15 Festive Things to Do for FREE this Christmas

Sometimes it seems that every single thing to do with Christmas costs money.  The decorating, the food, the presents, the cards, the days out etc etc.  But, whatever your budget, having a wonderful Christmas shouldn't depend on your bank balance.  Whether you are single, in a couple, celebrating with family or friends, or have children to create magic for, there are plenty of wonderful festive things to do on a budget - or even for free.  Here are some of our favourite things to for free at Christmas time.

1. Unplug

Turn off the tech and read aloud.  A Christmas Carol for the grown-ups, something perfect and magical like 'Twas the Night Before Christmas for the littlies.

2. Reverse Advent

Have a pre-Christmas clear out and give things you don't need or want any more to charity.  Do the same with your food cupboards and donate to your local food bank.  If you have a few pounds to spare, challenge the kids to get as much as they can for £1 or £2 to donate to the food bank collection in your local supermarket.

3. Admire the lights

Walk or drive round to look at the Christmas lights and trees.  Every journey for us from mid-November on is punctuated by cries of "Christmas lights!", "Christmas tree!" and much oohing and aahing.  Walk through your local town centres on a mid-week or Sunday evening to admire the windows and the lights without the lure of shops, or the crowds.

4. Bake!

Christmas baking is the best, what better way to while away an hour or two, and delicious things to eat afterwards = win win.  Try these easy Christmas cookies, chocolate cupcakes or our easiest ever mince pies recipe.

5. Carols

Attend a carol service at your local church, or an outdoor event such as carols in your local park.  Google or your local newspapers should have some suggestions.  You might also be able to find free classical music concerts, Handel's Messiah is guaranteed to get anyone in festive mood.

6. Library

Find out what's on at your local library.  Join a book group or attend some of their children's activities.  And don't forget to borrow some Christmas books and DVDs too.

7. Christmas cups

Eschew expensive coffee shop drinks and make your own super duper hot chocolates or other festive drinks, with delicious home-made cookies on the side, of course.

8. Christmas movies

Have a movie marathon.  Check out our list of favourite Christmas films and get set up for an epic dose of Noel!

9. Free events

Visit your free local museums, libraries and art galleries and find out what Christmas events they are running.  Ask for a membership card for Christmas, or treat yourself to one, and start visiting pre-Christmas to enjoy the festive fun.

10. Get out!

Instead of dreading the cold, get wrapped up and go out into the fallen leaves, frost or, if you're lucky, snow and enjoy it.  Take your camera and get some snaps of your companions or surroundings.  You might even be able to turn some of your pictures into low cost gifts.

11. Entertain

Get together with friends, family or kids and put on a talent show, art exhibition or Christmas show.  Write a script, make costumes from what you have, and entertain.

12. Scavenge!

Create a festive scavenger hunt around your neighbourhood.  Make all the clues Christmas or winter-themed and see who can find everything on the list.  If the weather is awful, create an indoor one.  See our rainy day play ideas for more inspiration.

13. Draw 

Create drawings, paintings, collages, decorations, and more to give to others or to decorate your home.  Create salt dough decorations that will last for years.  If you're really stuck, there are hundreds of Christmas colouring pages online.

14. Menu plan!

Plan your Christmas menu, table plan and running order, then take some time to craft beautiful place settings, menus and table decorations.  Go for a walk to collect pine cones, holly and other suitable things from nature, then scour Pinterest for inspiration.

15. Don't be board!

Drag the board games out and have an epic session, why wait till Christmas Day?  You could even flex your charades muscles in advance!

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