“No toys please!” This seems to be a wildly shared mantra amongst mothers and fathers during the holiday season. We hope to see our child’s eyes light up with the presents they have been asking for all year long, but once those moments pass, where will that toy end up? Most of the time they end up in the ever flowing toy box or as we affectionately call it the “I’m bored” box. It’s time to go back to the basics and implement family and budget-friendly experiences!
I absolutely love the premise of blogs that give a long list of experiences that one can gift to a child. But an issue that keeps arising with these lists is that the majority of the experiences are expensive. With a majority of us paying student loans, mortgages, and trying to become debt free, all while raising a family, I am left holding my hand on my head thinking, ” do all experiences have to be paid experiences?”
Money comes in and as fast as its received, in tornado-like fashion, it is ripped out of our hands. Finances and stress go together like peanut butter and jelly, especially during the holidays. Searching through blogs looking for experiences that cost very little, we are met with grand ideas of horseback riding, traveling abroad, hotel stays and Broadway shows. It’s hard to fathom these experiences when cash envelopes are dwindling and credit cards are not an option.
Over the past few years we have implemented an experience-based Christmas with a twist!
We have had luck with a 4 gift Christmas Challenge. If you haven’t heard of this strategy, it is gifting four items to your child. One item they want, something they need, clothing to wear, and a book to read. Once we have purchased four gifts, we make a list that we want to experience with the boys.
I’ve compiled a list of Budget Friendly Experiences for the Holiday so that you can create long lasting memories without breaking the bank.
Use the ambiance of the holiday season to create Family and Budget friendly experiences that not only create memories in your own household but spread the joy to others!
Take a Christmas Light Tour. One of my favorite traditions is driving around looking at Christmas Lights. Leave a note in the mailbox to the house that your family thought decorated the best! Spread the happiness!
Cut out Paper Snowflakes. Bring the beauty of snowflakes indoors besure to decorate with your beautiful homemade of snowflakes .
Make Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. My kids love making these simple and delicious cookies. Often we gift a jar or two to our most favorite neighbors.
Make Homemade Hot Chocolate. Store-bought hot chocolate is good but homemade hot chocolate is even better. Whip up a delicious batch, put some ingredients in a jar and send it as a gift!
Play Fuller House Bingo. You loved the original, now kick back and watch the first several seasons of the remake with your kiddos. Adding in a bingo game will have you all excited for family television night!
Do this fun Winter Bingo Activity in a jar . Kids and adults alike love BINGO! Add in a few colorful M&Ms and you have yourself a fun game night! This is perfect for all ages.
Movies, friends and good food go hand in hand. Extend your holiday spirit to those that are close to you by inviting them for a fun day of conversing and eating.
Have a Movie Marathon. Find your list of holiday movies with 12 Things you need to be watching on Netflix this winter . Enjoy your cuddle time on the couch with lots pillows and blankets and make this a night to remember!
Host a Winter Brunch with Friends. What a great way to bring together friends than a brunch while the kids are at school. An excuse to get together is a good one in my book.
Bake Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Banana Bread and deliver it to your Neighbors. I love all the giving that happens around the Holidays so what better way than freshly baked goods delivered to your door.
Play a card or board game with your family and friends. Family game nights are the best and its even better when it’s cold and we’re all in our jammies enjoying each others company.
Take Pictures of your family and friends playing in the snow. There is nothing better than rosy cheeks!
Pizza night! Whether its snacking on the 21 day fix bacon cheeseburger pizza or 21 day fix buffalo pizza, you are going to be craving these healthy pizza recipes. My most favorite memory is my dad throwing the dough up in the air and seeing him catch it!
Get into the spirit of adventure by experiencing your community and staying local.
Try these 15 Fun and Free outdoor activities that can make for beautiful memories and get you outside in your community!
Visit a local museum on a FREE admission night. Here in Boston, many museums have FREE nights or severely reduced evenings.
Make Dairy Free Chocolate Ice cream. Whether this activity is in the summer or winter, everyone enjoys ice cream.
Dress for the weather and get outside! Bring sidewalk chalk in warmer weather or if it is snowing take a few semi dried markers and go paint in the snow!
Plain white computer paper makes for the best paper airplanes. Get your airplanes ready for take off and see who’ s plane flies the furthest.
Take a trip to your public library, check out your favorite story that you read as a child and share it with your child! Then make sure to use your Pretty Printable bookmark and save your place, that’s if you can even put the book down!
One tradition I do yearly, is sit down and write a letter to my boys. I talk about what they enjoyed this year and what happened in our family or at school. What fun activities we took part in and really reflect on this season of their lives . When they are older they will have a collection of letters from me that they can read. It’s my hope that reading my memories of our time together will help them to see that our family experiences were one of the best gifts of all and that those are the moments to pass on.