What makes it Christmas time special for you?
Chances are there are festive traditions you can’t live without - whether that’s wearing a Christmas jumper, enjoying a mince pie, or decorating the tree with your kids.
While it’s important to carry on traditions you love, adding something new into the mix can help make Christmas even more special.
Read on for three affordable ways to celebrate that might just become your family’s new favourite traditions!
Take a Christmas lights tour
There’s nothing like hundreds of magical lights to get you into the Christmas mood. So why not take a tour of the best Christmas lights in Bristol? This is a perfect activity to enjoy with kids.
Make a rough plan of your route before you go. And remember to wrap up warm (we recommend taking a flask of hot chocolate!)
Your tour could be as simple as exploring your local area on foot. Many people these days make a big effort to decorate the outside of their houses, and you can see some stunning trees and fairy lights through front-room windows too.
Join the Facebook group Best-dressed Christmas Houses and Lights In Bristol to get the latest news on where lights are popping up in the city.
Fancy exploring further afield? Try exploring the city centre, visiting Brailsford lights in Brentry or the Mall Gardens in Clifton Village, where you can visit the biggest Christmas tree in the South-West - covered in lights of course!
Give a Christmas Eve box
The craze of Christmas Eve boxes has swept the UK over the last few years. Giving a small box of treats to your kids on Christmas Eve doesn’t have to be expensive, and it can be a special way to keep them entertained. If you’re smart, you can even use it to encourage over-excited kids to calm down and get ready for bed!
To avoid blowing your budget, we suggest keeping bigger gifts like toys or clothes, etc. for Christmas Day itself. Here are some ideal things to put in your boxes instead:
- A story book, or colouring-in book to keep them busy
- A festive film to watch on Christmas Eve
- A sachet of hot chocolate
- Treats to leave out for Father Christmas (e.g. a carrot and a mince pie!)
- Small bottle of bubble bath for a fun way to wind down before bedtime
- Chocolate coins
For the film, try looking for DVDs in local charity shops or look on Oxfam online. If you prefer streaming films, you can always make your own ‘film tickets’ to let your kids know they’re in for a treat! For the box itself, you can make you own using a shoe/boot box, or other cardboard box.
Simply cover your box in Christmas wrapping paper, and add your child’s name. Give them the box on Christmas Eve afternoon or evening, and enjoy time together reading stories, watching a film or preparing a plate for Santa.
Make your own gifts
A lovely way to personalise Christmas is to make your own simple gifts. When you receive a gift that someone’s gone to the effort of making themselves, it can make you feel really special. Plus as the gift-maker you can have lots of fun getting creative!
Here’s a few ideas for easy, inexpensive gifts you can enjoy making yourself or with older kids:
Chocolates are a Christmas classic, and it can be so simple to make your own. We love this easy recipe for coin-shaped chocolates that you can top with whatever you fancy - from nuts and dried fruit, to desiccated coconut and hundreds & thousands.
Cookie recipe in a jar
Know someone who loves Bake Off, but doesn’t have time to make their own showstopping creations? Give them a cookie recipe in a jar! With all the ingredients already weighed out and ready to go, they can enjoy making their own batch of yummy cookies in no time.
You can make a body scrub using just four ingredients, and they make beautiful gifts packaged up in a jar with a gift tag and ribbon. These recipes for peppermint and gingerbread scrubs are spot-on for Christmas.
OK, so these aren’t really gifts you make, but Christmas vouchers for an experience or treat that comes from you. They don’t have to cost you anything, but they can make a huge difference to the person you’re giving them to.
Know a couple or single parent who never get time to themselves? Why not promise to babysit for them one afternoon or evening? Other ideas include doing your friend’s hair and make-up before a night out, or taking their dog for a walk!
Here are some fun voucher designs from Money Saving Expert that you can print off, fill out and put inside a Christmas card for someone special.
Christmas Your Way
To mark 20 years of Bristol Credit Union, we wanted to celebrate the Bristol spirit at Christmas, so we asked 8 local families what they couldn’t live without this during the festive season, as part of our Christmas campaign #ChristmasYourWay. Watch the video and be prepared to smile.