Making Holiday Memories on a Budget

It’s begun… the dreaded holiday advertising telling you that in order to make this year special you must buy the latest flashiest toy and why not when every store is bombarding you with offers and sales and split pay or no payments for several months. 
But what if you didn’t? 
When I think back to Christmas growing up I don’t remember gifts. There was this one year that I got a bike that I’d been eyeing up in the local hardware store, but aside from that one year I couldn’t tell you what I got for Christmas. I can tell you all my happy memories are filled with the things that didn’t cost a penny. Caroling, watching The Grinch, decorating cookies, and finally getting to be Mary in the church nativity. 
For me the centerpiece of Christmas doesn’t need to be what’s under the tree. It’s those special traditions that happen in your home with your family every year. 
Unpacking the holiday ornaments and decorating together can be a fantastic tradition. Especially as you look at the ornaments: the funny ones made from popsicle sticks brought home years ago by kids or the beautiful ones you picked up. A long time ago I made it a habit to buy a Christmas ornament when I went on vacation so now I have memories of my travels every year. Make decorating an event. Put on Christmas music and make hot cocoa. Take pictures. 
Attending the same local event every year can become a family tradition and it doesn’t have to cost you a penny. We are lucky to have the tradition of Holiday Strolls on Cape Cod along with lighting of community Christmas trees, and Santas arrival by boat or fire truck depending on where you live. 

Baking together or having the same Christmas morning breakfast creates a lasting memory. You can set a date to watch the same holiday themed movie with snacks. 
For some attending services or participating in holiday event through your place of worship already takes up a special place in your calendar. 
This time of year we often think about giving to others. Instead of making your holiday season all about buying things why not donate your time. Local organizations on Cape Cod are in need of man power. This will create a lasting memory and also create a teachable moment to your children. 
Normalize handmade. You don’t need to buy presents for it to make an impact. I’m most thankful for friends and family members who drop off homemade cookies in a tin I can reuse. I have a friend who uses her daughter’s artwork from school as cards to send to family members. 
Finally, one of my favorite free activities with kids during the holidays is to get in the car and go look at Christmas lights. We used to play a game to see who could spot lights first.  You’ll be surprised at how a simple drive around a new neighborhood can put everyone in the festive spirit. 
Make something small an annual tradition and you’ll be building memories that last a lifetime. 
About Rebecca Romo

Rebecca Romo hosts Feel Good Mornings weekday mornings from 6-10 am on 99.9 The Q. Originally from New Orleans, she moved to Cape to be with her husband a second generation Cape Codder.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
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