A family Christmas on a budget sounds like what we’ve had every single year in our house since we became a family. These are my best tips to make it awesome;
Make Decorations Together
Making decorations together is one of our favorite holiday traditions We very rarely buy new decor except for when it’s absolutely necessary. One year after we moved across country in mid-November we made everything from scratch because we didn’t have time or money to go and buy them. We made a makeshift Christmas tree from tree branches and we spray painted them gold and added glitter. We then added awesome salt dough ornaments that we made with Cookie cutters and the kid’s hand and footprints. We painted some of them and others we left plain. There’s honestly so many things you can make, I would argue that you can make all your Christmas decorations from scratch and It would be prettier than the ones you buy. Plus the kids will love unleashing their creative genius and then displaying them for everyone to see.
Take Annual Holiday Pictures
Now you may be thinking that this is a budget post and so why do I have a photoshoot in here? Well, the truth is my family and I have never had our holiday photos taken professionally we’ve always done them ourselves and despite the fact that we have no formal photography training we’ve always manage to take some pretty good quality photos every single time. Most of the fun, besides finding creative ways to keep the kids til during the actual photo shoots, is looking back on how the family has changed every year and that is why this is such a special thing to do. Every holiday season I make a slideshow of our family pictures and instead of watching movies we pick a night to go through our family photos, and even the kids love it. It instills a sense of gratitude in us all and serves as a reminder of how fleeting time is and how precious our loved ones are to us.
Bake Some Treats
Baking with your kids is a unique experience in so many ways. Yes, I can definitely be frustrating but it is also really magical and absolutely awesome. Plus you know, you can’t have Christmas without cookies, what on earth would you feed Santa Claus? It’s a well-known fact that it’s much cheaper to make your own cookies than to buy them, but you also get so much more of the experience of Christmas and holiday spirit. In our family, it’s become the norm. We, in fact, schedule several baking days throughout Christmas in order to keep our supply up which seems to dwindle astonishingly fast when the kids are home. The first time we decided to bake together as a family I was by no means an expert, in fact, I burnt almost everything I came in contact with that day including myself. But I decided that I was not gonna give up and instead I tried a few simple recipes which have since become favorites in our family.
As with everything else, we believe in quality over quantity, which means that even though we’re around each other a lot we tend to set aside specific blocks of time that is meant for quality family time. The rest of the time we allow the kids to play on their phones or tablets, but within that scheduled period there is absolutely no screen time for anyone, not just the kids. The same goes for mealtimes that we share as a family. I found that the less distracted everyone is the more you can actually appreciate the time you spend with one another. But on the other hand, the kids deserve their own time to do and years as they please, I find that limiting stream time to their own time is the best of both worlds.
Make Christmas Cards
We use to make each other funny Christmas cards that we would open on Christmas morning before breakfast (we usually open presents Christmas night) But it’s become so much fun that we’ve started designing a bunch of awesome Christmas cards every year to send out to the rest of the family and they would comment and tell us which ones they loved. Some of the other family have started designing their own Christmas cards and sending them to us, it’s an unspoken friendly contest of who can make the funniest ones.
Focus On Experiences
When we stopped focusing so much on all of the stuff that we wanted to buy and have, that in truth where they didn’t matter at all, we found out that there was a whole world of Christmas cheer in the form of activities, festival, parties, and lights that were just waiting to be explored. What surprised me the most, is that most of those don’t even cost money, although if they do we would be more inclined to spend money on the experience than on things. Our kids know this and as a result, they’ve come up with their own suggestions for what they would like to do has a family and most of the time we’re able to make that a reality. This has been a considerable factor in making a Christmas as a family so special. But make a point to actively look for cheap or free things you can do with the family. We do an annual picnic had a local part that does Christmas Light showing and the kids still love that every single year.
The 4 Gift Rule
We live by 4 gift rule for everyone. Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. We don’t buy all of those gifts ourselves when family members ask what they can buy for our kids, they can choose one of the 3 things that are left over after we’ve chosen. We make a Christmas Eve box that has the kids favorite treat, a new set of clothes for Christmas day and a new comfy blanket (we donate our old ones every year) and often when a family member chooses to buy clothes, we will put it in the box and put a card with it that says who it’s from. This is the only rule that we never break when it comes to Christmas, and honestly, we don’t even regret it.