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9 Budget-Friendly Activities For The Holidays

5 min read

Can economic uncertainty be good for the holidays? Maybe that seems too strong a statement but think back to your favorite holiday memories. Were the years with the biggest gifts and the most parties those you cherish today? Or was it the times when financial constraints forced your family to get creative and find new ways to enjoy the holiday that provide the most heart-warming memories today?

Whether your family is religious or not, we all know the holidays are meant to be about so much more than the things money can buy. Whether or not money is tight this year, consider how these nine budget-friendly activities for the holidays can make the season more merry and bright.

Handmade Cards

If you made holiday cards and crafts when you were small, you’ll remember how fun and exciting it was. There’s no reason you cannot recapture that magic today. Cut pictures from wrapping paper or old magazines. Add lace or glitter. And express yourself beyond a simple “Happy Holidays.” This can be an enjoyable holiday activity for the entire family, regardless of age. Just imagine how the recipient will feel when they open your hand-crafted card. They’ll cherish it for years.

Make Baking a Family Affair

Time spent gathered in the kitchen is often where the best family memories come from. Don’t make baking a chore that must get done. Instead, reframe it as one of the ways your family enjoys the holiday season. Start by making lists of all the people you’d like to share your holiday baking with. Every member of the family should have a say. And everyone gets to choose one favorite home-baked cookie, muffin, scone, or cake. Be sure everyone plays a role, whether shopping, measuring, mixing, or decorating. Put on a playlist of seasonal music and make it fun.

Invite Friends for a Hot Cocoa Bar

One of the best ways to enjoy the holiday season is with parties that bring together family and friends. It can also be one of the most expensive. But being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to cancel your festive activities for the holidays. Just change the focus. Create an elaborate hot cocoa bar complete with everything to make a great cup. Stock your bar with hot cocoa, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, chocolate and caramel sauce, candy canes, and whipped cream. Make it extra fun and call it a Jammy and Cocoa Party. Invite your guests to come wearing their pajamas. Be sure to serve some of your home-baked goodies.

Go to a Grade School Christmas Production

This can be a magical way to get back in touch with the joy of the season, especially if you don’t have kids or yours are grown. Find a local school or community theater with Christmas music or a holiday play. Watching wide-eyed children give their all to perform is sure to warm your heart. Lisped Christmas carols and staging errors make the evening even more fun.

Generational Storytelling

The best activities for the holidays are those that bring us closer together. Look within your family for funny, sweet, silly, and exciting stories from years past. Have each family member offer at least one story to share. Look for some fun story prompts, like a time when you got to be a hero. Mine these memories — they are your shared history! But also look for ways to create new stories. You could take turns telling a new story, one sentence at a time. Start however you like. Maybe something like, “One day, I saw a big purple dragon struggling with his calculator.” Each person tells the next sentence in the story.

View the Holiday Lights

Whether your family goes all out on decorating with lights or not, touring the neighborhood lights can be a wonderful activity for the holidays. Start on foot, getting in great exercise while you take a walking tour of the extravagant displays. Then, load up the car for a driving tour of sights further away. Make it an event. Download some traditional Christmas stories and bring a thermos of hot chocolate. Include some blankets for cozy cuddling and give the car heater the night off.

Explore Festive Freebies

City and county organizations coordinate fun and festive ways to enjoy the holidays every year. The local government website and public libraries are good places to learn what’s happening in the community. Or just Google “free holiday activities in xxx.” You’ll find storytelling, parades, light displays, street fairs, tree lighting, concerts, picnics, and more. So, get out and participate in your community’s celebration.

Charitable Ring and Run

Remember knocking on a neighbor’s door and running away? Those were simpler times. Why not revive the practice with a giving twist? Whether you choose a neighbor who is down on their luck, a homeless shelter, or a Veterans’ Home, get the family involved in creating a care package. Giving back is a perfect way to enjoy the holiday. Include canned goods, toiletries, socks, soaps, bottled water, mints, and antibacterial wipes. Be sure to include a handmade card. Box up the supplies and give them a festive wrapping. Then, as a family, sneak up to the door, set the gift on the doorstep, ring, then run!

Track Santa with Norad

If your family celebrates Christmas, Tracking Santa with Norad is a fun holiday activity for the entire family. Every year since 1948, members of the air force and the North American Aerospace Defense Command track Santa throughout his 24 hours of gift deliveries. Preparations begin on December first and include performances by military bands, insider info on how the reindeer train, and rare glimpses of the big man himself. Learn the story and enjoy the seasonal good cheer.

No matter your circumstance, the beauty and wonder of the holiday season are yours to celebrate. Enjoy the peace and relaxation of the year end with your family. But make a note to get in touch with a helpful Wawanesa agent in January to review your auto coverage.

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