Priceless Family Time, Cheap! HOLIDAY EDITION!
Let’s face it, this time of year can stretch budgets awfully thin, even when you’re budget savvy. There are simply more guests, more parties, and more temptations!
So, here’s are list of delightful ways to spend time with your family this holiday season that won’t break the bank!
1. Wait until the day after Christmas and then buy a whole bunch of candy. It’ll be at least half off if not more! Then make your gingerbread/candy houses! Remember, there are 12 days of Christmas that end January 6. So, it’s certainly acceptable to keep doing Christmas stuff well into January!
2. Go Christmas Caroling. If you’re the Von Trapps or the Von ToneDeafs, it’s still super fun to get out there and spread Christmas cheer!
3. Get together with other ladies for a day of crafting and creativity! If you each bring what supplies you have, you may not even have to spend any money at all! Or get your kids together for some kid crafts. Glitter and glue and pompoms and pie cleaners, falalalala, la, la, la, la!
4. Observe Advent as a family. For those not from a liturgical tradition (as we are not originally, but have since seen the beauty in the ritual) Advent is the season of preparing our hearts for His coming. Beginning four Sundays before Christmas, we light four candles (one new one each week) and have a time of devotion, Scripture reading, and prayer. We all look forward to it each year. It causes us to have the right spirit about the season, but to also look forward to His Second Coming and to be ready.
5. There’s nothing quite like a book read aloud! Every year I read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to the children. We make big bowls of popcorn and we snuggle and read. I do all the voices and they love it! I recently told our children, “Oooo, it’s time for A Christmas Carol!” and some of the little ones who don’t remember previous years said, “What’s that?” And the older children said in unison, “Marley was dead. Dead as a door nail.” Love it!
6. Make your own Christmas decorations such as stringing popcorn and cranberries or making paper chains from scratch paper.
7. Make muffins or cookies and homemade cards. Deliver to your neighbors.
8. Play outdoors together. If you live where you have snow, then don’t just let the kids go sledding, make it a family day! Or try to make the neighborhood’s biggest snowman. Or have a snowball fight! If you live where there isn’t snow, then get out there and play kickball or Frisbee or tag! Our kids love it when we play WITH them.
9. Take long walks, breathing in the crisp Winter air. Delightful!
10. Make sack lunches and deliver to the homeless. This is what the season is all about! Peace on earth and goodwill to men!
11.Sit around your tree and admire it. Seriously. Does that sound crazy? But, it’s so nice to just sit around the tree in the evening, with it all lit up. Look at it. Tell the stories of the ornaments. “This is the ornament we got the year you were born and that one was from our vacation the year we went to the mountains. Remember that?”
12. Make a little bonfire if you have a fire pit in your backyard (if you don’t have one, what a great gift to get your family this year!) and roast marshmallows and chestnuts.
13. Invite friends over for a game night! Ask each one to bring their favorite holiday snack or dessert. Break out the cards, board games, charades, etc.
14. Volunteer together! In the past our family has rung the bells for the Salvation Army, served food in a soup kitchen, collected cans for food drives, etc. So many charities and churches would be so grateful for your help and it can be really fun to serve as a family!
15. Put on Christmas pageant–at home! Let the kids plan it, write it, direct it! If you really want to go all-out, make a Christmas movie! Your family will have a blast watching it over and over again for years to come!
16. Go an entire day tech-free! Turn off your cell phone. Don’t go online. Don’t watch your Blue-ray. Just be together without the gadgets! You will be amazed at what your creative minds and those of your children can come up with! Some of our must hilarious times have happened during power-outages or when we intentionally unplug!
In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. (Lao Tzu)