Creating Great Family Memories: How to Have the Perfect Low Budget Holidays

Creating Great Family Memories: How to Have the Perfect Low Budget Holidays

Great memories are made out of great experiences, not just great events.  When it comes to creating great family memories, the goal is not necessarily to overspend your budget paying for “name-brand” events; instead, you can create an unforgettable array of family experiences even while on a low budget.  Let us give you a few pointers and you will soon be making magical family memories of your own, no matter what the holiday, no matter what the budget.


Time Connecting

The Essence of Family

Every child intuitively knows what we often quickly forget in the hustle and bustle of growing up: family is the enjoyment of being together.  However, it really isn’t as complicated as marketing strategies would have us think.  It really doesn’t take an elaborate meal that was costly to your budget, not to mention the hours you spent in the kitchen nor does it mean that you have to fund Santa, Uncle Sam, or the Easter bunny several hundred dollars for each of their respective holidays.  Family starts with simply being together and enjoying those moments.


Time Remembering

The Essence of Tradition

Why do we enjoy tradition so much?  We think that tradition is not simply a way of doing things every holiday, but a way of remembering the best of who you are as a family and celebrating that.  And you have the freedom to create your own traditions according to the beauty you see in your family – and according to your budget, as needed.  Planning low-budget traditions does not have to mean that you value your family any less.  In fact, sometimes we work to simplify our traditions so that we can focus more on the enjoyment of family and love and laughter and remembering who we are and who we still want to become.


Time Well-Spent

Great Family Memories on a Low Budget

Ultimately, your goal for your family is to make time together to celebrate who you are together.  However, you may feel lost in coming up with some good starter ideas to do that, especially when you may also be overwhelmed with the pressure of costly commercial traditions.  So, here are a few ideas that we hope will spark your own creativity in making great family memories while on a low budget.

  • Every community generally has several free events over the holidays, such as parades, music events, fireworks displays, and other commemorative festivities.
  • Inexpensive crafts such as making paper snowflakes together, homemade Valentines, or carving pumpkins.
  • Thrift stores are usually overloaded with last year’s decoration or costume castoffs!
  • Affordable family events such as a potluck brunch on Easter, a picnic on the fourth of July with sparklers or a New Years neighborhood party with leftover holiday goodies.
  • Giving simple gifts with an elaborate treasure hunt or giving gifts of time and services.

These are just a few ideas that we hope will inspire you and always remember, enjoying time together is the key!


Crafty Christmas Present Ideas

Crafty Christmas Present Ideas

Some of the most fun we have at the holidays is when family gets together to think up and make Christmas presents.

And while we could do things like cookie gift baskets or coupons for chores and errands, here are some other awesome gift ideas to make at home. Many of these ideas are courtesy of our friends at

Terrarium Kit

Using ordinary canning jars from the grocery store, place a one-inch layer of pebbles in the bottom. These can be ones you pick up on a walk or you can invest in some at the local home store.

Print a pretty label that says “terrarium kit” and either print out or handwrite some basic instructions on a three by five card that will go into the jar.  Pick up some activated charcoal at the local pet store and add a couple of tablespoons to a small zip lock bag and place in the jar.

Here’s a sample of some instructions:

  • Line the terrarium bottom with stones
  • Sprinkle charcoal on top
  • Add a few inches of potting soil
  • Add some small plants to the soil as well as any desired decorations
  • Place the terrarium in indirect bright light and be careful to water only when the soil is dry

When you’re done assembling the terrarium, place the lid on the jar and wrap the lid with a ribbon and add a holiday card.

Picture Coasters

This is a great present for grandparents or any family member to enjoy pictures from your last vacation or holiday time together.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4 inch round, flat cork pieces
  • Glue
  • Card stock paper
  • Printouts of your photos
  • Foam or felt mounting dots

Here’s how to put them together.  Using the cork pieces as a template, trace a circle onto the card stock and the picture to make sure the size of materials match. Spread a thin layer of glue onto the cork then place the card stock on top.  Place another thin layer of glue on the back of your picture and then put that on top of the card stock.  Turn the coaster upside down and stick for mounting dots on the back to project wood furniture.  Voila!

Peppermint Brownie Mix

This idea and recipe comes from our friends at  If you have some extra canning jars from the store after you finish your homemade terrarium, this is a great way to fill them.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • Another cup of sugar
  • 1 cup Andes peppermint crunch baking chips (or chopped up Andes pieces)
  • 1 ¼ cup of flour (add this carefully because some of this layer will sink into the mints that you have already placed in the jar)
  • A pinch of salt


Layer ingredients in a Mason jar, tie with a ribbon and then print the following instruction tag for the lid of the jar:

Mix contents of jar with 1 cup melted butter (two sticks), for eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla.  Bake in a 9X13 pan at 350°for about 25 minutes and enjoy.

You can also print out a peppermint brownies label to put on the jar itself.

They’re you have it.  Some crafty Christmas ideas for DIY presents.

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Holidays: Giving and Sharing

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The holidays are a very exciting time of the year, especially for children. It is a time when we spend time with the people we love and enjoy good food. It is also a time where we have the privilege of giving and receiving great gifts. However, it is very easy for us to forget about those who are less fortunate during this time of the year. Many people lack the basic necessities, and others have been affected by the poor economy, so it is important for people to make a tradition of sharing with those in need if they are able to help.

You should also teach your children the importance of sharing and giving. If you teach your children about giving now, then they will most likely continue to help people when they get older. Below are some of the ways that you and your children can help others during the holidays:

Help a Food Drive

Many non-profit organizations hold food drives throughout the holiday season and are in need of people to donate food. You should buy some food for a food drive and take your children with you. Explain to your children that some people are unable to purchase food and need other people to help them. Canned meat/fish, canned packaged meals, canned fruit, vegetables, peanut butter and boxed meals are examples of some of the items that you can donate to a food drive. Many grocery stores and businesses have food barrels during the holidays, but food banks need help year-round. You may also want to consider volunteering at a food bank. Donating your time is just as important as donating food!

Buying Presents For A Toy Drive

Many children would not get anything for Christmas if it was not for the generous donations of other people. That is why you may want to consider buying some presents for a Christmas Giving Tree Project or local toy drive. Donations typically need to be new and unwrapped. This is another way that you can teach your children to help other children, who are less fortunate.

Donate Warm Coats

Warm coats are something that most of us take for granted. You should donate unneeded warm coats to people who are less fortunate. One Warm Coat is an organization that accepts coat donations for people who are in need, as well as gloves and scarves.

Hopefully your children will better appreciate what they have and come to enjoy giving to others.