Christmas is an expensive time of year, but there are a lot of free activities you can do, both at home and in your local community. For those of you looking for some cheap ways to entertain yourselves and your family, I bring you the top seven free (or nearly free) and festive things to do!
Christmas carol services
I LOVE LOVE LOVE carol services. I go to at least two or three every year! I love the atmosphere, the songs, singing my little heart out (slightly out of pitch sometime, naturally.. especially the high-pitched ones!), mince pies and mulled wine!! Our local radio station promotes events happening in the local area, so it would be worth checking out your station's website for a What's On guide. Most churches hold at least one each year.
I'm trying to make all my Christmas presents this year. A lot of them aren't finished yet as they're ongoing, but I guess I'm sort of getting there. I wrote a blog a month or so ago about some of the presents I have been making!
I usually make decorations, usually for the living room rather than the tree, although a crafty friend of mine is making mini Christmas bunting to use on her tree instead of tinsel, which I think is a fantastic idea to steal in future years!! :D One thing I will definitely be making is this goooorgeous 3D paper snowflake! There's a video on WikiHow to show you how it is done!
Luckily for us, my Nana makes us a Christmas cake every October, which we then slowly feed with brandy until Christmas day. It's always great to have a night in and make some tasty Christmas treat though – what about gingerbread, cookies, sausage rolls, truffles, or even... Mince pies!! :D
See the lights
Depending on where you live, this one can be free or almost free. If you live in a town, wrap yourself and your friends/family up in your favourite scarves and head down the road to look at all the beautiful/wonderfully tacky Christmas lights adorning the houses of those who are far too festive to care about rising electricity bills!! :) If you are more like me, several miles from even the nearest village, then just take a slow drive round the nearest town, or park up somewhere free and wander through to see the highstreet's Christmas lights.
We went to go and see the Christmas lights being turned on in Truro. It was accompanied by the Festival of Lights parade, which was fantastic! Have a look at some of these lanterns!
You either love it or you hate it. Personally I loooove wrapping Christmas presents. Leave them all to the last minute and it becomes a chore, but stick on the Christmas tunes after buying/making a couple of presents and get wrapping for a free and festive evening doing something productive!! :)
Christmas films will be taking over TV for the next few weeks so you'd better get used to it! I don't actually watch TV, but I have a lot of Christmas films on DVD to get stuck into! Wrap yourself up on the sofa with a blanket, cup of hot chocolate (completed with whipped cream) and maybe even one of your home-made cookies! My favourite Christmas film as a kid was The Santa Clause (with Tim Allen), although the 2nd and 3rd ones were horrible!! As a slightly more mature person now, I prefer Elf (with Will Farrell). It's perfect for both kids and adults so I'd definitely recommend it to spread some Christmas cheer! :)
So there you have it. A few ways I spend my time and build up the festive feeling during December. To be fair they're pretty obvious, but they can all be done either as a group or on your own, and should still leave you feeling merry (even before that fourth cup of mulled wine!)