I always loved Christmas as a child (what kid doesn’t?!), but I love it even more now that I have kids and get to watch their joy.
If I’m not careful, I could easily spend a lot of money making their Christmas memorable, but I don’t have to. Whether you’re on a budget or simply want to spend modestly, there are plenty of low-cost ways you can enjoy the holidays with your kids.
There are so many great books written about the holiday season. Browse your library shelves and check out a few. Your little ones will love reading a variety of stories, but I’ve found that bigger kids like being read to, too. This year, my kids (ages 10 through 4) and I are reading a chapter a day of Jotham’s Journey. They look forward to lunchtime every day when we read the book, and they often want to read ahead.
The library is another great place to check out fantastic holiday movies. Or, if you have cable or Netflix, you can easily find the classics from the comfort of home. In our house, we always watch the Charlie Brown Christmas as well as classics like Rudolph. When the kids get a bit older, I plan to introduce them to It’s a Wonderful Life.
The radio or even YouTube can provide you with hours of Christmas music. We play it in the background while we’re going about our day.
Just because you’re not spending a lot of money doesn’t mean you can’t have fun as a family. There are plenty of free or low cost activities you could take advantage of no matter your children’s ages.
Look at the Lights
One of our favorite free holiday activities is to drive around at night and look at the lights. There is a subdivision near our neighborhood where every house puts out holiday light displays that are fabulous to look at. This activity only costs you the price of gas, and you can entertain the kids, no matter their age, for an hour or so.
Find Free Performances
During the holidays, many churches offer free activities. Last year, we went to a Peruvian celebration at a local church. They had snacks, a live band, and a performance by a group of Peruvians. We spent 2.5 hours there and had a great time. This year, we plan to attend a free, live nativity performance.
You might get information about these free events through the mail or through your local church. Another way to find them is to simply Google “free Christmas activities in ——” and give the name of your town. You’ll likely be surprised to see the number of free events available.
Children young and old love making crafts. You just have to find the right craft for their age. For the older set, activities like making jewelry such as earrings and personalized necklaces is entertaining. For the younger set, simple activities like making bead candy canes with pipe cleaners may be fun. All the kids could make paper snowflakes. The older the kid, the more elaborate the pattern.
Don’t forget that Pinterest is your best friend for finding fun crafts to do with kids.
A fun way to spend time together is to bake and decorate Christmas cookies or other goodies. You could make some to share with your neighbors or family, or you could make a nice platter and give them to the local nursing home. Kids especially love decorating sugar cookies because there are so many ways to be creative.
Caroling is a lost art that you could consider. If that’s too embarrassing for the kids, you could consider having a sing along. Years ago, my husband and I lived downstairs in an apartment. The family above us would gather once or twice a week around the piano and have a family sing along, singing a variety of Christmas carols. While this family was usually very noisy, hearing their sing along was one noise we didn’t mind.
What are your favorite low-cost ways to enjoy the season?