Blog - Some cost-effective Christmas activity ideas to get you in the festive mood
With the current cost-of-living crisis here for the foreseeable, and Christmas now fast-approaching, we thought we'd put together a few ideas to help keep the Christmas Spirit alive, that don't cost the earth (or in some cases cost nothing at all!)
Create a list of things to look out for on your scavenger hunt. You could do this in your garden or around your local area. This could include a robin, a door wreath, an elf, a nativity scene, a Christmas tree in a window, inflatable Christmas decorations...the list goes on. If you wanted to be really adventurous, you could break these up into the various senses, so things to see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Your neighbours might think you're being incredibly nosey, but once they find out what you're up to they're bound to join in!
Make your own decorations
Remember making salt dough Christmas decorations back when you were at school? It's so easy to make (it's a great sensory activity too), it's easy to paint and can be used for many years to come. You'll need 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1.5 cups of water (plus maybe a little extra), cookie cutters, acrylic paint, plus glue and glitter if you have any. Mix your flour, salt and water together and knead in the bowl for ten minutes (you can add a little extra water if it feels a bit dry). Flour your work surface before tipping out and rolling your dough to around 0.5cm thick. Use your cookie cutters to create whatever shapes you wish, and then use a straw to create a hole at the top of each one so that you can thread some ribbon or twine through to hang them. You can either let them dry naturally for a day first before putting them in the oven (they will take less time to bake this way), or put them straight into a low oven (approx 100c). They will take approx 1-2 hours depending on the thickness, and turning them halfway will help to make sure they are dry right the way through. Once cooked and cooled, you can paint your decorations and sprinkle with glitter as you wish. Enjoy! You can purchase a sealing spray if wish, to help your decorations last longer.
Visit your local Church
Churches are a hive of activity in the run up to Christmas, and their doors are always open to the public for events. Christmas Tree festivals and Nativity Festivals are popular events that you and your family can enjoy at no cost, which will definitely help to get you in the mood for the festive period.
A walk or drive in the dark to see the Christmas lights
There's something really magical about seeing the houses, shops and streets all lit up for Christmas. Wrap up warm, pack a flask if you want to, and plan your route so that you can take in the lights in all their wonder! Don't forget that many towns and cities have an official turning on of the lights ceremony, or even an official Christmas lights trail that you can follow.
Christmas movie night
If the weather's cold and you fancy an evening in, make a list of your favourite Christmas films, throw on your favourite Christmas pyjamas and snuggle under a blanket together to watch them all! With many films available to watch free of charge via the various streaming services, other than some popcorn or perhaps some mine pies if you fancy them, you may find that this quickly becomes a Christmas ritual for your family that costs nothing at all.
Make your own reindeer food
If you've got a couple of boxes of cereal at the back of your kitchen cupboard that nobody really likes or there's not quite enough left to make up a bowl so it gets forgotten about, why not use it to make your own reindeer food? Any combination of cereal and/or porridge oats will do, and if you fancy you can also add edible glitter too. Then all that's left is to sprinkle it outside on Christmas Eve and let it do its magic!
Make your own glitter playdough
Simply mix together the following in a bowl until it all comes together and knead until smooth:
1 cup of self-raising flour (cheaper flour is better)
1/2 cup of salt
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 tablespoon of any cooking oil
1 cup of hot water
food colouring of your choice
superfine glitter (the finer the better as it makes a smoother dough)
Once you've finished playing with it, place it in an airtight container or zip-lock bag and it should last a couple of weeks.