Start a keepsake box for each child. Every year add an ornament for each of the children. The boxes can be given to them when they have their own tree.


To help the family understand and celebrate the reason for Christmas, celebrate it in a special way. Have an Advent wreath with candles to celebrate the month leading up to Christmas. Make a birthday cake for Jesus using colors and shapes to signify the uniqueness of his birthday: the cake can be star-shaped; the icing can be white for purity or gold for royalty; layers of the cake can be different colors for different symbols.


Watch some classic Christmas movies together. Get some from the library (they’re free or inexpensive!). Some of our favorites are “Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Carol” and “Veggie Tales: The Toy That Saved Christmas.”


If getting outside is the best way for your family to bond, try a few of these Christmas activities:

  • Have a Christmas caroling party. Invite the neighbors and visit your neighborhood or a nursing home. Offer warm drinks and cookies afterward.

  • Visit a living nativity scene in your town.

  • Adopt a family that is having a hard time financially. Deliver food, gifts or decorations to them. To find a family that wants this help, contact your church, Chamber of Commerce or local charities.

  • Practice Boxing Day. This holiday began in early England, according to some historians. On the day after Christmas, the churches would open their poor boxes and share the money with the poor. Later, in the Middle Ages, the gentry would wrap gifts that they didn’t want and give them to their servants. This day became known as St. Stephen’s Day, honoring the memory of this saint who was martyred. Use this day to give gifts to those who may not have much. Fill a box with things you aren’t using and donate them to a local charity.

  • Have a talent show for the family or invite the neighbors. Videotape it and show it every year.


Excerpted from: "Frugal Families" by Jonni McCoy, Copyright © 2003, Jonni McCoy. ISBN 0764226142. Published by Bethany House Publishers.

Used by permission. Unauthorized duplication prohibited.