Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also turn into one of the most expensive times of the year if you’re not careful.
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If you are on a budget , trying to save money or simply just want to avoid spending so much during the holidays, I have good news for you!
Celebrating Christmas and the holidays is also about spending time with your family and loved ones. Here are 100 inexpensive Christmas activities for families that put more emphasis on quality time with your family.
Maybe you can use some of these suggestions start your own holiday traditions and make memories.
100 Free or Inexpensive Christmas Activities for Families
1. Look at Holiday Lights
You could take a walk around your local neighborhood (if it’s not too cold!) to see the holiday lights or jump in the car to tour the city. Some people go all out for holiday decorating and it’s fun to see those homes.
2. Attend your local holiday parade
Check your city’s webpage or local news for the dates and time of their holiday parade. Gather up the family to see festive floats.
3. Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate
You could have so much fun with this DIY Hot Chocolate Bar on an evening in at home!
4. Watch holiday movies
Is it me or do the holiday movie marathons start earlier and earlier each year. Binge watching your favorite holiday movies under a cozy blanket can get you excited for the season. You might even discover a new favorite.
5. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper
If you’ve already started buying Christmas gifts, you could make your own Christmas wrapping paper. It’s a fun and creative way to personalize your gifts and could save you a little money.
6. Create Peppermint Crafts
Peppermints are big around the holidays and easy to find. Use them to make some crafts you could eat or a keepsake.
8. Check out local Home Depot and Lowe’s Kids Workshops
These are monthly events, but during the holiday season they will probably have a themed craft or project to make for free.
9. Bake Christmas Cookies
10. Holiday Karaoke
Have a karaoke night but sing Christmas songs only!
11. Visit Santa
Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas stores offers free photos with Santa and activities for the kids
12. Wear Ugly Christmas Sweaters
13. Send Christmas Greeting Cards
14. Decorate a Gingerbread House
You could go totally DIY with this or get a gingerbread house kit thats ready to decorate
15. Pick Out A Christmas Wreath
16. Read a Holiday Book
Here is a list of some of the best Christmas stories to get you started
17. Make Holiday Themed Tik Tok Videos
Older children and teenagers may enjoy making videos for the holidays.
18. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen
19. Adopt a Family for Christmas
You may be able to find a Salvation Army Angel Tree or similar program in your area to donate gifts to those in need.
20. Have a Christmas Photoshoot
All dressed up and nowhere to go? Live by some nice scenery? Get out the camera and take some holiday themed pictures. You may get a couple good shots for updated family pictures!
21. Make a Christmas wish list
22. Create a gratitude list
Write down the things you are grateful for this holiday season
23. Track Santa!
See what Santa is up to and follow his journey around the world as he delivers presents.
24. Let Kids Decorate Their Rooms
25. Create homemade gifts for other family members
26. Share your own childhood memories
Tell your children about your favorite Christmas memories
27. Cook a holiday meal
28. See a local Christmas play or show
29. Holiday themed spa night
You can give each other pedicures and manicures with holiday colors. Break out the red, green and white nail polish and glitter!
30. Light the fireplace
Such a simple act, but it really makes the home feel all cozy and ready for holiday festivities.
31. Make a Christmas Candle with Essential Oils
32. Have fun with Elf on the Shelf Free Printables
33. Make a snowman
34. Print a free advent calendar to countdown to Christmas
35. Check Groupon for discounted holiday activities
36. Clean your pantry to donate to a shelter
37. Play Christmas party games
38. Go ice skating
39. Go to the mall and take in the sights or window shop
40. Secret Santa Gift Exchange
You could pull names for a secret santa gift exchange. Be sure to set a limit on the gifts to keep this activity on budget or inexpensive.
41. Attend a tree lighting ceremony
42. Make snowy mason jar decorations
43. Personalize Christmas stockings for the entire family
44. Decorate your front door or bedroom doors with wrapping paper
45. Print free Christmas coloring sheets
46. Make homemade Christmas Playdough
47. Play Christmas Charades
Act out holiday themed words and phrases while the other players attempt to figure it out.
48. Sign up for a holiday 5k race
A fun way for the whole family to get moving is to sign everyone up for a fun run!
49. Go on a Christmas scavenger hunt
50. Bake holiday rice krispie treats
51. Host or attend a cookie swap
52. Drink alcohol free eggnog
53. Get a free video from Santa with Portable North Pole
54. Donate old toys
55. Decorate a mini Christmas tree
No room for a large Christmas tree? Decorating a tiny Christmas tree can be fun also! Perfect for younger children who want to be in on the tree trimming activities.
56. Look at a model train exhibit at your local mall or museum
57. Go on a historical house tour
58. Put out milk and cookies for Santa
59. Watch the Christmas Tree lighting at Rockefeller
If you’re not in New York, you can catch this annual event on television
This could get very interesting because noses are funny! Place items in a jar that give off the scent of Christmas and take turns letting blindfolded family members guess what they are.
61. Play a holiday themed version of Sorry!
62. Put together a holiday jigsaw with grandparents
63. Play Christmas Bingo
64. White Elephant Gift Exchange
65. Paint the snow
Use two ingredients to make this DIY snow paint
66. Create a holiday ring toss game
67. Take an updated family photo for Christmas cards
68. Make Santa Crunch Popcorn (sweet and salty!)
69. Dress up for family dinner
70. Write letters to Santa
71. Roast marshmallows
72. Go sledding or tubing
73. Have a sleepover by the Christmas tree in festive pajamas
74. Visit a Christmas tree farm
75. Host a Themed Potluck
The key to making this cheap or inexpensive is to get people to bring over dishes!
76. Make DIY elf hats
78. Visit a nursing home
Visiting people who may not get a chance to see their family or loved ones can make nursing home residents day! Speak with the activity director at the facility to see if there are holiday events you could attend.
79. Make a snowless snowman
Yes, a snowless snowman. Perfect for those families who live in areas that don’t get snow! You don’t have to miss out on the snowman experience, you’re just using different materials.
80. Try a new holiday recipe
81. Decorate the outside of home
82. Check your local library for holiday activities or story time
83. Make reindeer toilet paper roll crafts
84. Make Christmas goodie bags and give them away
85. Shadow puppet Christmas concert
86. Make Christmas colored slime
87. Make a holiday scarf
Here is an easy no sew tutorial, you can pick your own festive fabric.
88. Play card games with holiday themed playing cards
89. Let kids make decisions for the day
Let them choose a couple of these Christmas activities they want to do for the day.
90. Make paper poinsettias
91. Create holiday outfits for dolls
92. Let your kids dress up their toys for the holidays
93. Dress the family pet up in a festive outfit
Don’t leave the family pet out! Dress up your family pet for Christmas and be sure to get good pictures.
94. Make your own candy cane
The cool thing about this is you can select your own flavor
95. Create a holiday family time capsule
What a great way to preserve family memories! It will be exciting to come back to it at a future date.
96. Make paper snowflakes
97. Make a custom Christmas story with your children’s name(s)
98. Go caroling
99. Make a jingle bell noisemaker
100. Learn about Christmas traditions around the world
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Knowing how to entertain your family during the holidays is a lot less stressful when you have this many activities to choose from. Hopefully you’ve gotten some new ideas for the family. Let me know about your family traditions!