When you have children, the costs of Christmas can easily sky rocket. So much focus is on gift giving, you can easily feel as if you can never give enough to your child. I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, but it isn't the be all and end all. There is much, much more to celebrating Christmas than just presents.
I have spent the last half hour looking around the Internet at suggestions for frugal, thrifty ways to celebrate Christmas, and I noticed that most of the sites I looked at talked a LOT about gifts, and a lot less about celebrating in other ways. So here are some suggestions of ways to celebrate Christmas with children, without thinking about gifts at all.
How about a Christmas camp out?
No, I'm not really suggesting that your put the tent up in your back garden! But you could set up camp in front of the Christmas tree instead. This is something that you could do as a family, or perhaps your child could invite friends round for a festive sleepover. You could make up beds on the floor and drink hot chocolate, eat mince pies and tell Christmas stories in a room lit only by the twinkling lights of your tree.
Visit the library.
My local library usually runs a craft and story session during the Christmas holidays. My daughter is too old now, but used to enjoy them. You could also visit the library to borrow a range of Christmas books, and read them aloud each evening in the run up to Christmas.
Make an event of decorating the tree.
If you can stand the thought of a less than 'perfect' tree, then let the kids loose on it. Some Christmas music on in the background, a tree and a box full of decorations might just be the highlight of their Christmas. You can always rearrange things a bit when they've gone to bed! A quick google will present you with loads of craft ideas for making decorations with stuff you already have to hand. If the thought of glue, glitter and cotton wool brings you out in a cold sweat, then snowflake cut outs might be the way to go. All you need is white paper and scissors, and they actually look quite effective. Some very elaborate and beautiful ideas can be found on line, if you want to try for sophistication!
On Christmas Eve, you can track Santas progress with NORAD.
A friend of mine with two young sons has a special Elf toy which only comes out at Christmas. Elf goes everywhere with them, and they post photos of his adventures on Facebook. They set a place for him at the table, and during the night he magically comes to life and writes little messages and jokes for the boys.