Creative Christmas Ideas When Money Is Tight

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Stack of CashWhen my husband had a heart attack in April, it thinned our already stretched finances, (it’s been a challenging three years), even more. However, I am not one to let life knock me down. As a matter of fact, I decided to get creative versus allowing a few hard knocks to beat me down. That’s how I came up with this list of creative Christmas ideas when money is tight. I only have one request — don’t tell my family, I don’t want to spoil any surprises.


Creative Christmas Ideas When Money is Tight

  • Crazy Love Directional Christmas Story: You can use the Crazy Love Directional Christmas PDF, or write your own from scratch. But however you craft your story, have your family members bring a $10 or less, unisex, wrapped gift for the game. Stand in a circle, and every time the words right, left, back, or forward are spoken from the story, everyone passes their gift in that direction. When right or left is said, each person should hand off to the person on that side of them. When they hear back, the gift goes back to the person who had it last. Each time forward is said, pass the gift to the person across from you.
  • Blessing Cookies: Make your own fortune cookies with special messages just for the person you’re gifting inside. Instructions here.
  • The Story of Us: Write a condensed version of your special moments with the gift recipient, the traits or talents you especially appreciate in them, or a shared dream. How did you meet? Did you watch them enter the world?
  • Themed Baskets: Are fun, specialty baskets your bag? Find one for every theme, occasion, gender, or group on the 50 Themed Christmas Baskets page. If you have Dollar stores of any brand in your area, with these ideas, you can craft a special gift with very little dough.
  • Willy Wonka Golden Ticket: Make up your own golden ticket based on something your recipient likes. Include a note about why you want them to have this. Research and write out economical ways to visit one of their dream vacations.
  • Money Balloons: This is another unique twist on giving money. Place folded up bills, coins, and appreciation notes inside un-aired balloons, then blow them up no more than a few hours before your special someones will open their gifts.
  • Research Family Origins and Crests: One year, I looked up the origin of family last names and family crests for some special people in my life. I typed the information on heavy weight paper, added an image of the family crest, then framed them for hanging. Many holiday seasons later, a couple of people still have theirs displayed. 
  • 15 Creative Ways to Give Money or Gift Cards: Shh, don’t tell my grands, but I’m all over the McDonald’s french fry concept. So many cool and creative ideas for giving money here.
  • Gratitude Plate or Mug: Take a plain, white dinner plate or coffee mug, one that can be baked in an oven, and write a message of thanksgiving on it with a permanent marker. Bake 30 minutes at 150 degrees. It’s the gift that will keep on giving, year-round.
  • Microwaveable Heat Packs: I’ve got cold hands and a warm heart. On frigid winter evenings, my cool tootsies or stiff back would love these hand-crafted microwave heat packs as foot or back warmers.
  • God’s Fingerprint: This is the priciest thing on my list at $66.00 U.S., currently, but in my mind, it’s also the coolest. I had to include this super inspirational idea.
  • Extra Ideas: When you check out this budget-friendly gift idea site, you’ll see a couple of concepts already mentioned, along with several I haven’t.

What’s your favorite idea from my list? Do you have a creative concept you’d like to share?

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Anita Agers Brooks motivates 21st century women and men to dynamic break-throughs, blending mind, heart, body, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, Certified Personality Trainer, and Common Trauma Expert.

A multi-published, award-winning author, Anita’s titles reach a wide range of audiences in the Christian and general marketplaces. Her books include the Amazon Best Seller and Readers’ Favorite International Award Winner, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, Barbour Publishing. Her latest book, Exceedingly: Spiritual Strategies for Living On Purpose, With Purpose, and for an Abundant Purpose, releases 2019 with Kregel Publishing. You can find her titles at most bookstores and online retailers.

Anita fulfills her mission to help people make fresh starts with fresh faith, sharing hope and healing from the page and the stage. Connect and keep up with Anita on social media or at Email for more information or to inquire about having her speak to your group.

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