Grab your calendars & tag your friends, mommas! Here’s this year’s list of fun, free, kid-friendly activities going on this Summer in Toledo & surrounding area!
It’s the time of year when many of us are thinking with our hearts as opposed to with our heads. We allow our hearts to do the shopping, decorating, wrapping, and giving without consulting our heads, a.k.a. logic & reason. Then in January our heads are back in the game and have to live with the consequences our hearts made via bank accounts and credit card statements. Not this year! Here are 8 tips that will help satisfy the warmth of the heart and logic/reason of the mind/head.
8 Tips to Help You Save Money this Christmas
1. Look for FREE Christmas Activities and Events Going on in the Community
- Did you know the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo offers one FREE weekend visit…and free parking.
- Holidays in the Manor House at Wildwood Metropark is a FREE fun family event…children will enjoy participating in the scavenger hunt as they tour the rooms adorn with festive themes, dress up in the props provided in the photo booth room, take a quick lighted stroll, & warm up by the fire while enjoying a complimentary s’more!!
- Barnes & Noble Stores (Fallen Timbers & Franklin Park)has FREE Holiday themed Storytime’s & activity that follows on Saturdays in December at 11am
2. Don’t partake in the lethal combination of Craft/Hobby store & Pinterest-Stick to a List!
- When you walk into any craft store you are greeted by adorable holiday décor that practically screams, “Take me home”!! You may have entered the store looking for just a throw pillow but you are leaving with a cart full of goodies, all color coordinated, & too adorable to pass up! What’s worse is if you “accidently” click Pinterest while in said craft store, it is the worst enabler! Exercise self-control this Christmas…make a list before entering a craft/hobby store and stick to it and NEVER click on Pinterest when in a craft store, do your research before you arrive and save a pic of the project.
3. Reuse Christmas Decoration
- As a child I recall fond memories of helping my parents get out the Christmas decorations each year…the ornaments, stuffed animals, etc. There was something so special about unpacking even the wreath from Christmas past, especially when we moved. It helped make the new house a home because with that wreath came all the beautiful memories from past Christmases spent at our old home. Somewhere along the way we have lost the importance of tradition when it comes to Christmas décor and perhaps tip #2 has a lot to do with it. But this year why not save money and build on the memories with your children by reusing last year’s decorations.
- But what about the live Christmas trees? Okay, so maybe you will need to spend a little on Christmas décor if your family opts for a live tree. Our family enjoys the experience of selecting and cutting down our own tree. We go to Samarian Hidden Tree Farm; they have a great selection and a great price, all trees are $40 (cash only). https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hidden-Tree-Farm/140503182764564
4. Wear Clothing that is in Your Closet
- There is no reason to get all new Christmas clothing, shoes, etc. every year when you already have Sunday best in your closet.
5. Host a Simple Gathering
- Throwing a Christmas party is a lot of fun, but also a lot of work and money. This year throw a simple Christmas gathering, invite friends over for dessert, have a Sundae bar and/or Hot Coca bar and request that each friend bring a specific topping/sweet to share. This way all you have to have ready when guest arrive is hot cocoa and/or ice cream and serving dishes. And what’s more you get to actually enjoy your party instead of constantly running back and forth checking of food.
- Why not add to the entertainment and spread the Holiday savings, make your party a White Elephant party. Have guest wrap a gently used item from home to swap. Not familiar with While elephant? Click on link, https://www.whiteelephantrules.com/
6. Take your own Family Christmas Portrait
- Don’t pay a dime for a Christmas Portrait sitting fee! Take your own with a tripod and timer on your camera and/or phone.
- Meet up with another family at a park or other beautiful backdrop and take turns taking pics of each other’s family.
7. Re-think the Christmas Card
- Just send a virtual Christmas card to friends for free…Smilebox even has music!
- Only purchase a small about of Christmas cards for the loved ones who are not on Facebook or Social media. Chances are most relatives are seeing adorable pics of your munchkins on a daily basis, so you could simply add your Christmas pics to your page to share. But there are those few who are not on social media who do still enjoy receiving a Christmas card. Just order 10-25 cards…look for deals online. This year I ordered a bunch of items from Shutterfly and received 10 free cards.
- Have children help make Christmas cards from items in your arts & craft container and then print off your Christmas picture (that you had a friend take, of your family wearing clothing that was already in closets 😉 ) at Walgreen, Meijer, etc. and place photo inside the homemade card. Loved ones will appreciate the personalized touch and you will save money, win-win!
8. Implement the rule of 3 for children’s gifts-Want, Need, & Share
- Make a list of 3 items to purchase for each child and stick with the list, no impulse buys! Purchase children one item they want, one item they need, and an item to share. Ideas for items to share, games for family game nights, puzzles, Lego bricks, movies for family movie nights, and/or one of those craft kids.
- Remind children that Christmas is Jesus’s birthday, not theirs and that we should be thankful and appreciative for any items under the Christmas tree. It also helps if adults focus more on the excitement of giving gifts rather than receiving, model the behavior you wish to see in your children.