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    Simple and Inexpensive Ways to Enjoy the Holiday Season

    As the Holiday season begins, it is easy to get caught up in the spectacle of it all. We tend to focus on gifts we want to buy, events we need to attend and worries about how much money is being spent to make the days special. It can get very overwhelming.

    But the truth is, we don't need to spend big bucks to enjoy the holidays with family and friends. We just need to focus on all the possibilities for free (or really cheap) ways to celebrate the season with the ones you love.

    Free and Cheap Ideas for Holiday Fun

    1. Drive or walk around your neighborhood and look at the holiday lights. Listen to Christmas music and make a festive evening out of it. Some communities have Social Media groups that list the best decorated houses in the area as do some local newspapers.
    2. Go outside for a brisk walk. Just because the season changed doesn’t mean a nice walk outside can’t happen! Be mindful of inclement weather conditions, but a sunny winter’s day can still be enjoyed.
    3. Attend community holiday celebrations. Many small towns and communities have parades and tree lightings that are free to attend. Some even offer free crafting events, concerts and other fun things and usually low cost foods like hot dogs, cookies, and hot chocolate are available. Most of these events are listed in the local newspaper and town/county/city websites. Have a look and see what is coming to your community.
    4. Go window shopping. It doesn't cost money to look and the malls and shopping centers are often fully decorated for the holidays. You can even say hi to Santa!
    5. Gather toys and items you no longer use to donate to a local shelter. This can be a great opportunity to give back for the holidays by giving “new life” to items we no longer need that someone else can benefit from.
    6. Curl up on the couch and watch classic holiday films. Local stations will show classics like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, but also utilize any cable or streaming services you have to find new holiday movies (like the Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movie craze) or find old favorites like Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, Christmas Story and Die Hard (Yes, it is a Christmas movie!).
    7. Turn on the Christmas music. Many local radio stations have switched to “All Holiday Music Formats” and you can also find holiday music on streaming services and on cable’s music programs. Hum along to your favorites or even get your work done while holiday tunes play in the background.
    8. Bake cookies. Gingerbread cookies or sugar cookies are a classic and you can often get the cookie dough (even the ready-made type) on sale. It’s something easy and cheap to do with your children or grandchildren that they would certainly enjoy.
    9. Get crafty. If you want to add some holiday cheer to your home or looking for an activity to do with your family there are many ways to do so while spending little:
      • String popcorn and cranberries to hang on the tree. The ingredients will only cost a few dollars, and the activity will keep busy for hours.
      • Visit the dollar store and see how many holiday crafts and activities you can stock up on for $5 or $10.
      • Local Thrift stores and Flea Markets are also great places to find some low priced and often times classic decorations. Can even make it a scavenger hunt to find a decoration that most reminds you of a childhood holiday.
      • Gather pine cones in the park or forest, bake them in the oven to get rid of any bugs, and then use glitter and glue to decorate them. They will make a sparkly addition to your tree or other holiday décor.

    These are just a few ideas to have some holiday cheer without the stress of spending too much money. Remember the spirit of the holiday season is to spend time with those we love and cherish; that time ends up being the most precious gift of all.

     

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