It's the most wonderful time of the year...but maybe not for your wallet, especially after buying all of those Christmas presents. Here are 10 super festive and super fun things you can do this holiday season without throwing away money that could be spent on presents!
1. THROW A FESTIVE PARTY: Like an Ugly Sweater or Yankee Swap
You can even make it a pot-luck style party if people want to eat, that way each person will bring something and you'll only have to buy the basics. Festive parties are a way to get everyone together for some fun at a time that can be a stressful for some.
Fun party themes include: ugly sweater, secret santa, yankee swap, or a good old fashioned Christmas party filled with friends, music, drinks, Santa hats, and decorations (courtesy of Dollar Tree).
2. HAVE A CHRISTMAS PHOTO SHOOT
I love this one because it's super cheap, simple, fun, AND you can use your photos later to make cute framed Christmas gifts! All you have to do is buy decorations and Santa hats/reindeer antlers, all of which you can get, again, at Dollar tree.
Then, find a place to set up shop - an empty wall space or window works great because you can cover the area with wrapping paper or winter/Christmas-themed fabric. Then just hang up the decorations, get you and your friends ready, get the camera out, and start the shoot!
3. FIND TREE LIGHTING'S IN YOUR AREA
Attending a tree lighting is a great way to be festive. You can even make a night out of it by driving to the area early, as most lighting's have small events going on like ice sculpture contests, Christmas caroling, or hot cocoa stands. But if not, maybe grab a cheap bite to eat before or window shop around the town while you wait for the tree to light up.
4. CHRISTMAS MOVIE MARATHON
Is the weather outside frightful? Stay inside and have a Christmas movie marathon - it's free, and warm! Some of my personal favorites are The Grinch (the original cartoon version), Elf, Polar Express, The Santa Clause, A Charlie Brown Christmas, A Christmas Story, Christmas with the Kranks, and Scrooged. Don't forget all those classics like Frosty and Rudolph, too!
5. DRIVE AROUND TO FIND THE BEST DECORATED HOUSES
Grab someone you love (or at least like), and pack some hot cocoa to-go for a Christmas adventure. Drive around and look for the best Christmas displays, you'll be surprised at what you may find!
6. TAKE A RIDE TO NEWPORT RI FOR A MANSION TOUR
I visited Newport, RI last year and it was an amazing way to kickoff the holiday season. The mansions look even more spectacular than usual because they're all decked out in beautiful holiday decor.
Plus, the tickets are really cheap, and you can choose if you want to tour one, two, or five of the mansions - all priced accordingly. The Newport area is gorgeous and there is so much to do and look at, perfect for a day trip or a mini adventure.
7. HOLIDAY GROUPON DATE
Hi, my name is Nikki, and I am a Grouponer. I find just about everything I need on Groupon, and 90% of the time they have even more discounts on the site, like 20% off with certain promo codes.
Groupon is a great way to not only get creative and festive holiday ideas, but to also get them at very cheap prices. Currently on the site, they have various Christmas shows and plays for 50% off regular prices. Plus, if you wanted to take a mini trip or go on an adventure (perhaps to Newport RI for the mansion tours), they have a Getaways section with really cheap hotel deals, as well as a Food & Drink section for some serious restaurant discounts.
8. ARTS & CRAFTS NIGHT: MAKE YOUR OWN ORNAMENTS
I recently went to AC Moore and bought wooden ornaments for less than $1.00 a piece. Now, all you need is paint and glitter (which can also be purchased there or Dollar Tree) and you have yourself a holiday arts and crafts night! They also have little wooden sleighs, snowflakes, and other various things you could decorate.
I bought stockings at Dollar Tree too, which I will personalize with glitter and other artsy things. Arts and crafts night is a perfect way to be festive without spending much at all. You can even add some background Christmas music and some wine to the evening if you'd like.
9. BAKE NIGHT: DECORATE HOLIDAY COOKIES OR CUPCAKES
Holiday baking is such a fun part of the season, why not make a night out of it? Invite friends and family, or even have some quality alone time, turn on the holiday music and just bake! You can even bake multiple kinds of cookies and have a giant cookie swap. Or, test your creativity skills by baking up some cupcakes or Christmas cutout sugar cookies and decorating them with various frosting's and sprinkles.
Outdoor winter activities are a great way to get in the holiday spirit! Hills or parks to go sledding/tubing are usually easy to find in your area. Check out a local ice rink and enjoy a night of ice skating. I like going to indoor rinks because they're warmer than outdoor, and usually cheaper if not free. My favorite is Steriti Rink in the North End of Boston. It's only a 10 minute walk to Mike's Pastry too, so you can have a night of skating and cannoli's, woo!