Holiday Savings: 18 Little Ideas That Make for Big Fun
There’s no need to break open the piggy bank to have a joyful family holiday. These tips will help you save money decorating your house and provide no- and low-cost activities to build memories with minimal expense.
Start By Thinking Year After Year
As you plan your decorations this year, consider ways to save money in the long run.
- Choosing a Tree: A beautiful artificial Christmas tree is a great onetime investment. It will save you money since you won’t have to buy a new tree each year. An artificial tree will also eliminate the possibility of costly water damage to carpeting or wood flooring. Buy a pre-lit tree to save time and money you’d spend buying and adding lights separately.
- Decorating the Front Door: A lit, decorated artificial wreath costs about the same as a fresh wreath but can be used for years to come.
- Holiday Storage Options: Part of saving money means taking excellent care of your holiday investments. Use tree storage bags, wreath containers, and ornament boxes with dividers to store your decorations. Opt for tubs with tight-fitting lids to keep out moisture and pests.
Plan for Fun With Little Funds
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, fill your Advent calendar with things to do instead of candy. Write down a fun activity using some of our suggestions below and slip the note into each calendar pocket.
- Make decorating the tree a special event. Don your holiday sweaters, pour the eggnog, light scented candles, and listen to holiday music.
- As you pull out ornaments, pass on stories about the special ones. Show your children one that was yours as a child, one you bought when they were babies, or one that your children made when they were little.
- String popcorn and cranberries together to create a natural garland for the tree.
- Have your own tree-lighting ceremony. On the first night you put up your tree, wait until dark to light the tree. If your tree is at a window, march outside and view it from the street.
- Put out heavy card stock, stamps, glitter, markers, and crayons and let the kids create ornaments to hang on the tree. (Grandma is sure to love receiving one as a gift, too.)
- Share the fun. Host a holiday potluck for a tree-trimming party. Fill your slow cooker with chili or stew, bake a tray of brownies, and invite everyone to bring a dish or an ornament for the tree. Let the kids decorate the table and help you cook.
- Stop by the library for some new Christmas tree stories like “The Little Fir Tree,” “Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect,” and “The Christmas Tree Ship.” Turn on the tree lights, curl up with hot cocoa, and enjoy the stories with your children.
- Don’t forget the dog! It’s as easy to bake dog biscuits as it is to bake cookies. Let the kids help stir them and shape them into bones, then use ribbons to add them to the top of the tree. On Christmas night, Santa can move them to the dog’s stocking.
- Make and decorate tree-shaped Christmas cookies. Bake an extra batch to give to your neighbors to celebrate the season of giving.
- Host a movie night. Show a tree-themed movie like “The Christmas Tree” or “A Christmas Tree Miracle.” Spread out blankets, pop the popcorn, and enjoy the show!
- Create a paper chain or paper snowflake garland to string on the tree.
- Play charades and act out Christmas tree terms such as “garland,” “ornament,” “Santa,” and so on — no pointing at the tree!
- Give the kids a tiny tree and let them color and cut out decorations for it.
- Kids will love camping indoors under the twinkling Christmas tree. Have them set up their sleeping bags for a special night under the tree.
- Gather the family in a circle near the tree for a round-robin Christmas tale. Start the storytelling with “Once upon a time, there was a… ” Have the next person fill in the blank, and build a story as each person takes a turn. It will probably get silly, but should lead to a night of good laughs.
It’s easy and inexpensive to fill your family’s holiday season with fun memories. All you need is a little advance planning and a beautiful Christmas tree!
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