Christmas cookies and hot chocolate

Christmas is a magical time where you can make lasting memories with family and friends. Finding family Christmas activities that don’t break the bank doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can establish several budget-friendly holiday activities that are well-suited for Christmas traditions for years to come!

Below are 13 inexpensive Christmas activities for families. Add each of them to your list this holiday season to enjoy guilt-free activities with the family without breaking the bank.

1. Make Your Own Ornaments

Tap into your kids creative side by giving them an opportunity to make their own Christmas ornaments each year. Head to the craft store and buy a few inexpensive ornaments. Allow them to paint, decorate, or even fill each ornament with items that interest them.

Over the course of the years, you’ll end up with a Christmas tree full of meaningful ornaments. This is also a great gift idea for grandparents!

Hand made Christmas ornament on tree

2. Decorate Christmas Cookies

Who doesn’t love cookies? Set aside a day to dedicate to baking and decorating Christmas cookies as a family. This fun Christmas activity is sure to be a family favorite.

This is an incredibly inexpensive way to spend quality time together. Feel free to package up extra cookies to send as gifts to neighbors and extended family!

Or have a cookie exchange party where everyone brings one type of cookie to swap! Then, you go home with a variety of different cookies!

3. Create A Holiday Greeting Video

If you want to stand out this year (and save money!) then consider recording and editing a family Christmas video. Every person in the family can say Merry Chrismas and you can even have each family member share one special thing that happened since the last Christmas.

Email the video out to everyone instead of spending money on Christmas cards this year. Your family and friends love and appreciate the creativity!

4. Visit Santa for free.

Pictures with Santa can break your budget if you don’t plan for them in advance. Instead of heading to the mall to see Santa, search around town for where you can visit him and take your own pictures for free.

Many places such as banks, libraries, and even churches allow opportunities to take pictures with Santa at no cost.

Children with santa

5. Have A Christmas Game Night

If you’d rather stay in this year, then consider dedicating one night this holiday season as a Christmas Game Night!

This article has tons of game ideas for all ages! They even share the list of supplies you need. Pick 3 games to play with your family. Chances are you’ll have a blast and plan another Christmas family game night!

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 for gingerbread 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 check out 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. Make it even better by playing Christmas music while you drive around!

hot chocolate

8. Volunteer In Your Community

Help spread joy this season by volunteering in your community. There are many opportunities to help 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 can even ask if there is a way you can volunteer by folding brochures or stuffing blessing bags from home!

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

Host a Christmas movie night every Friday evening. Allow each family member to pick one movie that the entire family can enjoy together. This is a completely free family Christmas activity that is perfect for any age.

Want to make these nights even more memorable? Add hot chocolate, popcorn, or even a homemade dessert to the night for added memories!

10. Go On A Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt

Hide candy canes all over your house and yard. Allow your children to go for a candy cane scavenger hunt for each sweet treat. Think of this as an Easter Egg hunt but with candy canes! This might be one of my personal favorite family Christmas activities that our kids love!

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 Paper Snowflakes

Get your kids in the crafting mode by allowing them to make paper snowflakes. Allow them to hang them inside their bedrooms and around the house. Play Christmas music to make this an even more festive family Christmas activity.

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, a 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.

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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! These family Christmas activities can make Christmas even more special this year.