Six Christmas Activities With No Extra Spending
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.
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.
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.
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.
Questions & Answers
© 2016 Dora Weithers