As our kids get older it has become incredibly important for us to find ways to celebrate the Christmas Holiday and the joy that comes along with, instead of receiving gifts.
By the time January rolls around, most gifts given will be in a big pile in the corner of the house, and kids will be in a vegetative state in front of video game screens in the house, when I think most kids really need to be outside or doing things that don’t require excessive use of tablets/phones/television sets.
Every year at the holidays, we focus on the birth of Jesus instead of Santa, so it’s important for us to do those things that are more geared to the reason behind the season instead of the “stuff” that tends to lead to a material holiday. Although many of our friends do Elf on the Shelf, it’s not a fit for our family. … but we have our own traditions that we do every year (like making salt dough ornaments together so we can gift some to Grandparents) and making food we can share with others through the month of December.
We love to try to do things together as a family where our kids can remember places and activities, spending time with family who come in from out of state, and even by doing things for others – it tends to be those things they remember versus plastic toys given as gifts.
Some of the best holiday gifts can be given without ANY cost at all.. many of which can lead to the most fulfilling experience.
In fact… we spent this week “Elfing” many of our neighbors and our kids have had more fun ringing the doorbell, dropping cookies and running like crazy to hide behind our bushes just to see the neighbors get treats.
Here are some easy ways to show your love & joy this holiday season without HUGE costs involved:
A batch of Fudge or Cookies – you can pick up some inexpensive tins at the 99 Only store, or mugs at the dollar store – wrap to gift it to friends and neighbors.
Bake a Meal – the best thing you can do for a new Mom, or a busy family is cook them a meal. Double the recipe and use disposable pans to gift a meal to neighbors or friends – throw on a loaf of french bread from your nearest grocery store, too!
Custom T-Shirt for Dad or Mom (or Grandparents!) – Michael’s often has sales on Tees that are close to $3 or even less, pick up a few for Dad from the kids and do handprint tees with hand paint.
Handmade Christmas Ornaments – are SO easy to make with the kids and you probably have everything you need RIGHT in the pantry! Find over 60 DIY handmade ornaments here.
Family History DVD – mush together family photos and videos into a big DVD to watch with the family over the holidays.
Make some DIY Beauty Items – Sugar Scrubs or Body Butters are SO easy! Pick up jars on sale at any store, or visit your local Thrift Store to find jars they may have for you to purchase for much less. Here are over 35 natural DIY gift ideas.
Tamales are always popular – our neighbors look to us for Tamales, and we often times will trade each other Tamales for Baklava – it’s fun, the kids look forward to taking things over to their house & knocking on their door. Find some of our favorite tamale recipes.
You can also participate in doing any or all of these 31 Days of Kindness to help prompt some ideas to do with your kids – you can also add to this list with your own ideas too! These ideas aren’t restricted to December – instead, they can be done at any time during the year.