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December's Grocery Shopping Plans for a Simpler Month

This post contains affiliate links.

Christmas Spritz Cookies The Prudent Homemaker 

 Spritz Cookies made with my grandmother's vintage cookie press. These are the fastest and simplest Christmas cookies I've ever made.


Can you imagine a December without shopping?

No food to buy.

No gifts to purchase.


The chance to stay home: making cookies and treats from items in your pantry, making meals from a well-stocked pantry and freezers, making gifts from items you already have on hand, making memories as a family as you sing Christmas carols together before bed every night of the month, playing board and card games as a family in the evenings instead of being out shopping (and picking up takeout because you don't have time to cook after work and shopping), watching Christmas movies as a family, etc.


BUT . . .

Maybe you still have presents left to buy.

Maybe you have groceries to purchase.

Christmas Bedpost The Prudent Homemaker


Could it be simpler, though? Could you avoid the time you spend shopping, standing in line, etc.? 


You could decide to shorten your Christmas list to what you've already purchased (and/or make any remaining gifts using what you have on hand in your kitchen or with any supplies you have).

You could order the last gifts on your list online and have them shipped to your door. (Amazon has a free trial of Prime if you want two-day shipping for free for the month, plus you can watch movies from home with it).

You could order groceries and have them delivered. (I've never tried this option, but many stores have free and/or discounted delivery options for the first time you place an order. I can see an extra appeal in this if you don't want to leave the house in inclement weather). 

You could limit your grocery shopping to just two stores for the month.

You could decide to eat what you have in the pantry and freezer and not go shopping.


I've decided to keep my December shopping as simple as possible. I still have many gifts to make and I am wanting to bake often, both of which require me to be at home.


I'm limiting my December grocery shopping to $40 at Sam's Club, which comes from a $25 gift card I earned on Swagbucks and a $15 gift card I received as a gift, and $25 out of pocket.

I looked through Sam's sales flyer and am purchasing two things that will each be $2.50 off in December. One is balsamic vinegar, a regular staple in my pantry. The other is Nutella, which I only buy in December when it goes on sale at Sam's Club. It's a large jar (26.5 ounces/751.26g) that comes in a two-pack, on sale $6.48 (that makes each jar $3.24, or $0.122 an ounce/$0.0043 gram.)

I'm planning on saving the time of walking around the store and standing in the checkout line by ordering everything online and having it ready for pickup. I've never done it before, but this service is free, so why not have a bit more time in my life? It certainly doesn't take very long to add it to my cart online. I'll have my husband pick it up on his way home from work, and he can fill up on gas (which is cheaper there) at the same time.


Sam's Club:

corn tortillas (110 count)

milk (1 gallon)

salted peanuts (52 ounces)

mozzarella cheese (5 pounds shredded)

balsamic vinegar (1 liter)

brown sugar (7-pound bag)

Nutella (2 26.5 o./75126g jars)


I'd like to purchase some clementines for both fresh eating and Christmas stockings, but that will depend on what sales are out there. I'm allotting $15 out of pocket towards clementines, if I find a sale right before Christmas of $1 a pound or less (there are sometimes coupons available for these, so I'll keep an eye out). If I don't see that price close to Christmas, I'll pass on purchasing these.

I'll spend $10 on dish soap for hand washing. I usually buy this at Walmart, but since I am planning to go to Target anyway this week to pick up a few small items for Christmas gifts, I will purchase this there. I want to keep my shopping trips (and standing-in-line-time) to a minimum.

Christmas Table Runner Detail The Prudent Homemaker


A few ideas to make your December a bit more peaceful:


Advent calendar activity ideas Simple things you can do this month to keep the spirit of Christmas.

Rethinking Christmas Stockings. A simpler, less expensive approach to filling stockings.

Seven Frugal Ways to Decorate for Christmas

A Gift a Day. My current and past year's simple, inexpensive gifts, often made from repurposed materials, that you can make in a day. I'll be sharing more gifts this month as I complete them.

My Food Gifts board on Pinterest

My Christmas Crafts for the Children board on Pinterest

Ten Ways to Add Joy to Your Life When You Don't Have a Penny to Spare. Don't let a super-tight financial month keep you from finding joy.

Gifts You Can Make Right Now in Five Minutes or Less

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial


 Deciding to keep things as simple as possible is helping me to stay more peaceful this month.


What are you doing to keep things simpler this month?


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  • Jennifer O December 07, 2017

    I use the one from the 1963 Betty Crocker Cooky Book
    Esther's Spritz Cookies

    1 cup butter (don't substitute margarine)
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 1/4 cups flour

    chill at least 1 hour - preferably overnight
    don't use parchment paper
    make sure the cookie sheets are cold. I use 3 sheets - 1 int he oven, one cold one being filled and 1 empty sheet chilling in the fridge.
    Bake 6 – 9 minutes until set, but not brown.

  • Margaret @ApproachingFood December 07, 2017

    Awesome, thanks Jennifer! :)

  • Diane Clayton December 05, 2017

    To keep things simpler, I am making lists, things to buy, things to make and actually doing meal plans. I don't want to over spend, forget a gift or panic, "what's for dinner". It's so easy to get into the crazy way of thinking this time of year and not enjoy advent.

  • Mandy Barnes December 06, 2017

    I have done a lot of my shopping online this season. I work at least 50 hours a week and dont want to spend what little free time I have walking around a store and fighting the crowds, standing in line then fighting my way out of the parking lot.

  • Annie-Blake December 06, 2017

    Lovely post and beautiful photos.

    To make our Christmas simpler I completed all gifts by the end of November. This included wrapping & card writing. This year I have bought for a total of 28 people at a cost of $415.

    We re-use our 10 year old Christmas tree and decorations. We add the children's Christmas crafts to the tree each year. We put the tree up together, having fun and listening to chansons de Noel, including Petit Papa Noel.

    We attend many local and free christmas events/fetes/concerts including a Bethlehem walk.

    On December 24th the children decorate a gingerbread house. Then we go to the city for the night to participate in lots of Christmas festivities, have a rooftop swim and wake up to a decadent christmas buffet breakfast. We then go home and open presents (and stockings) and celebrate with our extended families at our house. We have a Bouche de Noel for dessert.

    I love our family christmas traditions and the fun of December. It is a blessing.

  • Annie-Blake December 06, 2017

    I forgot to mention we also do a book advent. I wrap Christmas books and each day the children open one to read. I re-use the same books each year.

  • Allyson December 06, 2017

    We also do this and the kids love it! I have checked out library books in the past if I haven't had enough Christmas books to wrap. It is a nice way to encourage the bedtime routine for little ones too, because it's so fun.

  • Allyson December 08, 2017

    I forgot to mention that we use saved wrapping paper from the previous year (pieces from larger packages) to wrap the books. My four year old has loved helping with the wrapping this year, and I don't worry about the waste if a piece is too large, since it is getting a second use.

  • Ann December 06, 2017

    This is just one thing, but we are invited to several potlucks this month. Rather than do different recipes or something fancy, I am going to bring mashed potatoes to every single one! Potatoes are inexpensive, mashed potatoes are easy and most everyone loves them.

  • Luba @ Healthy with Luba December 06, 2017

    Way to streamline your cooking, Ann! I am impressed.

  • Rhonda A. December 06, 2017

    We have opted not give as many gifts this year. Last year the gift giving was not reciprocted to my daughter (who is significantly younger and on the autism spectrum) from certain family members. It was heartbreaking to witness. So this year we will not be giving to them. I will not be giving treat bags to all family members nor baking treat trays for bowling banquets, as I have in the past, so our baking needs are also significantly decreased this year. Furthermore, I am not making gifts for school staff, since she is now in high school (though I may give some baked goods treat bags to her EAs and support teachers). It feels very different, without having to buy, create or make all these gifts. I miss it...but it is definitely a much simpler Christmas because of it.

  • DonnaMarie December 06, 2017

    Rhonda - So sorry your family was insensitive to your dear daughter. One Christmas, members of my family inadvertently did that to my son. We had a family policy of no gift exchanges as it could be quite costly for everyone. However, one set of in-laws who were new to the family did not understand that no gifts meant NO GIFTS. Their son had just married into my family. They showered their son and new daughter-in-law with a room full of gifts which were unwrapped in front of the rest of the family. My son, the only child in the group, patiently watched while all the gifts were unwrapped. Although he had a disappointed look on his face, he said nothing. In the moment, my heart broke just a little too.

  • Guest December 06, 2017

    My son has CP and is very young mentally for his age. That was done to our son and it broke my heart. I try to explain that he might be physically the same age as his cousins but he still loves Santa and believes.

  • Rhonda A. December 06, 2017

    As my daughter, who was 13 yrs old at the time, watched all her college aged cousins open their gifts, she asked where her gifts were. Nobody even acknowledged her or her question. She was understandable upset, but again, nobody even acknowledged her. We have bought gifts for those kids every single year, even during times when we didn't have much money to spend. I don't even want to go to Christmas this year with them, but unfortunately feel obligated as it is my husbands immediate family.

  • American Dreamer December 07, 2017

    I am so sad that your daughter was treated like that.

  • Myra December 06, 2017

    No gift shopping. One trip per week to the grocery store for my weekly grocery buying. I don't decorate for Christmas, but I do decorate with snowmen for winter so I will use what I have on hand. I will use blue and white tissue paper that I have saved from gifts to make tissue paper balls and fans to hang over the table for Hanukkah. I need menorah candles and a new dreidel. I will order these from Amazon using their free trial membership for Prime. We are finally getting cold weather here in the deep South, so I plan to make potato soup, homemade bread, and homemade cinnamon rolls for my family with items from my pantry. I will stay home as much as possible.

  • Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker December 06, 2017

    I love tissue paper balls and fans; they are so pretty! So wise of you to save and reuse your tissue paper!

    Temperatures have dropped here too, which I am also happy about so that everyone will welcome some soup!

  • http://thejewishlady.com December 08, 2017

    In addition to Amazon and online Judaica shops, I have started to see Target and Walmart offer Hanukkah items in most locations. Target usually does one end cap with a menorah, dreidels, and other novelty items like Mensch on a Bench. Walmart has cards, giftwrap, stickers, etc. I know how hard it can be to find stuff, so I just wanted to share if anyone is looking for Hanukkah.

  • Karen W. December 06, 2017

    I'm really trying to simplify things this year. My daughter's birthday is this weekend, and we're having a (very) small friend party. Turned out only two of her four invited friends could make it, so we're doing a tea party lunch at home and then I'm taking them to a discount matinee (we see movies in the theater once or twice a year), followed by a spaghetti dinner back at home.

    I've bought as many holiday gifts online as possible (keeping the UPS driver employed!), and am focusing on eating out of freezer and pantry as much as possible (we'll have half a pig coming in a month or so and need to finish eating last year's pork before it arrives!).

    I've turned down holiday gatherings with all but my closest friends, because there is just not enough hours in my day. I'll catch up with the others after the holidays. I'm sewing a couple of gifts for my daughter, but scheduled time off of work (I have plenty of PTO) during a week when she'll be away at her grandparents' house to make them, so I don't have to try and squeeze it in late at night or early in the morning while she's sleeping.

  • Cindy in the South December 06, 2017

    I have lots of work in December. This blog is my stress relief...lol. I have a large teddy bear ($20 at Walmart) to give to my two yr old step grandchild, and I will give each of my four grown children $20. So, I will spend a total of $100 for Christmas. That is all I can really afford this year. I do plan on baking the turkey I did not bake on Thanksgiving, and making cornbread dressing, as well as some other family favorites. I have most of the ingredients I need. I am running low on potatoes, and will have to buy some of those. I have a close family member, with cancer, who is scheduled for surgery the week before Christmas, so, I am more concerned about survival rates this year. We will be having a very subdued Christmas, and no one is complaining. We are just grateful everyone in the immediate family is still alive. I hope to get some rest during the holidays.

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