Unfortunately, you cannot make money grow on trees. But quite frankly austerity presently makes us all reflect the true meaning of spirit and Christmas. So what exactly does that mean to you? To most adults it’s about being together with your family and having quality time. Maybe several gracious days off of work.

For grandma, perhaps a chance to relish being cooked for if she is the co-carer of your child during the week. For the teenagers, it will be the “I want. I want. And I want more.” For tiny tots, it will be the anticipation of what merry old St. Nick has left for them under the tree. The pressure to spend so much money at Christmas increases every year. How will we make it different from last year? But, isn’t it really all about the traditions and rituals that we end up treasuring most, it’s the memories of granddad fast asleep from stuffed turkey; mom’s face full of joy at the squeal of her kid’s delight as they rip open the gifts. Well, quite frankly, the holiday season doesn’t have to send you into the red. It’s just about being smart on how you cut back on that festive cheer but, still keeping the spirits high.

Decorations

Go out on a nature trail and pick up those pine cones, twigs, and berries. Spray them, paint them, and have them in bowls around the house or on the holiday table. Perhaps even place a candle in the middle of the bowls. Have the kids make their own Christmas ornaments in the shapes of Christmas trees, stockings, and balls. Make decorative paper chains and popcorn garland, adding cranberries to make it more colorful. You can also make cotton ball snowmen by using small bits and bobs for eyes, hat, and nose. When it comes to wrapping presents, use the paper from last year that you have saved to wrap the smaller gifts. Buy inexpensive newsprint and let the kids draw on it, stamp it, etc. and use it for wrapping paper with fancy ribbon.

Food

If you live in America, now’s the time to look out at the grocery stores for after Thanksgiving bargains of items you can freeze or non-perishables. Remember to keep those flyers and coupons! And, don’t be a label snob either! We all have our favorite brands of foods, but does it really make a difference whether it’s the supermarket brand or another? It’s not like your guests are going to taste a huge difference. Another option is to make your holiday dinners a potluck and have guests coming over bring their favorite dish to contribute to the pot luck dinner.

Entertainment

Get out those board games! That way you get to spend time with the kids. Have friends bring out their board games so that you have variety. Play Charades, “Guess Who I Am?”, etc. Another favorite holiday activity is taking a trip in the car to take a look at all the Christmas decorations in other neighborhoods.

Gifts

Homemade gifts! Cookies, brownies, cakes, and breads are very much appreciated by those who receive them. Or, a rosemary plant decorated like a Christmas tree. If you like to sew, how about making a Christmas stocking? Homemade photo albums, cookbooks and handmade jewelry is always popular. My team has some additional ideas for DIY gifts you can make with your kids over in The Chin Wag.

Happy Holidays!

X Jo

Copywritten by Jo Frost

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