Christmas is a magical time of year and I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to make memories with my family. I have very strong memories of my childhood surrounding Christmas (as I’m sure you do too) and I want my own children to develop these same types of memories. Unfortunately, sometimes these special Christmas memories come at a high cost. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars this month on experiences, consider these 13 inexpensive holiday activities.
1. Make your own ornaments.
Our kids love to be creative and make their own Christmas ornaments. Just head to the craft store and buy a few inexpensive ornaments for them to paint, decorate, or even fill with things that interest your kids. Make this a special tradition each year and you’ll have many meaningful ornaments to hang in the years to come. Even better, these make great gifts for grandparents! This allows children to be involved in creating the ornaments (plus it’s inexpensive).
2. Bake and decorate Christmas cookies.
I grew up making and decorating cookies with my mom at Christmastime. We would make the dough from scratch, use Christmas cookie cutters, and decorate with homemade colored icing. I even had a close friend who lived right behind us that helped out each year. It was something that I looked forward to throughout my childhood and as a mom, I want that for my kids as well. Not to mention that making homemade cookies is inexpensive and can serve as a nice gift for neighbors and friends.
3. Go caroling.
I’ll never forget the Christmas that my best friend and I went caroling with my mom. We wore our rollerblades and belted out Christmas tunes even though we both couldn’t sing. It’s not every day that someone comes to your door to serenade you with carols. Why not be the ones to go out and spread Christmas cheer? This activity is absolutely free!
4. Visit Santa for free.
Pictures with Santa can break your budget if you don’t plan on them. Instead of heading to the mall to see Santa, find out where you can visit him and take your own pictures for free. Our bank has pictures with Santa for free and you can bring your own camera to take the pictures. Other places that have free pictures with Santa usually include churches, town festivals, and small businesses.
5. Go to a holiday festival.
Check your town’s calendar to see if they have a Holiday Festival coming up. You can enjoy a tree lighting, hot cider, and games with your family. Although these festivals aren’t 100% free, they usually offer a lot of free (or cheap) activities.
6. Decorate gingerbread houses.
As you walk through the store you’re bound to see the gingerbread house kits that are priced a tad high. Instead of splurging on a kit for each kid (which can add up pretty quickly), buy your own supplies and make your own gingerbread houses instead! The recipe is fairly simple and you can make more than one house! Click HERE to see how to make your own gingerbread house.
7. Drink hot chocolate and see Christmas lights.
You can’t go wrong with a cup of hot chocolate and a trip around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights. Whether you decide to take a walk or bundle up in the car in your pajamas, you’re sure to get in the holiday spirit. I recommend playing Christmas music while you drive around!
8. Volunteer in your community.
Help spread joy this season by volunteering in your community. There are many opportunities to spread joy if you just search for them. Check your church, local homeless shelter, and even your library to help you find a way to give back this year. You don’t have to spend money giving back, your time is enough of a gift. If you have children, let them help so that they can learn that Christmas is about giving.
9. Have a movie night.
Let the family vote on their favorite Christmas movie. If you don’t own it, see if it’s available to borrow at your local library. Then, declare a family movie night! Make a simple night special with hot chocolate, popcorn, and festive Christmas bowls.
10. Enjoy a Christmas themed game night.
You’re bound to have a blast when you declare one night in December a Christmas game night! There are tons of minute to win it games that you and your family can play. These nights are sure to create lasting memories and may even become a yearly tradition. To see a list of 17 Christmas games, click HERE.
11. Start a gratitude jar.
Starting in December (or whenever you can), have each family member write one thing they are grateful for each day on a piece of paper. Place the strip of paper in a jar and read every piece out loud on Christmas Eve.
12. Make s’mores.
Who doesn’t love s’mores made in front of the fireplace? They are inexpensive and can be made indoors or outside by the firepit. Pair this with a movie night for a long evening of fun!
13. Go see a holiday production.
Check out your local high schools, colleges, or community theaters for any upcoming holiday productions. You can attend a play, Christmas concert, or even a ballet on a budget when you’re supporting local schools. Not only will you be enjoying something you don’t see every day, but you will also be exposing your children to fine arts.
No matter what you choose to do this Holiday season, remember that it doesn’t matter to your family what you’re doing, just that you’re spending time together!