Christmas is on its way and for those on a tight budget it is the time we start panicking about what we have or haven’t bought for the kids and how we are going to cope with the extra expenditure on Christmas Day.
Our stress levels rise, the bank balance doesn’t and all in all it becomes a time we would rather skip through instead of enjoying.
Whether you have a religious belief about Christmas or not, it is a special time of year. It is a time of year where friends and families come together. Where old hurts no longer exist and futures look bright. It should not be a time where we increase our stress levels, put pressure on our relationships or overindulge our kids.
If we start with the best of intentions when our children are younger then we teach them to enjoy the spirit of Christmas without wanting the latest and greatest of everything.
Create your own Christmas traditions. Combine some of what you loved as a child together with things that fit with your current lifestyle and income. Enjoy the time with your kids rather than stressing about whether they will like what they are getting. Make it about more than just one day.
The following are some things to get you started with making your own Christmas traditions that you and the kids will look forward to each year:
5 cheap and fun Christmas traditions to start with the kids
Make homemade Christmas decorations
We all used to love making paper chains to decorate the house or stringing old Christmas cards together around the room as decorations. You can even make your own Christmas tree decorations with some cheap plastic baubles from the $2 shop and some glitter paint to decorate them.
Make Christmas cards yourselves
Involve the kids in making the cards for friends and family. Of course, kids will always want to give a card to all of their school friends and it is far cheaper to buy packs of cards from the $2 shop for that purpose as you get a lot for a little outlay. Family and friends however will love the homemade cards, tags and wrapping paper that you and your kids make with love.
Plan your menu for Christmas Day
If you are having friends and family over, maybe ask everyone to bring a plate so the burden is not all on your shoulders — both physically and financially.
If it is just you and the kids, think creatively about the types of foods that are in your budget and start your own new traditions. A roast dinner is great but not practical in most of Australia due to the heat. Why not buy a BBQ chook the day before, roast some potatoes on the day and add some steamed vegetables. You can dress the plate with Christmas decorations, set the table nicely and still have a fantastic Christmas dinner.
Of course, a cold meat and salad dinner is just as lovely and very affordable.
Play some games with the kids
Get everyone outside for water balloon fights or a game of cricket. Bring back the old time fun instead of everyone being stuck indoors looking at screens.
Writing thank-you cards
Keep the kids busy while the adults rest by setting them up at a table with some new pencils and pens and some blank cards and have them create thank you cards for the people who have bought them Christmas gifts. This not only shows them how to value what they have received but teaches them to be grateful while having fun.
Christmas doesn’t need to be a time of stress. It is a time of joy and it just takes a little bit of imagination to make it happen.