Sunday, December 22, 2013

10 CHEAP OR FREE HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES

If you follow my tumblr blog,
 you may be aware that my family and I aren't formally celebrating the holidays this year. 
You can read the detailed post here.
With that in mind, I've been doing my best to enjoy the season despite my current circumstances. 
I realize that some of you may find yourself in a similar perdicament this Winter, and so I've decided to share with you some of the cost-efficient activities I've indulged in to cure my Christmas blues.
Hope that some of my suggestions will allow you to find solace this season.
Sending all of you lots of love and well wishes xo
1. Host a Hot Chocolate Party- If you're looking to host a gathering, but don't wish to spend copious amounts of money, a hot cocoa buffet is the way to go. Set out a variety of add-ons and toppings-- Whipped cream, Cool Whip, marshmallows, crushed candy cane, cinnamon, chocolate syrup, peppermint extract, chocolate shavings, edible glitter, etc. Prepare a standard hot chocolate recipe, and let your guests travel down the buffet table and customize their cocoa creation. It's a fun and playful way to join friends and family together, without the stress or expense of a fancy holiday party.

2. Make Homemade Cards- I'm always overjoyed to receive something in the mail. I find handwritten letters and homemade cards endlessly endearing. Sadly, such letters seem to be sent less and less, as we've become partial to quick texts via our cell phones. This year, take advantage of the romantic and traditional quality the holidays bare, and make some homemade cards to send out to loved ones. You can go the minimal route and simply write a handwritten letter of warmth and well wishes, or go all-out grade school with construction paper, glitter, sequins, etc.. You'll have fun getting creative and your friends and family are sure to feel the love when they receive a personal note from you.

3. A Cozy Winter Drive- Something especially charming about December is the effect it takes on both nature and neighborhoods alike. Load up your family or close friends in the car for an evening. Play a traditional holiday playlist, or create a winter soundtrack all your own, and drive through your town to admire the decorations and twinkle lights. Where I'm from, there's a long stretch of town where the neighbors go all-out for Christmas each and every year. Car after car lines up to admire the fairy lights and ornate displays. It's a fun tradition that definitely holds a lot of holiday whimsy.

4. Bake Something- Baking is an obvious holiday tradition that I think nearly everyone takes part in, one way or another. Whether you're in the kitchen baking gingerbread men or sitting by the fire downing an entire tin of your Nana's butter cookies--treats and December are synonymous with one another. This year, try your hand at baking something new! Purchase some cheap and seasonal cookie cutters, whip up a bath of royal icing with food coloring, and decorate some traditional sugar cookies to deliver as gifts. This is an especially fun activity to get little kids involved in. I like to bake the cookies myself, and then set out the decorating tools for them to use themselves. Things may get a little messy. I've had to clean up my fair share of scattered sprinkles. BUT, it's a lot of fun, and nearly anyone will appreciate a decent cookie. 

5. Go Ice Skating- I live in the Los Angeles area, and often times we're celebrating a sunny Christmas. Snow is completely unimaginable, but luckily we can falsify a traditional winter via the outdoor ice rinks that are installed during the autumn and kept throughout New Years. Now, I'm sure the majority of us aren't professional figure skaters. Most of us may spill on the ice a couple times before we can keep balanced. But ice skating can be so fun, and pretty inexpensive. Get a group of your girlfriends together and spend an afternoon on the ice. Some of you may live in a colder climate with actual snow! If so, take advantage of that and maybe build a snow man or go sledding! You're never too old to act like a kid during the holidays.

6. Holiday Movie Night- Winter is the perfect time for spending entire days in your pajamas and indulging in a traditional movie marathon. Cozy up in comfy sweats, flannel shirts, slippers and thick-knit socks. Select your favorite Christmas classics and enjoy having nothing to do. Brew some coffee, pop some popcorn, eat that entire chocolate advent calendar- the night is yours.

7. Paper Snowflakes- This is a fun craft to partake in solo, on a gloomy winter day when you're looking to reflect. There's a bunch of paper snowflake DIYs to be found online, and hanging them up with fairy lights will result in a simple and cost-efficient winter wonderland for your home or bedroom.


8. Build a Gingerbread House- A holiday classic that never gets old. Though some of us may prefer alternative structures to traditional gingerbread--assembling an edible holiday house is always fun and can easily consume an entire afternoon's worth of time. Personally, I prefer making my holiday houses out of homemade Rice Krispie treat walls. I find them much yummier than basic gingerbread. I like covering the entire structure in royal icing snow and then decorating with spice drops, candy canes, after-dinner mints, and marshmallow snowmen. Be sure to snap a few photos post-construction! The finished product gets eaten up fast.

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