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Thrifty Christmas Hacks for a Cheaper Holiday Season

Chestnuts are roasting on an open fire, which can only mean one thing: Christmas is nearly here. It's the time of year we're supposed to spend with family and friends, but usually we spend it stressing out over what to buy everyone on our list without going over budget, or shopping for decorations or holiday-friendly food items.

Christmastime can be fun, but after shopping in overcrowded malls and dealing with bumper to bumper traffic, sometimes you can end up as the average Scrooge. I mean, who actually roasts chestnuts anyways?

Instead of pulling your hair out and yelling "BAH, HUMBUG!" every chance you get, enjoy your holiday with everyone's favorite word: free. Avoid freaking out over last-minute shopping by saving some money with items around your house, and maintain sanity while decorating with a few tips to ease the burden.

1. Chip Bags to Gift Wrap

Unless you have the patience to wrap your presents for hours upon hours, chances are your gift-wrapping game can use some work. Instead of spending money on cheesy wrapping paper, use the inside of a chip bag and a ribbon to make a beautiful gift wrap while remaining lazy. The best part is that you get a snack out of the deal...win-win!

Image by Jen Luftinger/Things Under the Table

2. Cookie Boxes

Inevitably, there are people in our lives are hard to shop for, but just about everyone loves homemade cookies. The trick with cookies for gifts, however, is the presentation. By taking an empy aluminum foil box and lining the cookies inside, you can secure your sweets in a fashionable order. Just paint or decoupage the box before putting your cookies in, put some tissue paper inside, and tie with a string!

Image via Aunt Peaches

This is yet another way to get out of actually wrapping while having a pretty looking package, and you get to flex your artistic muscles as well as your baking prowess. And if you think they'll be in the box for awhile, try adding a tortilla or some bread to keep them fresher longer.

3. Christmas Tree Napkins

If you're hosting a holiday party or have that one in-law that's always one-upping your crafting efforts, you can get pretty creative without breaking the bank on fancy pre-made decorations. In this case, you can help your party look festive with the art of napkin folding. All you'll need is a double-sided napkin and a little time. This is work fine with some sturdy paper napkins as well.

4. Tangle-Free Christmas Lights

Christmas lights are simultaneously the best and worst part of the holiday season. While they look amazing, they're a hassle to put up. Before you even decorate with them, however, you usually have to spend hours upon hours untangling those suckers. While it may not help you this year, when you take them down, store your lights by wrapping them around a piece of cardboard. Just use scissors to create divots and add a handle to keep your future Christmases tangle-free!

Image by Chris Gardner/Curbly

It's cheaper than buying plastic holders or even storage reels, because cardboard is pretty much free wherever you can find some.

5. Fuller Tree

If you're serious about Christmas, you know how important it is to find the perfect tree. Some years your options are pretty slim and you end up with a tree that looks like it came out of Charlie Brown. But the simple fact is, the fuller the tree, the more expensive it is.

Instead of buying an over-priced tree that will only sit in your living room for a month until you turn it into kindling, buy a less expensive tree, then make it look fuller by adding fake pine garland. You can also use green tinsel or left over branches from the tree lot.

Images via Fake It Frugal

If you want to hear sleigh bells jingling without your wallet ring-ting-tingling, doing whatever you can to save money during the most wonderful time of the year is vital. The more you save on gift-wrapping and decorations, the more you have to spend on family and friends. Or, Treat.Yo.Self.—after all, why wouldn't you give a gift to your favorite person in the world?

More Thrifty Holiday Hacks for a Cheaper Christmas:

Cover image via Aunt Peaches and The King of Random

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