Christmas Eve at my house was always magical. Dad would strike a match and light candles and lanterns around the house. Meanwhile, Mom was busy in the kitchen setting out a feast of snacks and sweets. We were allowed to eat as much as we wanted. What a treat!
Then we’d read Christmas books or watch a favorite Christmas cartoon until we were hustled off to bed in anticipation of the fat man coming down the chimney. “Should be any time now!”
I could name you a handful of the Christmas gifts I received over the years. But the memories of our family’s Christmas traditions shine through clear as a bell.
Magical Christmas Traditions
Nowadays I have my own crew of kids, and my Hubby and I are bound and determined to give them some special memories of our own Christmas traditions. Our favorites are pretty frugal, but that doesn’t make them any less fun.
Lights at the Zoo.
We love to visit our zoo, all decked out in lights. It’s a beautiful sight to see! And because we have a zoo pass, it doesn’t cost our family anything extra to enjoy this tradition. Along with the lights, we get to see Santa, visit with Queen Elsa, ride a carousel, see the animals, and more.
Your local zoo might not offer such an event. But I bet a quick Google search will show you options for a similar family-friendly set up in your area.
If you opt to go somewhere that requires an entry fee, always check Groupon or do a search for a discount code.
Many churches offer a live nativity scene during the Christmas season. It’s a wonderful way to put the true meaning of Christmas into the minds of your little ones. And it’s a great way to naturally answer their questions about the Christmas story and start a conversation with older children.
One of our area churches even offers a live nativity where you can stay in your warm car and drive through it!
No season is complete without your kids sitting on Santa’s lap! There are many opportunities to do this without spending a bunch of money. Santa visits many locations including town festivals, light displays, and special church activities. Look for a chance to take your own photos of the kids with Santa.
Many smaller towns have an entire day devoted to Christmas. The town might offer a variety of free happenings or have booths set up where you can do some Christmas activities with your youngsters. These small towns tend to go all out on decorations and music to really get you into the festive spirit!
You can often find special train displays at museum centers or other buildings at Christmastime. There’s something magical about watching your children discover the tiny scenes set up throughout a train display. And their excitement as the train drives past them is pure delight!
Take a Drive.
I think one of our family’s absolute favorite things to do is to climb in the car in the dark evening wearing our cozy pajamas. We make a round of hot cocoa before leaving.
Then we grab a list of scavenger hunt items and drive around town looking at light displays. We either try to cross off all of the items as a family, or compete to see who can find the most things first. It’s a whole lot of fun for just the price of gas (which, happily, is pretty affordable right now!).
These frugal family Christmas traditions will be memories your children will cherish for years to come.
The light from a small lantern still takes me right back to my parent’s living room on Christmas Eve. I hope it always does.
Is baking Christmas cookies on your list of Christmas traditions? These will make you hungry!
I’d love to hear about the things your family loves to do at Christmastime! Drop a comment or link below and let us know.