close up photo of monopoly board game
2023,  family fun,  Sunshine Coast

It’s Christmas Holidays and there’s no money for Fun….What to do??

The Christmas holidays are here. I love this time of the year. In fact, I consider it the best time of the year. It’s Summer, the days are longer, the kids are on holidays, and Christmas is just around the corner.
It’s a great time of the year. The tree is up and the lights are bringing joy to our lounge room.

I’m one of those mums who love school holidays with her kids and want the holidays to linger for as long as possible. This term has been enormous for us with an unexpected graduation dinner for our Beps, and then the year 12 formal and all the trimmings for Nell. I know that we aren’t the only ones who have reached the Christmas season with a limited cash flow. Numerous families in our community are finding the constant mortgage increases challenging, so how do you give the kids a fantastic holiday without breaking the bank?

First of all, I am a big believer in the idea that it’s okay for our kids to find themselves bored. It’s not our responsibility as parents to entertain them every second of the day. Being bored is actually perfectly fine and in some ways healthy for our kids to experience. Boredom forces our kids to get creative and look for ways to entertain themselves. In fact, in our household if anyone mentions they are bored, I pull out the window cleaning cloths and spray and give them a job to do. It’s funny how quickly our kids stop complaining when the alternative is cleaning the windows.

Just because the finances are tight, doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. What it means though is that you have to find creative ways as a family to enjoy the holidays, and ‘Tight’ doesn’t have to mean boring.

So here we go, Ready?

1. Family bike rides

2. Game night – don’t buy games, go to the cupboard, swap with friends, borrow from the library, invite friends over!

3. Neighborhood walks – family walks around the block, on the beach, mix it up and walk in the evenings or early mornings

4. Family project – work on the yard, or make over a room. If there isn’t any money, just take everything out of the room and clean the walls, thorough carpet cleaning, toss out rubbish, and clean the windows.

5. Sports training – Get some families together for a game of whatever you like. Most sporting grounds can be used for free during the week.

6. Baking Day – Make some yummy foods with ingredients you have in the cupboard. Challenge kids to come up with some ideas.

7. Laundry Day – Sounds boring, but lets face it everyone loves clean sheets and clean clothes.

8. Family movie night – Whether you love Disney movies, or you love Narnia , or Harry Potter, get together and watch it together. Put the phones down and be present with the kids. Talk about favourite and best bits!

9. Wash the Cars.

10. Take some fun photos in different locations – mountains, beach, urban spots

11. Slumber party – whether just with the family, or with the friends!

12. Create a scrapbook – pull out the family photos and get creative together. Use what you have, and just enjoy the process.

13. Have a garage sale – Holidays are a great time to organise a garage sale…..or a facebook marketplace sale.

14. Hang out with friends – meet at the park or the beach for a picnic

15. Attend church together

16. Go rollerblading or skating in your area. If you can’t afford to go to the local skating rink, there are pathways everywhere around our area on the coast line.

17. Hang out at the library for a few hours. Most libraries have lots of activities on over the holidays.

18. Create a home version of a popular game show

19. Walk the dog or the neighbor’s dog

20. Wander through Bunnings

21. Get creative for the afternoon – have a maker afternoon. Learn to knit or crotchet, sew!

22. Play flag football

23. Play Wii Fit or Xbox Kinect

24. Create homemade birthday or holiday cards

25. Take youtube classes – drawing, cooking, learn a new language etc

26. Create a family tree with the kids

27. Lie on a blanket and search for constellations/stars

28. Go on a family picnic. You have to eat anyway, just take it to the beach or the park and let the kids hang out.

29. Have a family barbecue.

30. Create emergency plans (fire escape)

31. Get comfy around a outdoor fire, and read a couple of chapters of a book you want to read to the kids. Think Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, The faraway Tree, etc

32. Create a history timeline

33. Create and practice a family play

34. Driving lessons with children who have their learners.

35. Go visit some Display houses

36. Create a family recipe book

37. Ask Seri to tell you jokes

38. Start a collection (coins, rocks, beads, shells, etc.)

39. Create legacy videos with Grandparents. Invite grandparents over and ask them about what their lives were like when they were kids, ask if they wouldn’t mind it being videoed

40. Go through family photos and make albums or some photo books.

41. Have a scavenger hunt

42. Go to the beach! Even in winter the beach is amazing!

43. Work on a puzzle

44. Climb a mountain

45. Create a list of local “kids eat free” locations and days and eat at one

46. Create a family handshake

47. Create a family mission statement

48. Have a fun science day – do a project

49. Label all the things in your house with a new language you want to learn

50. Have a push-up contest (dad has child on his back to level the playing field)

51. Go to all the Art Galleries on the Sunshine Coast or pick a couple of areas

52. Visit homeless shelters and give out meals

53. Playground crawl. Go to as many playgrounds as you can over the holidays

54. Have a home “professional” photo shoot (kids act as the “professionals”)

55. Watch reruns of old shows that were popular when you were young

56. Go on a nature hike

57. Have a scavenger hunt

58. Play hide-and-seek

59. Create a time capsule and bury it in the backyard

60. Perform magic tricks

61. Collect and paint rocks

62. Have a Google hangout or Skype call to out of town family

63. Start a garden

64. Go op shopping

65. Take things to the op shop

66. Have a formal dinner at home (complete with servers, menu, dressing up, etc.)

67. Collect seashells

68. Go fishing

69. Hang pictures in the house

70. Paint a bedroom

71. Listen to old school music (make the kids sing and dance along)

72. Have a family house party (kids play family DJ)

73. Watch old/classic movies

74. Fly kites at the beach

75. Kings beach pool

76. Visit a different beach across the coast every time you want to go to the beach.

77. Plan to go to a midnight Christmas service.

78. Do a playground crawl. Choose 5 playgrounds in your area, bring some sandwiches and fruit and explore the different playgrounds in your area, if you find one that doesn’t appeal to you move on.

79. Find areas a little further afield and make a day of it. For example, bring togs and towels, take your bikes or scooters down to Sandgate and ride your bikes/scooters along the foreshore. It’s an amazing area for a family day out, and there are a number of playgrounds along the foreshore.

Okay, so some of these might sound a little lame, but honestly, if you really are strapped for cash, our attitude towards having fun at home is important for our kids. So here are 79 ideas to make the holidays fun despite the limited cashflow. The number one goal is to avoid the shopping centres is vital if you want to curb spending.

Let me know what plans you have for the holidays…your ideas might help when my last options are cleaning the pantry or sorting out the garage!!!

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