The most affordable Christmas ideas ready for you to use! Save time, Money and have fun making Great memories!

So Christmas is just around the corner and you don't have a plan for Christmas.

Well, for all the cheap people out there, including me... here are some fun, affordable ways to keep Christmas alive and fun while doing it in an affordable fashion.

Remember, set guidelines with friends and family. Set the expectation up front. In our family we do not do a christmas gift exchange but we do the White elephant gift exchange.  Christmas is not about a gift it is about the Gift of Jesus and his birth. In celebration, we ought not worry about getting and worry more about giving. Now, giving does not have to be expensive, elaborate or over the top. Some suggestions for keeping this real could include:

#1 Write a hand written letter to your Grandmother, parents and each of your children. Tell them things that you love about them, how you value them as an individual and why Christmas is so important to you. Don't miss out on the opportunity to share your testimony of the Truthfulness of Christ and the Reason behind the season.

#2 Don't do a gift exchange instead have a get together like Thanksgiving. You supply the plates, dishes, drinks and meat and everyone else brings a side dish. During your get together have the children role play the 3 wise men, or someone deliver the story about the Birth of Jesus. When you are done with your meal and go around the table and ask each person to share a special Christmas memory. After dinner and everything is all cleaned up, invite everyone to tape a piece of paper on their back. Give everyone 10 minutes to go through out the room and write a special love note on the back of each persons back. The guests can not read their notes, and messages until they leave to go home. The rest of the night everyone gets to read each others messages and appreciate each other.

#3 If there are small children you need to buy for, try buying you items on, facebook garage sale sites, or even on craigslist. You can get some good deals if you search and pay close attention. If you are the type of person that just has to get out and shop, don't forget the layaway programs that most stores have. Put some money down now, and pay in a couple of weeks.  Make sure you have a budget and stick to it! You will be glad you did.

#4 Do not use your credit cards to make memories. Some of the best memories I know are when people stop by with cookies and a christmas note.

#5 Instead of giving cash, consider gift cards. Groupon is a great place to buy one and get another for half off etc. Think out side of the box!  Walgreens has some nice gift cards that are handy. For the teenager consider a movie gift card, or itunes gift card.

#6 If you can not afford anything give the your own gift cards. Create a booklet out of construction paper and write down gifts that you can give through out the year. Examples may include but limited to a Free back rub, Free day of laundry, Free car wash, Free house cleaning, Free garage clean out, and so forth. Get your creativity going! You will have fun through out the year asking yourself why you offered what you did and you both will giggle while you work!

#7 Easy ways to make home made christmas cards is using last years cards, cutting off the message and using the front of cards. Then punch holes in the side of the card and attach another piece of paper. Write your special message inside.

#8 Offer to clean your family and friends home for the Christmas holiday and tell them that is not all! You will be back after the first to help them put away the Christmas decorations. Everyone loves help with that!

#9 Offer to help your friends and family gift wrap there presents. Tell them to purchase the supplies and as there gift from you, you will gift wrap all of there packages and address all there envelops for the holidays. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!

#10 If you are into the baking, make cookies, small loaves of breads, cookie mixes in jars, and make homemade cards with a special message of love.

#11 Make your own calendars with fun pictures from Facebook and give them away at Christmas

#12 Go to and make your own family album and give the books away at Christmas

#13 Go to the Dollar Tree to get your stocking suffers, they have great stuff at a great price.

#14 Buy things that are on sale thorugh out the year and have a Christmas Closet. It is a lot easier to buy through out the year instead of on the week before Christmas.

#15 If you are into books, have your own book exchange, if you are into jewelry have your own jewelry exchange and so forth. These are fun ways to celebrate Christmas with out spending much money. Send out invites, have a specific night, offer light refreshments and play holiday music. Everyone will have fun and you will love your new trade!

#16 Progressive Dinner Start Dinner at a specific time, at a specific date. Each Guest has the group over at there home for a specific part of the meal. For example, the first home you would have appetizers, the second home a salad, the third home you would have the meal, and the last home you would have dessert. It is a fun way to celebrate the season, enjoy Christmas cheer and each other!

I hope these fun and affordable ideas will keep you busy making some of the best holiday memories.

Shelli Novotny, Associate Broker, Prudential Ambassador Real Estate 402.250.7042

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