How does this time of year always sneak up on me? I walked into the local grocery store this week only to see large snowflake decor hanging from the ceiling! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was packing up the beach bag and boogie boards. If you are anything like me then you are probably looking for ways to save some money this Christmas. If you grew up with fancy, expensive Christmas traditions then it might be hard to tone it down and make it simple for your own children but in the end, it really is "the thought that counts." Children want to know that they are loved and appreciated. Gifts are a kind and fun gesture but that doesn't mean it always has to be the most expensive toy that will break in a week or the most popular toy just to keep up with their friends. In our home, we try to keep it simple. Here are three traditions we've started to keep the season both memorable and frugal.
Be creative. I hang up cards throughout the month of December numbered 1-24 on the mantle. Each day the kids will flip one over and find a simple and fun activity for the day. Read a Christmas book, drive around and see the lights, have a family sleepover by the fire, etc. The kids still talk about what we've done months after and how much fun they had. In addition, there are plenty of pre-made advent calendars that children can enjoy reading and doing. It makes for a wonderful and exciting family tradition!
When my husband first mentioned that he wanted the kids to make homemade gifts for each others birthday and Christmas I kind of felt bad for my kids. I mean, really, a homemade gift certainly can't compare to the newest American Girl doll or Lego Set! Everything changed last year though when my son made his little sister a dollhouse out of wood. He designed it himself and with minimal help from dad he created a dollhouse that was supposed to be similar to the house in little house on the prairie. She loves it and still plays with it! When it comes from the heart it holds so much value! Can't think of what to have your child make? Don't start from scratch but get an inexpensive craft kit or book and go from there!
FOOD, FOOD and MORE FOOD
I already have three commitments next month where we have to bring a finger food. I'm sure more will pop up as the month progresses! Although I'm tempted to grab a bag of chips and say, "hey, I'm a busy homeschool mom, they'll understand!" I know that isn't the best approach. Instead, I try to use this season to put the books down at times and enter the kitchen with a willing and happy heart. Yes, this means inviting my children to join in on the fun. Whether it's baking batches of cookies or creating a meat tray or fancy dessert, we like to make the most of it and make something fun and make it together!
In what unique way do you spend the holidays?