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Free (Or Almost Free) Holiday Activities to Keep You on Your Budget During the Holidays

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

By: Erin Rossetta, Financial Wellness Coach

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year! I love the lights, the decorations, and the plethora of social events with family and friends. I always try to do it all, but time and budget restraints often put a damper on my plans. Before becoming a financial wellness coach, I would struggle with anxiety as I tried to figure out how to do it all! Those anxious moments still come, but making an effort to balance out things that are low effort and low cost helps keep me in the present moment, so I can enjoy my family and create good memories. Trying to keep up with all these challenges can make it difficult to stay on a household budget, so here’s a quick list of our family’s favorite free (or almost free) activities to enjoy during the holiday season.

1. Each year, we like to bundle up and head out for a nice stroll through Scentsy Commons. The light tunnel impresses my kiddos each year and l love the giant ribbon tree. The amount of lights Scentsy uses and the warm welcome they provide the community creates some must-see fun. If it snows, my kids like to attend in full snowsuits and spend some time rolling down the hills. We always leave full of joy and with the added bonus of my kids being ready for bed. Win-win!

2. If you are looking for another fun outdoor activity, we also enjoy Winter Wonderland at Indian Creek Plaza in Caldwell. We always grab hot cocoa from one of the local vendors and enjoy the sights! My kiddos favorite is, of course, the dragon, and we always take a little extra time at that one so we can warm up.

3. For a warmer family tradition, we like to have a couple special family movie nights at home. Some of our favorites are a Charlie Brown Christmas, The Star, Mickey’s Christmas Carol and our absolute favorite is Dr. Suess’s The Grinch. Sometimes our Elf on the Shelf leaves a few themed treats like candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup to go with our popcorn to watch Elf or mint chocolate pudding to watch The Grinch. Yum!

4. We also love doing some crafts to get the house extra festive for the Christmas season. Sometimes it’s just cutting out snowflakes or using scraps of paper from the year to make Christmas tree collages. I always look out for Michael’s coupons to have a few special crafts on hand when the kids are wanting to create. We also love all the fun of making gingerbread houses each year. Walmart has some great and affordable kits with everything you need or we will pull out some graham crackers, icing and leftover Halloween treats to make graham cracker houses. However we do it, it always leads to a great time and warm memories.

5. Another favorite and the last on my list, is taking advantage of maps on the Boise Christmas Lights website. A local Christmas light enthusiast has done an amazing job listing out all the most amazingly decorated houses in the Treasure Valley and mapping them out for you so that you can see several houses at once and drive in a logical pattern. Each year, we put on pj’s, throw some blankets in the car, grab hot cocoa and drive through one of the neighborhoods. We usually check out a couple areas over the holiday season since it’s so easy and fun!

What about you? Are any of these on your holiday bucket list? Any other must do *affordable* activities you and your family like to enjoy this time of year?

About the Author:

Erin Rossetta is a local mom and financial wellness coach in the Boise area. She has helped students all over the US and Canada. She enjoys helping families achieve total wellness by having a healthy mindset towards money and using smart banking strategies. You can learn more by following her at @your_financial_wellness_coach on Instagram.


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