How To Make Christmas Magical When You’re On A Tight Budget


Christmas can be wonderful or it can be a bit of a downer. Usually, finances are the culprit of a less-than-happy holiday. There are so many more roads that lead to Christmas magic than spending a lot of money! Let’s keep those sugar plums dancing with these 10 ways to make Christmas magical on a tight budget!


Welcome, Santa!


Most cities, large and small, have a free Christmas parade. Do you remember how you felt when you saw Santa for the first time during the Christmas season? Do it again! Start the season off with the exciting beyond words arrival of SANTA!!


Saran Wrap Ball Game


Instead of gifts for the grandkids this year, I’m making a saran ball. Plastic wrap at the Dollar Tree is, well…a dollar. As long as the items are small, there is no limit to what can go in it. Just put a little grand prize in the middle and start wrapping, adding, wrapping, adding… The kids will not care about big, expensive gifts when their laughter unleashes as the clock ticks and treasures start falling! Have someone time each participant, giving the little ones a little extra. Whatever they unwrap, they get to keep. Have one round of trading when the fun is over in case David gets fingernail polish and Emalee gets a hot wheel’s truck. Check out this great tutorial: Saran Wrap Ball Game!


Wildlife Tree


Have the kids create a gift for the precious outdoor critters! Use a tree in your yard or an old artificial one. Cut out pieces of bread with Christmas cookie cutters. Adults, put them in the oven long enough to make them crisp and sturdy. Have the kids “paint” them with peanut butter, dip them in birdseed and hang them like ornaments. String some cranberries as an edible garland for the birds. Hang nuts from the branches. The magic will come when the kids see the animals trustingly partaking of their gift of giving.


Wrapping with Newspaper


There is something truly magical about gift wrap. Unless it’s the run of the mill, same old stuff. Save money and add that special touch to your gifts by wrapping it in newspaper and twine! It makes the gift more personal. I bet you’ll trigger some nostalgic memories or maybe even start some new traditions!



Sweet Deliveries


Pretend your car is a sleigh. Everyone that rides wears a Santa hat. Turn the Christmas music up loud! Deliver cookies and candy canes to neighbors. Even the naughty ones. No matter what… wish them a happy holiday with the biggest smile you have. They might even give you a grin back…that is where love and magic begin!


Jingle Bells!


Can you still hear them? I’m certain your children can! The closer it gets to Christmas, entrust a friend or a sneaky neighbor with a cluster of jingle bells. Someone with no kids will LOVE this job! The magic will skyrocket when your kids hear bells jingle even though you’re all accounted for around the dinner table. Use your imagination and top-secret strategies. Just be absolutely sure they hear those bells in the distance on Christmas Eve! To this day I remember being 7 years old…laying in my bed looking up at what was probably an airplane. But I saw red lights in the sky, heard the bells and oh how I believed!


Create Magical Memories


Christmas magic is not all about the gifts. It’s about unexplained excitement and truly believing! Parents, cut out a big boot-shaped stencil. When the kids are sound asleep, go to work sprinkling baking soda lightly over the stencils in a pattern of walking footsteps. Have the camera ready when they see snowy footprints from Santa’s boots…and of course, everyone knows North Pole snow doesn't melt!


Make the Visit Real!


Most everyone leaves cookies out for Santa. But does “Santa” leave a few crumbs on the plate and lip prints on the milk glass? He does at our house! He also leaves a note of thanks behind. How cool is that…a handwritten note from Santa himself!


Santa Tracker


Sometimes the excitement is way too much for kids to fall asleep. On Christmas Eve pull up NORAD Santa Tracker to see his current location. It’s available every Christmas Eve and it’s free! When the kids see that Santa has already visited some parts of the world and is headed their way, nestling in their beds will no longer be a problem!


Santa’s Watching!


Whether it’s Santa or his helpers, reindeer help them get around. Cut out the shape of a deer hoof from just about anything…Styrofoam, wood, carved out of half of an apple. Whether you have snow, sand or mud…make imprints in it as if the deer is running. Then bring them to a sudden stop as if the deer flew away. This happened many years ago when my kids were young. We were building a house. The yard was mud. There were seriously deer prints going through the yard and then they stopped. For a minute I found myself believing again!


Celebrate in Magical Ways


Add more sparkle to Christmas Eve with a simple celebration of punch and cookies. Kids remember “simple”. Have baths done and PJs on. Snuggle up in bathrobes or coats. Take a magical ride around nearby neighborhoods and places to see Christmas lights while things are still so beautifully calm and bright…these are truly the most magical moments of Christmas, never to be forgotten! I certainly haven’t.


Related: Homemade Christmas Gifts To Start Making Today



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