Money & Career

6 easy ways to save money over the holidays

By: Canadian Living

Photography by © Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by ©

Money & Career

6 easy ways to save money over the holidays

By: Canadian Living
Splurge on festive fun this season without breaking the bank. Canadian Living insiders share their best kept secrets for an affordable and memorable Christmas.

1. Save on a Christmas tree

Cut down your own tree. You will get a good-quality tree and start a family tradition at the same time. But do some research before brandishing a saw. Some cut-your-own tree lots offer complimentary services such as wrapping the tree and tying it to your vehicle.
– Steve Bezanson, owner-operator, Bezanson Family Christmas Tree Farm, Berwick, N.S.

2. Save on cards
Plan a family craft night when you and your kids can make cards together. We take memorable photographs, get them printed and put them on card stock. If you’re printing a bundle, it will cost at most 10 cents a print. You do have to buy card stock, but watch for sales at your local craft store throughout the year.
– Suzanne Nourse, founder, Protocol School of Ottawa

3. Save on fashion
If you’re invited to a ritzy holiday soirée but don’t want to drop a ton of cash on a designer gown you’ll likely wear only once, you can rent one from a high-end dress boutique or upscale vintage shop for a fraction of the price. No time to search for the perfect dress on foot? is a Canadian e-tailer that lets you choose from thousands of dresses to rent from the comfort of your computer chair.
– Julia McEwen, director, Fashion & Beauty

4. Save on mailing gifts
Know your shipping dates and deadlines. If you procrastinate on sending your gifts, it’s going to cost you more for shipping. For example, mailing a 2.25-kilogram package from Toronto to Vancouver using UPS standard shipping is about $34, compared to more than $100 using next-day shipping.
– Nicolas Dorget, vice-president, marketing, UPS Canada

5. Save on decorating
Stretch your decorating dollar by mixing fresh-cut and faux evergreens. While you’ll want to splurge on a fragrant fresh cedar wreath for a prime position like the front door, the next generation of artificial garlands are ideal for using elsewhere in your home, and will last for years to come. Think amortization!
– Brett Walther, director, Home & Garden

6. Save on entertaining
Aside from Christmas Eve dinner, I never entertain with a sit-down meal around the holidays. I do a casual drinks party. Rather than splurging on a big, expensive roast, I can make a little money go a long way by putting out a variety of dips, crudités, canapés, cheeses, crusty bread, olives and other less expensive nibbles.

When it comes to drinks, rather than having an array of alcohol and mixes on hand, I supplement whatever guests bring with a large punch bowl filled with a "signature cocktail." It's fun and economical.
– Annabelle Waugh, director, Food

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This story was originally titled "Santa's Thrift List" in the December 2012 issue.

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Money & Career

6 easy ways to save money over the holidays