If you’ve got ideas about a lower cost Christmas that’s full of magic, then carry on reading. Don’t get me wrong, I fall for the advertising more often than I’d like, but Christmas magic can’t be bottled and sold; it’s created with love by you!
Here are some fun things to do this Christmas to create that magic and sparkle that the stores are trying to tell us that we can buy from them.
Christmas treasure hunt
I love a Christmas (or birthday) treasure hunt, and it’s definitely not just for the kids. Set up a Christmas treasure hunt with clues to the location of presents. You can make the clues nice and easy for little ones or a bit more cryptic and challenging.
How about a family Christmas quiz (it’s mostly a normal quiz, with a Christmas themed round) to enjoy after dinner?
You need a quiz master to create the quiz (since you’re reading this, its most likely to be you, unless you delegate!). Think about the people who’ll be taking part and come up with topics that they’ll be interested in. For example, if no one enjoys sport, then don’t include a sports round.
It can be as short or as long as you want it to be. You can stick to a list of questions, or mix it up with picture or music rounds. It all depends on how much time you have to put your quiz together.
Create your own Eat well for less Christmas advent challenge
In case you’ve not seen it, Eat well for less is a TV programme where a family’s food shop is replaced by cheaper versions of what they would usually buy and put in unmarked containers. Not everything is replaced, so it really tests their tastebuds. Quite often, families can’t tell the difference between the cheaper version and the more expensive version that they normally buy, and sometimes they believe their normal brand has been replaced when it hasn’t. If you’re wary of trying cheaper alternatives to your favourite brands (or your children are) this could be a good way to sneak them in and a different way to countdown to Christmas.
From 1st December to 24th December swap something in your meal for a cheaper version. Challenge your other half/ kids to say which thing in their meal wasn’t their usual version. It could be a cheaper frozen version of a fresh veg you usually have, supermarket’s own stir fry sauces or (impressively) a sauce you make from scratch. It could soup, pudding, bread, squash, fruit juice. There are loads of things you could swap.
Sound like too much hard work for a whole 24 days? Cheating is definitely allowed! Not every day has to have a swap… Just like on the bbc show, you might find your family saying they don’t like something that you’re paying top whack for… in which case, you definitely need to start going for the cheaper option!
Go for a walk
Christmas day is one of the best days of the year to go for a walk. There’s nowhere to rush to, everyone you see will respond merrily when you wish them a Happy Christmas and it’s the perfect way to spend time just enjoying each others’ company. If your plans mean you can’t fit in a walk on Christmas day, definitely make up for it on boxing day. If you’ve got kids, why not visit the local duck pond and take some bread for their Christmas dinner (the ducks, not the kids)?
Think of others
It’s a natural time to think of those less fortunate than yourself. Last year, I was more conscious of and deliberate about what I gave to charity. Just by stopping to consider how much I wanted to give and what it would mean relative to the much larger amount of money I’d be spending carelessly over the month made me see the excesses in my Christmas more clearly. It made me waste less money on food I didn’t need, on those little ‘top up’ gifts that make their way into your basket, and on luxury wrapping paper.
If you put a little thought into it, there are so many ways you can make Christmas magical without spending huge amounts of cash. Making homemade mince pies or gingerbread, making cards by hand, enjoying hot chocolate with mini marshmallows whilst watching a favourite Christmas film. Rather than spending money on a Christmas jumper, you could even have a family competition to make your own!
For more ideas this Christmas, check out my other Money Saving Christmas tips.
I’d love to know if you have any traditions that make Christmas magical for you that don’t come out of a catalogue, so feel free to share in the comments below.