Frugal Holiday Fun for the Family

Sarah Danielson writes for HELOC which aims to inform individuals about different loan options and what each option entails.

When the kids are home from school, you have time off from work, and everyone is cooped up in the house because of cold weather, it probably won’t be long before the whole family starts to get a little stir crazy.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have the extra cash to blow on a family vacation (or even a trip to the movie theater).  If you find that, like many families right now, you are short on cash approaching the holidays, you may think that watching the snow fall is just about your only option for entertainment.  But there are plenty of activities you can undertake from the comfort of your own home without spending a ton of cash.  Here are just a few frugal ways to ensure that your family has some fun this holiday season.

1.     Get crafty. Raid the kids’ craft supply drawer for a way to have some fun for little-to-no cost.  You can even kill two birds with one stone by creating personalized cards or ornaments to give to friends and family as gifts.  This way you’re getting the whole family involved in the giving spirit of the season while getting the quality time you crave and occupying the hands and minds of your loved ones.  Alternately, think about having a contest to see who can build a snowman that looks the most like another member of the family!

2.     Rent a few flicks. If you’re feeling lazy, you’re not alone.  This is a prime time to take a load off, forget the stress that dominates your life during the rest of the year, and make like a hibernating bear.  Rent some holiday flicks at your local video store (or opt for Netflix – the first month is free) to save money over hitting the theater.  Snuggle up, pop some corn, and enjoy a couple hours of mindless fun.

3.     Bake up a storm. Nothing says the holidays have arrived like a tray full of calorie-laden cookies.  So pull out everyone’s favorite recipes and spend a day or two baking them as a family.  Set up stations and have everyone rotate between prepping ingredients, operating the mixer, spooning up dough (or employing the cookie cutters), watching the oven, and decorating with icing.  You’ll not only get everyone hanging out in the same room, you’ll have the added benefit of near-instant gratification in the form of a variety of sugary treats.

4.     Host a game night. When was the last time you turned off the electronics and went old school with a few board games?  Think about getting a couple of new ones if your collection was last relevant when your kids were toddlers.  A few newbies that are fun and easy are Apples to Apples and Pictureka.  Everyone should be able to participate and although the kids might gripe at first (that’s their number one job) they are bound to have a great time once you get going.

5.     Go traditional. Decorate the tree, sing some carols, or light a fire for some ambiance and warmth and read aloud from A Christmas Carol, The Night Before Christmas, or some other literary favorites.  A little nostalgia and some family time are all that you really need to make this holiday season special without spending a lot.