1. I love your ideas! We’re having a tight Christmas as well this year, but reading your post makes me so grateful for what we have been blessed with! My daughter is only 9 months old right now, but I can’t wait to use some of these ideas with her later (especially the puddle jumping).

    1. My baby girl is going to be 9 months on Saturday! Congratulations Mikah. She’s such sweet and amazing part of life, isn’t she? 🙂

    2. Yes, Mikah, just a slight change in our perspective could make a huge difference in our lives. I loved the puddle jumping when my boys were little! Have fun with that baby girl of yours!

  2. We’ve definitely been on the “tight” side more often than I care to remember. But remember I must. Even in the lean times, we have to be mindful of what we DO have and remember what/Whom we’re celebrating.
    Thank you for these tips and pointers!

  3. If you have a spare deck of cards lying around, you can make a little flipbook with some scrap paper. When I did this for my husband once, I made it “52 I Love Yous” and on each card, I put a small piece of scrapbook paper over the numbered side of the card and wrote something like “I love your forehead kisses!” or “I love your generous heart”. You can do that for your husband OR your kids! 🙂 I even picked a deck of cards with New York written on them b/c it was a special piece of our story. 🙂

    If you can buy some candy to give them, take small pieces of paper to wrap around it (with suckers – use the stem) and on the paper, write down the things you appreciate about the person – or even do the coupon thing that Jolene talked about. What a fun delivery system! 🙂

    If you end up with a little more money sometime for Christmas but not a whole lot, you could make pillows. 🙂 I hand-stitched them for my extended family one year when I was in college. I found that 1/4 yard of fabric is awesome for creating a neck/low-back pillow – and it’s ideal for holding onto at bedtime too. 🙂 The most expensive part was the stuffing – which can go a long way if you pull it apart to “fluff” it a bit extra as you fill the pillow. 🙂

    For next year, start a prayer box this year. Have everyone in the family write down prayer requests and put them in the box. Add to it & go through it regularly & when one is answered, write the date on it (and possibly the answer) and keep it in a separate box. Then, at Christmas, use the answered prayers to create something as a gift. There’s no greater way to remember how much God loves us in the NOW like looking back over a year of answered prayers and what a bonding moment for the family! 🙂

  4. I’ve been trying to do “smelly” crafts with my kids this year…getting them to make scent memories of Christmas. We have pushed cloves into oranges to make lovely smelly ornaments, and mixed cinnamon and applesauce to make a dough to make small ornaments for the tree….just little activities, but they smell so wonderful and just making them together made a memory. (the cinnamon dough was kinda weird and brought up lots of “potty humor” which made the kids laugh themselves silly!!). I had thought of trying to get them to string popcorn garlands for the tree. Or even make cookies and hang them up as ornaments. We’re going to make some plain white paper trees (only need a sheet of paper and scissors!) to decorate with. I’ll be posting some ideas on my blog, dennas ideas.com in the coming days…

    1. Excellent ideas, Denna. Anytime you awaken the 5 senses and create traditions around them, you’re creating priceless memories for your children. We did the applesauce/cinnamon ornaments when my boys were young too. And I had lots of bells throughout my house so they equate that sound to Christmas as well.

  5. We like to make ornaments, they are the salt dough ornaments. You can use your hands to make a print or whatever you have lay around to make a share and then have the kids decorate them. This is a fun family time activity and also a great gift. Baking cookies, making personal Xmas cards from Construction paper. We are on a “tight” budget as well so I have gone on pinterest and googled for some ideas that either I can use recycled things we already have or very inexpensive (like dollar store items). Oh another one is making chain links to decorate the house or tree with. You can go caroling as a family. Neighbors love hearing the little ones sing. I have shared with my son the verses of Jesus being born from the bible. He likes to draw so we were drawing Jesus being born, Mary his mother, Joseph his dad and all the animals he thought were in the stable with Jesus. You can cut them out or just have them draw the picture. We have kept the pictures from last year to show him how well he has improved on his coloring and drawing. (one day these will be great keep sakes for him to have when he is married to share with his children). Anyway those are just a few things we do as a family. I think whatever you do just spending time together, taking pictures and sharing the moment as a family makes any thing a wonderful memory… Thank you for the suggests above…I hope everyone has a Very Blessed Christmas..

    1. These are all beautiful ideas, Nicki! Even if one is not on a tight budget, it’s better to do things with a child than to just give them gifts. They soon forget the gift they got last Christmas, but they’ll remember the memories they made with their family.

  6. Dear Jolene,

    I am so grateful to report that my children will have a Christmas. I prayed and prayed and today got a telephone call from my childrens doctors office. I was told my family was chosen to recieve gifts for our three kids to make a list of what the kids want and need and bring it to the office tomorrow. My husband and I cried during and after the telephone call. I do not know what my children will recieve but it doesn’t matter. the warmth that filled my heart when I got the call was incredible. Then when I was going through me email I saw you posted my letter. Not only did you take the time to read my email and give me guidance you made a post about it and I pray that it helps other families as well. I am so blessed and it is because of people like you who take the time to think of others. Merry Christmas to you and your sons and husband. I cannot thank you enough for your post. Also my husband loved the idea of camping in the living room. We are going to try the ideas and also something we do every single year we make waffles with strawberries and whip cream, it is something I started with my mom,when she was alive, she passed away in 2010, and it brings part of my mom with us. Every night my girls and I say our prayers and tonight I am so thankful for the kindness of others. This has also made me realize that I can do more to help out, not financially right now, but with my time and can also teach my daughters and son that we can donate our time to help others. Merry Christmas!

  7. Love all your ideas. They would be good for all of us even if we have the money to do other things. Our family is seriously considering revamping the way we do Christmas for next year. We celebrate with an extended family that gains a new member at least each year! This year 3!

    Visiting through Inspire Me Monday.

  8. Looking at Christmas lights in our neighborhood is a fun and free thing we do. Also, lots of churches (malls, towns, and other organizations) have free programs and activities during Christmas. One of our favorites is a “living” Christmas tree, where people stand on risers in the shape of a Christmas tree, and wear lights, while doing a concert. Chocolate gravy http://allrecipes.com/recipe/southern-style-chocolate-gravy/ or chocolate chip pancakes can make special breakfast memories. We always make a birthday cake for Jesus. Here is the link to a post I wrote about ten of our family’s favorite traditions. Most are free. http://www.peachstatemomsblog.com/general/sharing-10-of-our-familys-favorite-christmas-traditions/ I hope everyone has a Joy-filled and Blessed Christmas!

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