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What no cost thing will you do this year for the holidays?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

No matter what you spend on the holidays (whichever one you celebrate in December) is there something that you will do that is free? A place/event? A food? Making a special gift? Volunteering? Etc...?



NO $$$ talks, no incomes, no budgets amounts.... simply what will you do this year that costs nothing to make the holiday special? thumbsup.gif

post #2 of 41

We enjoy driving around and looking at all the lights, especially if there is snow on the ground.  Also, every year, we watch the Christmas Story marathon...we don't watch the whole thing, but that's what goes on as the "background noise."

post #3 of 41

Boy, I like the idea for this thread!  So, I'll be the first to respond - not because my ideas are so original, but to encourage others to respond (and give me more ideas!!!) 


Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve


Bake cookies with the kids (some cost, for ingredients)


Make gingerbread house with the kids (again, ingredients)


Have our older kids make small, wooden vehicles and animals, as gifts for our toddler (VERY minimal cost - months ago - for craft kits that I found on clearance...)


Free Christmas music concert (Our local university music dept. puts on a big concert, with a mix of traditional and pop music, at their huge performance hall.  You have to make the effort to pick up tickets in advance, but they're free.  Last year, we sat in the box seats that you pay through the nose for, when a Broadway show is in town...)


Tour Lilly mansion (The former home of a local philanthropist is on the campus of our Art Museum [he donated the land] and they decorate it to the hilt, at Christmas.  Free tours, live music, hot chocolate...) 


Trip to our posh, downtown mall with the kids:

* Visit Santa at Nordstrom (He's the real thing.  Real beard, twinkle in his eye, endless patience.  He takes time to read to the kids.  I suspect he breaks into Dutch and sign language, when called for!  You have to take your own photos.  There's no professional photographer there, pressuring you to spend $30 to commemorate your Santa experience.  And for some unfathomable reason, there's never a line; whereas you have to wait 2 hours to see Santa at the Children's Museum.  What kid young enough to believe in Santa can wait that long!?!?)

* Free Christmas concerts (There's a cool, mini concert hall in the center of the mall, that's suspended over one of the busiest downtown intersections.  So the kids can watch the cars while they sing along.)

* Roaming carolers in Victorian costumes (This is our older kids' favorite thing!)


And my personal favorite:  Listen to holiday music and drink hot chocolate while getting out and putting up all of our Christmas decorations.  The older kids design the light-up village.  The baby plays with the unbreakable ornaments.  My husband sings with the country music Christmas c.d.  It's perfect!

post #4 of 41

Christmas day or eve sledding in the woods & hot chocolate.

Go to the Children's museum on the free afternoon.

Ice skating & hot chocolate.

Hang out w/ family - drink, eat and be merry. We also play/have EUCHRE tournaments (a card game)



We drive 4 hours north to spend Christmas with my parents and siblings and their families, so there are a lot  get-togethers.

post #5 of 41

We go look at lights one night, right at bedtime, instead of going to bed.  Huge treat in our house!  I think I love it as much as they do.


The tree lighting downtown (this one is this Thursday).


One day, we go and walk around the big shopping mall, drink holiday Starbucks, and *feel* the spirit.  Admittedly this is more for me, so to up the appeal for my boys and my dh (LOL), this year, we're getting there via public transportation.  Trains, Mama, trains!


To save us money and time, this year, we're going on a field trip to the tree farm with my playgroup, then we'll buy our tree at a local lot.  Lots of people cut their trees themselves, though.  It's not a highlight for us, so we're skipping it.




post #6 of 41

I thought of another one, that others should look for, in their communities:


Last year, we went to a Las Posadas celebration.  We're not Latino and I'm the only Spanish-speaking member of the family, but the kids still had a BLAST!  There was a short play of the Christmas story (easy to follow, even though it was in Spanish).  Beautiful Mexican costumes.  Then there was the walk through the city (recreating Mary and Joseph looking for room at an inn), with stops for the traditional dialogue and songs (a print-out was provided, to help newbies follow along).  It culminated at a 2nd location, where a local Mexican restaurant had donated traditional food (i.e., NOT Taco Bell fare).  There was a mariachi band and we all learned traditional Mexican Christmas songs (which are really peppy and fun, btw - look up "Los Peces en el Rio").  People danced, did the limbo, broke a pinata.  Oh my gosh were the kids thrilled that I took them!  And all free.

post #7 of 41

Thanks for that, Jeannine!  I just looked up when ours is, and it looks like a huge celebration on Dec. 12.  We're definitely going to that.


Oh, I thought of another one.  We live near a large Jewish community, nad our Kroger is lovingly called the "kosher Kroger".  They are having a Hanukkah celebration this Sunday afternoon with latkes and doughnuts.  We're going to that as well.

post #8 of 41

-Christmas light touring.

-Christmas festival at the local museum

-Visit the huge holiday display at the Bass Pro shop (at least 12 times lol). It's huge, it's awesome with lots of stuff to look at, touch and do (miniature train, race track, archery set up) and it is all Free! Unless you buy something of course.

-I always come up with crafts during the holidays. I wouldn't say it's free, but since I'm an avid crafter, I typically have the necessary ingredients, so it sort of is free. At least at the time.

-Watch various Christmas movies throughout the Month.

post #9 of 41
Go to DD's school Christmas party.
Tour the neighborhoods for Christmas lights.
Decorate the house with last year's everything.
Go to the city's Christmas tree lighting.
Watch Christmas movies.
post #10 of 41
  • Listen to The Cinnamon Bear every night (this is one of my very favorite holiday activities, and it's free online!)
  • make popcorn strings to hang on the tree
  • make hot chocolate and drive around (or walk, if it's not super frigid) to see all the neighborhood christmas lights (we write thank you notes beforehand, to drop in the mailboxes of light displays that we particularly enjoy - uusally seeking out ones that have a nativity)
  • pull out and read our huge collection of christmas and winter-related books
  • do a 1000 piece puzzle together (this resides on a tray that gets put on top of the fridge when we're not working on it, and gets worked on over the entire month)
  • go to the Noel concert at our church
post #11 of 41

We go to the hills every year where they put on this enormous light show.  It's alot of fun and the kids love it.  Other than that, just family get togethers, sledding.

post #12 of 41

A couple of years ago I was inspired by a do-an-activity-every-day advent calendar.  Crazy.  Anyway, so we do something different every day in December leading up to Christmas.


We do some crafts:

make paper snowflakes

make ornaments for the tree

make ice ornaments (sticks and leaves frozen in water in an aluminum pie plate, then hung outside when frozen)

make snow globes

make pine cone bird feeders

make crystal trees


We do some cooking:

bake cookies

make gingerbread houses

make peppermint-stick ice cream


And we do some activities around town:

nature walks in the woods

gingerbread house display at a local church (a donation is requested but not required)

various tree lightings

local library has trees decorated by community members that are on display and then raffled off

church craft fairs

Handel's Messiah sing-along (also a donation requested event).


The kids are excited to open up the bags every day to see what our special activity is, which stretches out the magic a bit and makes the month slightly less about the focus on presents.  Only slightly less.  orngtongue.gif

post #13 of 41

bird watching

snow shoeing

ice fishing



post #14 of 41

We plan on a New Year's Eve campfire, assuming it doesn't rain. 


Our town has a few free events that we will attend.

post #15 of 41

Go sliding or skating almost every day.

Make some decorations (paper snowflakes, garlands, etc).

Bake cookies.

Play board games and card games.  We pull out at least a game a day and spend 1+ hour playing.

Make our meals extra-special, either with candles, by turning it into a picnic (eaten in house since it's below zero outside!) or anything the kids think is fun/different.

Bubble baths.

post #16 of 41

Oh, I just love the Cinnamon Bear idea!  We are soooo doing that!  Thanks!


We are doing an advent calendar w/one activity a day.  Several a week will be family time w/Daddy too. 

post #17 of 41

We walk through a local park that is completely covered in lights. There is one tree controlled by a large pad on the ground so when kids jump on certain squares, certain parts of the tree light up.


Drive around to see lights.


Watch Christmas movies.


We'll do lots more stuff when little one is older, but 8 months is a little young to enjoy much more.

post #18 of 41

We do Advent readings during the season.  White Christmas and Charlie Brown Christmas viewings!  Cookie baking and Christmas crafts for the kids.

post #19 of 41
I'm doing a no-cost, no-waste Christmas. I'm making everyone's presents and using leftover pieces of fabric to wrap them (see my post in the paper-free holiday thread). I didn't even have to buy yarn to knit the presents since I'm using yarn left over from other projects.
post #20 of 41

Santa is coming to the park near us on Saturday so we'll take DS down there. It's close enough that we can walk, if the weather cooperates.  There is also a store that's about an hour's drive away that sets up an AWESOME Christmas tree display from Sept 17-Dec 24th. Totally free to walk through and look at the beautifully decorated trees.

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