By Amy Packham
As much as we love Christmas, we don’t love how large a dent all the festivities make in our wallets. But while some costs are hard to avoid (gifts, Santa’s grotto and all that food), there are plenty of ways to feel jolly in December without setting you back a load of cash.
Go Out For A Festive Wander
Mention the words “long walk” to your kids and you’ll probably be greeted with grunts and moans. But heading out for a wander is an ideal activity, not only to stay active while we’re gorging on chocolate and mince pies, but also for some time out from the festive madness that is Christmas.
Wrap up warm and see how many festive displays and Santa pop-ups you can spot while you’re out with kids – then remind them there’s a large warm hot chocolate waiting for them when they get home.
Do A Bauble Treasure Hunt
Ready to put the tree up? Turn it into a fun activity for the kids by hiding the tree decorations and baubles around the house (while they’re not looking). Give them a bag to get collecting once they’re ready on the bauble treasure hunt.
Once they’ve found all the baubles, get together to hang them on the tree – that is unless you’re a perfectionist or, like our colleague Tash, you’ve put it up already.
Go On A Christmas Lights Drive
When it gets dark, head out in your local area to see how many decorative festive light displays you can see on houses near you. Are there any extravagant ones? How would you score them out of 10?
You could also play ‘Spot The Christmas Trees’: task the kids with keeping track of the number you see while on you’re on your travels.
Stay In For A Festive Film Afternoon
Come on, you can’t go through the Christmas season without watching at least 10 Christmas films, right? Sit down with your kids and make a festive film list, together with tick boxes, to agree which films you all want to watch together in December. Add in some festive favourites, golden oldies and fabulous newbies.
Get Crafty At Home
Enlist your kids as crafty helpers to make some Christmassy creations, such as place names for the table on Christmas Day, or paper chains and snowflake decorations they can put in their room. Use paper, colouring pens and any scraps of coloured paper or cut-outs from things you already have at home.
Go Carol Singing
Are your kids brave and bold enough to sing to the neighbours? Get them to choose their favourite Christmas carol and see if you can round-up any friends, family or neighbours to come along for the tour. Head to some of your friendlier neighbours to do a little sing-a-long and boost that community spirit.
Do Some Acts Of Kindness
Christmas is a time for giving, after all. Whether it be something small like sending an elderly neighbour a Christmas card or donating some old toys to a toy bank, there are loads of ways you can encourage kindness in your kids.
For some inspiration, check out this Christmas kindness calendar.
Enlist Your Kid As Your Helpful Elf
There’s so much to do at this time of year: think Christmas present planning, decorations, food buying, meal planning, and more. Why not give your child the very important title of “elf” and organise an “elf planning meeting” where they help mummy or daddy write down a shopping or to-do list. They’ll love feeling involved in the process and all grown-up.
Film A Festive Music Video
This may require a bit more time but could come in handy when you want to send Christmas messages to friends and family. Get the kids to choose their favourite Christmas song, plan a short routine (or just get them dancing) and encourage them to mouth along to the words. Film on your phone and hey presto – you can send on to family for free to make them smile.
Make A Cosy Christmassy Den
There’s never a bad time to make a den at home, especially when it’s cold and chilly outside. Use string, bed sheets, fairy lights, cushions and lots of blankets to make a super cosy corner in your house for your kids to chill out in. Make it festive by reading some Christmas-based books in there once you’re all set up.
Have any fun, free and festive ideas you do with your kids? Let us know so we can share them with our readers. Email [email protected]