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By Deena Nicholson S.12/14/2013
Response to: How to have a good Christmas without gifts
I would try to make it simple. Since everything is closed on Christmas day, I try to give presents that will keep my family busy that day. Like watching movies, playing games - video or board or card. I do research on what movies are playing on TV that day and make a schedule put it by the tv to follow through out Christmas day.
Make popcorn, cookies and hot chocolate available or juice. Or you could even do banana splits get a generic ice cream the neopolitan flavors (strawberry, vanilla, chocolate) then have nuts and sauces to add as family likes.
Also I go to the library to borrow books, video games and dvds the family wants to watch possibly do xmas stories/movies for books and dvds. I also check the local newspapers to see what activities/xmas events to do during the month and the night before (xmas) like free concerts and free plays as well as free children xmas programs that churches are putting on for the public and go to those.
Also usually the downtown may have free xmas activities such as tree lighting ceremonies or community centers may have caroling, free hot chocolate, free cookies and free hayrides. As for gifts - there are 99 cent and dollar tree stores where everything inside is about a dollar including toys/coloring books/games/dolls etc possibly have the kids go in there and shop for each other or they tell you what they would like for a dollar. Also there are candies, mugs, ornaments, stickers, crafts, etc for a dollar.
Other ideas is going to a craft shop like Michaels have kids pick out a craft to make to give to another sibling or to parents. In the library there are tons of Christmas craft books for ideas on things to make for family and kids. One year I made snow globes from a magazine article as a craft for a kindergarten class. It was very fun and memorable just needed a few supplies and a hot glue gun. xmas cards are easy to make just need a printer and the internet then have the kids color them and make them for each other.
Some libraries have free 10 pages you can print and the extra are 10 cents. Just need to ask at front desk. Thrift stores, GoodWills and Arcs are also good places to go to find toys, dvds, games, clothes, books, etc for a low price.
Lastly, when I was younger and in college with little money I would buy things in bulk then spread it out among friends, siblings and relatives. Such as nuts, cookies, flavored popcorn, chips, chocolate candies, hard candies into colorful xmas tins separated by cardboard cutouts. Lip gloss, nail polish, etc makeup in packs separated into tiny packages for teenage girls. No one complained to me, they told me they had the best xmas ever because they got something.
Lastly, people love gift baskets - they can be personal and costs less than what the stores charge for them. Just get a basket at a dollar store or thrift store then go to sample sections at Kmart, Walmart, Target and buy the samples for the gift basket wrap it up in plastic and put Easter grass underneath the samples--there you have it.
Further, on the internet there are recipes on how to make ornaments such as salt dough, you can put them in any shape, just bake/microwave, then you need paints/pens, ribbon/string and pins to color/decorate them. Lastly, doing/planning a Christmas Advent Calendar for ideas on things to do and make for December can make Christmas a more meaningful experience. Internet has multiple ideas on how to celebrate it.
If you keep the family busy enough in doing activities during December, they may just sleep through xmas from exhaustion of all the ways they celebrated it.
As for xmas dinner keep it simple-meat, salad, jello, rice and/or mashed potatoes, a canned veggie. You don't need do a buffet. Then have a dessert (optional if xmas gifts didn't include cookies, ice cream, candies, etc.) ... done.
By Colleen (Guest Post)12/15/2008
Robert you are a good person! That is the best present you can give your parents is to have such a good, kind and caring heart! Unfortunately, my kids have been spoiled so this year will be a harsh reality but hopefully they will turn out like you in the end. God bless you and your family with a very rich spiritual season celebrating Jesus birth who came to teach us that Love is the greatest gift of them all!
By ROBERT (Guest Post)12/07/2008
Hi, my name is Robert. Almost every day, I see my parents crying about how they don't have money. We dont have that money cause we had to move from GA to VA about ten hour drive. We did not plan this well so we got there and had no place to go but on the way up here we got hit by a semi-truck, one of those big trucks so now when we look in the house for food, we barely have anything. We got somewhere to live now. But I always tell my parents every thing will work out. Some times it will. I love my parents and hate seeing them cry. My mom got a Christmas tree from a church member and I put it up with my brothers. So it was a plain tree with nothin on it. So my mom went to bed so I made snowflakes with my brothers put them on the tree. My mom saw it and she loved it. We're not going to get gifts but I still got my love for my family and that's all I need. Love is the best gift ever and so are my parents.
By (Guest Post)11/26/2007
I like the Idea of being able to give oneself by offering something that you are good at, so if you can cook offer food, if you are a ditch digger offer to turn your aunt's garden in the spring. I think somebody's personal time is the greatest gift anybody can receive. This year i don't plan to spend any money on my friends and relatives, except by travel costs to be together. Being inbetween houses i would have a hard time accepting gifts of a material nature right now, not because i wouldn't appreciate new tools, toys, tickets, or whatever, but there is no need and no place for more stuff to go
By christmas.. (Guest Post)12/03/2006
you can write a small book of memories you have had and color it or something dont do it in any specific order just all the years memories together you can tie it together with some old strips of t shirt and you can even draw or write on them to make them more memorable or you could just use ribbon, also make small pockets in the book and fill them with a small present --go to the beach and find a shell with a hole in the top (depending on how many kids you have) and other small, pretty and precious things to make a necklace or jewerly or just little trinkets. then you could go to a local church and get a nice bible and tell them god was with them and that that is the best present yet
also you can make a small dinner and create a board game and rules and pieces so you can play after dinner decorate a tree (charley brown tree is very cute if you cant find one that suits u) with small trinkets or pine cones.. then make up a small story about something that warms them and make sure your family is together and then bless them and you can wake up the next day and tell them that for u everyday is christmas ...with them just being there.
i really hope you have the best christmas you can and hope that god blesses you plenty. merry christmas and a very happy new year
By wendi (Guest Post)11/15/2006
I am in the same place that you are. I have five children my husband just started working only making 25 hours a week. You do not feel like decorating for christmas but you have to. All you can do is try to make it the best you can. Hang in there things do get better.
By AMYLYNN (Guest Post)12/07/2005
THIS IS MY LAST ONE, THE MORMAN CHURCH HAS A WEB SITE AND ON IT YOU CAN GET A FREE LEATHER BOUND BIBLE, AND A CHRISTMAS DVD WITH JIMMY STEWART IN IT CALLED "MR KRUEGARS CHRISTMAS". I AM NOT A MORMON, BUT YOU DONT HAVE TO BE, AND JUST REQUEST NO CALLS OR VISITS. IT WILL COME IN ABOUT A WEEK,
By AMYLYNN (Guest Post)12/07/2005
ANOTHER IDEA FOR TEENS IS TO GO TO YOUR LOCAL BEAUTY SHOPS AND DRS OFFICES AND ASK IF YOU CAN HAVE ANY OF THEIR OLD MAGAZINES THAT THEY ARE PLANNING TO THROW AWAY, AND PUT THEM IN A GIFT BASKET FOR THEM, YOU KNOW, THE ONES LIKE COSMO GIRL, SEVENTEEN, YM, JANE ETC. PUT THE CD MIX TAPE IN THERE TOO, AND MAKE A LABEL FOR IT CALLED "SLUMBER PARTY KIT" YOU COULD ALSO INCLUDE A TIN OF HER FAVORITE HOMEMADE COOKIES. AND PRINT OFF A COUPON ON YOUR COMPUTER FOR A GIFT CERTIFICATE ENTILTEING HER TO ONE SLUMBER PARTY.
By amylynn (Guest Post)12/07/2005
If they are small, then you are in good shape, because they will truly love anything. The homemade playdough is a good idea. If they are little girls, sew up some Barbie clothes from your worn out stuff, if you don't sew, ask a friend who does. You can also make Barbles or dolls blankets and pillows, and a little tote style purse. Another cheapie homeade gift is a shoebox lined with the bag from the inside of a cereal box and glued down. (this makes it waterproof.) Cover the outside with pretty paper. And fill with sand, for and indoor sandbox.
Make "do not disturb signs for bedoom doors. MAke throw pillows for their beds, making a pillow shaped like each letter of their name. Burn a mix cd or tape of their favorite songs. Look in the paper for a free puppy or kitten. Ask an aquantance who lives on a farm if they would mind if you and your family could cut a cedar tree and collect pinecones. We live on a farm, and even people who could afford to buy a tree, ask us to do this for the experiance of it. We never mind, and I'm sure noone in your area would either. Decroate the tree with paper chains , cottonball snowmen, pipecleaner wreaths, clothespins reindeer, strung popcorn, burned out lightbulbs swirled in paint. For dinner, make stuffing from stale thirft store bread, (they give this away), and meatloaf stretched with bread, and of course bread pudding. For teenagers, the mix tape , and a cd holder (made from old clothes, the do not distirb door hanger, also make from old clothes. Go to mall and nab all free pefume samples you can. Make them a Christmas letter withe the samples on cardstock, and tape the samples in for words like : Dear Child's name, I just want you to know how "beatiful" (tape beautiful perfume here) you are. You are very "lovely" (tape lovely perfume here). You are "simply" .....you get the idea. I did this for my mom and mother in law. I worked in 17 samples. My dad is getting one with cologne. You can also do this with candy, from santa. :
Dear bobby, AS I LEAVE THE NORTH POLE TONITE AND FLY OVER THE "MILKY WAY", I WILL BE BRINGING YOU "SKITTLES" OF TOYS. i ALSO PASS "MARS" AND "FIFTH AVENUE" IN NEW YORK. THE ELVES LET OUT SOME "SNICKERS" WHEN THEY SAW WHAT I WAS BRINGING YOU. ANYWAY, YOU GET THE IDEA. HOPE SOME OF THIS HELPS!! GOOD LUCK! ----AMY OH, 1 MORE THING, DON'T FORGET TO CHECK THE FREEBIE BOARDS, I HAVE GOTTEN MOST OF MY CHRSTMAS STUFF THERE, INCLUDING A PURSE, NIKE SHIRT, PAUL MCCARTNEY CD,BEAUTY PRODUCTS, FREE BOOKS, GORMET COFFEE AND TEA SAMPLES FOR GIFT BASKETS AMONG OTHER THINGS.
By Maggie (Guest Post)11/26/2005
Attend a church. There are many activities for the children during the holidays, including making crafts and singing christmas carols. One year way back when we had little money starting out, and 2 small children, a man from our church donated a Christmas tree and it was the best one on the lot, and they brought us a huge box of food on Christmas. Nowadays we are blessed with a beautiful home and everything we could possibly want, but that one Christmas stands out from all the rest as being the most memorable. Also, you could get just a few simple cheap board games, and bake and decorate Christmas cookies with the children, sing songs, play with them, love them. If they are small, make homemade playdoh. They will play for hours with it.
By janicej (Guest Post)11/25/2005
When we were young and didn't have money for fancy Christmas decorations and presents, I would figure out how to make a special christmas ornament we could all make and decorate the tree with it. Every year we would make new ornaments and date them. Thirty five years later, we are still putting those ornaments on the tree. They help to bring back many special memories. We also played board games with the kids. To this day, they love playing games and have continued playing games with their families. We baked together and the kids loved it. Include family and friends in the things you do and the memories will be priceless.
By Jill 11/24/2005
Even small towns usually have a church or organization that helps families in need. Do you have a thrift shop that might have something for a small gift for each child? Baking, helping serve a meal to the homeless, playing in the snow in Maine,making snowflake ornaments and other crafts can be such fun. We pulled taffy Christmas day in my modest household. Just love each other, that is what they will remember. Kindness and love go a long way to help a child form into a fine adult, money isn't the secret to happiness by a long shot.
By Carol (Guest Post)11/23/2005
Eat a nice dinner (something the like) on your best dishes if they are old enough. The food doesnt need to be fancy... nor the dishes. Maybe just the addition of a real tablecloth or bedsheet to the table will make it seem special. After dinner, play boardgames or cards as a family. You can rent a movie or play in the snow if you have some...
By rosa (Guest Post)11/22/2005
We have not had any money for 3 years for gifts, but we are crafty. WHen my daughter was a teen ager, she had a favorite song, her girlfriend had a tee shirt made for her with the song title on it, I made her a pillow out of the shirt , she loves it. and it brings back memories for her. I made my boyfriend a tee shirt out of some material I had , with a ship on it he was in the navy, I cut out the ship and bonded it to the shirt , then used fabric paint around the picture of the ship, He still wears it, and it is getting pretty old looking . :-) -- How bout making a cupon book for your children, like a let them pick something special that they would like to do with only you ? I am sure that you could think of more things to add to the cupon book. Write a poem about each child, if you are a writer. Do you knit or crochet ? Make them a hat and scarf to match. Hope this will give you some ideas.
By sandy (Guest Post)11/22/2005
there are so many questions i would ask my parents if i could. you could tape record some of your memories when you were the ages of your kids now. like how much food cost, or where you went to school, what you liked to do after school. freinds names. things your parents may have told you about thier childhoods. stories about thier births.
have a Merry Christmas. i am sure your heart may hurt but i also am sure that if you make it special your kids will also think it is special.
By Cheryl from Missouri (Guest Post)11/22/2005
You could write down stories (funny or heart warming) about different things they've said or done. Things that make them special, unique and loved. It will be especially meaningful in your own handwriting. I would have loved to have something like that from my now deceased mother.
By Connie A. (Guest Post)11/22/2005
Christmas is about giving not getting. How about baking cookies with your kids and as a family take them to an elderly person who would enjoy a visit from kids as well as the sweet treat. Your kids will learn the lesson that making others happy and putting a smile in someone elses heart is what Christmas is all about. Merry Christmas and happy sharing !
By Charlotte (Guest Post)11/22/2005
First are memories. Decorate your tree together. Make your meal as special as you can with little details like specially folded napkins. Play games together, especially table games. Read seasonal stories.
If you have time and a few items around the house that can be recycled you can create some simple gifts for the children. This site has a ton of ideas > http://www.makingfriends.com Some of the ideas shown may spur your own thoughts as well. Simple things can be made special with a little bit of creativity.
It is the love behind anything that is the most important. Best wishes!
By (Guest Post)11/22/2005
have you tried your local salvation army
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