Monday, December 20, 2010

8 Free Traditions for Christmas

On a tight budget this year, we are looking for ways to carry on the Christmas spirit without digging into the wallet. These are some ideas for our family and yours to celebrate the season without breaking the bank.
  1. Caroling: This age old tradition is not as prominent as it once was...which makes it more fun in my eyes. No one expects carolers these days, so they are a bit nostalgic and heart warming. If you don't live in a place with traditional neighborhoods, you can always visit a senior home or nursing facility and sing for the residents. They will enjoy the music and the visitors.
  2. Christmas Parade: I remember as a child being in awe of our hometown parade and waiting for the day that I could be in it. And when my Girl Scout/Brownie troop got to ride in the back of a pick up truck while tossing candy to onlookers, I was on cloud nine.
  3. Looking at Christmas lights: This is something we reserve for the night of the 23rd. Riding around neighborhoods looking for grand displays. Amazing what a show some people can put on!
  4. Christmas movies: There is nothing that rings in the season like the first airing of Charlie Brown Christmas or the old claymation classics like Rudolph. You can throw in your favorite, whether it be It's a Wonderful Life or National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, the family time spent huddled around the holiday movies is one I still treasure to this day.
  5. Making homemade ornaments: Whether it is looping strips of paper to make garland, creating clothespin reindeer, or stringing popcorn together, this simple ornaments scream togetherness and home.
  6. Live Nativities/Musical Programs: So many churches now put on living or drive through nativities that you are sure to have one around you. Or just visit several area churches for their Christmas musicals and programs. We must remember what this whole shebang is really all about, you know.
  7. Baking and decorating Christmas Cookies: What child doesn't love to cut out cookies and add icing, sprinkles or candies to decorate--and then gobble them up?
  8. Volunteer: Throughout the holiday season, people's giving spirit is elevated, making non-profits a very joyously busy place. Find a soup kitchen or homeless shelter who might love the extra help. Call your local Salvation Army to volunteer to be a bell ringer. You can assist in wrapping presents at one of the stations in the mall that raises money for a nonprofit by wrapping presents for shoppers. You might want to volunteer at an animal shelter so the employees can take some time off while daily care activities are still performed. You might check with a local hospice who might need help during the holiday season. The possibilities are endless, but you can match them with your talents and gifts and volunteer as a family!

Photo credit: danyba

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