The Ultimate Guide For Frugal Christmas Festivities : The Saturday Weekend Review #292

Ultimate Christmas Guide


Funding your Christmas Festivities doesnt have to be a terrible budgeting experience as long as you have a plan.

Over the past almost 8 years of blogging on Canadian Budget Binder Ive written so many finance articles related to Christmas festivities.

As our lives change whether it be from marriage, divorce, having children, family feuds or family deaths you should expect to see changes in Christmas festivities.

Remember The Past Create The Future

Memories of what used to be are captured in a photograph, video or perhaps may hold a special place in your heart.

For example, we used to budget over $1000 for Christmas presents at my in-laws house.

This was years before we had kids so it wasnt that hard to save for what I thought was the craziest gift-giving exchange.

You would find lots of gag gifts, serious gifts, educational gifts or things you wouldnt expect.

Not everything under the tree was brand new either and on occasion, wed play silly games.

Shopping at second-hand stores or collecting items from garage sales or online sources was not uncommon.

It wasnt until the grandchildren arrived that priorities for our Christmas festivities changed however, traditions did not.

The focus was shifted from buying Christmas gifts for adults to watching the kids eyes light up on Christmas morning.

We also had to reduce our Christmas expenses to accommodate the extra food we would buy by creating a holiday food budget called the Christmas Reserve Fund.

Then in 2017 that was the last of our family Christmas traditions as a death in the family erased a piece of our puzzle.

This year weve suffered another loss at the hands of disease and have to watch a loved one die a little day by day.

My point is that Christmas festivities will always change focus due to unforeseen circumstances or surprises.

Thats why I wanted to showcase this Ultimate Christmas Festivities Guide for everyone to appreciate and value what they have or dont have.

The Ultimate Christmas Festivities Guide For Canada

In our home, there are three things we always appreciate during the holidays

  1. Family
  2. Giving Back
  3. Family

Thats our holiday family sandwich and yes I realize I have family down twice.

Although some families can afford to budget higher amounts of money at Christmas the same concepts should apply.

My wife would give anything to have Christmas at her parents back the way it used to be.

Imagine, the wood fireplace heating the large principle rooms, chestnuts roasting and gifts for everyone under a heavily decorated inside and outside of the family home.

Even our dog had a few Christmas gifts to unwrap which turned into a yearly event outside in the snow.

That was the way it was with Christmas cookies and cakes on the 10ft dining room table for everyone to munch on.

Christmas Cookie Plater

My mother-in-law would keep them covered up and any time we were hungry wed grab something.

I guess thats where the extra 10lbs over Christmas and New Years came from, lol.

Christmas festivities for my family in the UK were far less detailed and celebrated as they are here.

I have come to appreciate the family values that Christmas offers and the importance of the season.

If youre reading this and have a family to celebrate around a table this Christmas appreciate what youve got.

As we get older little by little these things will disappear and new traditions will be created.

Moving forward I hope to continue adding informative blog posts to this Ultimate Christmas Festivities Guide on CBB.

You can also find our full list of traditional Christmas Baking Recipes in our Free Recipe Index.

How CBB Fans Finance Christmas

I asked this question on my CBB Facebook page and wanted to share the feedback I received by my readers.

Im currently looking at ways communities give back to those in need.

  • What programs specifically does your community have?
  • How do you get involved?
  • What do recipients get?
  • Have you volunteered or supported any Christmas events?

Also, Im looking for feedback on how you finance your holidays.

The local high schools adopt families at Christmas and buy gifts for them. Our church has Christmas trees with tags on them so that children in the community get a gift for Christmas.

Local firehalls collect toys for Sparkys Toy Drive. The Goodfellows sell newspapers at intersections to raise money for their programs. The schools also do can drives for the local food banks. Susan Drouillard

Our kids are all grown so we draw names, and each just buys for ONE person. Makes it so much easier! Each time we lay ground rules with everyones input, such as a dollar amount.

This year, were on a fixed income, one son is saving for a home down-payment, so weve decided on $100 limit on gifts, preferably just small thinks like candies, special tea, games, etc.

Our Christmas focuses more on just being together, we bring out the card table and play games and eat food and drink good coffee. Andrea Lev

My financing tip is that we have a per person budget with a little extra for expenses like friend-giving, with a pre-determined budget. We put money aside every week towards year round gift buying.

Salvation Army gets a little in every kettle I pass. My coworkers are adopting a family this year. When I bake, I put together a plate of goodies and deliver to a local homeless shelter. I also donate something like socks/mitts/hats. Our community has adopt-a-senior. Anne Russell

Cash only. And frankly we aim for memories over gifts these days Meredith Hicks

I put money away every month in a gift fund for Christmas and birthdays. Our area has a tree you pick a tag from and buy a child gift,kettles for Salvation Army. Elizabeth Whitmore

We have numerous organizations here who do adopt a family programs for Christmas. Each one runs a little bit different but each child gets something and usually they also get gift cards to purchase their own fixings for a meal.

All of these organizations work together and compare names on their lists so no one double dips and they can help as many families as they can.

Personally our Christmas budget is a sinking fund in our budget. We put a set amount aside every month to be spent on Christmas.

Meaning we have money in June if we see something that would be perfect for someone on our list. My husband and I were discussing our Christmas list yesterday and I was actually surprised what we already have purchased because of this method. Karyn Marie

It seems a bit grinchy but I think Christmas is way overblown. Talk to your family about toning it down. Bailey Olfert

The best way to finance the holidays is to start on December 26. Beginning in November is a bit too late. Karen Pennington

Our library has adopt a senior you go pick someone off the tree and then buy what they ask for and bring it back to be delivered.

Toys R US also has the tree of dreams to buy toys for children in need. Patricia Legault

Discussion: How do you finance your Christmas festivities?

Drop your comments below and Ill be sure to answer you back.


CBB Posts You May Have Missed

chicken bone broth

Below is a recap of the blog posts Ive published over the past two weeks so you can catch up on your reading.

How To Save Money In Canada

How to Save money In Canada post logo

Earlier this year I was approached by one of the biggest online loan companies in Canada, Smarter Loans.

I can appreciate a company that cares about the people that come to them for loan assistance.

You can do so much at the Smarter Loans website but the main attraction is the ability to compare.

Coming from the UK I would compare prices on just about everything I purchased because money was tight.

Canadas Loan Directory, Smarter Loans, helps you find out the top options and rates for any kind of loans and financing throughout Canada.

This helps save money.

Taking out personal or commercial financing for a well planned out investment opportunity can provide a good return and extra profit.

So, Smarter Loans wanted my expertise to be shared with their customers about how to save money in Canada.

You know me, my mind was spinning with ideas and I gladly agreed to help them out.

It took me weeks to write one of the biggest web guides of my blogging career to share my experiences.

Notice I didnt say expertise because experience and expertise are two different things.

Im the guy with a family who has lived through debt, job loss, new careers, returning to school at 30 and building a new life in Canada.

All of that experience coupled with my wifes upbringing in Canada has built CBB to where it is today.

Of course, my wonderful fans have been by my side since day 1 which I am thankful for.

A Guide For All Canadians Wanting To Save Money

Id appreciate if you all took a moment to read my How To Save Money Guide at Smarter Loans Canada.

In the guide you will find tonnes of tips and information about;

  • Making Money
  • Saving Money
  • Investing Money
  • Shopping
  • Planning
  • Discounts
  • Side Income
  • Employment
  • Reducing Debt and lots more.

If you do anything at all when it comes to learning about fiance do your research and learn from others experiences.

If its a loan you need and want to know what your best options and rates are then Smarter Loans is the perfect place to start.

Im open to all questions regarding my How To Save Money guide so please feel free to direct them my way.

Happy Holidays.


Mr. CBBs Motivational Corner

Debt Quote

Frugal Recipe Find

cinnamon roll cookies
soft cinnamon roll cookies

For the rest of 2019, I will be posting Holiday Treats to inspire you to bake at home for the Christmas season.

I typically do this every year especially because I love cookies and treats over the holidays.

Today I want to start with this buttery, Soft Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies from I Heart Nap Time blog. (cool name)

This cookie is a combination of cinnamon buns and sugar cookies so you get the best of both worlds.

On the top is a cream cheese frosting with a sprinkle of cinnamon for the perfect sweet touch.

What I love about this recipe is the simplicity of the ingredients as described below.

Most kitchen pantries that are stocked up for the Christmas holidays have these basic baking ingredients.


For the cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the frosting:

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 8 Tablespoons butter softened
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk or cream, as needed
  • additional cinnamon, for sprinkling

Frugal DIY Holiday Decor

DIY Branch Stocking Display For Christmas

Since we are on the Christmas theme for recipes I thought we should incorporate some DIY Christmas Decor.

Buying any type of decor for the holidays can be pricey unless you find a deal at a second-hand shop or garage sales in the summer.

Even sourcing deals on Facebook Marketplace or Kijiji might save you a few dollars.

Nothing says unique and expressive like creating decor with your two hands.

Lets see what Ive found this week to showcase for all of you DIY CBB fans at home.

Id love to see your DIY creations so please send them my way via email ( and Ill showcase them on the blog in December.

Kristina Lynne a Canadian design and lifestyle blogger created this amazing Scandinavian Christmas.

I love how she details everything included and one particular photo stood out and that was the DIY Branch Stocking Display from the

What an expressive way to make a blank canvas wall stand out for the holidays.

I love it and its very easy and inexpensive to make.

Lets have a look at the tools and products you will need.

What youll need:

  • stockings
  • branch
  • the greenery (we used eucalyptus)
  • floral wire
  • scissors
  • fishing line or string
  • hammer & small nails

As you can see theres not too much to making this Branch Stocking Display and a fun project for the family.

Home and Blog Update

Blog Update

Honestly, theres not too much to report in terms of what has been happening with the blog design and update.

Weve done a few bits in the background that you wont notice but are still working on updating a couple of my pages.

Im hoping by the end of 2019 or into the new year we can have that completed.

Over the Christmas holidays, Ill be working on the 2020 Canadian Budget Binder monthly budget download.

My goal is to update the excel spreadsheet with new colours and that Canadian Budget Binder logo since it has changed.

If theres something youd like to see added or changed on Canadian Budget Binder please send me an email.

Im always open to suggestions.

Home Update

This month weve had 4 letters home from our sons school that head lice were found in his classroom.

It almost seemed like every day there was a child reporting headlice and we were on high alert.

Thankfully, so far weve kept away from the lice and continue to spray his hair each morning with water and tea tree oil.

Like always at the end of the year our monthly bills seem to be increasing but mostly utility costs.

This means we have to work on adjusting our monthly expenses by the new budget numbers.

With Christmas fast approaching we have been putting the finishing touches on tidying up the in-laws house to get it ready for sale.

It has been an overwhelming experience for everyone involved since there was so much stuff to get rid of.

Were hoping this will be one of the last weekends we will have to make our way up to clean apart from the big furniture.

Folks, minimize the stuff you have at home as you go along so you dont burden your children when you pass away.

Thats all for this week Im afraid. See you all here again in 2 weeks just before Christmas.


Saturday Search Term Giggles

Every week I get tens of thousands of people who visit Canadian Budget Binder because they searched online and found my blog.

Yes, I can see your search terms and sometimes they are funny.

  • If You Dont Care I Dont Care I suppose it depends on the situation as to how you perceive this.
  • Canadian Account Status Upon Death No Longer Yours, haha!
  • What Does Weekend Mean In Relationships? No Longer Just About You.
  • Im Horrible Budgeting My Husbands Money Shouldnt that be Our money?
  • Googale- Haha, you mean Google. The sad part is that they found my blog using it. Lol

If you see the acronym (SIC) next to a word that means Ive copied the text exactly as it was typed in Google and it has spelling errors

Thats all for this week my friends, see you again in 2 weeks for the next Saturday Weekend Review!


The post The Ultimate Guide For Frugal Christmas Festivities : The Saturday Weekend Review #292 appeared first on Canadian Budget Binder.

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