Starting The Countdown To Christmas

christmas dog on sleighIt’s almost that time of year again! With barely six weeks remaining before the big day, it’s likely that your mind is already spinning with plans. These simple, low-cost strategies will help you and your loved ones get into the spirit of the season!

Shop Now to Beat the Crowds and Get the Best Selection

Some pick up their Christmas gifts here and there throughout the year, but it’s still not too late to beat the holiday rush! Instead of waiting until the last minute, start shopping now to make sure that this season’s hottest selling toy or electronic gadget is in stock! Just like Santa, make a list of gift ideas and recipients beforehand and take it along with you so that you don’t forget anyone!

Check your favorite online site for special web-only deals, free shipping and coupon offers to save both money and time. Take advantage of free or low-cost gift wrapping services. When shopping in person, take along copies of ads and sales circulars with you, especially for those stores that price match the competition.

If you plan on doing most of the shopping over one or two afternoons, consider hiring a sitter with a couple of your friends who also have children. This way you and your friends can enjoy an afternoon out while your kids enjoy playtime with others their own age. It’s less stressful, and it’s easier to keep their presents a secret!

Low Cost and Stress-Free Ways to Keep Your Children Entertained as the Big Day Approaches

There’s no rule that says you can only celebrate the holiday on Christmas Day! Have fun throughout the season! Plan fun activities to keep your children occupied while helping them count the days to Christmas.

Advent calendars are a fun and educational way to help build your children’s excitement while engaging in an activity that promotes counting skills and learning patience. Make your list of Christmas activities for your family. Hang it in a prominent place, and let the kids check off items as completed.

Ideas for your list include making simple ornaments together. Make paper chains from strips of construction paper, or homemade angels and other figures made from leftover cloth and glue. You can even cut out fun shapes, and small holiday figures that your children have painted and hang them from the tree with a bit of string or ribbon.

Sugar and gingerbread cookies are also popular. Make up a batch of homemade cookie dough and let the kids help cut out the shapes and decorate them. If you are rushed for time, grab pre-baked cookies from the store, along with tubs of icing and sprinkles for your young artists to enjoy. Don’t forget disposable plastic tablecloths and plates for easy clean-up.

Children of all ages, including adults, enjoy colouring, so keep some Christmas themed colouring books and board games on hand when you need a group activity for multiple age groups.

Take a driving or walking tour of your area so you can enjoy your neighbours’ lights and holiday displays. Consider joining a local caroling group. Attending local Christmas plays and other festivals are also great options!

Why not volunteer and give to others as a family this season?  Many civic organisations accept toys for children, who would not otherwise receive a gift. There are also countless nursing homes and hospitals that need both volunteers and Christmas cheer!

What’s your favourite way to spend time together as a family during Christmas? Why not share your ideas with other readers in the comments section?