The past few days I've been sharing with you our family tradition of focusing on Christmas presence rather than Christmas presents. We stumbled across this idea because our budget was tight and we needed to get a little creative. I don't think you have to have a small budget to bless your kids with your presence, but it may be just the thing they remember from Christmas this year. Good gifts don't have to cost a penny. You could really enjoy Christmas for free.
In our fast pace life, there are so many things that we would like to do that we never get around to doing with our kids. This is probably the hardest one for adults because it means putting down all of the list of things we need to do in order to give our children our undivided attention. Here's some things your kids might enjoy:
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1. Games Galore
My kids are game players. They love when we will join them in playing a board game or card game. We have a list of our Top 10 Games that could keep us busy for a long time. You could play different games each night, or find a family game that everyone loves and play it multiple times. Some other fun games that our kids love are:
- Twister (I'm the spinner)
- Monopoly (who ever has time for a full game of this!)
- Phase 10
Wrap it up: Who says you have to wrap something new? I think there is simply a thrill of unwrapping something. Get wrapping paper at Dollar Tree and you'll be rewrapping all of your family games to spark a new love of the contest all over again.
2. Puzzle Chats
I love puzzles. One of the best parts of working on a puzzle with others is that you have lots of time to sit around and talk. I love puzzles that have lots of interesting things to look for while you're figuring out the solution. If you have a puzzle collecting dust in a closet somewhere, pull it out and get chatty! If not, here are some of my favorites:
- Candy Wrapper Puzzle
- Old Bookstore Puzzle
- Charles Wysocki: Small Town Christmas
- Comic Relief Boston Tea Party
Wrap it up: Again, an easy wrapping job. They'll enjoy giving this gift a shake!
3. Sentimental Christmas
This time of year is a reflective time of year. This is a great time to get out old photo albums and look through pictures. Tell your kids the stories that they love to hear, and share some new stories of the history of their family that they haven't heard.
Look back through last year's Christmas cards and pray for the families that you come across.
Wrap it up: Put last year's Christmas cards in a gift bag, or tie a bow around the family photo album.
4. Doodling With a Twist
One of our favorite activities involves a blank piece of paper folded to make six sections (since there are six people in our family). Each person draws a part of a person (half of the face, torso, or legs), and then folds the paper so that only one blank section is showing. Draw connecting guidelines so that the next doodler can know where to begin their section of the body. After the papers have been passed around six times, we all reveal the full picture of the drawing and laugh at our crazy twisted creations. Even if you're not an artist, this game is so fun! Actually, if you're not an artist, you make this game funnier with your zany doodles!
Wrap it up: Wrap your doodling supplies and a Dollar Tree frame for the winning creation.
5. Read Together
If you've not had enough time during the year to read together, take some time to enjoy a good book together. Some of our Christmas favorites:
Wrap it up: Again, it doesn't have to be new to wrap it up. If you have a good book you're dying to enjoy together, wrap it up and renew the excitement for the gift.
6. Creative Play
When was the last time you played doll house, cowboys and Indians, super spies, or store with your kids? What is their favorite way to play imaginatively? Why not join in on their creativity.
Wrap it up: Gather some of their favorite toys...you may have to wait until after they go to bed. Wrap the things they love and see what they think when you present them as a treasure to you as well.
7. Hide and Seek in the Dark
One of our favorite games to play is hide and seek in the dark. I love this game, because as an adult, I can't fit in many good hiding places, but when you turn the lights out, I'm stealth in the dark! The play is just like it sounds. Turn out all of the lights in the house. The seeker is the only one with a flashlight. When the seeker finds one family member, they follow the seeker to help find the rest. We usually play long enough for each family member to be it once. The kids could play for much longer! Set a time limit in advance if you don't want the game to go on forever!
Wrap it up: Wrap a flashlight, or better yet, wrap a large empty box! That will get them curious!
These are just some ideas for gifting presence that don't require extra money. You may not have some of the items mentioned, but put your kids to the task. Ask them to each write five things that they'd love for you to do with them over the holidays. This doesn't mean you'll do everything, but I'll bet you'll get some great ideas about what they enjoy.
What are some of your favorite things to do at Christmas time?
Day 3: Doesn't Have to Cost a Penny
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Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.