Six Christmas Activities With No Extra Spending

Updated on December 12, 2017
MsDora profile image

For MsDora—teacher, counselor, mother, and grandmother—holidays and family make the perfect blend for 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

Photo by Jonathan Billinger
Photo by Jonathan Billinger | Source

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 (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

Photo by David Castor
Photo by David Castor | Source

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

This can be a lunch or dinner following the service, or at whatever time the group decides. 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 a tasty blend of 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

Photo by Sgt. Quentin Johnson
Photo by Sgt. Quentin Johnson | Source

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


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      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

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

      • profile image

        Little Greek Chef 17 months ago

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

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

        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.

      • profile image

        Eboni 17 months ago

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

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

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

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

        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.

      • bravewarrior profile image

        Shauna L Bowling 17 months ago from Central Florida

        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.

      • profile image

        Nell Rose 17 months ago

        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!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

        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!

      • profile image

        William Kovacic 17 months ago

        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.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

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

      • profile image

        DDE 17 months ago

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

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

        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.

      • Happymommy2520 profile image

        Amy 17 months ago from East Coast

        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!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

        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 profile image

        Denise W Anderson 17 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

        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.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

        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.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 17 months ago from Brazil

        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.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

        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.

      • MartieCoetser profile image

        Martie Coetser 17 months ago from South Africa

        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 :)

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

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

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

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

      • Vellur profile image

        Nithya Venkat 17 months ago from Dubai

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

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 17 months ago from Dallas, Texas

        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.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 17 months ago from The Caribbean

        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.

      • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

        Chitrangada Sharan 17 months ago from New Delhi, India

        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!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

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

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

        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.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

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

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

        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 profile image

        whonunuwho 18 months ago from United States

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

      • Janellegems profile image

        Janellegems 18 months ago from United States

        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.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 18 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        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.

      • kiddiecreations profile image

        Nicole Kiddie Granath 18 months ago

        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.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

        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.

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 18 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        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.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 18 months ago from The Caribbean

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

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 18 months ago from Olympia, WA

        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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