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

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#1 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 02:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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


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#2 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 03:16 AM
 
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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."

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#3 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 03:32 AM
 
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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!


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#4 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 04:17 AM
 
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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)

Baking.

 

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


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#5 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 04:49 AM
 
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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.

 

 

 

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#6 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 06:07 AM
 
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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.


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#7 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 06:17 AM
 
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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.

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#8 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 06:18 AM
 
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-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.


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#9 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 06:38 AM
 
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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.

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#10 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 07:00 AM
 
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  • 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
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#11 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 07:38 AM
 
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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.

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#12 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 07:53 AM
 
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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

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#13 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 07:59 AM
 
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bird watching

snow shoeing

ice fishing

campfire

 

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#14 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 08:36 AM
 
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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.


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#15 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 10:15 AM
 
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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.


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#16 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 11:59 AM
 
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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. 


Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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#17 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 01:00 PM
 
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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.


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#18 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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We do Advent readings during the season.  White Christmas and Charlie Brown Christmas viewings!  Cookie baking and Christmas crafts for the kids.


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#19 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 02:28 PM
 
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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.

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#20 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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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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#21 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 03:39 PM
 
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Answered without reading so I'm probably repeating. Here's what we're doing:

  • Decorating for Christmas with decorations we already have or making new with paper etc (snowflakes, garlands etc)
  • Look at Christmas lights (they're all plugged in by 4pm around here, so dark!)
  • Listen to Christmas music on the radio.
  • Bake Christmas cookies.
  • Go for walks in the snow and drink cocoa afterwards.
  • Get together with family (dinners at my parents, DH's Dads, DH's Moms, DH's sister. Too many with the inlaws!)
  • Turn off overhead lights, plug in Christmas tree and bask in it's glow.
  • Borrow Christmas themed books from library 
  • Watch Christmas movies: It's a Wonderful Life, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Christmas Vacation, The Santa Clause, The Nativity Story and others. :)

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#22 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 08:40 PM
 
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We just moved into a new house so we have a hill nearby at the park that's beautiful for sledding.  Cannot WAIT to do that!  We hope to make a snowman in the front yard with the little girls next door the first time it snows.  We'll be somehow acquiring and decorating a small christmas tree and making cinnamon ornaments and christmas paper chains for the windows.  Also, tomorrow at our playdate with a friend we are making bird feeders out of peanut butter, birdseed, and pine cones we picked up at the park yesterday.  Also, we are painting and glittering some pine cones to decorate the trees in the front yard since we don't have any outdoor decorations due to a flood this year in our basement.  We usually do a l ot of hot cocoa and christmas movies(Polar Express!) on super cold days when you can't go outside.  And that gives mama a chance to finish knitting everyone's mittens in preparation for the snow.


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#23 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 08:41 PM
 
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Oooooooh, making and hanging snowflakes in the windows!!!!!!  I wanna do that!  I did that when I was a little girl!


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#24 of 41 Old 11-30-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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We made our own wrapping paper (the cost was minimal for the brown wrap, but it took a lot of time and the other supplies were free!)

 

We go to any Christmas events in town, like last week we went to see Santa, roast marshmallows, etc, and went to a Christmas parade.  There is another Christmas parade this weekend we'll probably attend.

 

Christmas books, Christmas specials, Christmas movies.

 

I want to go do the Winter Wonderland at the Bass Pro shop, but we'll see if I find the energy.  I'm due December 16th with baby number two!  The town it's in is also very fun at Christmas time so I'd like to try to walk around their downtown area.

 

I am going to be making snowflakes tomorrow.  I also want to clip some pine boughs to hang up, but it's been dreary and rainy the past week so they aren't dry.

 

Next weekend we are helping my parents put up their Christmas tree and indoor decorations.  I will happily volunteer to help anyone decorate!

 

I've been in the mood to bake so we'll probably try to do more of that. 

 

If there is anything Christmasy in the paper for free, we always go!  I also like to just walk through the Christmas sections of a store I'm in, I love to browse and I don't feel the need to buy everything I see. It's like Christmas museums or something. 

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#25 of 41 Old 12-01-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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Well, we already went to the holiday parade down town.

We are fortunate enough to live in Asheville, host to the National Gingerbread Competition at the Grove Park Inn, it's free weekdays, so we always go see them and they have lots of pretty decor for christmas picture backdrops.

Then we read Jan Brett's  gingerbread boy book from the kid's school library. (her snow treasury is nice right now, too)

We go to the christmas party at the Elk's Lodge.

The kids are making cards for the grannies and grampies for christmas that we will give to meals on wheels for their christmas boxes, along with some blankets and chocolates.

Bake cookies for Santa.

Paper Snowflakes have been flurring around here alot lately.

 

And mama will go meet up with her other elf mama's for a secret gently used toy swap for more gifts.


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#26 of 41 Old 12-02-2010, 10:09 AM
 
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We will bring the kids to my office so they can ride the kiddie holiday train that has been set up.  Totally free.

 

We've been to the Chriskindlemarket (German Christmas market)

 

We'll hit the free zoo to check out the Christmas lights

 

We're headed to the Children's Museum Sunday morning for a free activity (for employees of my employer - woo hoo!)

 

We'll be making a lot off stuff, too, for decorating and sharing with neighbors. We'll be incorporating that into our celebration of Advent.


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#27 of 41 Old 12-03-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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Listen to Christmas music on the radio as we drive around and look at the lights.

 

We are close to DC, so we take the subway in and go to the display at the US botanical gardens.  They have replicas of the monuments, an incredible train display that goes through "villages" made  out of all kinds of plant materials, and massive Christmas trees all decorated.  After we see the holiday displays, we'll go to the tropical room where it's warm and humid and doesn't feel like winter and see the banana trees and all the fun stuff in there.  The only cost for the whole thing is one subway ticket.  Everything else is free. It's awesome.


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#28 of 41 Old 12-05-2010, 06:48 PM
 
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Today I made window stars to decorate with!


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#29 of 41 Old 12-05-2010, 09:35 PM
 
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window stars, do tell!

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#30 of 41 Old 12-06-2010, 05:41 AM
 
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It's originally a waldorf thing~ to bring the light through the dark of winter, but they look really awesome. You do need a pack of kite paper, but I bought one pack a couple years ago and it has lasted a long time.. I got it from Nova natural toys. Here is a window star tutorial, there are more out there if you google 'em.. you can change the colors or add more points to your star... then you tape them to the window and the light shines through them and it brightens up the winter drearys.

http://www.duofiberworks.com/journal/2009/1/5/window-star-tutorial.html 


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