Ahhh, Christmastime. There are the glowing Christmas lights, sparkling snowflakes, the festive music, the giving spirit, and the holiday parties. Kids all over the world delight in decorating Christmas trees, baking Christmas goodies, and the excitement of Santa Claus. The buzz of the holiday season is almost magical, yet Christmas is even better than the fun celebrations. On Christmas every year, Christians celebrate the birth of Christ.
Traditionally, this celebration has involved consumerism with the buying and exchanging of gifts. In fact, for many countries, the Christmas season is the largest economic stimulus due to the dramatic increase in retail sales. In 2013 alone, the United States’ retail industry generated more than three trillion dollars during the Christmas season.
While giving and receiving gifts is fun, the celebration of Christmas can be special without breaking the bank. Here are some ideas of how to make Christmas memorable without spending a fortune on presents.
1. Send a meaningful letter
Sometimes, the best gifts are words. Consider taking time this Christmas season to sit down and write a heartfelt letter to a family member or friend. When you express your gratitude and love, it will brighten their day and also make you feel good. You can also send a letter or card to someone who is deployed in the military.
2. Go Christmas caroling
Gather up your family and friends and go Christmas caroling through your neighborhood or to a local nursing home. There are many people who are shut-ins, and bringing the joy of Christmas to them can brighten their day and make Christmastime memorable for them and for you.
3. Invite a new guest
Although Christmastime is full of joy and hope, it can also be a time of sadness for people. Facing the holidays alone while missing a loved one who has passed away or is very far away can be incredibly difficult. If you know someone who will be spending time alone during the Christmas season, consider inviting him or her to join you as you celebrate.
4. Get creative in the kitchen
Baking Christmas treats with loved ones can be a memorable event. Multiple generations can be involved as you have fun in the kitchen. Teaching kids to decorate Christmas goodies or make a classic treat (such as lefse here in the midwest United States) makes Christmastime special for all involved.
5. Pack a shoebox
Consider being part of the meaningful mission of Operation Christmas child. When you fill a shoebox with items for a child in need, it can give them hope and help make their Christmas special.
6. Get together with neighbors
Invite your neighbors over a tasty holiday drink. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant party requiring tons of planning and stress. You can mix up a delicious holiday drink for adults, or you can skip the alcohol and serve hot cocoa and candy canes.
7. Start a fun tradition
When I was a kid, my extended family would get together every year for a unique Christmas party. We all brought five dollars and played games for the money. After a couple hours of playing various games, we all took our winnings (or what we had remaining if we lost), and went to the grocery store. There, we each picked out non-perishable food items. We found the best deals to stretch our dollars as far as we could.
Then, we all went together to the local ‘Santa’s Village’ to see Santa and his reindeer and donate the food, where it would then be distributed in the community by Santa’s Village staff. Those memories were so much fun and made Christmastime very special for me. This is a tradition my husband and I will also do with our kids when they’re old enough to play games.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What are some Christmas traditions you have that don’t involve spending a fortune on presents?
Featured photo credit: MerryChristmas2014/Antonio Castagna via flickr.com