- Watch classic Christmas movies, with messages that are uplifting if not necessarily religious, such as Santa Claus is Coming to Town and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
- Enjoy a mug of hot chocolate or warm apple cider as a family.
- Get out the family stash of box games, and enjoy a cozy evening at home.
- Drive around the neighborhood to see all of the Christmas lights and decorations.
- Find a Living Nativity being held near your home.
- Sing lots of Christmas carols, and help your children learn the words to the meaningful songs of the season.
- Attend Christmas Eve services wherever you have traveled for the holiday.
- Have an old-fashioned Christmas crafting session, cutting paper snowflakes or crafting candy canes from colorful beads and chenille stems.
- Bake a bunch of Christmas cookies, brownies, or candy. Deliver them to one of your neighbors to spread some Christmas cheer. (It’s okay to enjoy a few yourself, too!)
- Go Christmas caroling around your neighborhood with friends. Decide on a few familiar carols to sing, and try to ring the bells of some of the older generation, who seem to be especially appreciative of the smallest carolers among us!
- Read from the Gospel of Luke perhaps the most familiar account of Jesus’ birth, found in chapter 2 verses 1 through 21.
- Offer the gift of your presence with someone who could use a little company—an elderly relative in a nursing home, a homebound friend, or a church member spending the holidays in the hospital.
- Offer another kind of "gift of time": offer to babysit for a friend’s children so she can have a much-needed “date night” with her husband; offer to pet sit for a friend going out of town for the holidays; offer some special service you are able to provide, like a free haircut, massage, or manicure, if you have such a talent; offer to write down an aging person’s memories to create a priceless keepsake for his family.
- Combine the benefits of de-cluttering your home with the blessing of giving to people in need by making a concerted effort to collect all of the items in your house that you are no longer using and are no longer bringing you any joy. Then, redistribute them appropriately: to the Media Free Store, to a clothing cupboard, to a home for women and children escaping abusive households, to Goodwill.
What other ideas can you add to this list—free and inexpensive ways to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends in meaningful ways? We've got a few more days until Christmas, and several days after before the new year arrives...let’s put our heads together, and share.