Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Seven Inexpensive or FREE Holiday Activities

We want the holiday season to be festive and memorable for our family, not stressful and expensive. These activities will put you in the festive spirit and won’t break your budget.

1. Go to a local parade.
Check your local newspaper, municipality websites for the dates and times. And be sure to bundle up...unless you live in Arizona or Florida.

2. Host a cookie swap with your friends, family or neighbors.
Invite your friends and/or family over for hot chocolate. Ask everyone participating to make a dozen cookies for each participant. If a dozen is too much, make it a half-dozen. Cookies usually freeze really well, so don't be afraid of ending up with all of these cookies. Make sure to set guidelines in case there are food allergies or issues.

3. Drive through neighborhoods to check out the festive lights.
When I was a child, there was one house that appeared to have thousands of lights and holiday displays. Cars would be parked along side the road to see the display. As a kid, it was magical and I still love to drive around to see the beautiful lights, although I have no desire to decorate our home to that extent.

4. Build and decorate a gingerbread house.
Building a gingerbread house is my daughters' favorite holiday activity. I found a kit on sale for $7.99 at a craft store and I was able to use an additional 30% off coupon. At that price, I bought two and my younger daughter could decorate her own and not upset my more meticulous older daughter. You could also make your own gingerbread house, but I found the kit to be easy and less time-consuming.

5. Check your library for holiday themed story times or programs.
Every year, our library has a special Gingerbread Man story time where the children listen to gingerbread themed stories and decorate a cookie.

6. Attend a local church program or musical.
Our church hosts two musicals. One is presented by the children and a second musical for put on by the choirs and musicians in our church. They are always well run productions with a beautiful and inspiring message. For my family, this helps us remember the meaning of the season. If you are not a member of a church, a lot of churches host beautiful holiday programs and they are usually open to the public.

7. Celebrate with a holiday movie night.
There are so many wonderful holiday movies on TV that you could have several movie nights. Make it special with hot cocoa and popcorn. If you don’t have cable, check these movies out at your library. Check your local listings in the newspaper for dates and times.

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Shrek the Halls
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • A Christmas Carol (1938)
  • Meet Me In St. Louis
  • White Christmas
  • A Christmas Story
  • It's A Wonderful Life
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • Frosty Returns
  • Scrooge (1970, Albert Finney)
  • The Polar Express
  • The Year Without a Santa Claus
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

What is your favorite holiday movie? My all-time favorite is "A Chrismas Story".

What inexpensive or FREE holiday activities will you and your family be participating in this year? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Great ideas! We do a lot of the things you mentioned as a part of our family Christmas tradition.
    Another great, free activity that our family enjoys is the living nativity scenes put on by local churches in our community.
    Often times you will find the the location and schedule of the nativities in the local paper or the papers website.

  2. My list of favorite movies is going up tomorrow. :-) However, my all-time favorite Christmas film has to be "The Muppets Christmas Carol".

  3. Annie - the living nativity is a wonderful idea and now I am going to go find out where we can go to see one.

    Carrie - I adore the "Muppets Christmas Carol" and have it on vhs. But I bet it will be on tv sometime this month too.

  4. Great ideas, although with gas prices climbing in our area I think driving around and looking at Christmas lights is out of the question :) My favorite Christmas movie...hmmmm I like all the old classics I grew up with, Frosty, Rudolph, The Grinch :)

  5. Hulu.com has the Charlie Brown Christmas movie as well, and you can watch that if you have internet access but not cable.

    When I was a child, my parents would find a radio station that was playing Christmas music, and we would listen to that in the car while we looked at lights.

    There are also some internet radio stations that play Christmas music for free if you want to listen at home.


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