The holidays are finally here, which includes the family fun festivities that go along with the season! As you well know, December activities can get expensive. Luckily, there are easy, cheap holiday activities that are budget friendly.
Here are cheap Christmas events and budget friendly holiday entertainment for all ages.
Get a Holiday Puzzle and Set a Challenge
Go to a nearby hobby shop or thrift store (many sell puzzles) and get a jumbo puzzle. Set a family goal: To finish the puzzle by Christmas or, if needed, by New Year’s. This is not only an fun, cheap holiday activity, it’s a great way to bond with friends and family.
Make Gingerbread Houses (NOT with Gingerbread!)
Gingerbread houses can be shockingly expensive. Here are easy ways to build a cheap gingerbread house.
- Gingerbread kits can be $40! DO NOT buy kits; you’ll save money gingerbread house making buying ingredients separately.
- Gingerbread itself is (per oz.) expensive to buy and tricky to make just right. Plus, it can be frustrating to make it stand up properly! Instead, use graham crackers to make slightly smaller “gingerbread” houses that are also cheaper (approx. $2 per box).
- Buy candy decorations from dollar stores or discount retailers. Candy from the dollar store may not be Godiva but, remember, this is for building a Gingerbread house, not all about eating it. (Just make sure to get one or two bags of candy you will all enjoy. That way, you can snack on candy you love but save money on most of the candy overall!)
Bake Cheap, Easy Christmas Cookies
Baking from scratch is an easy and cheap holiday activity. You may have ingredients for sugar cookies in your house already! Here are simple, cheap Christmas cookie recipes:
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
- 3 Ingredient Buttery Shortbread Cookies (Yes, this a 3 ingredient cookie recipe!)
- Italian Ricotta Cookies (Cookies that are a tad fancier, but still very simple.)
Take a Tour of Holidays Lights
Taking a holiday lights tour is a very cheap holiday activity. Simply look up or ask around to find out the best neighborhoods to look at houses that have been decorated for the Christmas and holiday season. Then:
- Put a holiday playlist on your phone, iPod or a CD. Play this in the car as you head to the neighborhood.
- Make a thermos of hot chocolate. This will be great to sip as you walk around the lit up houses. (For that extra Christmas touch, add a candy cane or two for peppermint hot chocolate!)
Make DIY Holiday Decorations
Instead of buying expensive decorations, save money and have fun making DIY holiday decorations. For example, you can:
- Make snowflakes out of paper to hang around the house.
- Create cheap DIY wrapping paper by getting plain white or brown paper and using stamps, paint or sketches to create holiday designs.
- Make these gorgeous, cheap coffee filter Christmas trees.
- And of course, as mentioned before, gingerbread houses!
Do a Good Deed & Go Christmas Caroling…At the Same Time!
Many elderly care facilities are full of men and women who aren’t able to go out and about during the holiday season. Bring Christmas to them by visiting a nursing home near you and caroling. ( Just make sure to check with the staff there first!) Have someone come who plays guitar or simply bring a speaker to play carols. I do this every year and cannot express how much joy it brings to both the carolers…and the residents who join the carolers!
Donate to Children in Need
Many children don’t get the same holiday spirit and sense of love as their counterparts. Help make a difference by donating to a local charity near you or one like Angel Tree, which gives toys and opportunities to children with a parent(s) in prison.
Host a Christmas Movie Night
Select one or two Christmas movies. There’s a ton on Netflix and many for FREE at your local library. Have it be an intimate family night or invite other friends and family round. Then, prepare a few easy cheap holiday snacks to enjoy. (I recommend Santa Crunch Popcorn, which has red and green M&Ms, AND 5 Minute Candied Walnuts.)
**Photo credit goes to
Learning Time: See How Cultures Around the World Celebrate Holidays
Across the globe, people celebrate Christmas and other December holidays differently. Give each friend or family member a continent or country to study. Then, gather and share what you learned!
What About YOUR Holiday Traditions?
Have budget friendly holiday traditions and activities YOU love to do? I’d love to hear about your favorite activities in the comments below!