There are so many fun family activities to do during the Christmas season, but some can get expensive fast. Annual family traditions are what the holidays are all about—and if they don’t break the bank, then even better! No need to shell out a bunch of money for fancy ski trips or pricey gift exchanges. Instead, here are eight ideas for free or inexpensive family holiday traditions that you’ll want to do year after year.
1. Attend A Tree-Lighting Ceremony
Many local communities have tree-lighting ceremonies that involve plenty of singing, twinkling lights and festive cheer. Attendance is free, and it’s a great way to experience the magic of Christmas with the whole community.
2. Host A Cookie Exchange
Gift exchanges can get pricey, so host a cookie exchange with your friends, family or neighbors. Each guest makes their own batch of cookies, and then everyone gets to sample and take home a variety of tasty treats. Talk about a sweet holiday party!
3. Volunteer At A Shelter
Spend time with the family while teaching your kids the importance of helping others. The holiday season is the coldest time of the year, and many homeless people turn to these shelters or food banks for warmth, safety and a good meal. Find somewhere to volunteer, and leave a lasting impression not only on others, but on your family as well. It is the season of giving, after all.
4. Make A Christmas Countdown
Get the whole family excited about the holidays with a homemade Christmas countdown. There are tons of ways to make your own Advent calendar, and counting down another day each morning as a family becomes a special ritual.
5. Make Popcorn Garland
Some Christmas decorations end up costing a lot of money once you purchase all the necessary tools, but popcorn is super cheap, and you can make beautiful stringed garland with it. Your kids will have fun nibbling on the snack while stringing their decorations on your tree or over the fireplace.
6. Visit A Tree Farm
Even if you’re not in the market to buy a new Christmas tree, visiting a tree farm is an experience in itself. Many farms offer family activities, and at the very least, you can grab a hot cocoa and walk around marveling at the trees and breathing in that amazing pine scent.
7. Create Your Own Christmas Cards
Spread the holiday cheer with some homemade Christmas card crafting. Recycle old greeting cards to make everything from Christmas ornaments to gift tags.
8. Create Hope Notes To Read The Following Year
Have each family member write a note to themselves about something they hope happens before next year’s Christmas. Put the notes in a stocking, and open them up the following year. This is a fun way to not only set goals, but to see how many of them come true!