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How to do an Amazing, Cheap and Lazy Christmas

How to do an Amazing, Cheap and Lazy Christmas

How to Have an Amazing Christmas, Without Effort or Expense!

Here’s where you’ll get to know me a bit better – I am lazy when it comes to Christmas.

I don’t host Christmas and tend to prefer to do my own thing with my kids.

In 2015, Christmas was 4 days after I moved to Melbourne from Canberra plus I had a birthday party to put on in between arriving in Melbourne and Christmas.

That means I had 5 days to. move house, throw a birthday party and organise Christmas.

Doing all of that means I looked for the most effective ways to use my time and do it all for less effort, without making my kids feel they missed out on any of it.

So here is my lazy guide to Christmas preparations!

How to Have 

Disclosure, there are a few affiliate links for things I use in this post.

1. Step AWAY from Pinterest!

Stop comparing anything you do to the picture-perfect Pinterest Christmas.

It’s probably fake, took hours upon hours to stage and the kids were nowhere to be seen when photos were being taken.

Get real, work out the Christmas you want, relax and have fun! Incorporate things you want to do or the kids would love such as decorating cookies or going to see the Christmas lights.

Forget going over the top unless a Pinterest-perfect Christmas is your idea of fun. If it is, go for it and have a great time.

2. Get your Money Sorted!

If you don’t get the money side of Christmas worked out early, it can be difficult and you can easily overspend.

I know money is tight in many households. Set a budget for Christmas and stick to it.

How much do you want to or can you afford to spend on Christmas? Factor in gifts, food, travel and time off work (especially if you are casual).

Read how to easily get $2,000 in time for Christmas for ideas on how to make money as well as tips to save.

Set up a Christmas account and deposit regularly and use one with a sign up bonus.

I use Up because it’s easy, fee-free and you can get an $9 bonus within minutes of signing up.

You can also create 2Ups where you have a joint account and lock any savings account by having someone else permit you to transfer from it.

How to Have an Amazing, Easy and Affordable and Lazy Christmas

3. Choose How and Who

Decide who you want to buy for and how you will make it work.

Years ago I used to make gifts and buy presents throughout the year to giver to everyone.

Then people kept having babies and being one of 9 kids already, it means I have heaps of nieces and nephews.

Can you imagine how big Christmas looks on my side of the family?

Add to that my kids are all South Pacific Islanders so there are loads of families to consider there too.

On top of that, I am usually in another state or country so not celebrating with my extended family.

So we stopped doing most of it and Christmas is much more relaxing, even my teenagers commented they prefer it being only us.

We tried for a while pulling names out of a hat for the kids (nieces/nephews/cousins) and years ago stopped buying for adults.

Having only a few people to buy for was better as we could each buy a quality gift of say $50 instead of buying multiple cheap gifts that no one really wants.

Now, I buy for my kids only, they choose what they want in the lead-up tp Black Friday, I get everything on sale, maximising points and discounts then it’s done.

All the gifts arrive over the coming weeks, Christmas is sorted easily and it is much less stressful.

My exact process to get the lowest price from discounts, cash back, points and other perks is here.

How to Have an Amazing, Easy and Affordable and Lazy Christmas

Lazy Christmas Planning

I have a note on my phone with who I am buying for and what I think I’ll get.

When I can plan, shopping in the sales or online early enough, I do.

Often when my kids were younger, I didn’t plan well and shopped the week of Christmas which is stressful.

You could use an app or online organisational tool such as Evernote or Asana to create folders and lists for everything you need for Christmas, such as the following:


Write a list of who you need to buy for, what the budget is, ideas you might buy or make for them and a column for when you have made or bought their present.

Read 17 cheap but thoughtful gift ideas.


Don’t host if you can avoid it. If you host, do a potluck and get everyone to bring something or look at ways to make multiple recipes from a few basics.

Check out 25 ideas for leftover ham, 28 recipes for mince, 5 recipes from 1 pack of sausages and 29 meals from leftover roast chicken to give you some ideas.

If you have to bring something and really can’t be bothered doing much, offer to do punch or non-alcoholic drinks. Punch is as easy as tipping bottles of liquid into a big bowl or container.

If you do alcoholic drinks, consider VINOMOFO for up to 70% off wines.

How to Have an Amazing, Cheap and Lazy Christmas


Decorate with a kid theme to make life easier.

Get all the kids ‘art and craft’ from the years and use it to wrap gifts.

You can also cut it into strips or decorations (if they will let you) to repurpose it as streamers, garlands or bunting.

One of our Christmas traditions is my kids pick a decoration each year. When we decorate the tree they love it because it brings back memories of different times in our lives.

When they move out of home, they have a box of decorations that are theirs if they want.


Stop sending Christmas cards. Please. It is bad for the environment, clogs up the post and most people just throw them out.

If you have to do them, be selective and maybe do an annual update instead.

Craft Ideas

Kids love crafts, especially Christmas crafts.

Check out Pinterest for Christmas craft ideas such as a roll of butcher’s paper, stamps made from cut potatoes and paint for kids to make wrapping paper.

Make your own play dough, paints and coloured pasta for younger kids.

Travel Plans

Are you at home for Christmas or do you need to travel?

If you are travelling, what are your arrangements?

The sooner you book, the cheaper and easier it is. Try for great deals.

Read my tips to save money on travel and ideas on how to make money travelling even as a family.


For starters, in our house we use fabric Santa sacks and stockings.

These are reusable so I don’t have to wrap the gifts from Santa and the kids have told me it is just as exciting as ripping open individual gifts.

For gifts to adults, use gift bags or reusable items such as tea towels and fabric bags.

Alternatively, if you want to wrap, use the kid’s artwork or do butcher’s paper as suggested.

Advent Calendar

Growing up we had a fabric advent calendar with pockets that could be reused each year.

Wrapped lollies and chocolates were put in the pockets (one each).

We would spend a Monday night in December writing notes to go in the calendar and it was a Christmas tradition we looked forward to each year.

The notes had on them things we had to do that day such as a random act of kindness, smile at 3 people, sing a Christmas carol etc.

That’s not a lazy tradition but it did make for a fun evening with the family organising it all plus created wonderful memories.

Alternatively, buy the advent calendars online or in sales.

How to Have an Amazing Christmas, Without Effort or Expense!

How do I do Christmas?

We are low-key and tend to hang at the beach, have the same breakfast and try a few new recipes on the day.

When my older kids were younger, I often had Christmas at my parents.

Now, I have 4 biological kids (plus a stepdaughter overseas) ranging in age from 1 through to 16 (1, 2, 14, 16 for Christmas 2023).

We live on the beach so will likey use our standup paddle boards, go fishing and do the things we enjoy there.

For the past 4 years, we’ve had Christmas at the beach (Noosa then Jervis Bay before that in 2019).

Basically, a BBQ, gifts, their chosen breakfast etc. Fun, lazy and perfect for us.

Our Traditions

Every year my kids choose a Christmas decoration and they will keep these when they move out of home.

Some of the choices have been interesting but show their personalities.

We see lights/Christmas decorations in big displays wherever they are.

In Canberra we went to specific areas, in Melbourne, we did the Myer Christmas display and walked around at night, Noosa had a few specific areas that were decorated heavily too.

My kids decorate the tree after I have set it up with the lights on it.

I do not need a Pinteres Perfect tree, I need a tree my kids love and feel part of.

They commented this year how most of their friends aren’t allowed to do the trees because their mums want it done a specific way and how they are happy I let them do it.

We enjoy creating these memories together and make it special every year.

With stockings we have something to eat, something to read, something to do and something to drink.

Travel is a big part of our life and I tie it into either Christmas itself or presents since we value experiences.

In 2023, their advent calendar was various travel items we needed/wanted and they thought that was fantastic since my older two have multiple trips in 2024.

(My eldest is in the world championships for robotics, my 15 year old is a wrestling champion so both have a lot connected to that, plus our family in Vanuatu and we are going to Tonga this year).

For breakfast we have pancakes, fruit, bacon, eggs and maple syrup plus chocolate milk (their request).

Lunch is available but because we are usually too full from breakfast, we opt for a later lunch/early dinner.

A BBQ or platter with salads and things is pretty standard, along with a new dessert or two.

I want Christmas to be as laid back, fun and enjoyable for all as it possibly can be.

I don’t plan from 6 months out other than budgeting for it and reminding my kids to have their wish list to me by Black Friday.

What do you do for Christmas? 

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