Hey it’s me, Cocoa!
The Christmas season is here!! *applause*
I love, love, love Christmas! It’s my favorite time of the year. The sad thing is that it comes and goes so quickly. So because of this fact, I love to celebrate it as much as I can by creating my own little traditions with my family.
Christmas can be expensive, so I feel it’s important to try to find, shall I say, frugal things to do. Especially for us single parent’s out there, we must have a budget or it can get really expensive, real fast. This is an enjoyable way to spend the Christmas holiday. So, if you want to find out the top five ways I like to celebrate Christmas, well just keep reading!
1. Find a local Christmas event or festival
I live in central Florida, home of Disney World and Universal Studios. While Disney and Universal look beautiful at Christmas time, the tickets to visit are over $100 each (good lawd!) Unfortunately, that is not ideal for my situation, and I’m sure it’s the same for many other families as well. Let it be something nice to save up for and surprise your children with., but it’s not something you could do every year, in my opinion. Unless, you are a fanatic, that is. Disney does have a separate attraction called Disney Springs which it decorates for Christmas very beautifully. Disney Springs offers shopping, eateries and restaurants and a couple of activities. Universal CityWalk is the similar to Disney Springs. Both offer free parking (Universal) after 6pm) and it’s free to walk around, but you have to shell out money to do pretty much everything. Another downside to this, is that it is a very touristy spot which makes it very crowded.
I prefer to opt-in for free or minimally cost events, like the Mt. Dora Christmas Walk or Gaylord Palms ICE event. If you are not a Floridian, then you may not know what these events are about. These are local events that offer fun activities for the kids, lighting exhibits, and refreshments and you won’t feel broke after you leave. Most cities offer local festivities and events. Search online by looking at the website for your city or town to find local events. They usually have a calendar or announcement section to showcase events and activities. You can also search city pages on Facebook to find events.
2. Find neighborhoods to see Christmas lights!
For as long as I can remember, my mom would take me and my brother driving through neighborhoods to see all of the decorated houses. I love to do this and have carried this tradition over to my family. All it takes is a little gas, but I would count this as free–my favorite price. We especially love riding through the more upscale neighborhoods where the larger homes are. Some people get really creative with their designs. I do it every year and my girls love it too.
My kids and I love sweet treats, but at Christmas time, we love to bake. It’s quality time with kids and it makes the house smell yummy, which is an added bonus. Two years ago, we made gingerbread cookies and last year, we made Santa Claus cupcakes. This is really a fun activity and won’t break the bank. If you are an experienced baker, maybe try a recipe from scratch. But if you want something simplistic and easy, you can buy the pre-made cookie or cake mix, it’s totally up to you. Decorate the cookies, cupcakes or baked good and give them away as gifts to your neighbors, teachers or co-workers. This year, we are going outside of the box and doing smores. I am a firm believer that smores can be eaten any time of the year, not just around the campfire.
4. Christmas Tree
Decorating the tree is my absolute favorite thing to do at Christmas time. I fell in love with real trees four years ago. I don’t know what I was doing all those years before. Well actually I do I know. I was putting up fake trees. Now if you put up a fake tree, this isn’t any shade towards you. Fake trees are convenient, reliable and easy to assemble and most of all, a money saver. The last fake tree I had was a Martha Stewart tree, 7.5 feet high. It was tall, fat and beautiful. But one day, I decided to find out what all the hoopla was about with real trees and went to a tree farm (uh, is that what they call it?) I instantly fell in love! The glorious smell envelops you and sucks you in. Instead of going shopping on Black Friday, we pick out a tree and decorate it. This is our newest tradition. The biggest con to a real tree are the pine needles, but I’m willing to overlook that because of the feeling it gives me.
5. Decorate Stockings
We make new stockings every year. Dollar Tree has an impressive Christmas decorating section. I purchase our stockings and glitter glue from there to decorate our stockings. My youngest daughter absolutely loves doing this. She asks for this specifically each year. The best part is that it’s all for under $5. Pop on a Christmas movie or music, grab some snacks and create to your hearts desire.
I like to do one really special activity each year. Due to the frugal nature of these activities, this allows me to splurge on one or two activities that are slightly higher cost wise. This year we are going to St. Augustine, Florida to St. Augustine’s Night of Lights. If I haven’t mentioned this already, I love Christmas lights and I have read that St. Augustine has a spectacular lighting exhibit. We are also going to see the The Nutcracker on the night before Christmas Eve. I saw the Nutcracker when I was a little girl and I want my girls to have this experience also. Plus who doesn’t love a ballerina?
Well I hope you’ve enjoyed my Holiday Series: 5 Easy Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season On A Budget!0