15 Days of Christmas Activities on a Budget

There are always so many things to do during the holidays: large to-do lists, shopping lists, parties to attend. Christmas time is one of my very favorite times, and even though there’s many tasks to check off, taking advantage of the season and doing all we can as a family is so important to me.  I’ve made up a little list of things we will be doing this year and I’m so excited! Having our little one makes everything 10,000x more fun.

  1. Decorate Christmas Ornaments – This is the first thing we have already done this season. We made, baked, and painted these sweet little things. We did this with all of our little cousins over Thanksgiving and every little person loved it! Actually, I wanted to make one too but seems how it was just a kid thing… We made two for our Charlee and my mom kept one for her tree and we gave the other to Chaz’s mom for her tree. We’ll cherish those little handprints forever!
    My mom found the link while she was browsing along on Facebook, and it was the perfect start to our holiday season.
    Here are a couple other options if you would rather not bake them: Decorate Ornaments, Red and Green Ornaments

  2. Reindeer Candy Canes – super easy, and super cute. Head to a craft store and grab some candy canes, a couple pipe cleaners, a few little eye balls and a small nose. This activity won’t take long so save it for a night that you don’t think you’ll have a ton of time, but it will be a great one to do and keep your candy canes for decoration, then eat them Christmas Day! Simply wrap your pipe cleaner around the hook of the candy cane and curl the ends for the antlers, then attach your eyes and nose on the hook for Rudolph’s face!
    Here is all you need: candy canes, pipe cleaners, eyes, nose.
  3. Hands Wreath – if you have multiple people to craft with, this one is perfect for you. All you have to do is trace all your cute hands on green paper, and glue them together in your wreath shape. I’m especially excited to see all of our little Charlee’s hands glued on top of ours. Chaz may not like it, but this wreath is going up on our wall allll December. We are going to add some little red circles for some extra character and a red ribbon to hang it with.
    All you need: green paper, red circles, red ribbon.
  4. Decorate Cookies – always a holiday favorite, right?! OK, I found a great sugar cookie recipe online from my BHG magazine, and I can’t wait to try it! This activity we are actually going to split up into two nights, make the dough the first night, let it sit in the fridge overnight, and decorate them the next night. I found a cute assortment of cookie cutters and I’m just really hoping my 15 month old will have as much fun decorating them as I will! Also my husband…hopefully he’ll have fun too…
    All you need: recipe, cookie cutters
  5. Color Christmas Pictures – this one is obviously pretty simple and maybe will only be a family/kid thing. But our baby girl LOVES to color, so I had to add it to the list! All I am going to do is find some cute pictures on google, print them out, and color away! We’ll probably be eating our decorated cookies while we’re at it.
  6. Cut Out Snowflakes – again, another easy one, but so fun and simple! It will definitely be a mess, my baby will probably like the cut out paper bits more than the actual snowflakes but that is A-OK! This is one of those things that you have to do, I think, and it will be fun to continue to do for years to come with those kiddos. Plus, you and your spouse can have a little competition to see who can make the most intricate snowflake, GAME ON!
  7. Build a Snowman – obviously this one requires snow, if you have some, have at it! If you don’t, grab a piece of white paper and trace a snowman and glue some cotton balls on there like you did in first grade. Either way, make that snowman!
    You’ll need: Snowman Building Kit.
  8. Watch the Grinch – I’m not talking any Grinch, I’m talking the old cartoon that was made yeeeears ago.  The ORIGINAL Grinch. The best one! Don’t get me wrong, I love the real Grinch with Jim Carrey and I am super excited for the new one that is coming out, but the original is just a classic! It’s one of my favorite Christmas movies and it will forever be on the list.
    Get the movie.
  9. Gingerbread House – fun with baby, competition to see whose side of the house looks the best with the husband. We will be making our houses sooner rather than later so we can look at it all month long. Can anyone get through building one without eating the candy? Yes? It’s just me that has no self control? OK cool…
    Get the house.
  10. Make Hot Chocolate – this is one that we could combine with our Grinch night, but who doesn’t love hot cocoa on a cold December night all snuggled in by the fire and the Christmas tree? We’ll warm up some chocolate milk for the babe, and mom and dad will make our less sugar, protein hot chocolate. DELICIOUS!
    Protein Hot Cocoa: no sugar added hot cocoa, vanilla protein
  11. Temple Square – this is one is for Utah residents or people who live close to Utah, but heading to Temple Square during the holidays to see the lights is a must if you haven’t. Which if you live in Utah, you probably have seen them, but this is a reminder to never miss them! This year I would love to see the Tree of Life in Draper, UT, as well because I’ve never been there. We have a flight out of SLC in a couple of weeks and we will be going to these the night before. There’s no better way to remind myself of the true meaning of the Christmas season by walking around the temple grounds with my little family.
  12. Look at Lights – if you can’t get to Temple Square in Salt Lake, drive around the block and find the best houses in your neighborhood to look at their lights. Growing up, my dad had the best lit house in the entire state of Idaho. NOT JOKING! He decorated an acre full of sparkling lights and hand painted, wooden cut-outs of Disney characters and had music playing from speakers all around. Little kids would hang out the windows yelling at the characters and screaming with delight. Because of this, I try to put up some lights on my house to keep up with the holiday spirit and to keep up with my dad. I’ll never have what he did, but Christmas lights are a must for me and my house, and looking at others’ hard work is so fun for me! So take some time, take a drive, and appreciate the hard work that people put in to get into the holiday spirit.
  13. Secret Santa – my favorite holiday tradition! Growing up, my parents would pick a family and we would buy gifts for each member, a full Christmas meal, and some cash for them to spend on whatever they needed. We would sneak up to their doorstep in the dark, drop off their box of items, ring the doorbell and RUN! I have so many memories of slipping on ice and falling on top of each other, huuuuge killer dogs chasing us down the streets, hiding behind abandoned cars and hearing something living inside, and of course, happy, tearful cries of “thank you!” from the distant house we just sprinted away from. When giving to others, especially those in need, you will always receive way more than any gift from Santa. I highly recommend to add this to your holiday traditions. Even if you can only give a little, the joy, pure love, and memories you will make will last a lifetime.
  14. Read a Christmas Story – no matter which one it may be, pick your favorite Christmas story and read it as a family. We always read Luke 2 on Christmas Eve, and I will be finding another cute story that we can read together a night before that. Here are a few favorite options!
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas
    The Polar Express
    The Night Before Christmas 
    The Christmas Wish
    How to Catch an Elf
  15. Christmas Eve Festivities – I’ll leave this night up to you. Depending on which family we are with that year, our Christmas Eve is always a little different. The only thing that is constant is we always open up new Christmas jammies that we wear for Christmas Eve/Christmas morning, and read Luke 2 like I said above. December 24 is a day/night for family and food, and it is such an amazing day.

I hope you all get a few ideas from this to enjoy your holiday and have a little more fun with your family. I can’t wait to start creating traditions with mine. Christmas is my very favorite time of year; full of hope, joy, and love. I hope your season is as bright as ever!

Thanks for being here,

and Merry Christmas,

The Spackman’s

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