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As parents, it can be tempting to think that our children's enjoyment of Christmas is directly related to the amount of money we spend on them. However, this is not necessarily the case.
With a little effort, you can create special Christmas memories for your children on even the tightest of budgets.
You can make Christmas fun and exciting for your children even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend.
Prepare for Christmas with Your Children
In the run-up to Christmas, involve your children in every aspect of the preparations. This will help them feel that their contributions are valued and it will increase the sense of anticipation.
Instead of buying new Christmas decorations, make simple decorations with your children using materials that you already have. From paper chains to paper plate angels, plenty of ideas and inspiration can be found online.
Ask your children to decorate an inexpensive roll of brown Kraft paper using coloring pens. It can then be used as Christmas wrapping paper, exhibiting your children’s artwork to family and friends.
Children can also design and make their own Christmas cards, gift tags, and such items as Christmas bonbons or crackers can also be handmade.
If you bake Christmas cake, mince pies, cookies and other delicacies before Christmas, let your children help during each baking session, even if it means that your kitchen becomes very messy!
When the sweet treats are in the oven, you can encourage the children to help clean up the mess by promising them a freshly baked reward!
Keep to a Budget When Shopping for Children's Christmas Presents
When shopping for Christmas presents for your children, set a total budget and keep to it.
Look for good, less expensive substitutes for some of the presents on their wish lists. For example, if your son would like the latest toy, look for a less expensive, similar toy that he would like just as much, or, if you're comfortable with giving him a good quality, second hand toy, look online or in thrift stores for such a toy.
In addition, buy a selection of small presents inexpensively from Christmas fairs, eBay and thrift stores.
Don't be afraid to buy your children items that they need for Christmas. For example, if your daughter has just grown out of her winter coat, it is fine to buy her a new one as a Christmas present.
Organize a Christmas Treasure Hunt
Make Christmas Day more exciting by hiding each child’s presents in different parts of the house and organizing a treasure hunt.
You can tell younger children that Santa Claus left presents in all kinds of places and gave Mommy and Daddy clues so that they can help the children to find them. Give older children written clues to follow by themselves.
This makes the whole process of gift giving much more exciting than sitting down by the Christmas tree and ripping open all of their presents in five minutes flat.
Don't become upset or feel guilty if your children complain that they didn't receive what they wanted for Christmas.
They will be learning the valuable lesson that a happy, joy-filled family Christmas is a much better gift than a roomful of expensive presents.
Give as a Family
If possible, involve your children in some charitable activity at Christmas, such as sending gifts to children in orphanages in developing countries.
This will help them to understand that there are some children in the world who have very little and who are grateful for even the smallest gift at Christmas.
So, keep to your budget, involve your children in all of the Christmas preparations, organize a fun-filled Christmas Day and, if possible, encourage the whole family to participate in a charitable project.
This should ensure that your children have a joyful Christmas that they'll remember for the rest of their lives. This is a much better gift than a pile of expensive toys and designer clothes.
Do you have any other tips for creating a memorable family Christmas on a budget?