16 FUN and Frugal Christmas Traditions

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If you’re looking for new Christmas traditions to do with your family this year, consider kicking the holiday season off MERRY and BRIGHT with these festive, fun and frugal ideas. Enjoy! 🙌 🎄

1. Go See Christmas Lights

Bundle up the family and go hunting for Christmas lights in your area by car, weather permitting. Don’t forget to bring some hot chocolate for the road! To make it even more fun, you can print off this cute scavenger hunt list and see who can cross off all the items on their list first.

In our family, we split up the adults/kids randomly in several cars on Christmas Eve and see who can find the items around the neighborhood, cross them off the list the fastest, and then make it back to the main house first! Everyone loves a little friendly competition (maybe too much 😉)!


2. Build a Gingerbread House

You can make your own from scratch or buy a store bought kit and decorate it however you like. Either way, it’s a great way for the kids to be creative while having holiday fun together!


3. Make Handmade Ornaments

Homemade ornaments are always a favorite since they hold sentimental value and wonderful memories! Plus, they are perfect to make with the kiddos over Christmas break. For ideas, see our Farmhouse OrnamentsSliced Wood Ornaments and these Cinnamon Applesauce Ornaments.

You can also make these easy Cupcake Liner OrnamentsPom Pom OrnamentsSnowman OrnamentsPuzzle Piece Ornaments or even these fun Wine Cork Christmas Ornaments… all of these ornaments would make great holiday gifts too!


4. Get Creative with Elf on the Shelf

This tradition is based on the children’s book Elf on the Shelf where a magical elf visits your house on Santa’s behalf to monitor pre-Christmas naughty/nice behavior. Each day the elf moves if behavior is good and fun/creativity ensues (go here for 20 EASY ideas you can try this year!).

Most kids really enjoy trying to find the Elf each morning (or even trying to catch the Elf in action) – it can be a great incentive to get them out of bed and moving each morning! For a more frugal Elf, check out how you can create a personalized Elf on the Shelf using Dollar Tree items!

Also, a fun alternative to the “Elf on the Shelf” are The Kindness ElvesThe Kindness Elves are magical friends who sprinkle kindness and joy wherever they go! They love to visit your home and spread happiness with children, encouraging them to do small acts of kindness in their daily lives.


5. Make a Holiday To-Do List

…with our printable Christmas Bucket List! This is a great way to get everyone in the Christmas spirit and to participate in fun and free things as a family during the holidays.


6. Countdown to Christmas with an Advent Calendar

If you’re looking for ways to countdown the days until Christmas, consider buying an Advent Calendar or even making one yourself, like this super easy Muffin Tin Advent Calendar! If you’d rather purchase an Advent Calendar, there are all sorts of types to choose from!


7. Bake Cookies and Treats

There’s something extra fun about baking during the holidays. Not to mention that all those baked goodies are perfect for sharing with neighbors, friends, family, teachers, leaving on a plate for Santa 🎅🏻, etc. Try these Festive Red Velvet Cookies or even these Super Soft Sugar Cookies! Yum!

Other Holiday Recipes – Perfect for Gifting:


8. Pay It Forward

One of my favorite things to do during the holidays! Grab a bin and have the kids pick out their unused or unwanted toys and warm clothing to donate to a shelter. New cozy blankets, non-perishable food, and personal care items from your stockpile are great items to donate as well.

Other ways to pay it forward are to make blessing bags for the homeless, adopt a family for the holidays, visit a nursing home, volunteer at a soup kitchen, leave a “thank you” note for your mail carrier or garbage man, send care packages to military overseas, donate toys to charity…


9. Go Christmas Caroling

Either entertain your neighbors or ask a local nursing home if you can get a small group together and spread some cheer. Or, if you’re wanting to change things up, make the words to your own Christmas Carol and sing it to the neighbors when you bring them treats. People will love it! 🙂


10. Get Crafty

If you’re looking for fun crafts to do with the kids over the Christmas break, consider making these simple and easy Christmas Decoration Craft Ideas that just about anyone can make!

Also, check out this Cookies for Santa Plate, these Plastic Spoon & Fork Christmas Trees, these cute Painted Santa and Snowman LogsOrnament Wreath, or this fun Rustic Santa Centerpiece!


11. Host a White Elephant Party

https://h2savecom.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/white-elephant-invitations-free-hip2save.comA white elephant gift exchange is a popular game where each member of a group brings a funny/interesting wrapped present of a certain dollar amount – entertainment then ensues as people exchange and steal gifts. And everyone ends up a winner with a gift!

If you’re hosting or attending a white elephant gift exchange soon, here are some tips and free printables to help you plan and then be sure to check out these 20 White Elephant gift ideas!


12. Get OUTside

If you live near snow, build a snowman or go sledding – or even gather the snow to make Snow Ice Cream! If you’re in a warmer location, participate in a local Jingle Bell Run, find an ice skating rink, or go for a hike. Instead of a snow ball fight, I’ve even heard of some families having a flour fight! 😱


13. Complete a Holiday Puzzle

Every year, we order a few 1,000-piece Christmas puzzles and complete them as a family. Sometimes, we’ll even get the puzzle framed and use it for next year’s holiday wall decor! Its fun to work towards accomplishing something together, especially while watch holiday movies…


14. Have a Christmas Movie Marathon

With all the free Hallmark movies and other Christmas Classic movies on TV during the holiday season, it’s such a fun and frugal at-home idea – just pop some popcorn, grab some leftover Halloween candy 😳 , make some hot cocoa, and you’ll have free entertainment! If you’re like us, we have about 25 Christmas movies recorded on our DVR that we need to catch up on! Movie night!


15. Make Magic Reindeer Food

Making magic reindeer food is such a fun Christmas Eve tradition in and makes a great small gift or holiday party favor. The kids can even make it themselves and give it to their friends or relatives too. Have the kids sprinkle some magic food outside on Christmas Eve for Santa’s reindeer!


16. Wear Matching Christmas Jammies

(Can ya tell who didn’t want to take this pic?! 😉)

Many families do this and it makes for FUN pictures! 😃 On Christmas Eve, there is a knock at the door and Santa’s elves secretly leave new Christmas pajamas for everyone to wake up in on Christmas. Plus, with all of the previous deals on holiday pajamas at Kohl’sTargetshopDisneyThe Children’s Place and other stores, it’s pretty affordable to rock out in matching PJ’s for Christmas!

What Holiday Traditions do YOU enjoy? Please share!

Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off Jesus, running long distance, bargain shopping, warm Texas weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She also loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.

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