How to Enjoy the Holidays on a Budget

Posted by Rebecca on December 22, 2015

A YU Perspective

It’s officially that time of year – the nights are longer, peppermint lattes are on every coffee menu and that one house on your street already has a in its front yard . . . it’s the Holidays! ❄️?

While the season of giving and fine dining sounds fun, for a student on a budget, or one who may not be spending it with family this year, it can also be a stressful time. But don’t fret! We’ve got some great tips on how you can enjoy the holidays on a budget – a financial or social one. The best part? Buddy the Elf agreed to go through the list with us (he’s a huge fan of the YUBlog). Enjoy!

  1. Volunteering
    This may not sound exciting at a first glance, but it can actually provide a longer-lasting feeling of contentment. First off, there are multiple volunteer opportunities to suit your interests – whether it’s wrapping gifts or collecting donations, there is something for everyone. Not only are you doing something fun but you’re also meeting new people and helping others who may be less fortunate. Spreading around kindness will in turn make you feel better and less alone. Volunteering is not just for the holidays either: you can commit some time and energy year-round. Check out Volunteer Toronto for more info!

    Hand holding pine cone
    Volunteering is a great way to get into the Holiday spirit, but remember that small, everyday acts of kindness also go a long way.



    Everyone needs a little help sometimes, and a gift as small as a kind word (or song!) could make someone’s day. As Buddy the Elf would say . . .

    Buddy the Elf reciting Christmas mantra
    2. Participate in Winteresque Activities
    There’s no better feeling than doing quintessential holiday activities, a lot of which can be done on a budget. Visiting the Toronto Christmas Market (free on weekdays, weekends are $5), skating (Canlan Ice Centre offers free public skates), blasting holiday music and baking sugary treats are all great ways to get in the holiday spirit.

    Fairy lights strung in the Distillery District.
    Toronto Christmas Market

    Buddy the Elf also has some other ideas . . .
    Buddy the Elf listing Christmas activities
    3. Treat Yo’self
    This one may be for next week, but then exams and assignments will be done and the semester finally officially over. Do you know what that means? You finally have the time to do all the things you love to do! Binge-watch episodes of your favourite show? Check. Learn a new language? Go for it. Look at the winter break as time off that you can use to relax, reflect and improve on yourself. Bonus: try doing new or nostalgic activities to make it interesting! By the end of it, you’ll be walking around like:

    Will Ferrell dressed as an elf, hopping on a sidewalk

And what about giving presents, you ask? Well, wait until Thursday for our last-minute, budget-friendly gift guide!

What are your ideas for enjoying the holidays on a budget? Let us know in the comments or tweet me @yorkustudents!



Note: This post was revised and updated on December 13, 2016.


Rebecca M. is a third-year English major. She no longer blogs regularly for the YU Blog but may post on occasion as a guest-blogger.

See other posts by Rebecca

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