The festive season is here and it is a great opportunity to spend quality time with family or friends…

AND you don’t have to break the bank in the process. If you are already in a tight spot moneywise, you can still create memorable memories this Christmas by using these frugal ideas and thrifty traditions.

“Remember to be creative and resourceful this December or else you might be stuck with a very dry January 2020 month,” says Carla Oberholzer (debt adviser at DebtSafe).

Here are ten frugal ideas or traditions to consider to keep Christmas festivities within your budget:

1.     Festive season snacks:

Bake cookies for ‘Santa’ (aka the kids and family) with ingredients you already have available in the pantry and cupboard.

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2.     Christmas sing-a-long:

Go Christmas carolling in your neighbourhood or area and let everybody in your street (that is available) join in the frugal fun.

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3.     Christmas video:

Let each family member or friend make a short video of something they remember from a previous Christmas or share a hilarious memory of a loved one. Add all the videos to a folder on your computer, phone or laptop and show it to everybody on Christmas day. How is that for fun and frugal?

4.     Perform a Christmas play:

Try to find or write a short script and let the kids and older family members or friends join in the fun. It is not necessary to let everybody rehearse beforehand, you can be the narrator and let each person perform according to the script as the story goes along. Try to make the script fun. Use materials and items for décor or costumes that are already available.

5.     Love your neighbour initiative:

Volunteer together as a family to go and hand out sandwiches or affordable snacks/candy at shelters or centres close to your home. Hint: you may have a lot of leftovers available the day after Christmas to do just that.

6.     Design your own game of family history:

Learn/teach everyone (young and old) about your family history. Everyone can sure learn a little bit more from where the family originated.

7.     Family tree chart

Alternatively, when you do not have much time left to design a game (and you have kids), let them design and make a family tree chart instead. This is a reflective tribute to your ancestors and the ideal opportunity to teach the kids about their history while having frugal fun.

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8.     More presence NOT presents:

Change the focus of your ‘Christmas thinking’ and stay away from too much STUFF. Christmastime should be about spending quality time around the breakfast table or braai and NOT about how many presents are under the tree.

9.     Small gifts:

IF you want to give a ‘teeny present’ to someone, what about Santa stockings filled with affordable candy or gifts?

10.  Food traditions:

A Christmas breakfast, lunch or an afternoon roast/braai has a zillion keeping-it-frugal potential. Allow yourself to save on the Christmas feast and avoid spending all day in the kitchen. What about using the ingredients and items you have available? It is also a great idea to let everybody contribute to the meals and traditional dishes on Christmas day as well as during the duration of their stay. Family and friends can bring their homemade dishes and share some traditions and history through the food they bring along.

Make this Christmas one to remember with some frugal ideas and traditions to give it that ‘homey’ feel.