Skip the Holiday Hype: 10 Non-Shopping Activities


Forget the holiday hype and just have fun. Here are 10 frugal activities that don’t involve shopping and could save money.

1. Get more rest.

Sleep is a good investment. With more rest, I work smarter, think clearer and save more. Costly financial errors develop when I become a sleep-deprived, whirlwind of nervous energy. When frazzled, I’m more likely to spend money on take-out food and other costly conveniences.

2. Exercise.

Jogging with a shopping cart is not the best form of exercise. Hiking with my kids, washing the car, or kick-boxing will burn calories without burning bucks.

3. Read.

Upgrade the intellectual software in your brain. Books about finance, frugal living, career development, spirituality, and creative thinking can provide bankable mental assets. Instead of spending money, learn how to make more money.

4. Write letters.

For less than a dollar, you can write and mail a priceless letter to friends, siblings, parents and other loved ones. Stationary and stamps are frugal luxuries that deliver value to those that send and receive letters.

5. Volunteer.

Spend a day at a nursing home, a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter. Plan a party for underprivileged children. Acts of kindness create packages of goodwill during the holidays and year-round. Recreational shopping is fun, but there are better uses of our time and money.

6. Clear space.

Convert clutter into cash. Tax receipts, rebate offers and useful documents are lurking in our paper piles: I'm a clutter queen, for sure. I could save money and earn more if I were better organized.

7. Meditate.

It’s easy to spin wheels and get nowhere. I could do more if I spent more time breathing and acting mindfully. Shopping does not put me in a Zen space.

8. Get crafty.

Make a gift for someone. Frame a photograph, write a poem or knit a scarf. One year, my mom created pottery pieces for everyone on her holiday gift list. It was great therapy for her hands; she really enjoyed the process and everyone appreciated the handmade gifts.

9. Face the mirror.

Step into a DIY day spa with the materials from your kitchen cabinet. Honey, olive oil, oranges, and other ingredients can be used to create homemade facials. Light a candle, fill the tub with lavender oil and hot water, and create a luxurious bath. Don’t forget the DIY manicure and pedicure.

10. Relax at the mall.

Go to the mall and listen to the music. Splurge on a cup of gourmet coffee or tea, people-watch, and check out art exhibits, which are tucked into random corners of many malls. Take a free class at a specialty store. Just have a good time without the extra weight of packages. You can always shop during the January or August clearance sales.

Tagged: Art and Leisure

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Guest's picture

I'd add to these that getting out especially in the winter time is good and relaxing for you. Head to the mountains for some hiking or if you live near the beach, head there. Even if its 45 degrees out, the beach can be a great place to toss around a ball or a frisbee with few other people there. If you live along the coast stretching from North Carolina to Texas and in Southern California, you get a treat because its usually warm enough to really enjoy it. Check out a new park that your city or county has opened. But above all, get out and do it cheaply.

Many people spend countless hours inside once the holidays are over so getting some sun during the holiday break is important.


Guest's picture

How good it is that you suggest these activities to the busiest people in the world! Those are all no-cost beneficial things to do!

John DeFlumeri Jr

Andrea Karim's picture

When I was a kid, friends and I used to go caroling every year around the holidays. I'm not religious, but I had so much fun going around the neighborhood and tormenting the neighbors with our off-pitch squawking. I wish more people did it now - the last few times I've opened the door for caroler's, they've been from a local church or youth group and they asked for a donation.

Guest's picture

One of my favorite cheap parties. Just invite a few friends. Ask everyone to bring a finger food or drinks and pull out the board games.

Guest's picture
Melissa S

Do people really need suggestions? I have tons of non-shopping activities I do every week, every weekend! I have forever. Nothing special, I just don't like it. God, there are TONS of things to do. Sad if people do need this list. :(

Writing letters, though, IS something that people tend to forget, but it's great to get some snail mail every once in a while. :)

Guest's picture

Thanks for you the tips, I definitely plan to catch up on some reading this holiday season.

Guest's picture

I think number 2 should be on the top of everyone's list. Especially with all the Christmas cookies, fruit cake, and family gatherings.

Hitting the gym extra hard this month.

Ryan @ Plantingdollars

Guest's picture

relax at themall? sounds like an oxymoron! I like the first idea, REST!

Guest's picture

Very neat. I should try that too!

Guest's picture

Well it will be hard though.