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Simplifying the holiday season can be tricky, especially considering that every store is vying to get your hard earned money into their cash registers at this time of the year. This year my family and I have decided that we are going to focus more on spending time with each other and focus less on shopping and buying things. I have put together this list of ten more winter family fun activities that are low and no cost as a way to do things together that won’t break the bank and won’t leave us feeling like we skipped out on the season just to save money.
Low Cost Winter Family Fun Activity #11 Have a Mini Sock drive
This one does cost little bit of money but it is for a good cause. Call up friends and family and see if they’d be willing to pick up a package of socks or two the next time they go shopping. Once everyone has had a chance to grab some socks buy a pack or two yourselves, load up the family, drive around and pick up everyone else’s socks, and then go and drop them off at the local shelter. It’s easy and inexpensive and makes a huge difference to those spending the winter out on the streets
Low Cost Winter Family Fun Activity #12 Bag lunches for shelter
This is another one that costs a little money but as with the sock drive it is for a good cause. For this one just make a bunch of brown bag lunches, as many as you can, and drop them off for the local shelter. Ours has suggested sandwiches, fruit and veggies, and water or juice as great choices. See if you can swing a small discount from a local deli and get end of the day bread from the bakery to help keep costs down.
Low Cost Winter Family Fun Activity #13 Outdoor skating
Our city has tons of well lit community skating rinks located outdoors at most of the schools. Local indoor rinks also offer free family skating once a week or so which is always nice. If you are really lucky you have an event center like we do. For winter they flood a huge area and make a giant outdoor skating rink complete with a separate area for smaller, less experienced skaters. If you are going to skate on open sources of water though, make sure you have a way of ensuring the thickness and safety of the ice. And of course wear your helmets!
Low Cost Winter Family Fun Activity #14 spend the day at your local indoor swimming pool
I don’t know about where you live but winter here can be downright brutal. I know sometimes it’s easier to just stay home when they temperatures dip a little lower but that is the perfect time to head to your local pool. Our pool here is a huge multiplex with a track, a gym, basketball courts, lane pools, a lazy river, slides, etc. It can cost a little bit but you can stay all day. Pack a lunch, take a break and eat in a common area, and then go back and enjoy all the amenities again. And by amenities I mean hot tub and sauna, because it’s flipping cold out, ok?
Low Cost Winter Family Fun Activity #15 Write a letter to santa
Sit down with the kids and write a letter to Santa. Keep it short and sweet, though. In our house Santa only brings the stockings (filled with small things, like card games, treats, toiletries, and socks and underwear) and one present for each kid. And he doesn’t bring anything extravagant either. If I had to hazard a guess I’d say each gift was around the $20 mark, with maybe that much in stocking stuffers too. I’d encourage the kids to just let Santa know what kinds of treats they like, who their favourite character is, and what they’ve done this past year to help someone else. Santa loves helpful kids.
Low Cost Winter Family Fun Activity #16 See Santa
And of course, now that you’ve written your letter, go see Santa. Many places offer pictures with Santa for low or no cost. Keep an eye on your community’s Facebook pages for events that offer Santa photos by donation or as part of the free family carnivals that are frequently offered at this time of the year. If you get the right event it will cost you next to nothing and you will get a digital copy of the picture to do with what you will.
Low Cost Winter Family Fun Activity #17 Write a family newsletter email
Take an hour after dinner one night and write out a family newsletter. Get everyone involved so you can be sure to include all the highlights of your family. The holidays can be the only chance you get to connect with loved ones who live far away and emailing a family newsletter can help you feel a little closer. Attach that digital Santa photo, along with any other fun family photos and you got yourself a great little newsletter.
Low Cost Winter Family Fun Activity # 18 Decorate the tree
This can come at any time in the list of family fun activities. Last year we decorated in mid-November and by Christmas I was just sick of everything. I’d have taken all the decorations down on Christmas day if I could have. Even so, we will probably decorate a little early this year. It helps to extend the season for us, and gives a general feeling of Christmas spirit to the household.
Low Cost Winter Family Fun Activity #19 Decorate the house
Again, this can come at any time. We try to get the outside of the house decorated early for weather reasons (because putting out lights and decorations in -35C is not fun) but we never turn our lights on until, at the very least, after Remembrance Day. For us it feels disrespectful to move on to fun and frivolity before we’ve properly remembered and thanked those who’ve fought and died for our freedoms.
Low Cost Family Fun Activity #20 Make Salt dough ornaments
This is such a fun activity, except it can be a little hard for young ones. The time it takes to make sure the ornaments are properly dry before you paint them can seem like an eternity to a little kid ( and *cough* impatient moms *cough* not naming names. *cough cough* It’s me, I’m impatient). If this is the case for you then just go to the dollar store and grab a couple of premade, ready to paint ornaments. Whatever works best for you and your family.
And there you have it, the second instalment of Winter Family Fun Activities. Part three will be coming up next Sunday. If you missed part one you can find it here. And don’t forget to check out the final instalment here. Be sure to share these with anyone you know who may struggling this holiday season with thinking they won’t be able to provide a wonderful experience for their family because money is tight. This is a season of togetherness, not a season of spending money just for the sake of spending it. Happy Holidays!
Until next time,
Chantal the Secular Homemaker