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Family fun

10th Nov 2021

10 free Christmas traditions that don’t cost a penny

Laura Cunningham

“Some of my favourite Christmas memories are of my family decorating the house with the Christmas tunes blaring”

Christmas can be an expensive time. Gifts, social occasions and an array of temping events and festive experiences are all calling out for your hard-earned cash and may leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Of course, there are plenty of meaningful ways to get festive and enjoy family time that don’t require you putting your hand in your pocket.

If you’re feeling the pressure, here’s a reminder off all the free Christmas traditions your kids will adore doing with you, that don’t cost a thing.

1 Putting the tree up and decorating the house

Some of my favourite Christmas memories are of my family decorating the house with the Christmas tunes blaring. As I got older I introduced hot ports into the mix, but before then the only rule was that everyone must be wearing either a santy hat or a paper cracker one. No exceptions.

2 Driving or walking around your neighbourhood to find the most Christmassy houses

There’s always one absolutely barmy one, isn’t there? We lived near a Children’s hospital for a while when I was younger and the houses near its entrance made a really special effort to cheer up the sick kids passing by. That still chokes me up to this day. People are lovely, especially at Christmas.

3 Visiting friends and family

We’re finally allowed to again, yay! May your Christmas week be filled with negative antigen tests, and warm welcoming hugs at your loved ones’ homes.

4 If you’re so inclined, midnight mass or a special festive mass with carols

We don’t do the Jesus thing in my family, but I must admit I miss Christmas masses from when I was a nipper. There’s nothing like a beautiful old church decked out for Christmas and filled with festive song. If your family are religious, attending a musical mass at Christmas is magic.

5 Christmas crafts

Whether you’re making DIY decs from paper and glue, or sticking cloves in oranges for fragrant mantel piece adornments, simple Christmas crafting needn’t cost money and is a lovely, mindful way of enjoying family time.

6 Watching Christmas movies

Is there anything better? From oldies like White Christmas, to one of my all-time faves, Die Hard (it’s absolutely a Christmas movie… fight me), a Christmas movie marathon with the tree glittering in the corner simply can’t be beaten. Bonus festive points if you’re lucky enough to have an open fire. You’ll find some more movies to add to your list here . Oh and by the way, they’re actually good for you.

7 Going into town (whatever town that is) to see the lights and Christmas windows

I can’t WAIT to walk down Grafton Street with my son and show him all the lights. He’s a bit young to appreciate the BT windows just yet, but his old ma will enjoy those.

8 Writing Santa letters

We always sent ours up the chimney, but the lack of a real fire means I’ll need to find a new tradition when the time comes for my little family. Whatever way it gets to the man in red, I can’t wait to sit down and write a Santy letter with my son. I have been warned that it’s possibly slightly more stressful that my Hallmark movie idea of it, but I’ll live in hope.

9 Reading The Night Before Christmas

This is a non-negotiable in my world. My nephews are teenagers now, but don’t think for a second that’s stopped my brother reading it to them every Christmas Eve.

10 A traditional family photo

Whether your pyjamas match or not, taking the same photo, in the same room, stood in the same order every year is a great idea. They’re magic to look back on and see babies grow and young men become big hairy ones. As Christmas traditions go, it’s up there with the best.

You might also like: Baby’s 1st Christmas – 5 traditions to start, this year