Christmas is such a wonderful time of year. Everything is decorated beautifully, people come together to celebrate the season, children are excited, and the atmosphere is just magical. Christmas also often brings the stress – especially when it comes to finances. Affording gifts, the extra traveling, and the pressure to please the kids can be very stressful for everyone.
What I have learned over the years is that Christmas is not about the money spent. It is not about the newest gadget or toy. It is about family coming together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. You can have wonderful Christmas memories without spending tons of money. The important thing is that you create traditions with your family and make the holiday special. There are so many things you can do to celebrate Christmas that cost very little to no money.
Decorate– Decorating the house is one of my favorite activities. In particular, I love to pull out the Christmas ornaments each year and reminisce over Christmas’ past. I look at the boy’s baby ornaments with such happy memories. They are now old enough to help make their own ornaments this year, so that will be a new tradition for us. You don’t need to go out and buy tons of decorations. Often, there are plenty of things around the house that can be used for decorations. Go outside and find some pine cones to glitter. Cut some pine branches down for a wreath or a swag for the mantle. Get creative and see what you can come up with.
Take a Christmas Light Tour- This is one of my favorite things to do every year. In fact, we do it several times during the season. We get the kids in their pajamas and ride around our community to see everyone’s homes all lit up and decorated for the season. I’ve been doing this since I was little, and I’m so happy to carry on this tradition with my children. Many communities have Christmas displays in the park for a very small cost. We usually go to two different park displays a year for less than ten dollars total for our whole family.
Create Traditions- I’ve already listed a few traditions that we have. I think traditions are so important. I know there are several that we have that have been carried through at least two generations. Find activities and make it a yearly event. Go out and pick your Christmas tree, then stop for hot chocolate on the way home. Listen to Christmas music. Make a new garland for the tree.
Have a Christmas Movie Night- If you have cable or satellite, you will find plenty of Christmas movies playing all season long. Pick some of your favorites to watch with the family. If you don’t have cable, rent some movies from the video store or check them out at the library. Wal Mart has a lot of inexpensive Christmas movie for sale each year. Build up your Christmas movie collection and have a movie marathon. Pop some popcorn and get comfortable under a blanket. Be sure to have Christmas cookies with your movie, too.
Bake- Depending on what you have in your pantry, you can bake all sorts of Christmas goodies for very little money. Even if you don’t have the ingredients on hand, grocery stores run fabulous sales on baking items this time of year. Make a list of what is on sale and use coupons. You don’t have to make anything overly fancy. Just some simple sugar cookies with sprinkles are just fine. And let the children help. Don’t be afraid to let them make a mess. That is what memories are made of.
Donate- If you are able, be sure to remember those less fortunate at this time of year. If you can’t give money, there are other ways you can donate. Donate a few canned goods from your pantry to the local food bank. Check to see if your church is sponsoring needy families and help that way. Donate to Toys for Tots or Coats for Kids. Or you can donate your time. Work at a shelter or soup kitchen. Do whatever you are able. Your time spent thinking of others will really benefit those less fortunate.