Christmas Activities on a Budget

For many, Christmas is stressful due to a tight budget. Using a little creativity, you and your family can happily enjoy a budget-friendly holiday season. 

Tree Decorating

Spend an afternoon decorating your Christmas tree. Put on Christmas music or a movie to make the activity more festive. If you need a Christmas tree, check out your local thrift store. When downsizing, many people donate larger artificial trees. 

Make Christmas Ornaments

Yes, you can buy inexpensive ornaments at your local dollar store or at the thrift store. Or you can spend time making homemade ornaments. Salt dough ornaments, construction paper chains, stringed popcorn, canning lid ornaments, and numerous others are simple and inexpensive. Make ornaments as a family activity.

Make Homemade Christmas Cards

Construction paper, glitter, glue, markers, or paint can be found at your local dollar store. Spend time making together making the Christmas cards. When you are finished, hand-deliver the cards. 

Attend a Tree-Lighting Ceremony

Many communities hold tree-lighting ceremonies or present Santa with a key to the city. Attend local events. Generally, outdoor community events are free. 

Attend a Christmas Parade

Christmas parades or light parades are a fun community tradition. Many communities combine the parade with the tree lighting ceremony. 

Attend a Live Nativity

Churches often host live Nativity events. Viewing the Nativity scene does not require you to be a member of the church. Enjoy the evening.Sing carols. Many churches invite people inside to drink hot cocoa and eat cookies. Some churches even set up free activities for children. 

View Christmas Lights

When decorating a home or business, some people go all out. Every part of their property is highly decorated with lights, figures, and other Christmas related items. Take a slow drive around your community and look at the Christmas lights. The outing is a perfect evening activity. Consider packing snacks to enjoy on your night out. 

Visit Santa Claus

 Many places play host to Santa to get you to come inside the business. For younger children, visiting Santa Clause may be a dream come true. Often, candy canes or other small treats are passed out as part of the event. Depending on the business or event, visiting Santa may include live reindeer or photo opportunities. 



Host a Christmas Movie Night

Pick out a Christmas movie or cartoon to enjoy as a family. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or A Charlie Brown Christmas are two popular favorites. Serve hot cocoa, popcorn, or other snacks. 


Make Christmas Cookies

Make a batch or two of your favorite Christmas cookies. Christmas cookies would go fantastic with your movie night. 

Go to the Library

When thinking of Christmas activities, visiting a library is probably not on your list. But go to your local library to check out Christmas-related books. Reading to younger children is a great way to spend quality time. Older children may find Christmas stories fun to read. Many libraries allow you to check out movies, DVDs, or other media to make the holiday season more fun. Also, your local library may have a visit from Santa or other Christmas related events for your family to enjoy. 

Being on a budget doesn’t mean you have to skip on family fun. Enjoy the simple things, the memories you make will last forever.

Celebrating Christmas on a Budget

The holiday season can leave your wallet or pocketbook feeling empty. For many individuals on a tight budget, the joyous holidays can quickly turn into stress-filled days. Stay in the holiday spirit by participating free or low-cost activities.

  1. Attend Christmas Parades

Numerous communities have Christmas parades. The electric light parades show off vehicles with hundreds of Christmas lights and music. The parades mark the beginning of the holiday season for the local community. Most parades end with the appearance of the big man himself, Santa Claus.

  1. Go to Community Events

Along with parades, many communities host Christmas events. Often the city official will provide Santa Clause a key to the city. Or the local commerce hosts a tree lighting ceremony. Check with:

  • Museums
  • Art Council
  • Community Centers
  • Libraries
  • Parks

Many host Christmas tree decorating contests, breakfast with Santa and other low-cost events.

  1. Go to Church Events

Regardless of your religious beliefs or affiliations, attending a multitude of church events may put you in the holiday spirit.

Depending on the church, the events may include:

  • Cookie Walk
  • Community Sing-a-long
  • Caroling
  • Midnight Services
  • Live Nativity Scenes
  • Christmas Programs
  1. School Events

Many schools and colleges host special Christmas concerts and plays. Many are open to the public. Other programs may require the purchase of admission. Allowing you to enjoy a night of holiday entertainment, the low-cost ticket is worth the price.

  1. Volunteer

Christmas brings many needs to the community. Taking time out of your busy schedule to volunteer may actually put you in the holiday spirit.

Volunteer ideas include:

  • Toy Collection Sites
  • Soup Kitchens
  • Nursing Homes
  • Local Chamber of Commence

At this time of the year, many churches or other charitable organizations create and distribute gift baskets to people in need. The organizations generally need help making the baskets up and delivery.

  1. Host a Movie Night

Host a Christmas movie night or one a week. Check out listings on your local television stations or watch a DVD. Consider making a special treat popcorn, pizza, cookies or hot chocolate can make the night more memorable. Movie nights can include just family, friends or a combination. During the holiday season, more the merrier often helps in acquiring the Christmas spirit.

  1. Make Homemade Decorations

Making homemade decorations is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. Paper chains, salt dough ornaments, and other inexpensive materials are wonderful to add crafty decorations to your home.

  1. Search for Christmas Light Displays

Driving around looking at Christmas displays can create a magical evening. Some homeowners go all out for their displays, thousands of lights, Nativity scenes, Santa Claus on the roof and so much more.

Small moments to celebrate the holiday season may result in the best Christmas memories.

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