Affordable Ways to Enjoy the Holiday Season

christmas-trees-1823943_1920Thanksgiving is tomorrow and that means Christmas will be here in just one month now. Many people are probably considering shopping for Black Friday or Cyber Monday and wrapping up their holiday shopping lists.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but this season only comes around once a year and you don’t want to be worried about gifts and money the entire time.

The holiday season can be super expensive whether you are getting gifts for loved ones or planning a party or the holiday dinner, which is why it’s best to focus on what’s truly important: spending time with loved ones, being thankful, and remembering the true meaning of the holidays.

I’m personally going to be taking advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales so I finish up my Christmas shopping and take the time to enjoy this season to the fullest.

Black Friday is Changing Luckily

I was recently scouring deals for Black Friday and I realized that many retailers have moved their sales to their website so customers can place orders online – thankfully!

Stores like Amazon and Target even have several days of deals so shoppers can save money on items they purchase this entire week and next week. Plus, some retailers are even offering free shipping.

Yes, items are available on a first-come first-served basis, but I see no reason so stand outside in the cold on Thanksgiving night just to catch good Black Friday sales. If you’re going to take advantage of the sales, start checking items off your list now so you won’t have to worry about it later.

With that being said, focusing on other aspects of the holiday season other than gifts will really allow you and your family to make the most out of these next few weeks. The good news, is that it doesn’t cost a ton of money to enjoy the holiday season. Here are some of my favorite affordable things to do.

Put up Holiday Decorations

The day after Thanksgiving, we always put up our Christmas tree. Since my son is out of school and we’re all in rest mode, it’s the perfect time to do it. We have a few small decorations we put up every year but the tree is our main one.

We usually have an artificial tree that lasts a few years and I’ve been using the same ornaments and decorations at 2012.

Yet and still, it’s still fun to decorate the tree each year and bake cookies and make hot chocolate as a snack for when we’re done. We usually do a family activity that night in the living room like watch a classic holiday movie or play some games to get into the holiday spirit.

Look at Holiday Lights

Looking at Christmas lights is another favorite pastime of mine that I like to share with my family. It’s interesting to see all the unique decorations people put up this time of year and you can even drive around your neighborhood to look at people’s Christmas lights for free.

In our town, there is a huge park that has a lights display in a drive-through format for free. There’s also a holiday lights train that takes you around various different lights displays in the area that is $5 per person. A few towns over, the holiday lights train is free of charge so we try to check out both displays if we can.

Go Sledding or Build a Snowman

If you don’t get snow in your area around this time of year, that’s unfortunate because it sucks to drive in, but it’s great for helping you and your family get into the holiday spirit. It’s actually been surprisingly warm here in the Chicagoland area lately but Chicago weather is weird.

One day it can be warm and the next day it can snow so I have no doubt that we’ll have out first snow by December at the latest. When it snows, it’s the perfect time to build a large snowman with kids in your family or go sledding and drink hot chocolate with friends.

We grabbed some sleds off the sidewalk of a neighbors house who wanted to throw them away earlier this year and we can’t wait for the first big snow so we can find a big hill to slide down.

Go Ice Skating

Whether you’ll have snow in your area or not, you might be able to find an outdoor ice skating rink or a handmade indoor ice skating rinks. Outdoor ice skating rinks are usually free and you’ll just have to worry about bringing or renting some ice skates.

Indoor ice skating rinks often cost a small fee but if you’ve never been ice skating it’s fun to try out at least once. You can also try regular skating as well at a local roller rink which may have holiday-themed nights.

Volunteer

Volunteering is another great way to make the most of this season. Giving back is not only good for other people, but it’s good for you as well because it humbles you and allows you to recognize all that you have to be thankful for.

There are tons of organizations that need help this year so if you’d like to volunteer, all you need to do is find a cause you care about.

Make Christmas Cards

This is a recent tradition my family and I started. We can’t afford to give gifts to the entire family so we like sending Christmas cards to let relatives and friends know we are thinking about them and wishing them a pleasant holiday season.

If you want to completely DIY this project you can by taking your own pictures in good lighting with a holiday background and designing your own cards online.

We used a Groupon for a photo studio and got a discount on our photos and the Christmas cards.

Celebrating the holiday season is not all about gifts. If you make it all about gifts, you’ll most likely go broke no matter how well you’ve budgeted for expenses. It’s important to realize that you can still enjoy these next few weeks without spending load of money that you may not have.

Eliminate the financial stress that tends to surround the holiday season by doing some of these fun and affordable activities this year.

How do you celebrate the holiday season on a budget?

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