Tuesday, December 18, 2007

10 Ways to Make It Look a Lot More Like Christmas For Just $12 Total

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

maybe if you had more than one ornament, it would feel more like christmas

You know the song It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas made famous by Johnny Mathis, Bing Crosby, and other people who we only listen to in December? If you haven’t been reciting the tune yourself this year, you’re certainly not alone. Despite Christmas being less than a week away, I’m having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit. Sure, my gift shopping is done and the Christmas Chia Pet has been decorated, but it simply doesn’t feel like Christmas for some reason.

Now, I’m sure I could make it feel like Christmas in a flash with the help of a few thousand dollars, a couple trips to my local electronics superstore, and a lap dance from a stripper in a Santa outfit. But this is Punny Money, so I have to find the cheapest way possible to do absolutely everything. So please join me on my tightwadded journey as I attempt to make it feel like Christmas for under $20 in 10 easy steps.

  1. Drive around looking at lights. I know some people are so obsessed with decorating their homes with Christmas light displays that they’ll actually say you’re “stealing” from them by not decorating your own house. Considering how much time and money it takes to actually decorate a house with lights, I’ll let everyone else do it while I grinch myself some free scenery. Cost: $2 for gas.
  2. Various cheap and free Christmas events. Most large cities have plenty of free Christmas events going on this time of year, including concerts, lighting displays, and waterskiing Santas. In the D.C. area, check out The D.C. Traveler’s holiday guide for some free holiday fun. Cost: zero, though some premium events charge a fee.
  3. Go to church. Even you non-God-fearing people may enjoy the music and pageantry of religious services around the holidays. Some churches also have free choir concerts this time of year. Warning: you may feel guilted into donating and/or repenting your sins. Cost: zero assuming you hide in the confessional when the collection baskets appear.
  4. Classic holiday movie marathon. Make a quick trip to the local video store (or just turn on the TV) for favorites like White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Cost: under $5.
  5. Other people’s Christmas parties. You could throw your own holiday party for somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 worth of food and decorations. Or you could be socially savvy and get yourself invited to lots of other parties. The bigger the party, the easier it will be for you to get lost in the “too cheap to bring the host a gift” group. Cost: zero for scrooges or maybe $10-20 if you’re nice instead of naughty.
  6. Volunteer your time for the needy. Like I said, you’re not the only one having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. There are lots of homeless, hungry people out there who don’t even have a calendar to tell them Christmas is coming. Consider donating a few hours at a local charitable organization to make the holidays a little brighter for those less fortunate than yourself. Cost: nothing but your time.
  7. Make cookies. As a child, me and my family would make no less than 500 cookies each Christmas. I think not doing this anymore is the main reason it hasn’t felt like Christmas for years. You don’t need to crank out so many of them, but taking the Christmas cookie cutters to a wad of dough is cheap and tasty fun for the whole family. Cost: $10 for ingredients, plus $5 for postage because you’re going to send me some, right? Please?
  8. Write letters to family. No, not e-mails. Letters. You know, those things all of the sitcom families seem to write each other every year that get them into trouble for approximately 24 minutes. Tell of your personal and family accomplishments over the last year, reach out to rarely-seen relatives, or just brag about how you’re so much better with finances than the rest of your family because you read Punny Money. Cost: about $5 should cover the costs for letters to a dozen family members and friends.
  9. Sing Christmas carols to your neighbors. But only if you can carry a tune. Just make sure you stay away from Hairy Mel’s house at the end of the street because he’ll probably throw beer bottles at you and call you “Christmas queers.” Cost: zero, assuming you know the words.
  10. Lots of Christmas sex. It’s free, it’s fun, it keeps you warm during the winter, and it better be with your lawfully wedded spouse or Jesus is going to come flying out of Mary and kick your butt on December 25th. Cost: -$10 for utility savings.

There we go! I just put the “ho ho ho” back into my ho-ho-holidays, and I still have plenty of cash left over to buy every one of my readers a Nintendo Wii! Oh wait, the stores are still out of stock. Nevermind then. I guess you’ll just have to do with a hearty Merry Christmas from me to you! (Cost: absolutely nothing.)

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