Most of us would agree that Christmas has become the opposite of what it is supposed to be, a time of joy, celebration and family turned into a stressful few weeks that at least some of use wish would never come at all.
Most of us just wish we could go back to celebrating Christmas the way it used to be celebrated, and that we could bring back the time when Christmas was all about simple celebrations, family and honoring the real reasons for the season.
It seems easier said than done, and all too easy to get caught up in the commercial trap that Christmas has become. Perhaps this list of ways to have a more old fashioned family Christmas will inspire you to put the joy back into your Christmas celebrations.
Having a more old fashioned family Christmas does take time and effort, it means being willing to spend time making rather than buying and spending time with family rather than providing a gift overload.
Tips for a More Old Fashioned Christmas
Spend Less Money
1) Set a Budget for Christmas – one that you can afford and stick to it.
2) Make Cookies and Goodies Instead of Buying Them – use them for gifts as well
3) Make as Many of Your Gifts as Possible- if you do not know how to sew, perhaps you can make birdhouses or birdfeeders, there are thousands of ideas online for gifts that require no skill and are affordable to make or Try these books from Amazon –
Homemade Christmas Gifts and More – Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas For The Whole Family
A Homemade Christmas: Creative Ideas for an Earth-Friendly, Frugal, Festive Holiday
4) Give Less Gifts-Stop looking at the lists, and the area under the tree and thinking it is not enough. Set a limit on the number of gifts you buy and stick to it. Give the gift of time and love instead.
5) Invite Fewer People – Nobody says your home has to be the party of the year , every year. Nor do you need to host the entire family for Christmas and make everything yourself. It is ok to set limits on guests, spending and the amount of time and stress you are willing to invest.
6) Make Your Own Christmas Cards – Paper, glue, glitter, crayons, pens or paint is all you need to create beautiful handmade cards.
7) Stay Home – Do not plan long trips at the holidays, it makes them more stressful and expensive. You will find your holiday to be less expensive and more relaxing if you just stay home for the holidays.
8) Have a Gift Exchange – Christmas gifts are really for the kids, but we all love getting a gift or two under the tree so hold an exchange among the adults in your family.
9) Make Your Own Decorations – Save money and make your home look old fashioned, by making all of your own decorations. Paper chains, salt dough ornaments, bows, candles, popcorn and cranberries, all of these were used back before Christmas became so commercial to decorate homes. Disney’s Christmas Crafts for Kids:: More Than 75 Festive Ideas for Making Decorations, Wrapping, and Gifts
10) Plan Free Activities – Play games, do puzzles, watch TV, go for a walk or listen to Christmas Music as you decorate or bake, it is a great way to get in the spirit and is free!
Spend More Time
1) The holidays are a time of celebration, and there is no better way than celebrating with family. Commit yourself to spending time with family during this season and letting it be a blessing to both you and those you spend that time with. Joy to the World: Advent Activities for Your Family
2) Make Cookies with Your Kids- Do it for fun not because it is expected; better yet teach them how to make cookies!
3) Make Christmas Ornaments – These are fun to make, easy, and can be given away as a way to brighten someone else’s Christmas. Even the kids can help make ornaments to give to teachers and their friends.
4) Have Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve and spend the entire Christmas day with your family. Either volunteer or get down on the floor with your kids and play with them, either way they will get the message that relationships are more important than performance.
5) Go Caroling – Take your family Christmas Caroling to a nursing home or homeless shelter
6) Drive around and look at the Christmas lights, play Christmas music and stop for hot cocoa
7) Making Popcorn Garlands- Take the time to enjoy this age old tradition with your kids
8) Play Christmas music and teach the kids how to sing your favorite Christmas songs.
9) Involve everyone in choosing a tree and decorating it, even better go out to the woods and cut your own this year.
10) Have your kids draw pictures, make cards and color pictures to send to family and the troops overseas.
11) Play the Christmas Elf game
12) Make a Gingerbread house
13) Watch your favorite Movies and TV specials with your kids
14) Make simple bird feeders to hang out on Christmas Day
15) Take family pictures around the Christmas tree, feel free to have fun with it, be goofy or include the family pets, have your pictures turned into Christmas cards, or better yet make your own.
Decorate Your Home With Vintage Decorations and Bake Old Fashioned Treats
1) Most kids today probably have never had homemade popcorn balls, taffy or candy, take the time to share your old fashioned favorites and family traditions with your kids.
2) Make your own Egg Nog
3) Teach your kids how to make Snow Candy
4) Look for vintage decorations at estate sales or second hand stores
5) Make your own ornaments, from popcorn garlands to sprayed or painted pine cones decorated with glitter, hang unshelled walnuts, or tie simple red ribbons on your tree.
6) Decorate outdoor trees, hang apples and other treats for the wildlife, and string some popcorn outdoors for the birds.
7) Make paper chains, one year my daughter and I cut out strip after strip, decorated them with stamps, paint and glitter then stapled them together to make long paper chains. She has never forgotten that and wants to do it every year.
8) Tie bows on the trees outside as well as around your house; this is an inexpensive activity with a very old fashioned twist.
9) Making your own wrapping paper – use newsprint or butcher paper, paint, stamp or decorate to make your own wrapping paper. Shopping bags are great for re-purposing as well.
10) Have a cookie decorating party; this is something we try to do every year. Get the decorations out, and get the whole family together. Serve eggnog and see which person can make the most creative cookie!
1) Take your child sledding if you have snow anywhere close
2) Learn and play the Elf Game with your child, this game is easily found on the Internet
3) Get the board games out and challenge everyone to a game of Life or Monopoly
4) Have family bowling nights on the video game console
5) Look up a few party games like musical chairs, or pin the bead on Santa, add some prizes and have a few laughs.
6) Have a caroling party – Invite the whole family and plan to stop by the nursing homes as well as through your neighborhood.
7) Teach your kids how to play some of the card games you played as a kid.
8) Go build a snow man together
9) Play a game of charades but make it themed, like biblical stories or Christmas Characters
10) Make Christmas Play dough and use Christmas cookie cutters to make fun ornaments
11) Get Santa hats for everyone- wear them when you get your pictures taken or out on the town when you go shopping!
12) Help your child build with their legos, or color in their coloring book on Christmas Day.
13) Sit in front of the fire and tell stories with your kids
14) Decorate a tree outdoors for the animals
15) Watch Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas and all the other classics with your kids.
Christmas is a time to remember everything we have to be thankful for, not to find more things to regret. If you are looking for a simpler Christmas then start by crossing off everything unimportant of your list and add in a few of the Old Fashioned Suggestions listed above. Here are a few books at Amazon to help with even more ideas!
Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas: Crafts, Decorating Tips, and Recipes, 1920s-1960s
Country Home: An Old Fashioned Christmas
Old Fashioned Country Cookies (Gooseberry Patch) (Everyday Cookbook Collection)
I bought the “Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas” as per your suggestion and I love it! Thanks so much!
Kimberley Gill says
Oh my – I just happened along to this post, and LOVE all the ideas you offered. (I just posted an article to my own blog yesterday talking about the desire to go back to simpler times, and trying to get away from Christmas being so commercial. I’ve asked my readers for their ideas, and posted a few of my own (things I did myself over the years that did not involve BUYING things at the store). You’ve inspired me to keep on trucking down this road to simpler times. Thank you!
p.s. Do you mind if I share your post on my blog (giving you credit of course).
Some ideas from my post (if anyone is interested). They are listed more towards the bottom. 🙂
Please feel free to share it! Thanks for the comments!
I BELEIVE IN THE OLD FASHION CHRISTMAS WAYS .IT BRINGS BACK WHEN I WAS A LITTLE GIRL AND DAD AND MY BROTHER AND LITTLE SISTER WOULD GO OUT AND CUTE ARE TREE AND IT WOULD BE SNOWING AND DAD WOULD PULL US AND THE TREE HOME ON A BIG SLED HE HAD MADE. WE DID’NT HAVE MUCH MONEY SO WE MADE SOME OF ARE DECORATIONS AND THEY WERE THE NEATEST THING WE DID I HOPE IT WILL COME BACK FOR ALL THE KIND OF CHRISTMAS WE GREW UP WITH MORE LOVE AND FAMILY CONTACT.