While we’re not a gift free household, it is my goal to teach my kids that there’s more to the holiday season than gifts.
We are teaching them to be creative instead of consuming. I believe that this lesson is more important today than ever before.
They are learning that spending time with family is more important than buying the latest this or that.
Together, we are working to create new traditions based on fun, creativity, and giving; not just buying.
We are learning ways to give that don’t necessarily involve shopping, such as volunteering, making gifts, donating to charity, and more.
We first talked to the kids about buying fewer gifts and explained our reasoning behind it. We then talked about finding other things we could do instead of buying gifts. I was surprised at how excited they were to brainstorm ideas. Honestly, I was really proud of them.
In this post, I’m sharing the best free (or cheap) gifts you can give to your kids this Christmas. Start new traditions by incorporating a few of these ideas into your Christmas activities.
The Best Free (or Cheap) Gifts to Give Your Kids This Christmas
1. Make Your Own Gifts
My daughter gets really excited about making new things. In fact, she wants to make something for herself that she can wrap, put under the tree, and open on Christmas morning. Below I’ve linked to handmade gift ideas your kids can make:
- Pen Holder Kids Can Make with LEGO via Laly Mom
- Clay Bowl via Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails
- Sandpaper Printed Towels via Toddler Approved
- Fingerprint Christmas Lights Frame via Fun-a-Day
- Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix via Fireflies and Mud Pies
- Wind-Child Wind Spinner via How Wee Learn
- Wrapped in Love and Yarn via How Wee Learn
2. Make Baked Gifts
We love baking, and it’s a fun activity to do together. You can give cupcakes, cookies, and brownies as gifts to family members. Below are some bake and no-bake recipes you can the family can make together.
- Apple Oat No Make Bites via My Kids Lick the Bowl
- Baked Donuts via Your Homebased Mom
- No-Bake Lucky Charms Rice Crispy via Sweet C’s
- Sorting Hat Cupcakes via Delish
- Easy No-Chill Cut-Out Sugar Cookies Via The Bakermama
- No-Bake Chocolate Oat Cookies via My Baking Addiction
3. Go Play in the Snow
We love snow in this family. The only thing is that it doesn’t always snow where we live. Luckily, with a few hours drive, we have access to snow in the mountains. The kids know snow from Christmas movies and the like, but it’s not a yearly tradition for us — so driving to play in the snow is really fun. We love making snow people, snow angels, and having snowball fights.
We’re not sure where we want to volunteer this year (in past years we’ve done soup kitchens and Salvation Army bell ringing), but we do like the idea of giving. Websites that can help you find volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch.org and Idealist.org.
5. Go Christmas Caroling
We aren’t good singers, but we love singing Christmas songs. The Spruce has great tips for going Christmas caroling with your family in their article 14 Christmas Carol Etiquette Tips.
6. Play Games Together
We love board games and other such games. We love getting together with family and playing games and sports. Having fun with family doesn’t have to involve gifts. Some of our favorite games to play together are Guess Who?, Pictionary, Game of Life, and Exploding Kittens.
7. Make Crafts and Festive Decorations
It’s so much fun to put up festive decorations, and if you can make them yourselves, even better. Here are a few DIY tutorials you can try:
- Snowman Ornaments for Christmas via The Inspiration Edit
- Christmas Tree Puzzle Art via Simple in the Country
- Fingerprint Christmas Tree Ornament via The Mad House
- Jumping Elf Puppets via Kids Craft Room
- Gingerbread House Ornaments via Projects with Kids
- Yarn Wrapped Ornaments via One Little Project
And this is just the start of the ideas we’ve come up with. Sure, buying gifts is a holiday tradition — but is it the only possible tradition? Can’t we create new ones?
My kids are not deprived. In fact, I think our family is very fortunate, and I hope to show others that creativity, fun, giving, and family bonding are amazing things that you can do without buying a ton of gifts.