I am made increasingly ill each passing year by all the consumerism that comes hand-in-hand with Christmas. There’s too much plastic stuff we don’t need, a spirit of I-must-have-it-all-and-then-some, and far more spending than is necessary. While I enjoy the gift giving itself, I am downright sick of the commercial craze. Why can’t we find free ways to enjoy Christmas?
Ideally, I would spend my December enjoying the season instead of worrying about gift giving and receiving. I would love to just be content to read Christmas stories, cook festive meals, decorate the tree, and sing carols.
I’m not against a gift exchange at all! I do love a sweet small exchange of meaningful gifts among family or close friends. However, I don’t like how easy it is to fall prey to excessive spending each Christmas season- and how much the gift buying can take our focus off of what’s more important.
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So, for what it’s worth, here’s a list of 30 ways to enjoy the Christmas season (and all of its gift-giving festivities) that cost you nothing- or close to it. 😉
- Check out Christmas books from the library.
- Read the story of Christ’s birth.
- Bake cookies.
- Attend a community holiday celebration.
- Make traditional Christmas food for at least one meal.
- Study how Christmas is celebrated in other parts of the world.
- Read up on the true story and evolution of good old Saint Nick.
- Make homemade gifts for your family and friends.
- Visit a holiday lights display in your town.
- Go caroling.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen, nursing home, or other organization that could use some help and good cheer.
- Tastefully gift things that you no longer need- a beautiful scarf you no longer wear, a well-loved book that you want to share, or that lovely photo frame you haven’t found a spot for yet. Who says everything you give has to be new?
- Bring a meal to a family who is struggling.
- Spend time with someone who doesn’t have any family nearby.
- Walk away from that thing that you’re only going to buy because it’s Christmas and you feel like you should get it to give to someone who doesn’t really need it or want it. Trust me, it’s freeing.
- Make Christmas music together at home. (Don’t know where to start? Here are some ideas for non-musicians.)
- Use or make frugal or free gift wrap.
- Make Christmas crafts with your children.
- Study winter, holiday, or nativity themed artwork together.
- Attend or watch a performance of the Nutcracker.
- Make special breakfasts for cold winter mornings, like snowman pancakes, waffles with toppings, or piping hot sausages.
- Take a Christmas walk.
- If you’ve got snow, make snow angels, snowmen, snow forts, and snowballs too.
- Talk about Christmas symbols- where they came from and what they mean.
- Host a gingerbread house making party. (I haven’t done this, but I love the idea!)
- Make homemade eggnog. (A tricky drink to get right, but quite tasty!)
- Follow an advent calendar or reading schedule.
- Watch a traditional holiday movie. Frosty the Snowman, It’s a Wonderful Life, or A Charlie Brown Christmas are all good places to start. (We get a lot of these for free via our Amazon Prime membership. If you don’t have that, there’s always the library!)
- Use scraps of paper to make garlands, snowflakes, and all things wintry to decorate.
- Make everything Christmasey! (Christmas bath with red and green tub paint, red clothes to wear, playing pretend to make everything a Christmas decoration, etc.)
I bet you can think of more ideas! What are some of YOUR free ways to enjoy Christmas?
I am all for supporting good businesses and giving gifts to people you love. I am grateful for my family’s gifts. I give gifts to my kiddos. I just don’t think all that necessarily implies excessive spending at holidays. Christmas shouldn’t have to be bogged down by commercialism out of a feeling of necessity or obligation. The end.