Just because money is tight doesn’t mean that you cannot entertain your children, and that’s a considerable aim to consider—especially since school holidays are upon us; according to the site: “…it’s time to start thinking about how to keep your kids entertained…there are lots of options to keep your kids busy over the school holidays that won’t break the budget.”
Your first step is to create a budget. Once you know your parameters, you’ll be able to figure out what kind of things you can get away with. For $500, there’s a lot you can do for the family. Say you’ve got a specific budget for your spouse, and two children to spend $500 on.
First, focus on things like the Advent calendar. This is something you can find for five dollars or less, if you’re smart about it and order online or something. These have a bit of chocolate in little boxes for each day, leading up to Christmas. There’s a magical nature to this which can keep your kids subtly excited continuously.
Next, play Christmas music regularly. What’s the deal with people being down on Christmas music? Forget those Scroogey Grinch curmudgeons. Put on some classic Christmas songs.
Dollar Store Salvation
Next, decorate. You can do that well for under $50 bucks by going to a dollar store. You can get a plastic tree cheaply as well within that budget—or, you can find some remote area and chop one down yourself; just be sure you know the legal ramifications. There are places where that’s legal. Also, you may be able to find that type of tree being thrown away, and finagle a free solution—behold the power of Craigslist.com.
Be sure at some point during the Christmas break to go on a spin through the neighborhood and look at all the Christmas lights. Play the music on the radio, talk about how you feel during this season, and have some Santa Clause conversation.
Additionally, you can watch a bevy of Christmas movies totally free on the internet. By now you’ve likely got an HDMI cable which connects your computer to your TV. If you don’t, get one—it won’t be factored into this budget; what, are you trying to waste money? For cheaper than NetFlix you can practically watch anything you want online simply by doing a search and learning how to avoid the ransomware spam sites. Just never download anything.
Have some popcorn and watch some classic Christmas movies together, as a family. Also, candy. For another $50, if you shop right, you can get a mess of candy canes, chocolate, powdered cocoa, popcorn tubs—you name it. You’re down to $345. Spend another $50 on treats for the stockings Christmas Eve evening.
Also, you might go to a dollar store, get crazy candies super cheap, and wrap them individually. (Pro Tip: with decorations, wrapping paper and other accoutrements, you can reuse certain things year to year, saving hundreds.)
When it comes to presents, get little five and ten-dollar knick-knacks depending on the age of your children, and have one or two twenty-dollar gifts for each of them. If you can’t pull that off, again, you’ve got the dollar store. For $50, you can get the young ones some pretty neat things from the dollar store. Here’s a list of dollar store arrangement ideas. Don’t Forget to check thrift stores and flea markets for treasure!
A Fine Christmas Super Cheap
At minimum, $200 gives you a magical Christmas much cheaper than most folks. Between lights, movies, decorations, candy, advent calendars, and family time, you can truly make things magical.
And all that’s if the kids were good! If they were bad, do everything else magical, then say Santa must’ve found them naughty and leave ‘em some coal! They’ll learn a valuable lesson and you save money for the missus! Okay, that’s a terrible joke; but even if you’ve only got a few bucks, you can have a pretty magical Christmas if you think outside the box.
The key is family time, and celebrating the traditions. There are bound to be some fine community events—candle-light vigils are the norm this time of year, and there is little more magical than when those little candles light up a sanctuary space. If you’re there for your kids, you can be the magic.