25 Family Holiday Activities That Won't Break The Bank

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Between the presents, special events, and food, the holiday season can get expensive. That is all before you factor in how you are going to keep the kids busy for two whole weeks. If you’re wondering how to keep the family entertained without breaking the bank, then it’s time to take a minute and get creative. Get your kids off their mobile or gaming devices and make some precious memories together with these free (or very inexpensive!) ideas.


1. MAKE GINGERBREAD HOUSES

If you have the time and initiative, skip the pre-fab houses from the supermarket and make your own gingerbread.

Homemade Gingerbread House
Homemade Gingerbread House

2. HOLIDAY LIGHTS TOUR

Walk or drive to the best-lit houses in town and let everyone decide which houses are their favorites.


3. PINECONE BIRD FEEDER

This kid-favorite is super simple. Let your child hunt for a pinecone, then slather it in peanut butter and roll it in birdseed. Hang from a tree or bird feeder (preferably near a window) and watch out for delighted birds (or squirrels, as the case may be).


4. DECORATE YOUR FRONT DOOR (OR YOUR CHILD’S) LIKE A PRESENT

With a bit of wrapping paper from the dollar store and either a ribbon or bow, your front door is transformed into a giant gift!


5. HOLIDAY MOVIE NIGHT

Gather round with a bowl of air-popped popcorn or pistachios and select your favorite holiday movie for a night that’s sure to please the whole family. Can’t decide which is your favorite? Make it a double-feature!


6. POPCORN AND CRANBERRY GARLAND

Young children may quickly grow bored with this one, but older children can keep thread softer cranberries and popcorn to create an inexpensive decoration for the tree.


7. RED AND GREEN PAPER CHAINS

Likewise, older children and young teens may enjoy cutting and gluing strips of red and green paper to create a paper chain to hang indoors.


8. GO CAROLING (NURSING HOMES ESPECIALLY LOVE THIS!)

Similarly, those who cannot easily get out would love to have visitors bring them a bit of holiday cheer in the way of music. Ask your kids what carols they’ve learned and print out the lyrics for a few songs before heading to your local hospital or nursing home. You’ll bring joy to many hearts and stay warm inside at the same time!


9. ATTEND A SCHOOL HOLIDAY PRODUCTION

If you know a young person in school, chances are they will have a holiday performance. Support them, and their school, by attending.


10. MAKE ORNAMENTS

Homemade ornaments from the kids are a sweet memory you can pull out year after year, and they cost next to nothing. The gingerbread recipe above will work just as well for little gingerbread men, just remember to punch a little hole it the top for a ribbon to hang before you bake. Or create one of dozens of other child-friendly ornaments.

Homemade Ornaments
Homemade Ornaments

11. MAKE A SNOWMAN (OR SNOW ANGELS OR SNOW FORTS)

If you are blessed with snow this year, make the most of it! Snowmen, snow angels, snowball fights and snow forts offer hours of fun for all ages.


12. GO THROUGH GENTLY USED TOYS OR STUFFED ANIMALS AND DELIVER THEM TO A WOMEN AND CHILDREN’S SHELTER

Before the kids get new toys, have them go through their playthings and pick out a few gently-used items to give to a child who could use the comfort of a new toy. Gather up the selected toys and donate them to a battered women and children’s shelter.


13. SEND HOLIDAY CARDS TO SOLDIERS STATIONED OVERSEAS

Send a bit of holiday joy to a soldier stationed o