With budgets stretched to the limit over Christmas holidays, spending time making gifts or taking your children on free outings can be a great help to your pockets.
One cheap and fun and festive activity is making Christmas decorations. A quick search online can give you free outlines for ornaments that your little ones can colour, while your older children can try their hands with paint, glitter, and beads.
Another great tradition is edible decorations, which just require a cookie cutter and a basic cookie recipe. Punch a hole in the cookies before baking, and afterwards you can have the children decorate them with icing and ribbons to hang on the tree. Hanging popcorn garlands, which require adult supervision since you need a needle and thread, can also be a festive way to spend an evening.
You can also save money by encouraging your kids to make their gifts this year. Holiday cookies, truffles, and fudge are all easy for children to help with and can make fabulous gift baskets for friends and relatives.
Another fun gift idea is to buy red and green plastic spoons, dip them in melted chocolate, and roll them in peppermint or nuts. These make fun stirrers for holiday hot chocolate!
Taking your children to see Father Christmas can be expensive these days, often costing between £5 and £15. But some shopping centres have jolly men in red that can be visited for free. Check your local shopping centre’s website to pre-book your visit to Father Christmas. One handy tip is to bring your own small, wrapped present for Santa to give your child when the visit is over.
There are also lots of local events around the holiday season that take place all over the country. Check out your local council’s websites to see any craft activities, Christmas story readings, or special museum exhibits are going on during the holidays.
If you live close enough, taking your children for a trip to the famous Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park can cost nothing, and lift the whole family’s spirits with the lights and decorations. The Wonderland has a traditional German market with crafts, food, and hot beverages, as well as Santa Claus’ Grotto, where your children can get a free gift.
While trips to the theatre can be expensive, you can check your local churches, which often have nativity plays or Christmas music concerts that won’t put as much stress on your wallet!