How To Buy Christmas Gifts For Kids On A Budget

If you’re unsure about how to buy Christmas gifts for kids because you don’t have the money, or you just really need to save money during the holidays, I’ve got you covered.

I’ve been there, where Christmas had to be skimpy and we just had to make the best of our situation. I understand not having the money to make Christmas the big miracle you wish you could.

Here are some practical things to consider!

Christmas gifts for kids on a budget with Santa and Rudolph

1. Start Planning Early

The earlier you begin to plan for Christmas, the less stressful the holiday season will be. Several big events occur before Christmas that allow you the opportunity to shop for Christmas gifts for kids on a budget.

This includes sales that occur on major US shopping days such as:

  • New Year’s Day (January)
  • Memorial Day (May)
  • Amazon Prime Day (October)
  • Black Friday (November)
  • Cyber Monday (November)

You can take advantage of some of these sales months before Christmas.

Planning early also allows you to save throughout the year and take advantage of programs that help spread the joy of Christmas far and wide!

2. Save For Christmas Throughout The Year

When you save for Christmas throughout the year, it is less stressful. You’d be surprised how much a little money put aside regularly adds up!

This Christmas savings plan can help you save up some money in the last several weeks before Christmas.

To save money for Christmas year round, I suggest opening a separate bank account. A special piggy bank or even a shoe box would also work.

Decide how much you are reasonably able to save per paycheck, and begin doing so. If you have direct deposit, definitely open a separate savings account and have them deposit the decided amount straight to your Christmas savings account.

Otherwise, withdraw the money as soon as you get paid and put it in your physical savings bank.

If you save just $10 per paycheck, you can save $240 per year for Christmas, assuming that you get paid twice a month for all 12 months of the year. If you are only able to save $2 per paycheck, that’s still $48 that you can spend on Christmas gifts guilt-free!

Once you get into the habit of saving money, you’ll discover how to live cheaply and ways to lower your expenses that will allow you to save more.

3. Think Outside Of The Box

You’re wondering how to buy Christmas gifts for kids, but maybe you should be wondering what Christmas gifts to buy for kids instead!

Many things cost less than gifts that you can give your children for Christmas.

If you have multiple children, you could also consider buying a joint gift the whole family can enjoy, such as a new board game!

Also, consider gifts that are not toys. Maybe practical things you’ll need to buy anyway, such as clothes, shoes, and accessories.

You can also make Christmas magical with a unique experience at home or some inexpensive and thoughtful homemade gifts.

How about having an advent calendar where every night you do something fun and mostly free? Drawing Christmas pictures. Making Christmas ornaments. Hot chocolate and books. Homemade sock snowmen. Visiting neighborhoods with extravagant Christmas displays.

There are so many things you can do to make the holidays special without expensive gifts!

4. Skip The Christmas Tree

Did you know that the average price of a Christmas Tree is $77? Some spend a little less than that, but many spend way more!

Skip the Christmas tree and you will automatically cut back on the money that can be used for actual gifts. You won’t have to buy ornaments and other decorations. Although some of these are relatively cheap, the costs add up fast!

If you really want a tree-like thing, make a topiary or some sort of crafty DIY Christmas tree.

But piling the gifts in the Christmas tree corner, without a tree is perfectly fine!

5. Sign Up For Charities

If things are really tight, and you’re feeling like a bad parent. Stop, just stop. Instead, start signing up for the help you need!

There are many charities out there that would be happy to help put a smile on your children’s faces!

Here are just a few:

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program provides Christmas gifts for children whose families are struggling to make the holiday special. They purchase toys and clothes for the kids on their gift lists.

The Salvation Army also has other programs to help struggling families such as food assistance, bill pay assistance, and hosting Christmas events.

Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps children with life-threatening medical conditions experience a miracle during the holidays or any time of the year.

If you have a child that qualifies, this foundation will make sure their Christmas is extra special.

Toys For Tots

Toys For Tots is run by the US Marine Corp Reserve. Their mission is to make Christmas special by helping to provide Christmas gifts for kids whose parents cannot afford to do so themselves.

Each year Toys for Tots makes Christmas magical for kids around the world.

United Way Christmas assistance programs

United Way works with many local charities to provide Christmas presents for kids. This is the perfect organization to get in touch with if you are struggling to afford Christmas gifts this year. This is because they have great connections and collaborate with multiple charities.

United Way will be able to point you in the right direction so your kids have an exciting Christmas day!

Local Churches & Outreach Centers

Local churches, women’s outreach, and other local charities will have plenty of information about where you can get help with Christmas gifts for your kids. Some schools also have a list of resources, so definitely check with the office.

When I searched my county, I found 12 organizations that help parents with low incomes figure out Christmas shopping on a budget for kids.

Some programs will help with food and bills so that you can find a little wiggle room in your budget to surprise your children on Christmas Day. Others provide holiday meals, toys, clothes, and/or games.

Each charity provides what it can for families based on the donations they receive.

Final Thoughts

There are multiple ways to make Christmas special. If you’ve been worrying about how to buy Christmas gifts for kids while you’re on a budget, hopefully, this helped take some stress off of your plate.

Remember, there’s no shame in not being able to afford Christmas this year. What really matters is spending time with family and showing each other how much you love and appreciate each other.

Family time can be the main event. And that makes for the most magical Christmas!

Guest Post By: Critical Mama


How many presents should a child get for Christmas?

There isn’t a set number of gifts that you should buy kids for Christmas. In fact, you don’t have to spoil your kids on Christmas to make them feel special. My post will show practical ways to enjoy the holidays and celebrate the true meaning of the season.

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