Growing up, I was never the type of person who was over the top obsessed with Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I really loved it as a kid, but for many years as a young adult it felt stressful living up to all the hype. I would try to convince everyone around me to not give gifts and JJ and I often didn’t due to having very little extra money to spend. It felt forced and lacked meaning other than just giving each other a gift to give a gift.
Now, my scrooge days have passed, and after having children… I finally feel what this holiday is all about. It’s FREAKING MAGICAL. It’s especially fun for us this year, as Vivienne is able to understand so much more… even if Santa is still a little “scary.” I can just see so many fun years ahead of us, and not necessarily because of the presents (although watching them open will be so cute) but the family traditions we get to create.
Traditions are what the holidays are all about because they don’t have to be expensive or extravagant to be meaningful and fun. Even before kids, JJ and I started a tradition of having eggnog cocktails and decorating the house/tree the day after Thanksgiving. Growing up, I was always so excited to go to the movies on Christmas Day or be the one to find the pickle ornament, regardless of my parents giving each kid an extra present anyway. It’s the little things that kids remember.
Like many of my real talk posts, I took to Instagram to find out what your favorite inexpensive holiday traditions were… in hopes to share and inspire you to continue to create memories with your families. So, spoil your kids with togetherness, traditions, and experiences even if gifts aren’t an option.
See list below:
- Attend a Christmas Parade
- Grab hot chocolate/or make at home and drive around your neighborhoods to see Christmas lights (extra fun: create a map together before going).
- Make Gingerbread houses
- Wear matching Christmas Pajamas on Christmas Eve
- Grinch Day: Watch the Grinch, create “Grinchy” crafts, and make green milkshakes
- Shop together for a Christmas Angel- teach your kids about giving back.
- Watch Christmas movies together
- Make cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve (or any day)
- Attend mass on Christmas Eve
- Elf on the Shelf
- Go ice skating as a family
- Have breakfast with Santa
- Allow your kids to open one gift on Christmas Eve
- Take the kids each year to pick out their own ornament, if possible, attach name and year to remember.
- Go to a holiday play at a church, school, or theatre
- Go to the zoo after dark to look at “zoo lights”
- Attend your local park events
- Railroad park to see the lights at night
- Paint a Christmas plate for Santa’s milk and cookies
- Go to a Reindeer farm
- Go on a sleigh ride
- Go to a Christmas Tree Farm
- Decorate inside and outside your house together
- Advent Calendar for the kids
- “Feed the reindeer” on Christmas Eve: sprinkle oats and glitter on the lawn so the reindeer see that you are home.
- Christmas Brunch before opening gifts
- Kids have to stay upstairs until mom and dad gave the OK to come down
- Go to the movies on Christmas Day
- Wrap 24 Christmas books and open one every day
- Pickle gift- you hide the pickle in the tree and the first one to find it gets an extra gift
- Secret Santa: you get a gift and only have to give another
- Put carrots on the roof together for the reindeers
- Parents hide stockings and kids have to look for them on Christmas morning
- Give a Christmas Eve box- new pajamas, Christmas book, movie to watch, hot chocolate mix, etc.
- Go caroling together
- Make salt dough ornaments together
- Buy new Christmas mugs every year together
I hope some of these ideas gave you inspiration for your families – and may you have the best year yet!