Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Holiday traditions can be fun, meaningful, and memorable without being expensive.
In fact, free or low-cost activities may be the best of all. Here are a few ideas for adding joy to your holiday and introducing new family traditions.
This may sound like a scene from "Meet Me In St. Louis," but you don't need Judy Garland or even a piano to have a rousing musical time. Christmas carols may be a natural choice for many, but there's no need to limit your repertoire. You can try TV theme songs, unintentionally funny songs of the '70s, Broadway favorites, a Beatles versus Rolling Stones hour, campfire songs, Sesame Street favorites, Taylor Swift's greatest hits—or even all of the above. Few things bring people together like music. Arguments over which group is the Greatest Rockn-Roll Band Ever can either be strictly prohibited or totally encouraged.
Homemade decorations are charming, and add extra warmth to your home. Making and displaying your own daisy chains, popcorn garlands, snowflakes, wreaths, dreidels, menorahs, or Christmas ornaments can be a low-cost, multi-generational event. You can make it as quick or leisurely as you want, and playing festive tunes while you cut and paste should only add to the mood.
Homeless shelters, nursing homes, and many charities often welcome attention, especially around holidays. Check your local shelter for opportunities to cook or serve meals, and see if a nearby senior residence needs people to pay visits or lead activities. If you have a Ronald McDonald House or similar center in your city, call to find out how you can bring holiday cheer to the folks there.
The National Audubon Society has a Christmas Bird Count every year, but you don't have to be a bona fide birder to enjoy the great outdoors. Bring binoculars and hit the hiking trail or beach closest to your home. Remember to stop for hot chocolate or cider on your way home!
Having a movie night at home can be extra cozy and save lots of money compared to the theater. Pick out an old favorite movie or try something new, then turn out the lights and enjoy homemade popcorn. Movie night could even be a good time to dig up your family's old home videos and revisit memories from holidays past.
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