ‘‰ Remember, this situation is temporary.

You WILL clean up the financial mess, make extra money in your free time, and save money aside for the next holiday.

Before the nextChristmas comes, you will be able to do holiday shopping, and the gift-giving tradition will come back again.

3. Skip Obligations For This Christmas

Holiday seasons never lack parties, gift exchanges, and social events.

Do you usually do secret Santa/White Elephant gift exchanges and send out Christmas cards?

Or do you normally attend Christmas parties and buy expensive party outfits?

Considering your current finances and money goals, skip some/all the obligations for this Christmas. 

Maybe turn down the activities that cost money, don’t send Christmas cards, or avoid buying party outfits.

Don’t force yourself or fool yourself into paying more and having credit card debt just because you think you are obligated to make your family or other people a joyful Christmas.

No, you don’t owe anyone. Take care of yourself mentally, physically, and financially first.

πŸ‘‰ Bottom line: Skip the obligations that you can’t afford. 

4. Have Priorities When It Comes To Christmas Presents

I understand the pleasure of giving presents to the people you love and the excitement to see them open your presents.

However, when money is tight, gift-giving to everyone is not an option, and trimming your list becomes a necessity.

Depending on your situation, you can think about the most important people to you in life and give them presents first.

5. Block The Noises For A While

Are your social media accounts and inboxes inundated with those gorgeous Christmas-related photos and ads to lure you into buying more things you don’t need during the holiday season?

Have you been surrounded by people who can’t stop talking about their fabulous Christmas plans?

All this information is annoying, especially when you have money panics.

If there is no comparison, there is no hard feeling.

Stop comparing yourself to everyone around you or the strangers on social media.

The comparison wouldn’t make your life better, happier, or richer.

Why not block all these noises for a while to keep sanity?

Maybe stop checking your social media accounts during the holiday season, unsubscribe to all commercial emails, and have a no-spend month.

Further reading: Best New Year’s Resolution Ideas

6. Set Up A Christmas Budget

If you are broke, you might think a budget is no use.

But what about next Christmas?

If you want to afford next Christmas, a realistic budget is in need.

A budget could tell you how to use every cent wisely and help you start saving money for Christmas weekly.

Don’t know where to start? Check out this post to learn how to create a Christmas budget that works for you in 7 easy steps.

Say goodbye to money trouble for the holiday spending with a realistic budget.

Further reading:

What To Give ForChristmas When You Have No Money

It’s always better to give than to receive. And there is nothing wrong to shower your loved ones with fancy gifts during the festive season.

However, gift-buying sounds like a mission impossible when you have no money for Christmas presents this year.

Luckily, there are other ways to give people gifts for Christmas when you have no money. And I am not talking about expensive store-bought gifts.

Don’t let the money issue restricts your creativity for gift-making ideas.🎁🎁🎁

Although homemade gifts (such as baked treats, bath bombs, and sugar scrubs) are inexpensive, sentimental, and memorable, not everyone is into making them.

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Note:Β Being present and giving your undivided attention to the people you love is already the BEST present during the holiday season.Β 

Offer Services

Offering services could make excellent Christmas presents when you are flat broke. Who says gifts have to be physical?

It could be babysitting for your cousin. Or do house cleaning for your neighbor. 

To make it more fun and official, you can create vouchers for different services and give them out to loved ones. 

Most importantly, you don’t need to spend a dime by offering services.


Regift is not a bad idea when you have no money for Christmas presents.  

You just need to do it carefully to avoid awkward situations. 

For example, you don’t want to give the same present back to Uncle Jo who gave you the exact gift last Christmas. Awkward! 😬

Make sure you know where the gifts come from and shop around your house to see if you have 

  • any unused items in good/perfect condition (such as books and toys).
  • unopened gifts (such as scarves and jewelry).
  • newly purchased products.
  • items that you know other people would like.

These could make lovely Christmas presents.

As for some smaller goods, you could bundle them together into one basket to make a big present.

Or, if you have a set of items in one box or multiple sets, open the package and pack them individually. For example, if there is a hand cream gift set (four pieces in a set), you can make four gifts instead of one.

Trust me; you will always find something useful in the house if you dig into it. 

Then you can rewrap the items nicely and stick the thoughtfully and beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree. 

You only need some wrapping supplies (e.g., ribbons, bows, and wrapping paper) that you could get for under $4 at thrift stores (google the gift shops near me).

Remember, the excitement of opening a box makes the whole Christmas experience more festive, especially for younger kids.

Be creative and resourceful.

Take Advantage Of The Big Sales And Coupons

Be a savvy shopper if you have some spare money for Christmas shopping.

Buy your gifts throughout the year at massive discounts, and don’t forget to use cashback apps.

Don’t leave the free money on the table.

Shop for your holiday spending and save money at the same time. It’s perfect for people who want to do Christmas shopping on a small budget.

How To Handle The Decor When You Have No Money For Christmas

Formality matters, especially for holiday seasons.

That is why people spend so much time, effort, and money on home dΓ©cor for Christmas. 

Home decoration for Christmas sets up the whole atmosphere and spirit. But it doesn’t have to be expensive. 

Simply put, you need a couple of items as follows to feel festive at home for December.

  • Christmas lights/candles
  • Ornaments 
  • Stockings
  • A Christmas tree
  • Gifts (We have covered this in the previous section.)
  • Christmas music – Create a free Christmas playlist.
  • Christmas movies

These items could activate people’s five senses (sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing) and make your house look festive and Christmassy with little to no money.

How can you do that?

  • Christmas lights/candles
  • Ornaments 
  • Stockings

Check out your house carefully to find any previously used Christmas decors (e.g., lights, candles, ornaments, and stockings). Reuse them if you have. 

You can also ask your extended family members or neighbors to see if they have extra ones or exchange items with them. 

  • A Christmas tree

A freshly cut Christmas tree and first-hand fake trees can be both costly. 

Maybe try to find a used artificial tree (that looks like the real thing) online at a different time of the year. 

When there is no money to spend, drop the tree, and you can still have a fun and festive holiday with other things. 

  • Christmas music – Create a free Christmas playlist.
  • Christmas movies

As for music and movies, you can borrow those from your local library, and they are completely FREE. Do this early because these items are super popular at this time of the year.

All these little Christmassy things could add to the festive feeling, and they cost you little to no money. 

What To Do For Christmas When You Have No Money

If you want to have fun Christmassy activities, don’t miss out on the free activities around you during the holiday season.

Here is a list of FREE activities that might inspire you when you can’t afford Christmas.

  • Invite the people you love and have a Christmas movie night at home. You provide the space and entertainment, and they bring food and drinks. 
  • Drive around to see Christmas lights and decorations in your neighborhood. 
  • Go to visit Santa.
  • Join local community events.
  • Take a walk on the beach with your family (go to the nearby seaside areas).
  • Join a Christmas parade.
  • Have a picnic in the park if the weather is allowed. 
  • Have a fun game night with your family.
  • Sleep in and wake up whenever you want. There is no rush to do anything when you are supposed to relax during the holiday.
  • Do things you don’t have time to do on your workdays, such as reading an unfinished book or hiking. 
  • Volunteer in your community during the holiday season. Why not give your time, skill, and services to the people who are in need? It’s also a great way to teach your kids to appreciate what they already have and have fun with new friends.

As you can see, there are many possibilities to have a magical Christmas without spending money. 

The list goes on and on with your creativity. 

The whole point is to spend quality time with the people you care about and create memorable moments together.  

Make Extra Money When There Is No Money At Christmas

“I have no money for Christmas!”

“I need money for Christmas!”

I heard you.

Did you know you CAN earn some moneyfor Christmas to boost your purchasing power?

You would be amazed by what you could do to make some quick Christmas cash.

  • Look around your community to see if there is any seasonal work at local retail stores or be proactive in offering services in your neighborhood.

You can always find people who need help during this hectic December. 

  • Spare some time to do surveys online (Survey Junkie) every day for a month; you should be able to collect some extra money or FREE gift cards. 

The best thing is you can complete surveys whenever you want, even after Christmas.

Also read:

πŸ‘‰ Note: Christmas is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. You will have Christmas every year at the same time. 

Even if you haven’t saved money for this Christmas, you can prepare for the next one. 

Your Turn – How To Pay For Christmas With No Money

“How am I going to have a good Christmas with no money?”

I hope this post has given you some good ideas to have a joy-filled holiday when there is no money forChristmas this year.

Feel free to be as creative as you want and jingle all the way without breaking the bank.

Have a safe and happy Christmas! πŸ₯³ πŸŽ‰

What other money-saving tips do you have during the holiday season? Let me know in the comments.

If you find this post helpful, please share it with the people you love πŸ’• and follow Create Earn Live here on Pinterest.

No money at Christmas: Learn how to have a good Christmas with no money using these frugal ideas

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