December is almost here! If it’s anything like the rest of the year, this month will fly by and Christmas will be here before you know it. I know that Christmas expenses can add up pretty fast, with gift giving, the meal, and decorating. So, today I want to talk about 25 Christmas activities that you can do on a budget.
Obviously, you don’t need to do all of these activities to have a memorable Christmas, but with 25 options there should be something that fits the needs of both your family and your budget!
Day 1 – Decorate your house for the holidays!
It’s totally okay if you don’t have the money for a tree, you can still make your house festive for the season! Check out this article for ideas on how to decorate your house within your budget.
Day 2 – Make a countdown calendar.
An easy way to keep excitement alive while you’re waiting for Christmas is to make a countdown calendar. This creates at least a small activity each day, and plenty of countdowns have treats too! This article has 12 countdowns you and your family can make on your own.
Day 3 – Drink hot chocolate.
My mom used to make a big ole pot of hot chocolate over the stove during Christmas break, and we would ladle it into our mugs until we couldn’t move anymore. I know it’s nothing crazy, but its a cheap and easy tradition to put in place with your family— and something they won’t grow out of. Everyone loves hot chocolate.
Day 4 – Have a photo shoot!
Deck your family out in all of your Christmas wear and have a silly photo shoot! You could grab a disposable camera and go crazy or just snap them on your phone, but its a fun activity for the kids! And, who knows, your next Christmas card photo could be hiding in there 🙂
Day 5 – Read the Christmas story.
It’s a good idea to keep the reason for the season alive, and reading your kids the Christmas story every year is simple and free! You can find free copies online.
Day 6 – Look at neighborhood lights.
This activity is free as can be and pretty entertaining! We drive around neighborhoods that our known to be over-the-top with their decorations and admire all of the lights! This is fun as a late night excursion, when I was little I always felt like my mom was helping me break the rules and stay up late.
Day 7 – Make a gift.
Spend some time helping your children make homemade surprises for those who aren’t home for the holidays yet— I’m sure grandma would love a hand-crafted ornament from each grandchild!
Day 8 – Make a gingerbread house.
Gingerbread houses are really fun to make, and delicious to eat. Instead of buying a gingerbread kit at the store, you can make your own out of graham crackers too! Check it out here.
Day 9 – Volunteer your time.
What better way to keep in the holiday spirit than giving back to your community? There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer around Christmas time, ranging from the food pantry to the salvation army. Do a little bit of research and see where your family can help out!
Day 10 – Letters to Santa!
Have your kids write a letter to Santa, and it’s a good idea to teach them the gift rule while you’re at it— something they want, something they need, something they wear, and something they read! Plus, some places will actually send your kids a response. Check out this article for more information about where to send your letters to Santa.
Day 11 – Go see/do something Christmas!
Most communities have some sort of free Christmas activity put on by the churches and libraries, whether it be a play, parade, or simple live nativity scene. Keep an eye on bulletin boards and your family could catch a free Christmas themed craft class!
Day 12 – Sit on Santa’s lap.
While I don’t recommend going broke for the picture they snap, your kids will still enjoy sitting on Santa’s lap and telling him what they want for Christmas! Some scream a lot instead, like me, so this one might be hit or miss— haha 🙂
Day 13 – Christmas puzzle!
Christmas puzzles are a cheap way to pass time during the holiday season, and can last for years to come as you increase difficulty! I recommend shopping the sales the week after Christmas to find the perfect puzzle for the next year!
Day 14 – Living room sleepover.
Some of my favorite holiday memories growing up come from the nights my mom let us sleep in the living room! Sometimes we would build a fort, sometimes we would just make a pallet on the floor by the Christmas tree— but it was always something special to me and my siblings.
Day 15 – Make Christmas cards.
There is something about the personal touch of a homemade card that makes me smile! For those who you can’t afford a gift for everyone in your life, like co-workers, it’s okay to make a homemade card and slide a family picture in there! ‘Tis the season to let others know you care for them, even in a small way.
Day 16 – Decorate cookies together!
You have to bake cookies for Santa anyway, so why not make an event out of it? Kids love mixing stuff and making homemade cookies, but they’ll love creating masterpieces with icing even more! Just make sure to save Santa a couple 😉
Day 17 – Wrap gifts together.
This may not be the most fun job, but when you all do it together it might add a little bit of enjoyment! Christmas music makes the perfect soundtrack, and gift bags are the best choice for small children! You can even design and decorate your own gift tags.
Day 18 – Dollar gift exchange!
Let each of your kids pick out a cheap dollar gift for every sibling and wrap it themselves! If you have an only child, you can have dad help pick mom a gift and vice versa. This helps kids not only feel involved with shopping, it helps them experience the joy of giving— an invaluable lesson they can enjoy for years to come.
Day 19 – Have an ugly sweater contest.
With social media on the rise, it’s easy to get your friends input on pretty much everything. Have each of your family put on their ugliest sweater they can find, snap a family picture, and post it on your Facebook! Your friends can vote for their favorite and pick the winner.
Day 20 – Bake a birthday cake!
Make sure your children understand the reason for the season by baking Jesus a happy birthday cake. It can be any basic cake you want, and your kids can even sing Happy Birthday Jesus.
Day 21 – Christmas movie marathon.
Pick a night with a movie marathon on TV, or bust out your personal collection of DVDs (and VHS). I used to love watching the old animated Christmas movies, and my mom would stock us up with a variety of candy canes to enjoy— plus the cake we baked for Santa!
Day 22 – Scavenger hunt!
My family has a favorite Santa ornament that gets hidden every year on decoration day! Whoever finds it gets the (hopefully) first Christmas gift of the year, which is usually just a giant bouquet of candy, and the honor of hiding it next year! It’s really simple, and a tradition that can be carried on for generations to come.
Day 23 – Game night!
My family loves card games, like uno and phase ten, but no matter what you prefer to play this is an easy bonding night! If your family is not so into games, feel free to supplement with coloring or other activities.
Day 24 – Keep track of Santa.
Your family can actually track Santa on New Years Eve! This is exciting for children, plus it helps you get them to bed at a decent time so they make sure Santa can come!
Day 25 – Make a new Christmas tradition.
As your children get older, some traditions will die. I think it’s important to try to create new traditions as that happens, to keep the holidays fun and packed with memories.
What traditions do you and your family celebrate over the holidays? How do you make sure you stay in your budget? Share with me in the comments below 🙂