Christmas is always a conflicting time of the year. On the one hand, it is a wonderful time to spend with family and enjoy some quality time together, while on the other, it usually ends up racking up the bills. I mentioned a few ways to enjoy Christmas on a budget last year, but in 2016 I wanted to put some ideas out there to help you have a very merry Christmas for either free or practically free.
Experiences over Presents
Don’t limit Christmas to the 25th and presents under the tree. Experiences are what kids really remember. A toy brings joy for a few months or years perhaps, but an experience lasts a lifetime and is relived and enjoyed every time they think back on it. Whether that’s looking for a Christmas tree and everyone working together to cut it down by hand, or time spent outside bundled up warm, engaging in either epic snowball fights, building snowmen and snow forts, or going sledding. One of my personal favorites from when I was a child that I think back on every year was walking or driving around in the evening and looking at all of the pretty Christmas lights on neighbors’ houses.
A fantastic thing about the gift of experiences and time out with the family is the awesome photo opportunities that come out of them. If you have a blog like I do, or merely like to share your pics across the best two photo sharing platforms available (Pinterest and Instagram), these moments will be your opportunity to snap the perfect shot. Sun, snow, and smiling faces. What could be better than that?
Handmade Christmas Ornaments
Before running out and investing in new holiday decorations, why not see what you already have lying around the house that you can transform into decorations yourself? You can actually find a lot of great ideas for DIY and upcycled Christmas ornaments on sites like Martha Stewart’s blog. I was actually amazed with some of the beautiful decorations that I came across that I could make myself. Most are often not only original, but also add elements of sentimentality to your tree as well – either through pictures or other personal touches. Especially if you get the kids involved with making decorations, it will not only make it memorable for them because they get to contribute, but you will have a wonderful collection year after year of their handy-work.
You will literally get to see them grow up year after year in the decorations that they create. I find that to be a great element to all of this; plus the time that we spend together being creative is just one more great Christmas memory for them to store away. In the end, you don’t need to spend a heap of money in order to have a very special Christmas. When your children are grown up, they won’t remember exactly what you got them for Christmas each year; what they will remember the most is the time that you spent together.