One unfortunate aspect of the holidays is that they put pressure on parents to spend entire paychecks on presents to surround their trees. You shouldn’t have to empty your bank account or go into debt to put smiles on your children’s faces — there are plenty of inexpensive ways to make the holidays special for them.
Knit Them a Stocking!
Parents who know how to work their way around a pair of knitting needles should make their kids stockings. There are a number of knitting patterns on the website Yarnspirations that you can download for free. Every knit stocking pattern is categorized by skill level, so it’s easy to find options whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned knitter.
To make the stockings feel special and entirely personal, get your children to pick out the colors for the pattern. The website is a great place for patterns and inspiration, as well as a source for a huge selection of yarn online from different brands — you can order spools of bold shades and unique fibers with a simple click and have them sent to your door in no time.
Once you’ve finished the final stitches, hang them up on the mantle or on a railing. Fill them to the brim with goodies that won’t cost too much — some affordable stocking stuffers for kids are gel pens, miniature notebooks and handwritten letters from Santa.
Decorate the Tree Together!
If your kids love to do crafts, you should put out a table of art supplies and make ornaments to hang up on the tree. This will keep them entertained on a quiet night and it will be much cheaper than buying decorations from the store.
One craft that they can do at almost any age is cut out dozens of white paper snowflakes to make a beautiful garland that they can drape around the branches — glue silver or blue glitter on both sides to get them to sparkle like freshly fallen snow. Or they can collect pinecones during the day and then paint their tips in bright colors like green or red.
Bake and Eat Treats!
You won’t have to try very hard to convince your kids to assist you with whipping up a batch of homemade sweets, especially if they get to eat them. For something simple, make Christmas wreath cookies by mixing melted butter and marshmallow with corn flakes — shape them into hoops and then chill them in the refrigerator instead of sticking them in the oven. Add green food coloring, red licorice bows and chocolate chip baubles to make them look real.
For a challenge, assemble a gingerbread house with your kids using cookie slabs and royal icing. Encourage them to decorate the sides with an assortment of hand candies and edible garnishes.
Your children don’t need to have presents and activities that come with high price tags to have a wonderful time. Try not to get wrapped up in the holiday frenzy and spend more money than you should on things that aren’t important.