There are so many things to spend money on when Christmas is right around the corner: presents, holiday parties, white elephants, alcohol…the list could go on. When it comes to family traditions, though, you don’t have to go crazy on an annual basis. Here are six low-cost holiday traditions that can help you keep the spirit alive, without breaking the piggy bank:
1. Tour Your Neighborhood for Christmas Lights
While there are a lot of fantastic Christmas light displays you can pay to tour, odds are you don’t have to go further than your own neighborhood. Drive down all the Courts and Ways to see the holiday splendor your neighbors have worked so hard to create. You can load your kids up in the car to make a special trip, or you can make it something you do on your way home.
2. Movie Night
Pop some popcorn and have a night in. There are holiday movies across the spectrum, and thanks to the TV and internet connectivity options we all have through various competitors in the marketplace, like AT&T U-verse, we can view them all. Whether you’re looking for funny, sappy, classic, or new releases, there’s something for every family to cuddle up and watch together.
3. Make Popcorn Garland
If you want to put that popcorn to a different use, string some popcorn garland to add some festivity to your decor. All you need is a bag of popcorn, a needle, and some thread. Poke the threaded needle through the center of each popped kernel, and you’ll have a great, DIY decoration to wrap around the tree or drape around the living room.
4. Go Caroling
Nothing brings the holiday spirit on quite like music. You can either gather your family alone, or with other families from the neighborhood, to spread cheer from door to door. If you want to have a wider array of choices, or want to delve into second and third verses without everyone mumbling through all but the choruses, a simple solution is to print out enough copies of the music from your home computer.
5. Freeze & Thaw
It looks like we might just have a white Christmas yet in the Northeast. If you’re so lucky as to have snow, take everyone outside to play in it. Build snowmen, make snow angels, have a snowball fight, or build an igloo. When the kids are off of school, you have to take advantage of the time you have with them. (Besides, playing outside is a surefire way to wear them down before bedtime!)
When you come in, dethaw with some hot cocoa. If you want to get really fancy, you can throw in some marshmallows or candy canes.
6. Donate Gently Used Toys
Worried about how you’re going to accommodate all the new toys from Santa? This is a perfect time to teach your children about selflessness and giving, and clear up a little room in the toy box. Have them go through their things, selecting gently used items they’d like to donate. Some bigger charities require that you donate only brand-new, in-the-box toys, but if you look around organizations in your local community, you won’t have to look far to find someone willing to take them and pass them on to a child that will truly appreciate the gift.