10 Free (or low cost) Christmas Activities For KidsDisclosure: This post contains affiliate links & I may earn commission if you make a purchase. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Christmas is a very expensive time of year, even for those of us who do it on a budget, there's no getting away from the fact that it's going to cost! Christmas costs the average family between £800 and £2000 per family - from the presents and food to the Christmas days out, home activities, parties, school activities and decorations.
We (like most people) love giving gifts on Christmas Day, but most of our festivities are based around the build-up, it starts on the 1st of December when we 'deck the halls' and then we like to build up a buzz all month with free or cheap traditions.
I am always on the lookout for ways to save money at Christmas time and there are loads of ways to do Christmas activities and events on a budget, and it's a great way to join in with the festivities without costing a fortune.
So here are 10 completely free or super cheap Christmas activities for you to enjoy with the children throughout December.
1 - Deck the Halls
This event kicks off our December and we make a huge deal of December 1st, it's the day the decorations go up and the Christmas PJs and Bedding come out - oh and not forgetting Elf on the shelf and our advent calendars. I always put the bedding on when the kids are in school and leave their calendars and a pair of Christmas pyjamas on the end of the bed for them and they absolutely LOVE it. Then in the evening, I do a buffet-style tea (sandwiches, crisps, nuggets etc) and we put the decorations up together.
2 - Elf On The Shelf
You can get a genuine Elf on The Shelf from Amazon for around £3 delivered and this can be used for many years, this naughty little fella creates an amazing buzz, the kids can't wait to get up in the morning and see what the cheeky chappy has been up to. You can use household objects to use as props so after the initial £3 spend you have a months worth of fun.
3 - Christmas Movie Night
This is one of my favourites, there's a new free channel called 'True Christmas' that has 24/7 Christmas movies, available on Freeview channel 424 - these can be a bit hit or miss but if you plan ahead you can work it around a good movie, alternatively, borrow a few DVDs off someone, or check out the TV listings for when the good ones are on TV in December. I usually do a buffet-style tea to eat on movie nights which the kids love.
4 - Free Santa Tracker
This is great for Christmas eve, whilst the location tracking element is only on Christmas Eve itself, there's a whole 'Santa's Village' open now, allowing kids to play festive games.- The kids all install it on their phones, Ipads etc. There's a few to choose from online but we have found the best is the one from Google
5 - Free Personalised Santa Video
These are absolutely great! A website called the 'Portable North Pole' lets you create and send a personalised video message from Santa. You simply upload photos of the child and a picture of the gift they'd most like to receive for Christmas as well as a few bits of information such as name and age. Then a few minutes later the most amazing video is created. There are options to upgrade, but I have always stuck with the free video
6 - Visit The Lights
We don't generally go to the local town's official turning on of lights because they are usually uncomfortably packed and the food and rides end up cost a fortune, so we do our own version! - We downloaded all of our favourite Christmas songs on to a CD and do a drive around the neighbourhood to see who has the best lights. We usually leave this till about a week before Christmas (to make sure as many people have their lights up as possible) make sure you plan a route and ask on Facebook for tips on where are the best places to visit so you're not driving around aimlessly.
7 - Christmas List Night
Dig out all your art supplies and get crafty with the kids. We usually nip down to the local Argos and grab the kids a book each for them to cut out and stick in whatever they fancy. We decorate the lists with cotton wool and glitter and then leave them on the Christmas tree that evening for the Elves to take to Santa. We usually have a hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream afterward as a treat for all their hard work.
8 - Free Events
There will be loads of free events going on throughout the UK such as carol concerts, craft-making sessions & Storytimes. Most of these free events are run by local councils, churches, museums, and charities. You will have to have a search on Google for your area to find out what is available. I usually pop in "free local Christmas events". Start searching around October time in case you have to book as these free events are very popular.
9 - Homemade Decorations
Wrap up warm and go to the park to collect pine cones which you can use to do some Christmas crafts. All you need to do is dip them in glue then dip them in glitter. They are super easy to make and look great on a tree, as a centerpiece or just placed in a bowl. A quick search on Pinterest will also give you a whole plethora of other homemade Christmas craft ideas you can try.
We collect our pinecones in the October half term ready for this, here are 75 free activities to keep the little ones entertained during the school holidays
10 - Letter To Santa
Royal Mail offers a Letter To Santa service, and all it will cost you is the price of a stamp. Simply write your letters to the below address, attach a stamp and Santa Claus will send them a letter back for free.
As always, if you have a great tip that we've missed then do give us a shout in the comments below!