November 30, 2015

Holiday Bucket List on a Budget

Around the holidays, there are so many fun activities to do with the family. This season, our budget is tighter than before to spend on special events and outings. I know many families are in similar positions as well. To help us all out, I've created a holiday bucket list of 13 activities to do for free or just a few dollars. I'm so looking forward to doing each one with M2 and B so that we can create all kinds of awesome holiday memories together!

For simple tips on how to save on holiday spending, check out this post.

1. Christmas lights
Even if Clark Griswold  doesn't live in your neighborhood, nothing says, "Christmas" like driving around admiring all the lights. It's a great time to sing carols with the family and spend time unplugged from technology simply enjoying the season.

2. Christmas festivals, craft fairs and tree lightings
Many towns and cities have tree lightings the first week of December. Everyone gathers together to watch the town Christmas tree and decorations be lit. Christmas festivals and craft fairs are also plentiful this time of year. Even if you don't buy anything at craft festivals, it's fun to wander to see the different gourmet foods and handicrafts people are selling. Our area is no exception. Over the next few weeks, there is lighting event after lighting event. Parades, Santa, lights, hot chocolate, mittens, scarves, oh my! A few of the local churches are having bazaars I want to hit, too. Last year we missed them all so I can't wait to finally take M2 and B to have some fun!!

3. Walk the mall
I love all the decorations that go up at the mall each year. Walking around to see them all then stopping by to see Santa is a favorite of mine. It also burns some calories so I can sneak in a couple gingersnaps when we get home along with a cup of hot tea.

4. Decorate the house
This year, decorating is going to be interesting. With a toddler and a baby on the prowl to destroy anything they can touch, I'm going to have to put everything up high or not put it out at all. Our tree is going to go up later than usual because I'm not looking forward to worrying about it crashing down! As for outside, we have a larger-than-ever light set up planned. I stocked up on clearance lights last year after the holidays so we an add more to our display.

5. Take a nature walk
The outdoors are beautiful this time of year, despite the cold. When there is snow on the ground it's even more breath taking. We'll be doing family walks to enjoy it all!

6. Watch Christmas movies
It's no secret that I have a good-sized collection of Christmas movies, from the holiday black-and-white classics like It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street to National Lampoon's Christmas, Home Alone, The Santa Clause, Rudolph and Frosty, we'll be watching them all. Come Christmas, we'll have an A Christmas Story Movie marathon. It's a family tradition (and one of M2's and my favorite movies)!

7. Walk Through Holiday Light Display
A park near us has a light display each year that you can walk through at night. We've never been. This year, that's going to change!

8. Crafts, crafts and more crafts
I'm planning to make: Two wreaths for our door, one with ornaments one with bells. Painted and salt dough ornaments. A felt Santa. A felt Christmas tree. Hand print decorations. Plus, anything else I can think up!

9. Holiday baking
My holiday baking list has been in the works for about a month. I've already started on the gingersnaps and a new cookie recipe I've created. Next up are peanut butter blossoms, chocolate cookies, sugar cookies using my family's secret recipe, gingerbread Colonial Williamsburg style and ricotta cookies. Yum! They'll get packaged up and given out as gifts to friends, family, mail carriers and more this season.

10. Christmas music
The whole family loves music in our house. We usually have Pandora going. During the holidays, Christmas songs take top priority. Carols delight our ears and get us into the Christmas spirit daily all through Christmas.

11. Ugly sweater shopping
I've already seen so many ugly Christmas sweaters at different stores. While we're out, I'm going to be wandering around to scout out the absolute worst one I can find, while being thoroughly amused as I go! No, I won't be buying one -- just admiring the garish holiday attire.

12. Hot cocoa, cookies and board games
Game nights with A are something I want to start doing. What better time to start than now? Throw in some hot chocolate and homemade cookies and the nights get even sweeter!

13. Library time
The local library has special holiday story times and activities we plan to take M2 and B to this year. Totally free and fun!

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  1. This is a great list! I love the hot cocoa, cookies and board games idea! Also, I have a similar situation considering the safety of my decorations only our culprit is our beagle puppy. I've decided to send several back to storage until next year. Have a very Merry Christmas!

    1. That sounds like a much safer plan! :) I bet he's a cutie.

  2. You have some great ideas to keep it free or cheap. We have had many holidays where money wasn't plentiful and they often end up being the best holidays. Think about donating or volunteering for the holidays. Our local Cops for Kids has a shopping day. You get to shop for kids in need on their money. It helps the organization and it doesn't cost me a dime to do. ...And it is fun.

    1. I hadn't heard of them before, I'll have to take a look!

  3. What a great list you have for the holidays! I would say holiday baking and reading Christmas stories our some of our favorites! #12daysofblogmas

  4. I love driving around looking at the lights (with some hot cocoa or coffee of course)! We have a lights in the park event here too. It is primarily drive thru but there is 1 or 2 nights they allow walkers. Maybe I should walk this year!

  5. Great list here! We love finding Christmas lights and I also have a LONG list of free events for the month! :)

  6. We're slowly knocking things off this list. We've walked the mall, I have my Christmas piano music out, and my husband loves A Christmas Story. It's nice to be able to enjoy little, low cost activities as a family. Good bonding time.


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