Do you remember the Christmas of your childhood? If they were like mine, then they weren’t anything extravagant. My family didn’t have a lot of money, but we did have a lot of creativity. One thing I hear and see people say is that they want their children to have more than they did, but wait! Didn’t you turn out okay? Then shouldn’t your kids turn out okay under the same circumstances? Personally, I see a lot of spoiled children and adults out there and during this recession, those kids and adults are going to have to do more with less. So, below I will provide 6 free or cheap activities to do this Christmas break.
1. Go Christmas Tree Hunting. If you are blessed with acres of trees, or know someone who is, this task could be free. Just ask or go out and hunt down the best tree, cut it down, and drag it home. If you are not so blessed go to Food Lion. Now, I know what you’re saying, a grocery store? Why not the tree stand down the street? Well, in my experience, that tree stand tree is going to run you anywhere from $30-$200. And Charlie Brown’s tree looked better than their cheapest tree. So, go to Food Lion and purchase your tree. My husband and I got a beautiful Fir last year that cost $30 and it was the best looking tree.
2. While you are trekking through the woods looking for the perfect tree, pick up some decorations too. Mistletoe is not the plastic ball that you pack in the attic each year. It is actually a naturally growing thing. It grows in trees that are bare this time of year. If you are not sure, research it and you should have no problem identifying it in the wild. Other free decorations include pine cones, a holly branch with red berries, moss on the ground, dead branches and twigs, and late blooming wild flowers. The possibilities are bound only by your imagination.
3. Instead of going all out for a Christmas dinner, serve food at your local shelter. It is a simple act of kindness that will help many people this year. I know you hear about those people being foreclosed on in the news. Well, where do these people go after they are kicked out of their home? If they don’t have a friend or relative to lean on, they go to the shelter. Help them feel better this year with a little of your time and attention.
4. If you know anyone in a state facility like a group home or nursing home, go visit them. Some folks can’t come home for the holidays, but I’m sure you can go see them. The facilities I have been in try hard to make it as pleasant as they can for our sick and old, but we too need to do our part in remembering these people. If you don’t know anyone in these facilities, ask at the nurse’s station at your local home about folks there that don’t have any family, and go visit them. You may be surprised at what you see and feel this holiday season.
5. Food has a way of bringing people together. If the shelter is not your thing, then prepare a meal as a family and invite someone to dinner that doesn’t have any family. We all know someone who may be eating alone this Christmas break. If they do this because they want to, that is one thing. But, I’m pretty sure that most lonely folks would take you up on an invitation.
6. Prepare your own handmade Christmas cards. You can find free stencils and templates online and you can also find stamps, ink, lace, and card stock at your local craft store. If you cut one piece of card stock into 4 equal size squares, you have four cards. Use Elmer’s glue to adhere some lace around the borders and a stamp of a Christmas tree at the top. Then add a heartfelt note to the person you are sending it to written below the tree. Just remember that Hallmark is not the only place with creativity.
So on this Christmas break, take one or all of my free and cheap activity ideas and have a holly, jolly Christmas.