Planning all of the gifts and every inch of décor, plus making every last morsel of food from scratch, has the potential for great fun but it can also be a huge time and energy drain. Plus, we’re out of practice! Here are some holiday hacks to help you make merry during the holiday season without losing money – or your wits.
Time and/or Money Saving Holiday Hacks
Organizing the ornaments, struggling with garland and bows… something’s gotta give. Rather than forego decorating altogether, do one main component, like the tree, with the family but then budget for some help with the rest of the house, inside and out. Many design students or decorators who are just starting out would love the opportunity to build their portfolio and decorate your home for a modest fee along with some topnotch photos. Ask around at any local design schools or shops for leads, or post the opportunity on a local job board. The best holiday hacks save time and money but in this case, time is money.
Neat Bulk Buys
When you’ve got a bunch of Secret Santa gifts or stockings to fill, get creative with your bulk buys. After Dec. 1, advent calendars are often discounted, so opt for some that contain a variety of individually wrapped treats, from chocolate to tea, or the self-care options from places like Body Shop or Sephora. You can also buy Burt’s Bees lip balm in a multi-pack, hair claw clips in bulk packages, or a package of on-trend markers for reasonable prices at Amazon, Costco, or Indigo. Whichever way you go, divvy up the contents amongst the individual gifts for a fun array of single-size products, or include a wonderful assortment in a fun tote bag for a larger gift.
Save time and money by sourcing frozen breakfast treats to bake up fresh on a special holiday morning. Grocery stores have frozen croissants and baguettes (Ace Bakery has delicious offerings), and many local bakeries have hopped on the trend to offer gourmet bake-at-home cinnamon buns and other pastries ready to be popped into your oven. No prepping from scratch, plus you can skip the long store line-ups right around the holidays by buying in advance and keeping the items in the freezer. Bonus – way less expensive than buying the items individually from the patisserie.
Gift, Bond, and Pamper
Between glamming it up for holiday parties, looking for the perfect gift, and bonding with pals, there’s a lot to do – so why not combine it all? You can treat your besties to a mani-pedi or a make-up application as their holiday present. Enjoy the catch-up chat and being in each other’s company, all while getting ready for a night out.
Thrift Shop Holiday Decor
This year’s unpredictable supply chains might make it challenging to source the usual twinkly holiday décor, but thrift stores already have some real treasures in stock. You never know who might have needed to downsize their holiday ornaments and other embellishments – there’s something for everyone at a price that won’t hurt the wallet, plus it’s better for the environment. As far as holiday hacks go, this is a good one.
There are so many little jobs this time of year that take up a lot of precious family time, but there are also lots of high schoolers who would like to earn a bit of cash without committing to a part-time job. Ask friends and family if they know of any students interested in odd jobs, like walking the dog, wrapping presents, or shovelling the driveway (posting in a community Facebook group can also be a good way to find help). You get some time back, they make money, and you can even through in a glowing reference as an extra holiday treat.
Wrapping Paper Craft Hack
Skip the expensive rolls of colourful paper this year and buy a whack of plain light brown butcher paper. Have a festive craft time drawing fun holiday shapes on the paper with a white marker or gel pen. It’s a great family activity, you save money on paper, and it produces that cool Scandinavian neutral colour palette perfect for photos and appreciated by the tweens and teens.