Thursday, December 9, 2010

Frugal Fun for Your Christmas Day Celebration

When I told my husband I was writing about our family Christmas program for the Holiday Savings Series by Knoxville Area coupon mom bloggers, his face lit up. He said,

"Oh yeah! Remember that year we made... ?!"

For as long as I remember, my mother had a Christmas program as part of our celebration. When it was just the two of us, it wasn't as involved, but now it's a larger affair with the addition of four more--my step dad, sister, husband and daughter.

How it begins

Early Christmas morning while Santa is still having his cookies & milk, my mom starts typing out our programs. Each of us will receive a copy. There might be a cute clip art Christmas scene on the front, and a search-a-word on the back, but it's the itinerary inside we're most interested in. Our Christmas day is usually in this order: breakfast, program, presents.

What has she been scheming this time?

More than likely, the program includes a few prayers, some activities and some songs. It might start out like this:

Opening Prayer...............................................Mom
Bible verses........................Jesus is born.........All
Hark the Herald Angels Sing...........................step dad & husband duet, me on piano

But, wait, a duet? They can't sing, and I can't play the piano!

So, here's where our program gets a little silly--soon we'll all be laughing and will barely be able to finish the song. Our program will continue this way with odd ones of us having songs or others tasks that we might not be so good at, and since it's just us we don't have to be embarrassed. Moreover, we can laugh at each other--A LOT!

We do have serious moments, but the point is to laugh and enjoy a mix of activities. We usually read the biblical account of Mary & Joseph's journey and Jesus' birth. I definitely want to point out that though our program is religious, it could be adapted for any family or set of beliefs.

The activity my husband was referring to went something like this:

We each received scissors, crayons, and construction paper with the task of coloring & cutting out a couple things. We had no idea what is was about until we were done and mom pulled out a manger in the stable scene. Uh-oh. I'll just go ahead and pick on my husband here--he must've gotten F's in art class because the things he drew were definitely not camels! While we laughed at the donkeys, horses, cows, I mean, er... camels, we then began realizing how disproportionate everything was--"Why is Mary twice as big as Joseph?" we laughed. "Are THOSE Wise men?" and "Why are the three camels all different sizes?" 

We glued on all our pieces nonetheless. A good activity had turned into a magical one. It was a masterpiece!

Another activity mentioned by my family as a favorite is one we do a version of nearly every year. It's a bit complicated to explain, so I'll provide a visual. The first year we did it, we used the song, "Joy to the World."

Each family member is assigned a color or text style (underlined or bolded) and has a copy of the words with the parts they are to sing marked with their color. Additionally, text left unhighlighted or not underlined, etc, is text that everyone is to sing. So for example, here's a potential singing assignment and the first verse of the song:

Singing assignments:

Joy to the World
, the Lord is come / Let earth receive her King / Let every heart prepare Him room / And Heaven and nature sing/ And Heaven and nature sing/ And Heaven and Heaven and nature sing

Since the men in my family are the bold text that's highlighted red, their sound is being contrasted with two or more female voices singing the green, underlined parts. We sing it without any music accompaniment.

If you know the song, you can imagine how amazing it can sound with different parts and voices. We are no choir! And have I mentioned we can't sing? In fact, only one of us is a good singer; yet, this activity is hands-down, our favorite to do every year.

Another option and easier way to do it is to only divide it between females and males, or by age categories; kids, parents. Use what works for your family. 

What activities should you choose?

None of these mentioned so far cost any money! What things does your family enjoy doing? Maybe you could pull out the karaoke machine on Christmas day, play a board game, make homemade ornaments for your tree or make cookies. You might write out a mad lib script that's themed for your family and Christmas. What matters and what has become important to us is the tradition.

How important is this tradition?

I asked my family members (excluding the 3-year-old) to rate the following list in the order of their enjoyment with -1- being the most enjoyable.

Total    Scores Given    Activity                    
10       3,2,1,2,2          Opening gifts
11       2,1,4,3,1          Our Christmas program
14       1,6,2,1,4          Wrapping/Buying gifts
21       6,3,3,4,5          Our Christmas food
23       4,5,6,5,3          Decorating/Seeing our tree
26       5,4,5,6,6          Our stockings

The Christmas program ranked second to opening presents, and only by one point! Though all the activities are enjoyable for most of us, it was interesting to see how the numbers looked because some people hate buying presents while others aren't as excited about delicious Christmas Day food. I have to say, food is never last on my list.


A craft for you!

Finally, because some people like square snowflakes, but I'm not one of them, below are directions for making knock-out, six-sided snowflakes--another family favorite!

No need to reinvent the wheel--instructions from Here are a few I just made, including my first attempt at a peace sign snowflake.

If you missed any of the posts in this series, catch up: Holiday Savings Series.
Up next are posts from Adventures in Momville and Coupon Mommie.



American Swede Photography said...

Thanks for sharing! I prefer the 6-sided snowflakes, too. Last year I made all my family sit around the table and make snowflakes: kids, hubby, grandparents, aunts. Surprisingly, my hubby got into it the most. I later laminated the snowflakes, and the kids happily taped them in their bedroom windows for the remainder of the winter. It was a pretty pick-me-up.

Mamabelle said...

Wonderful! When I was teaching H.S., I taught my students how to make them, too!