Christmas on a Shoe-string. Christmas gifts, ideas and activities

Decorations are in the shops from August in some places, carols are playing over the speakers in shopping centres, and xmas comes earlier and becomes more commercialised every year.

Even kids are organized early these days. This appeared on my bedroom wall, posted by my daughter, about a month ago. Just in case I was unsure of what exactly to buy for her for Xmas.  There is such expectations around gift giving now. Mind you, can’t really blame the kid for trying, even if the follow through does not reach such dizzying heights.

Humbling was the child from one family, who when asked what they got from Santa, was overheard to say, ,” …A new lunchbox for school”  and did this pull at my heart strings?  Oh yes, indeed. Makes me think of some possible options for non material gifts, and low cost or free activities, that one can request and give for Christmas such as the ideas outlined below:

( These could be written on pretty gift cards, placed in a “surprize bag” and pulled out by each child/ adult as a kind of lucky dip)
* A warm and cosy evening/day spent doing whatever each child wishes, one on one, without disturbances from computer, phone, mobile phone or Ipod, Ipad etc etc.  It might be a board game, cocoa and a chat, playing games, like hide n seek, or pictionary/ monopoly.

* A walk or play on the beach, perhaps with the promise of ice cream afterwards.

* Rainforest hike

* If the kids are into books, a trip to the library.

* Building a cubby house, go cart, or raft together. This can be as complex or as simple as you like: the full wooden hammer and nails bit, or a large cardboard box.

* Sewing or embroidering a calico bag

* Making a card or memory album for Grandma

* Constructing a year in my family chronicle to give out to family members at Xmas with recipes, funny stories, and photos.

* Making the Christmas cake/ lolly or cookie jars to give to others.

* Setting out tea light candles all along your street and letterbox dropping others on surrounding streets to do the same. We do this and call it ‘Santa’s highway’.

* A puppet show and stage presentation to family members

* A talent quest for family members with a Christmas theme (Prizes for everyone)

* Swimming or running races

* Trampoline competitions

* A Christmas themed movie or power-point presentation for Grandparents and/or extended family

There are plenty more ideas available on the net or in books, so these are just a few that came to me, off the top of my head. Believe me, this kind of experience stays in a child’s memory for much longer than the short lived joy of getting a toy that will be forgotten in a few months time.

Feel free to add more ideas to this list. Christmas need not be super expensive. Be creative and have fun, and still be giving a priceless gift that has the bonus of being environmentally friendly.

These activities will surely be Something kids will ponder about when they themselves, become parents.


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