Zero Dollar Christmas Update

by Katy on December 24, 2014 · 13 comments

Zero Dollar Christmas

So how did I do with my Zero Dollar Christmas?

Great . . . until a few days ago.

I needed to buy pajama pants for my teenage sons and I still had some holes in my list. For one, I hardly had anything for my mother and step-father.

I can’t disclose what I actually bought, (family members read this blog!) but I can at least defend that all of my purchases were either consumable or bought used. I’ll run an in-depth blog piece after the holidays, complete with photos and everything!

I’d give this experiment an A-, as I think that I ended spending under $30 total. (Not counting ingredients for homemade goodies.)

Did you change the way you normally approach your gift giving this year? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Megg December 24, 2014 at 12:11 pm

This year I embraced my local buy nothing group and was able to find a few gifts there! I spent less than $10 total on my sister-in-law, nephew, and brother-in-law. I focused more on things that would be consumable, useful, or handmade this year, though I’ve been doing that for a few years.
I may try for a buy-nothing Christmas next year, but I don’t think I’d be 100% successful, since I really enjoy making things for people, and often that requires supplies (though I try to use what I do have!) All in all, I think this year was pretty successful. (Until I spend $57 shipping presents home. Yeah, that was not a pretty moment. But I guess it beats spending $1200 to fly the two of us home.)


Karen December 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm

We did not do family gifts at all this year. DH bought himself a putter on employee discount (one of the divisions of his company makes golfing equipment); I did get my friend who does my hair a gift. That gift exchange will be after Christmas.

It was really freeing not to agonize over gift choices this time. I highly recommend it.


Diane December 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Always handmade gifts for family and friends far away. Shipping costs only. For my son and granddaughter money was spent, but not much and none on credit cards.


Patti December 24, 2014 at 3:44 pm

So inspiring! I started out making my gifts but got far behind and ended up buying more than I had planned. Hope to start in January for next year so there are no excuses!! I say that every year….


AnnW December 24, 2014 at 4:40 pm

I love this idea of using all your airline miles, swag bucks, etc. Would you consider using your garage sale proceeds for presents? We have scaled back big time, even on stocking presents, and are enjoying it more.


Jamie December 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm

I haven’t really been able to spend on Christmas for the last 2 years…so I did get a bit more than usual! I did get a few gifts for free but overall I spent about $200.

$105 of that was from a paint your own pottery fundraiser that I did for American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, $45 in gift cards, and the rest at CVS, Amazon, and a local craft sale fundraiser. So I feel good that I didn’t go into a mall!

All of my giftwrap and giftbags were free!!!


Tracy December 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm

$30 spent in Christmas gifts….serious bragging rights!


Amanda December 25, 2014 at 8:30 am

Well done! Bonus points for giving thoughtful gifts.


Stephanie December 25, 2014 at 9:36 am

We are taking baby steps to this whole non consumerism. We agreed to make memories instead of buy stuff this year. We have a fairly small budget of $700 for our entire holiday. We have a family of 7 (but up until this year only 6 participated in the gift exchange as one son did not want to for religious purposes). This year we lowered that budget to $405 and the son that did not want to participate wanted to this year. This figure has always included 2 nephews, the moms of 2 of the boys and the father of my children. (we are a very blended family). This year a niece was added. We ended up spending $162 total so we were pretty proud of ourselves. A large chunk of this came from purchasing movie tickets to the Hobbit for our Christmas movie (we had gift certificates so only had to pay $47 for 6 IMAZ 3D ticketed) and $95 for Willy Wonka in Smell O Vision. We made many gifts, bought used and re-purposed unopened toys to the younger nephews. It was truly the best Christmas that we have ever had as a family. There was no stress, we spent a ton of time together that was intentional. The kids didn’t fight or melt down once over our portion of the break, which is unheard of in our house. We just ate Christmas breakfast and took them all to their other parents. We received many hugs and thank you’s. We truly feel blessed. We hope to continue this trend in our home in all areas of our life. We really got to see the value of time over things with all of them and want to continue to build on that. Happy Holidays to everyone!


Thel December 25, 2014 at 11:51 pm

After having recently taken a vacation which included a cruise, hubby and I decided that THAT was our major gift to each other and we exchanged absolutely NO gifts and were both totally happy with that. We had bought our son a few items while we were on the cruise … a couple of shirts, ‘gator jerky, and such. Our main gift to him was cash, which he has shown a healthy respect for and we trust his judgment to be able to choose something to spend it on which he really wants or needs. This year was an incredibly low stress Christmas. My DH finished out this wonderful day by using our George Forman grill to prepare some Sock-eye salmon that I had bought a couple of months ago at Costco and froze for a special occasion. This was it!


Amy January 3, 2015 at 2:45 pm

We did your “something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read” idea this year. My eldest (22) didn’t really want to participate, but ended up saying this year was one of the best. I did not buy new, but went from an average of 14 gifts for each of three kids to only 4. We all had a great holiday and intend to stick with the plan next year. Thanks for a great idea!


Jill January 15, 2015 at 9:00 am

We are new to minimalism and are still simplifying, so this year, we gave a few gift to each other, mostly books. However, usually my parents get us something for the the house or clothes, but this year, we asked that they forgo those gifts, and just get us tickets to see the Blue Man Group. They did, and we went and had a fabulous time. It was easier for them (no shopping and gift wrapping), and great for us because we got exactly what we wanted, and we could ALL enjoy it!


Katy January 15, 2015 at 10:59 am

How fun, and what a great memory you’ve created!


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