How to Get In the Christmas Spirit (Frugally)

I worked at a mall for years prior to moving, and let me tell you: working in a mall at Christmas time can really suck the holiday cheer right out of you. People are grouchy, malls typically have one Christmas album that they play over and over again (one year they played the same 20 holiday songs well into February), and rushing around helping people pick out gifts is exhausting.

Pair all of that with the fact that I haven't had a proper Christmas break in 7 years with school and work constantly weighing on my mind and I turned in to a bit of a Grinch.

But this year? It's going to be different. I have a few vacation days around Christmas so that I have a full week (!!) off, I don't work in a mall and I don't have to worry about studying for finals and handing in term papers.

This year I've been trying my hardest to get into the Christmas spirit. But since the holidays are so inherently expensive with secret santas and Christmas work parties, hosting and gift giving, the extra driving and events, I have been trying to be frugal. Here is how I have gotten in the Christmas spirit:

how to get into the christmas spirit

Listen to Christmas Music

There's nothing like getting in the holiday mood with some Christmas music. Around here, there is a station that plays Christmas music 24/7 starting in November, so when I'm waiting in traffic I like to put on a few Christmas songs.

This usually puts me in a festive mood really quickly.

Take a Walk

One of my favorite things to do with a friend in high school around the holidays was walk around the neighborhood and see all of the pretty Christmas lights.

We'd pick our favorite house and rate the decorations as we wandered through the streets.

We loved seeing the windows all lit up with Christmas trees. We would usually reserve this activity for a snowy evening, and we always came back full of holiday cheer.

Decorate Your Own House

I find decorating to be exhausting, most of the time. Other times I'm fine with it.

It's not something that really puts me in the holiday spirit but I've heard some feedback from friends and colleagues that decorating their homes really does it for them.

I guess if I had rum and eggnog, I might be able to tolerate it more!

I usually start off with lots of gusto, get halfway through the decorating and want to jump ship. But you may not.

Watch Your Favorite Christmas Movie

This usually does it for me - watching my favorite Christmas movie (Elf, for the record) never fails to make me excited for the holidays.

There's something about curling up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate or tea that makes me want to join in on all of the festivities.

Plus, assuming that you already own the movie, this is completely free!

Do Some Christmas Baking

I'm really not big on baking, so when I do bake, it's usually for a reason.

Pulling out the cookie cutters and making some sugar or shortbread cookies is frugal and is also a great way to spread the holiday cheer, assuming you don't want to eat the entire batch yourself.

I try to give some away when I bake, because I don't need the cookies lying around the house calling my name. Baking and giving are both things that help with putting you in the Christmas spirit.


How do you get in the Christmas spirit?


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29 thoughts on “How to Get In the Christmas Spirit (Frugally)

  1. Jamie Dickinson

    Elf is an insanely good choice for best Christmas film. So much so that it gets watched several times throughout the year!

  2. I'm not the biggest fan of Christmas, but I love Christmas baking! All the little sugary treats that find their way into my belly. So good!

    I also like taking a drive around all the streets that do heaps of cool Christmas lights on their houses. That's probably my favorite bit.

  3. I think I would go nuts if I worked in a mall at all, let alone at Christmas time. We love Elf as well, as well as National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Our favorite thing to do during the Holidays is to go look at Christmas lights.

  4. Haha I do all of the above! I love Christmas music, some get sick of it really quick but not me. I have to decorate today, I've been trying to get it done for over a week but stuff keeps coming sister and I have a HUGE baking weekend every December, which is this weekend....Yummy!

  5. I love walking around to see the lights, and the big stores always have incredible displays. Department stores usually have amazing Christmas tree, I know it's hard not to shop when you are in but well worth a visit.

  6. I am not a fan of Christmas, but I'm finding it even harder this year to get into the Christmas spirit. Maybe because it's been mild and raining, and an a life-long resident of Ontario I associate Christmas with heaps of snow?

    I live alone, and have no intention of decorating my apartment as I'll be leaving town for Christmas anyways, but maybe I could dig out some old lights to hang in the window and watch "Love, Actually" to see if that helps?

  7. I usually do a bit of Christmas baking and give batches of sweets away. Brian and I also watch Christmas movies occasionally.

  8. Kurt @ Money Counselor

    Though it's not really about Christmas, the movie "It's a Wonderful Life" always puts me in right mood for the season.

  9. K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks!

    Definitely Christmas parang music gets me in the mood to celebrate along with all the baked goods like sponge cake, blackcake and sweetbread, and drinking sorrel and ginger beer. These are some of the traditional goods consumed during the holidays by those of us in the Caribbean.

  10. Your idea about walking around the neighborhood hits home with me. Great times doing that at night. Around here it's actually warm, too, so it's easy to do, but doesn't have that same feel I had in Michigan with the holiday chill.

  11. My favourite Christmas things are baking and decorating the house. So many lights! My favourite Christmas movie is A Christmas Story but I do love Rudolph

  12. The Happy Homeowner

    Love this list! I do most of these, especially the movies, decorating and baking. Elf is my favorite, along with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation 🙂

  13. Christmas movies are a must for me, and it helps that my dad literally owns every one in existence. I also used to work at a mall and man was Christmas time madness! So glad that chapter in my life is over!

  14. Going to the mall is Christmas cheer sabotage! To get into the spirit, I like listening to Christmas music too. I think what else helps is to go someplace tranquil with Christmas lights, like a brightly lit downtown area, etc.

  15. Working in a mall would kill anyone's christmas spirit for sure. I once worked in a record store for holiday help and I think it killed my tolerance for Christmas music completely! BTW Elf is my favorite Christmas movie too-and usually it's on TV every year for free as well. I'm not very christmasy, but I think lights and scented candles are nice. And I probably would enjoy baking if I wasn't in danger of eating all my creations.

  16. I`ve done three of the things on your list. I`ve listened to christmas music, the very first morning in december, I`ve walked around downtown watching all the pretty lights and decorations,and yesterday I decorated our apartment. I always bake christmas cookies and watch movies, but they`ll have to wait until next week when I go visit my family in Spain.
    one thing I always love doing is go to a Christmas Market just to walk around and look at all the pretty things, and perhaps buy a hot cup of cocoa and taste free samples of christmas cookies. I also try to stay away from any stores in december. it sure gets cranky in there, I didnt know christmas could be so hostile!

  17. I don't usually do this, but this year... I"m listneing to Chrsitmas music in the truck betwen jobs sites! It's crazy! I've never done such a thing before because I think the tunes are lame. But this year for some reason it's been really nice. And now I come home and we got all our lights and tree up -- it's pretty awesome.

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  21. Aahhh... I did almost all of the above, and I still cannot get into my Christmas mode. I think it is either too early for me or it is that nasty cold i have for the last week or so. I am going to see te night lights this weekend. I hope it helps! 🙂

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