Frugal Holiday Traditions for the Family Can be Fun

by TTMK on December 17, 2012 · 8 comments

The holidays are of course full of fun family traditions for many folks.  If not practiced now, depending on where we might be in life, at least weHoliday Traditions probably have some from childhood to draw upon.

To that end, I was thinking about some of the fun traditions we have had over the years.  Some of them can be timeless, and others can be newer.  Either way, they can be fun.  Especially if they don’t involve spending a whole lot of money:)

One past family tradition we had when I was growing up that was very simple was when we put up the Christmas tree and put up all the ornaments.  These ornaments were basically the same ones year after year, with occasional new ones added.  While I didn’t appreciate it as much as a really young kid, as I got older I found it to be neat to see ornaments marking different years or different stages of school.  For example, there was an ornament made in school back in second grade.  Another was from maybe third grade, when we had close family from out-of-town over, and we all bought kits to make homemade ornaments.

When we put up the tree, we always seemed to have Christmas music playing in the background.  When I was really young, they were actual records that my dad played! Yes, that was a long time ago, and eventually we migrated to tapes and then CDs.  The latter are essentially obsolete anyway now 🙂  Additionally, I recall us always having my mother’s homemade cookies at that time.  She only made them then – lemon bars, macaroons, and tea cakes.  Man, I miss those days of Mom baking cookies 🙂

All of that fun didn’t cost a lot of money, yet it made for memories that I clearly treasure today!

These days, one new tradition I’ve noticed us getting into is driving through this holiday light show that’s in the local area.  For $5, a car can go through and see some really cool lights in a beautiful holiday setting, a somewhat historic estate.  It’s not just like a 2 minutes drive; rather, with the massive amount of cars going through, you just might be driving through for 20 minutes.  Not bad for a car full of people, and very festive and seasonal.  My oldest child in particular really seems to enjoy it. I’m probably not doing justice to how cool it really is, you’ll just have to take my word for it 🙂

Anyway, once again, it doesn’t cost much, but it’s a lot of fun.

Who says that we have to spend a lot of money to have fun? Sometimes it’s the setting, the people, and the positive mindset that can create really good times!

My Questions for You:

Do you have any fun family traditions around the holidays?

Are any of them frugal or simply low-cost?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Christian L. December 17, 2012 at 10:36 am

My parents were—and still are—stellar at being frugal for the holidays. Probably until I was 14 our family would start reading “A Christmas Carol” aloud on Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. But once my only sibling, my sister, went to college, that tradition kind of dissipated.

We too did the decorating the tree together, usually while somebody read Dickens’ famous holiday story. Driving through surrounding neighborhoods was commonplace on December evenings. There were always several evenings during which we’d watch holiday movies.

There are dozens more memories I have that are frugal, but I don’t need to go through all of them. Happy holidays.

-Christian L. @ Smart Military Money


TTMK December 17, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Christian – sounds like you grew up with some nice traditions. Those are always fun to look back on. Happy holidays to you too.


Goldeneer December 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I like these frugal traditions that you have shared and how they have meant so much value to you.
As we look into starting a family, I’m interested in building some lasting frugal traditions for my family. I especially like the few items that your mom baked only at Christmas and the same sentimental ornaments that you would put up on the tree.


TTMK December 17, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Goldeneer – thanks, glad you liked the traditions I shared in the post. I think that frugal works fine, as its the people you care about and being in their company that truly matters the most.


The College Investor December 18, 2012 at 1:40 am

Just starting out with my wife and I, so don’t have anything really solid yet. Maybe once we have children we will get some Holiday traditions!


TTMK December 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm

There’s always time to start new traditions. No hurry!


AverageJoe December 19, 2012 at 7:24 pm

We help my mom host Christmas by each family creating a meal. It takes the work load off of her and it’s become a contest to see how much each family can out-do the other ones!

The other tradition is that we play lots of board games. It’s the one time of year we play TONS of games for three or four days. Lots of laughs.


TTMK December 19, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Teamwork helps in that way. Funny about board games, its times like the holidays when those old fashioned games come back into play!


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