Cheap And Free Things To Do Over The Festive Period - With And Without The Kids

December 13, 2023 • Chris Bardsley

The Christmas holidays can feel like a big stretch for your finances when the kids need entertaining and feeding for over two weeks. This is especially the case since Christmas already involves spending money on presents and food.

But the good news is that regardless of your budget, you can still have an enjoyable Christmas that focuses on family time, not to mention some much-needed rest and relaxation for yourself.

If you’re watching the pennies this year, then here are some top tips from the Fair For You team on free or low cost things to do for both adults and kids over the festive season.

Christmas Activities For Kids

When it comes to keeping the kids entertained, it’s good to think of ideas which will help use up some of that excess energy, especially while they aren’t at school.

Although screen time can be useful for catching up on some learning, it’s also good to mix in activities which will keep children physically active while also putting their imaginations to good use.

Club Hub - Kids Activity Directory

When you’re stuck for ways to keep the kids busy over Christmas, checking out what’s on in your local area is a great place to start.

Club Hub allows you to do just that. Simply enter your postcode along with the age of your child, and Club Hub will show you all the nearest activities to you. Activities include the likes of arts and crafts, dance, drama, gymnastics, martial arts music and sports.

The cost of the activity (which is sometimes free) will be listed on the result page so that you can work out if it’s affordable in advance.

Build A Gingerbread House

Kids absolutely love baking, and with some basic store cupboard ingredients, you can make all kinds of Christmas cupcakes or biscuits.

But since we’re trying to keep the kids entertained for as long as possible here, building a gingerbread house is just the trick. It’s a fun way to teach maths (since you get to eat what you measure out!) and is perfect to inspire any budding builders or engineers.

Tesco and Asda sell gingerbread house kits for £4-£5. Any sweets the kids have accumulated over Christmas can also be used to decorate the house.

Christmas Crafts

All of the packaging waste created at Christmas can double as amazing crafting material. Even a simple sheet of A4 can be used to make a stunning paper snowflake. Likewise, a finished kitchen roll makes the perfect base for a Christmas angel. If you remember, they used to make rockets out of Fairy Liquid containers so think along those lines here!

There are endless crafting tutorials available online, or you can do your own thing with what you have available. Since the aim is to use up what you already have lying around, Christmas crafting can turn into hours of fun.

If your kids are slightly older, then introduce them to paper engineering. This involves creating clever pop-ups, geometric shapes and sculptures just using paper.

Organise A Christmas Treasure Hunt

Whether you live in a small flat or have a garden, practically any space can double up as a treasure hunt.

Based on the age of your kids, you’ll need to write solvable clues on a piece of paper. You’ll then need to hide the clues in strategic places around your home or garden. The idea is that each clue leads to the next, and the first person to solve all of the clues wins a prize.

Since you’re on a budget, there’s no need to spend lots of money on a prize either. Work with the budget you have available, including a runner-up prize so that there are no tears at the end!

You could also theme your treasure hunt with pirates being an obvious idea. Although you could also involve that naughty Elf On The Shelf too.

Board Games

In the old days, board games such as Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo, Operation, Mouse Trap and Uno used to be common entertainment over Christmas. With Smyths Toys selling games for as little as £4, it’s time to bring this family fun back!

The beauty of a board game is that it’s designed to take a few hours to play, and the game can also be replayed an endless amount of times. So when it comes to saving money, board games definitely shouldn’t be underestimated just because they don’t involve a screen.

For older kids, the likes of Lego or other construction-based games can also keep kids entertained for hours as they immerse themselves in imaginative play.

Wildlife Activity Sheets

Do your kids love the outdoors? If so, then organising a nature walk with a wildlife activity sheet could keep them busy over Christmas.

Wildlife Watch has activity sheets which can be printed out for free. Learn how to spot a Robin at Christmas with the festive wildlife detective or even create your very own bug hotel.

There are wildlife sheets for all seasons, not to mention all environments. So whether you can walk around the park or are able to make it to a beach, there’s lots for kids to tick off their list.

P.S: If you don’t have a printer, your local library should offer printing for a small fee.

Kid-Free Fun At Christmas

Now the kids have been thoroughly fed and entertained (and hopefully tired out so that they’ll sleep well!) it's time to turn our attention to the adults.

With our free or low cost activities for adults, we’re thinking of ways that you can recharge your batteries, and start off the new year feeling the best version of yourself.

After all, with the cost of living crisis and all the other challenges of late, it’s important to take time just for you, in a way that focuses on your happiness and overall wellbeing.

Take A Free Online Course

Let’s start with a left field suggestion that’s actually about giving a worthwhile gift to yourself.

While Christmas is a time for having fun, the holidays can also give us a bit too much time on our hands. If you’re feeling bored, then challenging yourself with a free online course could help you gain a sense of achievement.

Learning a new skill can have lots of positive benefits for mental health, including increased confidence and self-esteem. If you do take a course that could boost your employability, then this festive activity could even help you increase your income for the year ahead.

Whether you want to gain new skills to find a job, or simply crave a new hobby, there are lots of free online courses whereby you don’t even have to leave home to get a new qualification.

Try A Free Online Home Workout

Is a lack of money or childcare stopping you from joining the gym? So long as you have a phone, tablet or laptop and an internet connection, you can stream workouts for free.

While getting down with some Zumba or pilates might not be the most festive thing on the planet, even a quick workout is a great way to let off some stress at Christmas and boost your mood at the same time.

If you’ve got a few friends who would be up for a Zoom workout, you could up the ante and have a laugh together while getting fit. Check out our post on Create a Home Gym on a Budget for some ideas.

P.S. If you are considering joining a gym, January is when gyms offer their best discounts to new members.

Enjoy A Home Grooming Or Beauty Session

Taking that bit of ‘me time’ is essential to recover from all the stress of Christmas to help you feel refreshed and energised.

However, things such as getting your nails done professionally or even going for a haircut can be too expensive when you’re on a budget. But with some simple adaptations, you can enjoy a beauty or grooming session at home for less, helping you to look and feel your best as we enter the new year.

Acrylic nail kits can be purchased for as little as £15 on Amazon, compared to salon prices which can be as much as £100 per manicure. Likewise, face masks, foot masks and hair treatments can be bought for well under £5 in Boots or Superdrug.

Discover Some New Podcasts

Do you ever struggle to calm your thoughts at night? Podcasts are not only free to access, but depending on what you listen to they could change your life by giving you something positive to focus on.

From podcasts which help you learn how to manage your money better, to entertaining podcasts to make you laugh, there are thousands of genres just waiting to be explored. If you’ve never been into podcasts before, they can unlock new ways of thinking to help you feel motivated, no matter what challenges you happen to be going through.

So if you find yourself struggling to sleep or relax over Christmas, give podcasts a try.

Book A Sauna Session

We live in the UK so pretty much from October until March it’s freezing! With benefits such as increased circulation, improved sleep, pain reduction, weight loss and endorphin release, a sauna is yet another way to recharge over the festive season, not to mention keep warm!

While buying your own sauna might be out of the question, many leisure centres offer sauna sessions for as little as £5. If you’re on a low income, then you may also qualify for a Better Health membership, offering free or highly subsidised access to gyms and health clubs including those with saunas, jacuzzis and similar facilities.

Fair For You - Helping Your Money Go Further This Christmas

We hope you’ve found the above tips useful, and that you and your family will have a wonderful Christmas this year.

If you’re new to Fair For You, we make it easier to afford the things you need for your home and family through our flexible repayment system. Learn how Fair For You works to see how we’re different from other lenders for all the right reasons.

Other ways we can help you this Christmas include our Food Club Card and our Shopping Card.

There are even more free tips over on our Blog. Whether you’d like advice on ways to save money on your energy bills or want to improve your credit score, check out our articles to help you make sense of your finances this Christmas and beyond.

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The content of this blog does not constitute personal financial advice, and the views expressed in it are those of the contributor or author, which may not necessarily represent or reflect the views expressed by Fair for You Enterprise CIC.

This entry was posted in Finance, Budgeting Tips and Blog