Saving Money and Making Memories: Inexpensive Holiday Family Activities

Inexpensive Family Holidays

So many expectations surround the holiday season. Often these expectations require money: decorating, excursions, gifts, food, and special experiences. 

Pause for a moment and consider your favorite holiday memories. I bet the warm remembrances that stand out the most involve sledding and hot chocolate, more than particular presents or perfect laid tablescapes. 

Kids don’t want (or need) a Pinterest-perfect, expensive Christmas. Kids want time and our undivided attention. They want to spend time making happy memories that will last a lifetime. 

There are so many ways to enjoy the holiday season together as a family without spending much money at all. 

Holiday Stress, Pressure, and Overbuying 

The holidays can be so stressful. It’s hard enough to get through these cold winter months without the added pressure of work deadlines, holiday prep, and all those expectations. 

Buying stuff can feel good in the moment, alleviating some of that stress. And there’s the temptation of sales and commercials, encouraging us to buy, buy, buy. 

Let’s not forget societal pressure! Social media has added a whole new level of holiday “perfection:” expensive decorations, the biggest pile of presents, the most curated Christmas cards. 

In response to this stress and pressure, we can find ourselves purchasing more toys (or home decor, makeup, electronics, whatever) in one frantic month than we would the entire year. 

But not this year. 

This year we’re blocking out the noise and changing our mindset. We’re focusing on experiences and memories, not the hottest electronics and most enviable garland. 

Easy and Inexpensive Holiday Crafts 

Crafting is a great way to create holiday memories. There’s no need to go out and buy a bunch of seasonal glitter. It’s perfectly acceptable to use what you have at home. 

Kids won’t mind if their Christmas countdown chain is blue and purple instead of red and green, promise. 

Also, there are lots of free craft materials outside. Bundle up the family for a Winter Wonderland walk. Gather pine cones, evergreen branches, etc., and make bird feeders, mini Christmas trees, and more. 

Here are some great ideas for inexpensive, holiday crafts: 

Inexpensive Holiday Traditions 

There are so many ways to create holiday traditions that cost little to no money. These are the activities kids remember most. 

  • Stream a Christmas movie night 
  • Drive around to look at the lights 
  • Write a letter to Santa (and watch as Norad Tracks Santa Christmas Eve!) 
  • Make your own holiday cards 
  • Go caroling 
  • Make Christmas cookies 
  • Read The Polar Express and then watch the movie 
  • Make a family holiday playlist 
  • Check out books from the library and learn what winter holidays are celebrated around the world 
  • Play in the snow 
  • Set up your own hot chocolate bar! 
  • Have a Christmas scavenger hunt 

Spending money and enjoying the holidays don’t have to be the same thing. With a little planning, an inexpensive holiday is both possible and fun. 

Enjoy the wonderful events we have here in Wayne County. Embrace making ornaments, treats, and decorations at home. 

Let’s end the year without all the unnecessary added pressure. Our families, wallets, and peace of mind will thank us. 

About the Author

Megan Imhoff is a writer, community builder, and mother of three boys. She champions positive parenting and knowledgeable resources for all. She is the founder of Ish Mom and co-owner of Always Relevant Digital
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