Frugal Christmas: Skipping the Tree and Presents This Year

Madoline and I have decided that in light of the economy, we’re not going to get a Christmas tree or presents for each other this year. Since being on our own, we have passed many a Christmas without a tree and found that we can enjoy it just as much. Now that we’re grown up, we can feel Christmassy without having a tree, and not have to deal with taking it down and recycling, something we’ve always hated to do since we were kids, when the Holidays are over.

Our Reasons for Not Getting a Tree

  • A Christmas Tree is a luxury, not a necessity.
  • No friends or family coming over to visit because we live thousands of miles from everyone.
  • We really don’t like taking the tree down after the Holidays (one year, we left it up until April.)
  • We would rather spend the money on something that lasts longer.
  • We can still make Christmas special in our own way.

How We’re Making Christmas Special Without a Tree and Presents

  • We can still put ornaments and decorations up around the house to make it festive.
  • We might use the money saved from buying a tree on some new DVDs that we can watch together on Christmas Day (movies are one of our passions).
  • We’ll make presents (toys) and bake biscuits for our dogs.
  • We’ll spend the whole day together – hanging out with our dogs, watching movies and playing games.
  • We’ll listen to and sing Christmas music.
  • We’ll call our grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins and talk to them on the phone.
  • We’ll still have a special dinner – probably turkey or something else really good.

I do love having a Christmas tree in the house. I love the smell. I love turning the lights, mobile carousel ornaments and music on every morning. I love wrapping presents. I love sneaking them under the tree and making Madoline guess what they are. I love everything about Christmas.

But not having this every year will make other Christmases when we do have these things all the more special. And the peace of mind of having a little extra money in the bank in the coming months outweighs the few weeks of luxury of having a tree and presents. We’re grown up now and don’t need these things to make Christmas special. That’s not to say we won’t do it all the first year we feel the coast is clear. ;)

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2 thoughts on “Frugal Christmas: Skipping the Tree and Presents This Year”

  1. Sounds reasonable to me. We don’t do the Xmas tree thing either for all the reasons listed.

    Ever thought about a faux Christmas tree? Could always spray some Pine-smelling Room Freshner… :P

  2. First of all I have to say something that might not sound so profound, but it is, so pay attention:

    Christmas comes every year on the 25th of December.

    Now that you know that, prepare for it.

    If it comes every year, buy a tree that will cover your need for a tree for many years to come. There are some really great quality artificial trees out there that will last long enough to be passed to the next generation and maybe beyond. And they don’t look like toilet bowl brushes. Even the cheap crappy trees have at least a 10 year lifespan. The money you will save over the years will make the decision well worth it. And when times get tough, you will already have your tree.

    And if you can’t afford one this year, make a tree…grab some dead branches and paint them white and stick them in a bucket of stones and decorate that. (maybe the after Christmas sales will yield one cheap enough for next year)

    Ornaments are reusable. pack them carefully and you can use them year after year and even pass them down to future generations.

    Trees don’t need lights. It’s cheaper and safer if you skip them. They are the only thing that needs replacing, for safety reasons, and your tree can look just as lovely without them. Skipping the lights means you will never become a statistic among those that have died or lost everything they owned in a holiday related fire caused by shorted out tree lights. It also means you won’t see a holiday related increase in your electric bill.

    Since Christmas comes every year on the same day, you have a full year to shop and craft for it. Not all gifts need to be store bought and a nice handmade gift with planning and thought towards the person you will be giving it to can mean more than anything you could possibly buy.

    Now be honest with yourself and admit that you were unprepared and that is the real reason why you are giving up established family tradition.

    Money really has nothing to do with it. It never does.

    I am dirt poor and haven’t bought a thing this season for Christmas. But I will have a fully decorated tree and gifts, and my family will spend Christmas Eve decorating the tree with music playing, and all the traditions we have enjoyed every single year for the last 24 years…with our 24 year old tree, and all the ornaments we have collected and made over the years, some of which were handed down through generations and mark significant events in our family’s history.

    The music will be the top 100 Christmas songs from my daughter’s first Christmas, recorded from the radio 22 years ago.

    And there will be plenty of gifts under the tree, mostly handmade stuff crafted from “recycled” things, but some store bought stuff, too, purchased throughout the year. I am usually finished with all my holiday shopping before Columbus Day, and this year was no exception.

    And I’ll be keeping my eyes on the sales in the coming year, as I always do, for stuff to start stocking the gift bin for next year.

    Because Christmas comes every year on the 25th of December.

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