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Home for the Holidays

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“Oh there’s no place like home for the holidays”. The holidays are just around the corner and there is no reason why we shouldn’t celebrate wholeheartedly! It is definitely going to be different and more challenging this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but instead of focusing on spending money it is important to focus on spending time for yourself and the ones closest to you.

The holidays are filled with warm memories from making cookies, to shiny lights, decorating, and spending time with family and friends. With money being tight this year as a result of the pandemic, the most precious gifts are the memories made with the people and places that make us smile. With stay-at-home orders encouraging families to stay at home for the holidays instead of travelling, embrace it! Have everyone make gifts for each other at home or buy from second-hand stores. Having these ideas allows people to be more thoughtful when giving gifts to one another. Below are 10 ways to celebrate the holiday season inexpensively and start new traditions.

  • Secret Santa gift exchange: Have family members or household members draw names out of a hat. Ask each person for a list of 5-10 gifts they’d like to receive (everyone only gets one or two gifts). Or even better have everyone fill out a Secret Santa Survey like the one below so that people really have to get creative.

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  • Holiday cards: Write a heartfelt letter to your significant other, family members, or friends outlining the reasons why he or she is important to you. Be specific and write some of the special memories that you cherish with them and all the ways that he or she makes you smile. Use your nicest stationary, a fun holiday card, or even show off those artistic skills. Seal it with a special fragrance or a pretty stamp.

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  • Give one special gift: Ask the kids if Santa could bring them any ONE gift in the world what would make them happiest? If you can focus on saving some money to buy that gift, it will be even more meaningful. If you can, add their favorite snack or inexpensive gifts.
  • Cookies and candy: One of the most favorable activities many look forward to on the holidays is baking and eating sweet treats. Peppermint bark, gingerbread, pies, you name it are some of the delicious items that bring us together. It’s never possible to have too many homemade sweets. Dollar stores have inexpensive decorative tins and boxes. Even small baskets, pottery bowls, pretty napkins, and even brown paper bags tied with pretty ribbon work for sharing. Share the recipe with the gift on a card and tie with ribbon as a final touch.

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  • Go see the lights: Go for a ride with a holiday song playlist, bring popcorn and snacks, and drive around with the kids to see the best neighborhood light shows. You can even walk around bundled up in blankets and warm coats to enjoy the neighbors and local businesses holiday decorations and light displays.

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  • Game night: Take out all the old board games from the basement and have a game night with family and friends! Get competitive over the classics like Scrabble or Monopoly or even play games like charades and cards. Bring snacks or play holiday music in the background for more added fun.
  • Holiday movie night: Watch some of your favorite holiday movies or favorite films in general. Snuggle up with blankets on the couch and enjoy some of the all-time classics. Popcorn is optional of course.
  • Make your own ugly sweater: Ugly sweater parties are super fun around the holiday season. Get together with family, friends, or housemates and decorate your own ugly sweater or go to a thrift store to find some of the materials. Have a contest and see who can create the ugliest sweater.

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  • Dress up: Even if you are not going anywhere outside your own home, dress up with your fancy clothes with family and housemates. Mark a date on your calendar where everyone is free to have dinner or a drink and dress up. With holiday parties and events being cancelled because of COVID-19, many people forget the last time they got ready for a special occasion. You can even host a small gather outside with everyone socially distancing and taking into account COVID-19 safety measures.
  • Volunteer/ donate: Donate food or assemble food baskets at your local food bank. Or check in on an elderly neighbor or relative to see if they need help with groceries or yard work. Even some of the smallest gestures such as raking leaves, pulling weeds, or picking up food for someone can make a difference in their lives.

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