Keeping Kids Busy on a Budget- Creating Family Traditions

16 11 2012

In the last post I talked about creating a Christmas budget and sticking to in.  In this post I am going to step away from the spending part and just focus on giving and creating family traditions.

I would have to say the Christmas season is my favorite time of the year because I love to be surrounded by loving family and friends.  The best part of it all for me, are the weeks heading up to Christmas.  During this time, it is the perfect opportunity to bring the family and friends together to help them learn and feel what this giving season is all about.  I really hope that when my children grow old and have children of their own, they remember the traditions and the giving, not what they received.

  1. Christmas Tree Hunt– Our family usually starts off the holiday season the weekend after Thanksgiving.  During this weekend, we normally gather our family, some extended family, and on occasion good friends, and head to the forest for our annual Christmas tree hunt.  We pack lunches, hot coco, and just spend the day forging through the forest to find the perfect tree.  It is a time not only to get out into the great outdoors, but has become one of my favorite Christmas traditions with the family.  In addition the permit only costs $10.00 so it is a great way to save money.   Permits go on sale November 21 and they are limited in the amount they sale, so get them quick.   Click here for more information on Christmas tree permits.
  2. Elf on the Shelf– In addition, to our annual tree hunt, Thanksgiving weekend allows my husband and I to introduce a little “helper” into our home called “The Elf on the Self”.   This is a little elf, also accompanied by a book, that arrives the day after Thanksgiving.  His purpose is to make sure the children behave themselves.  He leaves every night to fly to the North Pole and reports to Santa if the children have been Naughty or Nice.  He returns every morning, but always in a new location within the home, sometimes in very mischievous places.  Some parents get so involved with the spirit of the elf they have set up websites offering fun suggestions of what you can do with this little elf.  Since this home is full of little ones, the kids have a blast with this annual tradition.  While the initial purchase may be a little pricey, it can not only be used for years, but also passed on through generations.
  3. Christmas Light Viewing– In our town there is an annual Christmas Tree lighting at the Capital Grounds.  It is amazing to see various school choirs singing Christmas carols, Santa make an appearance  and witness the Christmas Tree lighting.  In addition, it usually marks the opening of the small ice rink downtown and the start to the holiday season.  During the days leading up to Christmas, after the Nevada Appeal has published it’s list of houses with awesome Christmas decor, we head out in a caravan of cars and view the various house within out community.  Both of these events are completely free, but still offer the magic of what Christmas should be all about.
  4. Making Homemade Christmas OrnamentsSee Blog Post Here
  5. Making Homemade Advent Calendars- See Blog Post Here
  6. The Spirit of Giving– Since so many Americas are struggling to survive, Christmas time can be very stressful.  There are so many organizations that need the support of others who may need a helping hand throughout the holidays.  If you are thinking that you are not able to help due to limited funds yourself, you may be surprised.  I have included a list of a few charities that are widely known.  Some causes are just asking for everyone to take the time and clean out their food cabinets and coat closets.  In addition, if your kids see that you make an effort to give to others, they will most likely want to give as well.  Anyone can help and every little bit helps out.
  • Toys for Tots– Local toy drive for children in low income households.
  • Food Bank of Northern Nevada– Helps feed children, elderly, ill, and the needy.
  • Salvation Army– Clothing, Shoes, Household Goods, Small and Large Appliances, Furniture
  • Make a Wish– Helping children with terminal illness experience a dream come true.
  • Angel Tree– Local toy drive to help children of parents who are in prison.
  • Burlington Coat Factory– For each gently used coat you bring in you can receive 10% off an item.  They are hoping to collect their 1 millionth coat this winter.
  • Shriner’s Hospital– A hospital dedicated to helping children under 18.

So those are just six traditions that you can have fun with this holiday season and many more to follow.  I would love to create many more traditions for my children to pass on for generations to come that do not include lots of money.

What are some of your favorite traditions?




One response

24 11 2012
The Spirit of Giving- $5.00 Family Exchange « Teresa Chalmers

[…] the past few posts I have talked about the nearing of Christmas and the family traditions I hope to pass on to my children and their children for years to come.  I have mentioned our Annual […]

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