Frugal Christmas Entertainment Ideas

I came across this Christmas article by Pippa Wright today and with her permission am publishing it here for you. Pippa is from England (just outside London) and I just love to read about some of the different Christmas traditions she grew up with. It’s also nice to see that so many things we do to enjoy the holiday season are the same. I hope you will enjoy reading this as well and create some new frugal holiday traditions.

Here’s the article…

Frugal Christmas Entertainment

I don’t know about you but when I was younger I always felt a little out of my friends conversations around Christmas time. It seemed to me that my friends parents spent hundreds of pounds more on my friends Christmas entertainment than my parents did on mine, they went to Pantos, to Lapland and other things that must of cost a fortune.

I often felt that my friends were being short changed however, because even though they had the most desirable places to go to I was always given what I wanted or needed I was given my parents time. I will have to ask my Mum, because looking back everything is slightly rose tinted and I know that it wasn’t all Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows, but it certainly felt that way!

We did a lot of things over the Christmas period that cost next to nothing and to me is part of a frugal Christmas. So if you are time rich and money poor, I hope some of my ideas and traditions for Frugal Christmas Entertainment may become yours!

When I was little we use to go for Christmas Drives, hunting down the Rotary Club Santa. It was always printed in the paper, which area he would be in on which night, but my Sister and I didn’t know that. As far as we knew we really were hunting for Santa. Top Ender has done this over the last few years and she adores looking for him, catching a glimpse and having to try to find him again. It is a good way to spend some time together, as long as you don’t mind spending some petrol money or as long as you can all walk fast!

Starting in the first week of December we go on Christmas light hunts. We know of three or four areas, where the decorations outside the homes in the area are fantastic and so we love to drive around them and hunt for new ones!

Then of course there is our annual trip to see the Christmas Lights in London. We are lucky that we now have a Picasso with a giant sun roof, so that we can just look up and see the beautiful displays. This also works for us in our local town, as I think every town puts up some form of Holiday lighting these days!

Trafalga Square London Christmas Lights

For the last three years, Top Ender and I have gone to see the lights being turned on the Christmas tree in our local town square. It is really lovely and we enjoy the countdown before the lights are turned on. Our town council has made an effort to make it more enjoyable, with a small funfair and a light parade first.

Something we love to do is to turn the main lights off in our living room once our decorations are up, and either to just have the Christmas lights on or to light a few candles. Top Ender, Daddy and I have snuggled on the sofa just watching the twinkling lights for ages, Baby Boy tended to fall asleep, but then he was only seven months old!

Watching films is something that Top Ender and I do every week, we have a huge range to chose from and often watch one that I have recorded in the week on one of the kids TV Channels. Doing this with popcorn or some Christmas snacks (and with the lights off and just the Christmas lights on!) will just add the Christmas excitement!

Learning Christmas Carols as a family is great. Top Ender got the giggles a few years back when ever we sang “In the Bleak Mid-Winter”. It took us ages to find out that she thought the line “Snow had fallen snow on snow” was the funniest thing she had heard! Even now when we sing it she will give us a knowing look at that line!

Christmas stories are plentiful and they might be classics (“Twas the Night before Christmas” anyone?) or new but they always bring a smile to someones face… especially if you are like Daddy and me and still think that Randy the Reindeer is a life choice rather than a name!

And of course you can always use the Great Robinson’s website as reviewed by Top Ender here and put on a Panto!

How about you? What do you do with your family for to inexpensively enjoy this special time of the year? Share your ideas as a comment below.

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Michelle - December 3, 2009

We sit at the window and read stories…if it’s anything like the last two years it will snow a lot…and then we can go out and play. My kids are little but if they are having fun it’s fun for us grown-ups too. We have a wood stove in our living room and can watch the fire and look at the tree and cuddle as well…maybe with some hot chocolate or a cookie (treats in this house). There is sledding and we love to make homemade gifts. The little ones need a lot of help, and even then the “gifts” may not be perfect, but the Grandparents don’t seem to mind. The kids learn about giving even if the gift is imperfect…kind of like us and God.

Lynne - December 3, 2009

One year when our children were young, we had very little money and hardly any Christmas decorations. My husband hauled home a tree from a local farmer’s field (with permission of course), and I set out to decorate it as best I could. Every bright scrap of yarn I could find, lightweight ornaments strung with thread for hanging, one or two actual Christmas balls, pine cones picked up along the lane, cookie cutters, handmade felt ornaments whipped up in a few minutes, lots & lots of twisted strips of tinfoil…..absolutely everything went on that tree! We lit all the candles we had, & called the kids…….you’d have thought we’d given them a magic kingdom!! They were absolutely stunned! All our kids are grown now & have children of their own…….but they still remember that Christmas tree!!

Candy - December 4, 2009

we have a tradition that my kids look forward to EVERY year! The Advent calendar–I found a beautiful one at Michael’s craft store at a post Christmas sale many years ago. You fill the pockets yourself with whatever you want to. We do chocolates, and “paper days”. Paper days are little clues that lead them to where their “bigger” treats are….oh boy, do they live for those paper days! They are just small things….new electric toothbrushes, or a gingerbread assembly kit for us all to do that night. I even put a 1 hour bedtime pass for them to use on a school night. The ideas are unlimited, I just pick up trinkets as I see them, buy 3 and wrap them up. They do it as a team, they work together and to see them so happy to get a little treat gives me as much joy as it does for them.

Deb - December 7, 2009

When my 3 children were much younger we saved the ribbons and bows from Christmas and birthday gifts. Near the end of November I would take the ribbons and any bows that could not be reused and cut them into 5 inch pieces until I had 3 small stacks of 24 ribbons each. Starting on December 1 each child got to put 1 of their peices of ribbon on a “chain” that they taped together. When all of the peices were gone they knew that “Santa” would come that night. It saved a lot of questions about how much longer until Christmas and it gave them somthing to look forward to all year. Each year we put the chain into a box and the next year it would go onto the tree. When the chains got too long to use on the tree we strung them across the ceiling from corner to corner. Each shiny ribbon chain lasted for years and just kept growing. I was a sad year for me when they said they were “too big” for making the chains. This had been a 12 year tradition for us and best of all not only did we do it together but it was free.

AMBER - December 8, 2009

Why not make your own decorations? The internet is filled with templates and FREE printouts that you can use to decorate up a storm without all the expense PLUS you’ll be busy and have fun spending quality time together!
You can also make salt dough ornaments, gingerbread people and other fun type decorations to hang on your tree! Why spend so much money on store bought when you can do it yourself, have fun and be creative?

Also bake simple cookies and have hot cocoa while watching your favorite movie! Don’t forget board game night! There are so many things to do that before you know it the time will fly!

    The Hillbilly Housewife - December 9, 2009

    Great idea Amber. We made salt dough ornaments a few days ago.

veronica duchter - December 14, 2009

Christmas is comming soon, I start usually in the summer, to be sure to get a good deals. I want to make happy my familly this year. I would like to buy a tiffany

Marge - December 5, 2011

My Traditinal 2010 Christmas Eve party with friends and family was a very sad Christmas. Had a broken foot, and in the midst of everything, everyone came had a great time until one our young family members had a melt down because she didnt receive a gift she wanted. This broke my heart… while some did get more than she did, everyone did receive something. In the chaios of gifts and chatter, the girls mom, felt the need to recupricate,and find a card, and stick money into it to satisfy this child. How sad are we that our children expect so much, and yet we are there consistenly to passify and give things instead of talking, hugging, and kissing our love ones.. this is not enough. This year I refuse to continue this tradition. After much discussion with my husband, and heart break, we both agreed we need a break from this tradition that I feel so many have taken for granted. Email sent out today to love ones that our Tradtional Christmas party will not take place. We choose to take a simpler choice of love, and peace.. Keep your loves ones in prayer. Merry Christmas, thank you for all your blogs :)

    The Hillbilly Housewife - December 6, 2011

    Thank you for sharing your story, Marge. I know how painful it can to make such a drastic change. Most of us have had to make cutbacks in our holiday plans, but it seems you needed to make the ultimate change. The decision sometimes becomes so obvious it simply can’t be avoided any longer. I hope you find the peace and joy you’re looking for this Christmas.

Lael - November 9, 2012

I like to get ideas for actiivties from old books and stories. One of my favourite is “Kate’s Choice,” by Louisa May Alcott. The story is full of wholesome and fun things to entertain your friends and family. I also love the American Girl Holiday stories, and the Little House books. Last year for the holidays we found vintage toys for the gift exchange. We drew numbers and the first person picked a package and unwrapped it. The successive persons picked a present, unwrapped it, and then he or she could keep the present or trade for another present that someone else had already. It was a lot of fun. We also have a tradition of pulling crackers and playing charades. Our big Chanukah party always includes making latkas (potato pancakes) and playing with dreidles. These old fashioned holiday practices are so much more meaningful and satisfying.

Stacey - December 3, 2012

Absolutely. I have made latkes with my children a couple of times and explained to them the story of Chanukah. What a beauttiful story of God’s provision. I think as time goes on and the economy in it’s ever present changes are going to bring about a lot of changes in people’s mentality as far as what they see as necessary. Generally speaking we have become very spoiled. I see things going back to being a lot more simple. Things like eating out at restaurants all the time and charging everything and wasting money on things we don’t need, will dwindle down. We’ll start cooking more at home and enjoying it. We’ll be spending more time together as family and being blessed by that. Thank God for websites like Hillbilly Housewife because your site has taught me so much. I thought I was pretty smart considering I was raised in Georgia and we were not rich by any means. But we were blessed with enough. Know what I mean?

    The Hillbilly Housewife - December 4, 2012

    Thank you, Stacey. I sure do know what you mean.

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