As a lot of families continue to try to bounce back from the recession, the expense of Christmas looms overhead as the holiday season quickly approaches. Trying to make Christmas special for kids when money is tight takes planning, compromise, and creativity. But it can definitely be done. If you need ideas for making Christmas fun for kids on the cheap, consider the following suggestions.
Gifts don’t need to be the main focus of Christmas – There are a lot of ways to create Christmas fun for kids without spending much money. For instance, utilize the Internet for fun kid’s Christmas crafts to enjoy during the weeks leading up to Christmas. If gifts will be very scarce this year, plan some really special arts and craft activities for Christmas Day, and plan a special meal. Sit down and watch Polar Express together with some hot chocolate and candy canes. Most kids would really benefit from this type of simple, yet meaningful, type of Christmas Day.
Another low-cost way to make Christmas fun for kids is to plan some special Christmas themed “movie nights” during the weeks leading up to the holiday. Gather all your Christmas movies, borrow a few from friends, or check your local TV listings for Christmas programs. Hand out candy canes as the movie starts, and you’ve got yourself a Christmas evening that the kids are sure to enjoy.
Finally, add a few special “baking days” with your kids that focus on Christmas cookies and breads. Play some Christmas music, too! Not only will the kids love decorating and snacking on Christmas goodies that you’ve baked together, but these handmade items can also serve as inexpensive gifts for friends and co-workers.
Check out community Christmas events – Community Christmas festivals and parades can be extraordinarily fun for kids. Between the music, colorful lights, and Christmas decorations, kids get to experience the Christmas season at these types of events. To save your pocketbook upon arriving at such events, bring along candy canes or homemade Christmas cookies for your kids to enjoy as they take in the surrounding festivities.
Consider daily “presents on the tree” – If you feel upset over the fact that gifts will be particularly thin at your house on Christmas morning, consider “presents on the tree”. These are very small gifts, wrapped up and placed on tree limbs, so that your kids can choose one gift to unwrap each night before Christmas. Low-cost ideas for these gifts include fun-size candy (like the ones handed out at Halloween); Christmas themed pencils and erasers; crayons from multi-packs purchased at the dollar store, and just about any small, inexpensive item you can think of. It isn’t really the item that matters; what makes this idea so fun for kids is the anticipation and subsequent unwrapping of the gift. Instead of spending all month daydreaming about all the presents they will open on Christmas morning, they get to feel excitement each day about getting to choose a gift off of the tree that night.
Despite the fact that many of us would like to simply teach our children that Christmas is not about gifts, the reality is that they are constantly bombarded with television commercials and talk from friends about Christmas presents. A lot of parents don’t want their own children to miss out on the fun of gifts and excitement, even if they themselves wish there wasn’t so much emphasis on materialism at Christmastime. Following the suggestions above can help parents make Christmas fun for kids, without spending an irrational amount of money on gifts.