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Six Christmas Activities With No Extra Spending

For Ms. Dora—teacher, counselor, mother, and grandmother—holidays and family make the perfect blend of good times and pleasant memories.

Christmas comes with joy already built in. No personal spending is required to embrace the Christmas spirit and spread cheer. The magical atmosphere creeps in at:

  • the sight of colorful lights and ornaments in the windows of businesses and department stores (which have money to spend);
  • the sound of carols on media devices or from carolers in the shopping mall.
  • the feel of a chill in the air which Caribbean people call Christmas breeze.

Christmas joy is enhanced by togetherness, giving and receiving, food and laughter, all of which can be experienced in the following six activities without extra spending.

Christmas carolers entertaining shoppers in the town center.

Christmas carolers entertaining shoppers in the town center.

1. Christmas Movies

YouTube freely accommodates the gathering of family and friends around family-friendly movies. The Hallmark Christmas collection tops the list of favorites for sharing inspiration, laughter, tear jerking and bonding. Nothing like a good movie to cement togetherness and enhance the joy of the season.

Here are two titles to start your selection.

  • A Royal Christmas: Emily Taylor (Lacey Chabert) is in love with Leo James (Stephen Hagar) who reveals a few days before Christmas that he is heir to the throne of Cordinia. The prince takes Emily home for the holidays, and she struggles through conflicts with his mother, Isadora, Queen of Cordinia (Jane Seymour) who prefers him to marry a duchess. Fortunately for Emily, the head butler (Simon Dutton) likes her.
  • Finding Father Christmas: Three days before Christmas, Miranda Carson (Erin Krakow) follows a clue to a New England town, in search of the father she never knew. She discovers his identity, but is afraid to reveal her secret which could cost her the love of Ian McAndrick (Niall Matter) and a family including a sweet mother, Margaret Whitcomb (Wendie Mallick) with whom she might have the chance to experience the family life she always wanted.

Other Hallmark Christmas Movies on YouTube

  • Crown for Christmas starring Danica McKellar and Rupert Penry Jones
  • My Christmas Dream starring Christian Convery, Bruce Dawson, Deidre Hall
  • Every Christmas Has A Story starring Lori Loughlin, Colin Ferguson, Willie Aame

Preview in 35 Seconds

2. Christmas Sing-a-Longs

There are individuals who may not be happy at Christmas due to memories of recent loss, or loss during a previous Christmas, financial lack, physical pain, family conflicts, and several other issues. For them, a Christmas sing-a-long can make a big difference.

According to Sally Garozzo and Alan Chapman on Business Balls.com (Copyright 2011-16), "Singing can help people come more easily to terms with grieving and loss, and can help you to accept certain very testing emotions, to sink into them and know that by surrendering to them, you can free yourself. . . Singing - like laughter, play, sunshine, countryside and exercise - helps underpin and maintain our well-being and happiness."

Singing together helps create the mood that everyone should experience at Christmastime.

3. Christmas Gift Exchange

Many meaningful gifts are not purchased for the occasion. Some are taken from previous bundles of presents that were never unwrapped. Still others are created by the giver with a label of love, not money. In the spirit of Christmas, the emphasis is on giving, not spending.

Here are some exchange gift ideas which can boost joy in both the giver and the recipient.

  • Items, including books, new (or as good as new) waiting to be put to immediate use;
  • Long overdue letters of appreciation for friendship, support or service throughout the year;
  • Family heirlooms or other significant keepsakes, in a ceremonial passing which can become a Christmas tradition;
  • Personalized coupons for baby sitting, caregiver respite, house cleaning, hedge trimming, birthday dinner or any similar form of support;
  • Printed or hand written poems, stories, favorite quotes presented with a creative flair.
There's nothing like a worship on Christmas!

There's nothing like a worship on Christmas!

4. Christmas Worship Service

Meaningful Christmas celebration includes worship. The group can decide on a church service and attend together, or they can plan an intimate session in which members participate in singing, scripture reading, prayer and thanksgiving. After all, Christmas is centered around the birth of Jesus, God's ultimate gift to the world. Worship is the most appropriate response, and the only cost is personal devotion and priceless gratitude.

Scripture Samples for Christmas Service

Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2: 1-14; Isaiah 9: 6, 7

5. Christmas Potluck

Lunch is a regular event anyway, so why not make it a Christmas celebration after the service? The menu can be decided beforehand with participants contributing favorite foods that they like and can afford. Turkey and dressing are not requirements for love and joy in a Christmas gathering. If they are available, enjoy them; if not, give thanks and enjoy whatever foods are on the table.

This is not to say that effort should not be put into making the meal special. Use your special occasion seasoning, decorate with an attractive garnish, or serve on the showcase platter. Play some jolly Christmas music in the background while guests come bringing their dishes.

Be sure to start the meal with lavish gratitude to God and to the guests. Give thanks not only for food, but also for family, friends and sweet fellowship. Food eaten with contentment is conducive to enjoyment and good health.

Make your best holiday party a casual Christmas Potluck.

Make your best holiday party a casual Christmas Potluck.

6. Christmas Outreach

One form of outreach is to advocate on behalf of needy families, with agencies which donate food and clothing to families at Christmas. Form a volunteer group to compile a list of needy families. Partner with donors to provide leg work for their cause.

Besides gift items, here are other outreach possibilities to enhance the celebration.

  • Read Christmas stories to children and their families, or to nursing home residents and shut-ins at home.
  • Plan a fun activity with children who have a parent in the armed forces, in jail or at work during the holidays.
  • Set up, clean up, or serve meals for agencies providing special lunches to the homeless and needy.
  • Offer free service using skills from which others would benefit: cut hair, do manicures and pedicures, alter hand me downs, bake a cake, share a pint of homemade drink.
  • Do for someone something special that you interpret as a deed of love.

Christmas is all about receiving God's love and sharing it with others. It feels good to share it with loved ones; it feels special to share it with strangers.

© 2016 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 05, 2018:

Thanks for reading Mona. Happy Christmas Season to you and yours!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on December 03, 2018:

I love this article, Ms. Dora. How wonderful to know that there are so many Christmas movies on Youtube and also worship services. I also loved the Christmas Outreach part. To me, this article is so YOU. Every word of it is happy, positive, and full of heart.

Laura Smith from Pittsburgh, PA on November 15, 2018:

Thanks! You too!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 15, 2018:

Thanks, Laura. Have a happy minimum-spending Christmas this year.

Laura Smith from Pittsburgh, PA on November 15, 2018:

Really good ideas. The rush and expense of Christmas can wear you out. It's nice to think of things to do that are less about the commercialism of the holiday and more about spending time with family and helping others. This is something I've come to appreciate the older I get.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 14, 2018:

Dolores, thanks for sharing your family's story of celebrating without extra money. Look how many years you have enjoyed the exchange! Without money,people tend to be more creative.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on November 14, 2018:

Hi Dora - one Christmas my mother got the idea that we should do a round of gifts where we gave each other our own stuff that we thought the other person would like. Honestly, I got one of my favorite all time gifts ever. My mother gave me an old cut glass sugar bowl that I always admired.

John on October 31, 2018:

thought seventh day adventist never celebrated christmas, or is this designed to pull people in ?

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 26, 2016:

Little Greek Chef, you are very kind, Thank you. The very best to you going forward and throughout the New Year.

Little Greek Chef on December 26, 2016:

Each suggestion is better than the next one! Merry Christmas, MsDora! Thanks for sharing!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2016:

Eboni, thanks for your visit today. I've heard other people express that same response to sing-a-longs. You really can't beat good music and singing for a good time.

Eboni on December 13, 2016:

Great ideas. Sing-a-longs are the best. They make you feel like you don't need anything else.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 08, 2016:

Shauna, you and I love the Hallmark Channel for the same reasons. Plus the Christmas movies are so heartwarming; good for all year.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 08, 2016:

Nell, I see that your local group has the right Christmas spirit. Good for you and for those with whom you share the Christmas cheer. Merry Christmas to you and your also.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 08, 2016:

All great ideas, Dora. I love The Hallmark Channel. I watch it quite often because the movies are always heartwarming. No sex, violence or foul language.

Nell Rose on December 07, 2016:

Great activities Dora, in fact since I have joined the local amateur dramatics group we get to do all sorts of things for free, especially near Christmas, in fact next week we are going Carol singing! have a wonderful Christmas!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 04, 2016:

Bill, I know that you have the right idea about Christmas and may even have some thoughts about meaningful activities to share. A blessed Christmas to you and family!

William Kovacic on December 03, 2016:

Wow! I can't even get signed in, so I guess I'll have to be a visitor. good thoughts as usual, Dora. Some I've tried. Others, I'll have to try. Hope you Christmas is the merriest.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 02, 2016:

Devika, Merry Christmas to you and family. So happy that you will share these ideas with them. Hoping you agree on a favorite.

DDE on December 02, 2016:

A beautiful time of the year and I am going home to share this time with my family.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 01, 2016:

Happy Mommy, so glad you liked the article. When we start thinking of saving, so many ideas come to mind. Happy Christmas to you and yours also.

Amy from East Coast on December 01, 2016:

Another meaningful hub. I loved the ideas of the gifts of personalized coupons. I would much rather receive them than a store bought gift. I also love the idea of the church service and potluck after. I really enjoyed this. Have a great holiday season!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 30, 2016:

Denise, thanks for your affirmation. We need to keep sounding the warning that Christmas does not have to be expensive for it to bring hope, peace and love. Merry Christmas 2016 to you and your household.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on November 30, 2016:

These are great ideas! Christmas doesn't have to be expensive to be meaningful for us. We have found this to be true in our family.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 28, 2016:

Mary, thanks for highlighting some of the ideas that have meaning for you. There may be still others we can consider after we implement these.

Mary Wickison from Brazil on November 28, 2016:

Wonderful ideas. I love the term Christmas Breeze, so special.

I never thought about singing to help with grieving, someone close to me would benefit from this.

I was pleased you also listed families of people in jail in your list of those who are in need. So often they are forgotten and often excluded.

A perfect reminder of how special Christmas is and what we can do to keep the true meaning alive in our hearts and our communities.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 28, 2016:

Martie, thanks for sharing your gift exchange pattern which can make it easier on members of a large family. My grandmother used to tell her adult children that gifts to their children are gifts to them (the parents). Any plan that would make us content with spending less is acceptable.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on November 28, 2016:

All of these ideas are part of our Christmas celebrations. Having a large family, exchanging of gifts among adults on Christmas Eve has a specific pattern nowadays. Parents and grandparents buy gifts for children, but each adult buys only one gift for an adult, and the value may not exceed X-amount. Females buy a gift for a female, and males buy a gift for a male. These gifts go into a basket and when the time comes Father Christmas or somebody hands them out. Great fun!

Thanks for sharing your ideas, MsDora :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 28, 2016:

Vellur, thank you for letting me know that you agree with these ideas. Hope you and yours experience great joy this year.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 28, 2016:

Peg, your last sentence sounds like an ad that would sell (an idea). Thanks for your valuable input.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on November 28, 2016:

Great ideas for Christmas activities without having to splurge, thank you for sharing.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on November 28, 2016:

Wonderful ideas to celebrate this Christmas in meaningful and memorable ways. I like the idea that the cost is low and the enjoyment is high.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 28, 2016:

Chitrangada, I appreciate your kind comment. Hopefully, some of us who understand the value of Christmas will celebrate this year with meaningful activities which do not require us to overspend.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 28, 2016:

Lovely ideas to celebrate Christmas without extra expenditure.

This is a very useful and timely hub that will be helpful to many.

Thanks for sharing!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 27, 2016:

Whonu, "Glorious" is such an appropriate word to describe this special season. Thank you for reminding us of that.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 27, 2016:

Janelle, I might have been a fly on the wall listening in at your church planning committee. Or maybe, we think alike about the significance of the Christmas season. Thank you for sharing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 27, 2016:

Thanks, Alicia. See, just by writing and reading we boost the Christmas spirit. No money spent. Who cannot afford a few minutes with friends?

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 27, 2016:

KiddieCreations, I think that for some (including me) Hallmark Christmas movies are popular year round. Have a merry Christmas, and make some exciting memories for you and your three year old.

whonunuwho from United States on November 27, 2016:

These are wonderful suggestions for such a glorious time of the year. Thank you my friend MsDora for sharing these nice reminders. whonu

Pennington from Africa on November 27, 2016:

Excellent Hub, MsDora. Great Christmas activities with no expense necessary at all. These are all we need to enjoy the Christmas season. I have already watched some Christmas movies on Youtube. My church is planning on doing a potluck and sing a longs. Thanks for sharing these with us.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 27, 2016:

You've shared some lovely ideas for celebrating Christmas without extra expense, Dora. This is a useful article. It's also filled with Christmas spirit.

Nicole K on November 27, 2016:

Great hub! I love Hallmark Christmas movies, too. It seems like they get more popular every year. I am really looking forward to driving around and looking at Christmas lights this year with my 3-year-old. Seeing his excitement and joy makes it that much more fun! Merry Christmas to you, Ms. Dora.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 27, 2016:

Eric, hoping that these activities help take our minds off things to get and help us focus on what we can give since Christmas centers around the gift that God gave.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 27, 2016:

Wonderful Dora. I could rant on the materialism that has crept into our holiday of thanks for our Savior's birth but will not. We must move toward the positive and hope it is noticed. Great stuff you have here.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on November 27, 2016:

Bill, have an enjoyable Christmas whatever you do. I know that you and Bev will keep each other happy. Thanks for your comment.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 27, 2016:

Fun activities, Dora! I'm debating whether to share this with Bev or not. I like to relax a bit, and Bev is constantly looking for things to do. I'm afraid she'll have me out from now until Christmas trying new things. :)

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