A fantastic Christmas doesn’t
have to mean big bills in January.
The real magic of Christmas –
the stuff that makes kids’ eyes light up, gives them a warm
glow inside, and creates delicious memories – costs little
Here are ten ideas for free and
low-cost “magic” the kids will love:
1. Sing Christmas carols with
your kids while cooking and cleaning together, while wrapping
gifts, or just before tuck-in time.
2. As a special treat during
December, serve hot chocolate milk with a candy-cane stirrer.
While your child sips and stirs, read aloud a favorite holiday
book. Or, if the Nativity story is part of your family’s
celebration, point out that the candy cane is shaped like a
shepherd’s crook. Then read or tell the story of the angel
who appeared to shepherds watching their flock at night.
3. Take a plate of home-made
cookies to a homeless shelter or to people who work at night,
such as firefighters or hospital emergency staff. If you’re
celebrating the birth of Jesus, also put a bit of food outside
for animals on Christmas Eve night to honor the animals at the
manger -– an old Slovak custom.
4. Give each family member 10
strips of paper in holiday colors. Let everyone write or draw
something they're thankful for on each strip. Link the strips
into a chain and hang as a decoration.
5. Make thank-you cards for
each other, sharing what you appreciate about each member of
the family. Open them on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.
6. Make paper snowflakes and
display them in a window. Here’s how: Trace and cut out a
circle from white paper (the flat end of a coffee can or
oatmeal box is a nice size for tracing). Fold your circle in
half. Next, fold your half into thirds, so that you’re left
with a shape that resembles 1/6 of a pie. Now, snip out bits
of paper here and there and unfold your masterpiece.
7. Make a simple paper-chain
Advent calendar. Cut 25 strips of paper, and number them 1-25.
Link the strips to form a chain. With yarn, string or ribbon,
hang your chain in the middle of a doorway with link #1 at the
bottom. Each day starting December 1, let the kids remove the
bottom link of the chain.
8. Go to your local library and
check out children’s books about the holidays. Put the books
in a special box or basket in your family room or living room.
9. Have a holiday family movie
night at home. Get a holiday movie from your library or video
rental shop and watch it together. Include bowls of popcorn if
your kids are past the age where popcorn presents a
10. Avoid post-Christmas
let-down by planning an outing or special family activity each
day until the kids go back to school.
A PURE KID-STUFF BONUS TIP:
After dark, turn on your Christmas tree lights and turn off
all other lights in the room, including the star or other
“topper” on your tree. Now lie back on the floor with your
kids and notice the cool shadows on your ceiling.
(c) Norma Schmidt, LLC