As this will be our first Thanksgiving and Christmas in our new farmhouse, it has me thinking about what experiences I want to have as a family to make this a great season. It was a very busy summer that turned into an insanely busy fall. And while my calendar seems to be filling up for the month of November and December, I am determined to schedule some family time together that is all about unplugging and enjoying each other.
Unfortunately, sometimes that costs money. As I started to think about experiences I wanted to create for my kids, the dollar amount started to add up. Things are tight this year with how much we’ve put into our house, and so the thought dawned on me, that the memories I have of the holidays as a child don’t entail spending money. I remember the feeling of being together and the laughter around the dinner table. And so, my new challenge was to come up with some experiences for the holidays that don’t cost a dime.
14 Holiday Experiences That Won’t Cost Your Family A Dime
Drive around to look at Christmas lights. My parents used to cut out the newspaper article about who had won the Christmas light contest and we would drive around and look at the lights. This year I plan to be intentional, and plan one night that includes driving around for no reason other than to look at the Christmas lights.
Give together. Having an evening to donate our time at a local food pantry, or simply collect our toys to give to Goodwill, will be a highlight this year.
Bake cookies together. Chances are, we will have flour, sugar, eggs etc. to make cookies together. My kids love to bake and I plan to have an evening where we can make cookies together. Here’s a few of my favorite recipes:
Carol together. This one might be a hard one in convincing my husband. However, I remember caroling with our church growing up and always enjoyed seeing the faces of everyone when we knocked on their door.
Attend the parade. Parades are free and they are a fun time as a family. It’s also a free way to see Santa! You can cross that one off your list.
Attend a concert and church. Being together to worship is very important in my family. We also plan to attend a few local concerts that are free as well. You can search for local concerts in your area online.
Write thank you notes. Every year I’m scrambling for things to give to teachers, bus drivers, etc. While I may spend money on the gift, my kids and I will sit down and write thank you notes to those who have been a part of their year. The thank you note will not cost us anything as I’m sure my boys will be excited to create their own drawings.
Visit the public library. We love our local libraries. A holiday themed time together to not only pick out books and movies but watch them together, will be a real treat! It’s A Wonderful Life is my favorite. What is yours?
Attend a local hardware store workshop. Some of the large hardware chains have workshops that are free for children to attend.
Enjoy the outdoors. The winter is looooong in Ohio. Forget how many pieces of clothing it takes to get a child outside when it’s snowing, just do it! We’ll be building forts and snowmen. All we need is the snow! And if it doesn’t snow, a walk in the winter is always a great opportunity to grab some fresh air.
Stage a play. Every year we created our own Christmas play as children. They were so much fun! We created the programs and the costumes. It took us hours and hours to create. It was a highlight each year. Maybe I can get my kids to help me write one this year. 🙂
Create a scavenger hunt. Grab some paper and pencils and create a scavenger hunt throughout the home. This is a great idea when the weather is not great, and you want to be creative.
Create art. A simple search on Pinterest and you’ll find lots of great ideas for creating ornaments with things you already have on hand. My boys also love to create art pieces for display in our home.
Visit your local fire station or police station. There are many that will work through the holidays and it’s always nice to let them know that you remember them. Take some of those homemade baked goodies you made!
The most important thing with your holiday experiences is that your experiencing them together. I hope to make time together a priority with my cell phone off and my computer unplugged.
Life is busy, especially around the holidays. Make a plan. Put it in your calendar! I’m telling myself this as I write it. If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening. Creating a holiday plan is important. SunTrust has put together a holiday planning guide. Things don’t have to cost a lot of money to experience the best memories of this year yet! You can download your holiday planning guide here. And while you’re at it, here’s a great budgeting worksheet to help you this year as well!
What kind of meaningful moments are you looking forward to this holiday season?
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.
This conversation was sponsored by SunTrust bank. All opinions are my own.