Five Low-Cost Holiday Family Activities

It can be difficult to find something everyone enjoys doing. Uncle Phil wants to watch the football game, while Aunt Linda wants to decorate cookies. You’re trying to keep peace without making family time feel like a chore. What can you do to keep everyone happily spending time together without running up a huge credit card bill?


These five activities can help keep the Christmas spirit in your hearts while spending time with your family this holiday season. Best of all, most of these options won’t cost you a dime!

1.) Caroling

It’s a tradition that spans generations. If you live in an area where you know your neighbors and the streets are safe, you can carol in your neighborhood. Or consider making an appointment with an area assisted living facility. These homes often are in need of some cheer during the holidays.

2.) Volunteering

Many churches, food kitchens and other outreach centers offer Christmas dinners for the less fortunate. Spending some of your holiday caring for those who have less can keep your family focused on what’s really important. After your kids unwrap their presents on Christmas morning, consider taking them to help out at a community pantry. It’ll help them treasure their gifts even more.

3.) Spit-paper

If you’d rather have some light-hearted fun with your family at Christmas, consider this easy game. Sit everyone down in a circle. Each person gets a sticky note or a small piece of scrap paper. On that piece of paper, they write a person’s name – a celebrity, a political figure, even a fictional character. Then, everyone passes to the right.

Without looking at it, every player sticks the piece of paper on their forehead. People take turns asking “yes-or-no” questions about themselves to the group, with the objective of guessing their “new” identity. Questions like “Have I ever existed?” or “Have I been alive in the last 100 years?” are good ways to narrow the range of options. It’s a fun way to have a conversation about current events in a general, light-hearted way.

4.) Re-watch old family movies

Someone in your family may have a cache of old tapes or DVDs in a closet somewhere. These probably contain a treasure trove of family memories. If you’re like most families, someone recorded special times to document them for posterity, but either never watched them or hasn’t blown the dust off them in years.

5.) Check out community or school theater events

There are a great many works of theater that everyone recognizes as “classics” despite the fact that very few people have seen them. If you asked someone to name a piece of ballet, most might come up with “The Nutcracker.” It features songs that nearly everyone knows, like “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.” Yet, despite its fame, most people have never seen it.

No matter what you do this holiday season, it’ll be made special because you do it together. Have a safe and happy holiday!