A traditional Christmas on a tight budget...share your ideas?

(23 Posts)
BiddyPop Mon 02-Sep-13 17:21:09

Thank you - I mainly culled it from various threads here and elsewhere over the years. Not all are free/cheap, but lots are. And I don't do them all every year - it's a list of options so I can come up with fabulous ideas at the drop of a hat!!

jojane Mon 02-Sep-13 01:32:58

I got dd a desk from free cycle last year. It was an old dressing table someone had painted and stencilled fairies on. I filled it with some crafty stuff. Dd loved it, although did wonder how it fit on the sleigh!

SarahAndFuck Mon 02-Sep-13 01:07:12

We always go for a walk on Christmas day after dinner to the local woods. DS loves it and it's surprisingly busy with people being very cheerful.

98percentchocolate Sun 01-Sep-13 19:43:00

<bows down to Biddy>

Wish I had something to offer but I think all my ideas have been mentioned! Going to steal a few from above.

hermioneweasley Sun 01-Sep-13 11:21:29

Prize to biddy!

We do the elf on a shelf thing, with an elf toy that arrives 1st .december and goes back with Santa on Xmas eve. Elf moves every night so the kids have to find him each morning. We had him doing things like putting out the breakfast bowls, writing messages on the blZckboard, eating biscuits etc.

Last year we also started with the Xmas eve presents/hamper of DVD and new PJs for each member of the family.

lucysmam Sat 31-Aug-13 21:15:46

placemark for Biddy's list! There's loads of ideas there my girls will enjoy grin

luxemburgerli Sat 31-Aug-13 16:55:09

is there a carols evening at the local church?

Chocolate crispy cake 'wreath'

Melted chocolate and cornflakes. Put a clingfilm covered jar or glass in the middle of a springform caketin lined with foil or clingfilm.
Decorate with coloured sweets (we used Smarties) to make 'baubles'

When it sets take the glass out and pel off all the foil/film/
Looks lovely and delicious.

We make rice crispie chocolate cakes then decorate them to make reindeer faces, or do the same on some digestives.

Last year, the older DC (still quite young though) got given some brown paper, loads of decorations and an hour to make their own wrapping paper, it turned out better than I'd expected.

Salt dough decorations are fun for them to make.

Also, if you have spare wrapping paper, keep door open behind it with something, and cover opening with wrapping paper. It's fun to see them burst through it.

A friend's DC helped make loads of red noses to stick on photographs and themselves.

Homemade reindeer antlers, reindeer food too.

iloveholidays Wed 28-Aug-13 14:00:45

wow biddy... will be reading your post later when I'm not entertaining 5 kids grin think I might be copying some of your ideas smile

BiddyPop Wed 28-Aug-13 13:56:39

IKEA also have a gingerbread house kit that is quite cheap, if I remember right. I used 2 packs of the mini smarties, 2 small packs of mini jelly hard gums (like little jewels), an open pack of baking sprinkles, some mints, and chocolate chips, along with thick white icing as glue, to let DD out it together (with assistance).

We do a Christmas Eve hamper, which helps reduce excitement and move towards bed - but also means we get a new pair of PJs and slipper socks which are usually needed anyway. (Hamper has pjs, socks for DH, DD and I, nice hot choc for everyone, and Christmassy bath bomb each for DD and I - she uses hers Christmas Eve, I use mine when I get 40 mins to myself).

Christmas stockings always have useful things in them - so knickers, socks, hair bobbles etc - but maybe with characters on them, or nice patterns. I often have colouring pencils or things that she uses up like that as well. (I found some really cool long rubbers in the National Art Gallery last year that she loves). There's always fruit (red apple, green apple, orange, banana and something else) - she'll eat some Christmas morning and day, and the rest is put into the fruit bowl and eaten over the next few days anyway. And some sweets too. I tend to pick up stocking things as I see specials on all year.

DD always gets something under the tree from "Mum and Dad", and often that is either something like craft supplies that get used up, or else new clothes that she would need anyway (maybe a nicer tracksuit than Primark basics, or a jeans and top with a picture rather than the plain tops we usually buy but H&M do lovely ones, M&S often have 20% off offers in autumn time etc). (Santa brings a big present and stocking, all other presents are from whoever bought them, so I want her always to have something visible from us).

And here is my list (copied and pasted from word doc - many gathered from other website discussions over years so some are a bit twee in their wording) of things to do in Dec - I use it for the Advent calendar, but lots of days may just be free printable colouring sheets from the net. Some of these cost money, many don't. Look out for free activities locally to you - we have a "Live Crib" filled with farm animals the Farmers' Association put on in front of the Lord Mayor's house in the capital (very close to a main shopping street), birds need feeding with leftover crusts, there are often outdoor carol concerts etc or other events on that you can go to, and if you don't look at shopping centres or quieter outside city centre SCs, grottos may be very cheap or free too to visit Santa.

And I have a collection of Christmas books and DVDs for December, but we always borrow a few from the library as well for variety - there is a much bigger selection now than when DD was small.

1.Write a letter to Santa
2.Colour in some Christmas pictures (free printables)
3.Make some Christmas Cookies
4.Make and decorate some salt dough decorations.
5.Watching Christmas Dvds
6.Making and decorating a gingerbread house
7.make cards,
8.do potato print wrapping paper,
9.go out and look at all the christmas lights then home for hot chocolate,
10.have a charity day when we sort out all their toys and take the extras to the charity shop,
11.bake biscuits to take to the local fire station to say thanks for working to keep us safe over christmas while we are busy having fun,
12.decorate the tree out the front with strings of dried fruit and popcorn for the birds,
13.stick cloves in oranges
14.cook some fudge/coconut ice for rellys
15.decorate xmas biscuits
16.put xmas decs up
17.choose xmas tree
18.write a letter
19.make a Christmas present for dad
20.go out and collect holly and fir
21.Make some reindeer food (porridge oats and glitter in a little jar, the idea is that the reindeer will see it twinkling from the sky and come down and stand nicely for Santa to do his thing whilst filling their tums! A lot of people spread it outside, I find a bowl is easier as the DC can see just how much the reindeer have eaten in the morning.)
22.put on Christmas Carols/Music and have a dance
23.bake mince pies
24.drink hot chocolate and watch a film (polar express)
25.Do a Christmas kindness each - just aim to do something for someone else that is just kind. Like buy the person behind you in the queue their coffee or help someone to carry their shopping or something else similar.
26."See if you can go for a whole day without asking how many days it is till we put the Christmas tree up"
27.Make paperchains
28.make card for Nanna, Granny
29.Make some crackers?
30.Learn a new christmas song
31.Learn a christmas joke
32.Go for a walk with a torch
33.Go to Carol service
34.Wrap presents
35.Tidy bedroom
36.learn the words to a Christmas song or poem and recite to Dad when he gets home
37.Make mum a cup of tea
38.Make a bookmark
39.send a Christmas card to someone who has not found any room at the inn
40.make paper snowflakes (one of the few crafty things I know how to do!)
41.Collect pinecones, leaves and twigs to paint and turn into a centrepiece.
42.Ice skating
43.Track Santa (for Christmas Eve)
44.Read a Christmas book (How the Grinch stole Christmas)
45.Go door to door and sing Carols
46.bake stained glass biscuits to decorate the tree with
47.put baby jesus in the nativity scene if you have a nativity scene
48.make mince pies/cookies for santa

49.have a fashion show and pick the outfits that everyone should wear on christmas day
50.if it snows...you can put in, "build a snowman
51.Make a Christmas crown to wear
52.What did the three wise men bring?
What do you think the Wise men would bring today?
Name three things you need to make christmas pudding?
Sing jingle bells backwards?
Name three things that glitter?
Imitate a turkey?
Do 5 star jumps
Think of 3 words that rhyme with "Yule"?
Think up the next line of this poem:
At Christmas time the thing I like the best

Name 3 plants or trees associated with Christmas?
Name 3 animals or birds associated with Christmas?
Name 4 reindeer?
Sing a Christmas Song
Name 5 carols?
4 3-letter words from Christmas?
4 3-letter words from stocking?
Name a carol with someone's name in the title?
Name a song with Santa in the title?
What was given on the 9th day of christmas?
In the 12 days of Christmas - how many birds altogether were given?
Name two animals in the traditional nativity scene?
Make a snowflake out of paper?
Tell the story of the first christmas in less than a minute?
Name 5 christmas foods?
Make something to hang on the christmas tree?
Think of 3 names for father Christmas?

53.Make glittery tree decorations using cookie cutters as templates to draw round on card. Cover in glue, add glitter and thread on a red ribbon to hang.
54.making some place cards/ a decoration with names for Christmas lunch guests?
55.Visit ducks in the park to wish them a very Happy Christmas and give them some bread
56.Make secret den in order to discuss secret Christmassy stuff and wrap presents
57.Plan Christmas show for Daddy/Grandma/Grandad etc.
58.watch a christmas film under the duvet
59.Read a christmassy book
60.do some Christmassy puzzles (will find some online to print off I'm sure)
61.Write cards to school friends
62.write & post a letter to the big man
63.Sing carols or Christmas songs while you do the washing up (or some other chore)
64.Have a Christmas-sy bath. Use "Christmas scented" bubble bath/bath oil/essential oils or Lush bath bombs. Think orange, tangerine, cinnamon...

TheOnlyPink Tue 27-Aug-13 20:32:13

Not sure if its the same in the UK, but here there are 2 nights of the Panto where the tickets are €15. The tickets are on sale now, so would be worth having a look!

Liz79 Tue 27-Aug-13 19:38:31

On xmas eve we tracked Santa on Norad, had our main xmas dinner, went to the park (desertedgrin ), home to find hamper had.mysteriously arrived wink , watched the movie in it, went to.church, bathed kids in new bubbles, then put on new pjs & read "the night before.Christmas". On xmas day we just played with toys, slobbed out.& ate the yummy leftovers. And I didn't miss Christmas by being in the kitchen grin

Liz79 Tue 27-Aug-13 19:34:16

Last year we did an activity advent calendar. We had one of those felt calendars you put your own treat in. Each pocket had a little card with that days.activity. I planned it around our shifts & other obligations, some of which we're them.activity eg school.nativity.& cristingle service. We did things like mince pies, stained glass window biscuits, home made.xmas cards, posting said cards was an activity on a busy day,.Santa at the.garden centre, Santa on the steam train, choosing & decorating xmas tree, paper.chains,.home made wrapping paper. Choose & wrap present.for.sibling. Ginger bread flavoured play.dough.&.xmas themed play mats. Xmas sensory.rice tray. Church. Read.Christmas story. Act out nativity with happyland.people. Home made crackers. Gingerbread house. Can't.wait to do it all over again! Sorry about crappy typing on phone -.fat finger.syndromegrin

2anddone Tue 27-Aug-13 12:36:56

Where in the UK are you? Some towns have amateur dramatic groups that do pantomimes cheap (a family ticket for ours costs £18 with a drink in the interval!) they can be just as good as the big productions and in a smaller theatre get a much better atmosphere!

mmmmmchocolate Tue 27-Aug-13 11:58:34

You could make Xmas cards- maybe at the beginning of December. We've done potato printing one year, we did green hand prints last year and then the DD's decorated them with sequins and glitter to look like Xmas trees.

We do our Xmas baking one afternoon when we have nothing on, bake a few biscuits and mince pies and freeze the rest ready to cook on Xmas eve. The DC's love this.

We made a gingerbread house last year which was stunning- I brought the frame from Ikea for about £3.99- but you can make the pieces probably cheaper, there are plenty of templates online. I brought some fake smarties and some jelly sweets and let the DC's decorate it. It lasted at least an hour and cost about a fiver and we had a lovely decoration all over the holidays. You can eat it but it had been well mauled so I just kept it lol.

There's always a Santa at a local museum and it costs about £1.50-£2 to see him and have a small gift so you don't need to spent £££ to have the Santa experience. There were reindeer there too.

I take the DC's to go and pick a decoration- this doesn't have to cost much, m&s do buy 2 get one free so you can get 3 lovely decs for £5. The pound shop/home bargains also sell them cheaper depending on what you want.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 27-Aug-13 10:34:01

Some lovely ideas than you! I loive fields runway and lit up garden...will definitely do that...tea lights are cheap!

MumnGran Tue 27-Aug-13 09:51:15

We always made handmade alternatives to crackers for the Christmas lunch table ....snowmen, Father Christmas's,(all based on kitchen-roll tubes), snowballs and baubles (based on papier-mache rounds).

Gingerbread decorations to hang on the tree, and also salt dough tree decorations ... they bake rock hard, last more than one year, and can be decorated with inedible stuff!

We made our own "Nativity" set.... I still have the 'sheep' made by DD2 at 3 yrs old (how sad am I !!). The year they made baby jesus from 'glow in the dark' modelling stuff has a permanent place in family history!!

This has made me very wistful.....

OverTheFieldsAndFarAway Tue 27-Aug-13 09:49:26

When we moved to the middle of nowhere youngest DS was worried Santa wouldn't find us so I made a runway in the field using jam jars and T.lights. It was brilliant....after that I thought if I ever had a garden I would decorate it in the same way on Christmas Eve, gives little ones the magic factor once it's gone dark. Beats a Santa please stop here sign any day. Sadly , aforementioned DS is now 14 so it's not the same. I still don't have a garden. Oranges studded with cloves and tied with ribbon are still a tradition here though, as is buying bird ornaments to put on the tree. We buy a couple every year....

ratbagcatbag Tue 27-Aug-13 09:44:32

Have a quick look on Xmas traditions thread, there is loads on there that's free/cheap.

Walk around houses that are lit up
Collect pine cones and make into bird feeders (dip in melted lard, roll in seeds and raisins etc)
Collect pine cones and make decorations.

Waferthinmint Tue 27-Aug-13 09:41:23

If you are near London?

We always go and look at the lights on regent street . . .

Also letters to Father Christmas are a fun activity . .

Waferthinmint Tue 27-Aug-13 09:38:34

Pine cone hunt.
Once you have collected lots, you can glue them altogether to make a display or hang them on ribbon or natural string to make a garland. They also look nice in vases.

If you have any spray paint them look lovely with gold glitter on too.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Tue 27-Aug-13 09:22:57

I am looking at a less frivolous Yuletide! I could bankrupt us and spend a bomb on toys....but I don't want to....I want a beautiful Christmas with some nice presents but also a big, festive and magical run up to the big day.

I thought I could plan some special things from the 12th or so....so that the DC get to experience some lovely stuff which will make the excitement last longer....

crafting, baking, carols, walks out to collect holly....that kind of thing. Presents I am planning on getting them less but very well thought out....also making a lot of decorations.

I would like to do a panto if I can find some afordable tickets! Has anyone got any affordable and lovely festive things to do in the run up to Christmas that they'd like to share?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now