Christmas is such an important time for the family. There are so many things that we all want to do with the kids – especially in the run-up – to make it an extra magical occasion. And, whilst I still have little ones, I want to get everything I can out of the build-up.
The problem is that Christmas is an expensive time of year. The cost of the food, those extra nibbles, the presents and the gift wrap all add up and you are already looking at huge amounts for some people. Add in the run-up – the Santa’s grottos, the Santa meet and greets, the ice skating, the reindeer petting zoos, the special events and, well, is it any wonder that we all find it so darn stressful?
No, of course not. It IS stressful.
That’s why this Christmas, Coca-Cola GB have challenged me to pull together my very own ‘festive things to do guide’. As you know, I have been working with them on their sustainability initiatives for the last few months, so I was really excited when they added in a festive twist! And, once you get to the end, you’ll even spot a little surprise from Coca-Cola too! This list includes events local to me, but hopefully it’ll give you some inspiration no matter where you call home.
Take a look!
Santa’s Post Office in Sheffield
This has had rave reviews and it’s TOTALLY free. I’ve read a few but my favourite review is this one. I like the idea of this as something that could just break up a day out doing the Christmas shopping without adding extra cost, essentially you take your child along and they have a ball looking around Santa’s little post office – they can even write to him themselves!
York Christmas market
This is a great one because the market and all its lights and pretty stalls are lining the street and it really feels like you have slipped into a winter wonderland. There is no entry fee for the market, but if you had some money to spare you could also enjoy the thrills and spills of the bungee ride or the helter-skelter.
Christmas in Haworth
Different events every weekend in Bronte county in the run up to Christmas – and the best thing is most of them are totally free! You can pop over to their facebook page to find out what is when! The lights and decorations in themselves in this picuresque place is enough to entertain most, but those little events, from musical to crafting, are perfect added touches.
Children under 5 are totally free and at the cost of only a few pounds per adult or child, this is one that the whole family could easily do under £5. I love the idea of a Santa train, it’s something that my children about really enjoy, and there aren’t many things that you can do for £2.50 per adult are there?
I actually had the opportunity to go along to this one with my mum and Edith and absolutely loved it. There was music, Christmas decorations everywhere and just such a lovely festive vibe… including how cold it was, ha! Visiting 24 stops up and down the country, the absolutely iconic Coca-Cola truck is 100% something you should not miss. Who doesn’t shriek – “It’s chrrrriiissttmmasss!” at the top of their lungs when they see that big red beauty on their screens? Go and see it in the flesh, for free and you will even get yourself a FREE can of your favourite Coke, which you can recycle on site. Coca-Cola are dedicated to encouraging us to recycle and their cans are made of 42% aluminium. At the Truck Tour, they have more bins than ever on site, and they are even working with the council in each area they visit to ensure that they leave no waste behind when they leave. After we visited the truck in Pudsey, had our photographs taken with the Truck, and then went to have a little look around the nearby shops to grab some bits and bobs before heading home! It was such a nice way to spend a little bit of time getting in the festive mood.
As if those ideas aren’t enough, there are plenty of ways to make savings on gift giving and doing things together to save up.
Every year we make my in-laws a hamper and yes, we do include other gifts from us, but in general the homemade hamper, especially from the children, means the world.
Last time we included homemade soap using essential oil, shea butter soap blocks for melting down and some food colouring. We also made bath bombs which are SO easy to make (and most likely include products from your kitchen) and lots of homemade chocolates. You can use a simple bar of your favourite brand chocolate, melt it down and add it into any mould, before popping it into the fridge. Once you have cooled the chocolates, you can then put them in a gift box or paper candy stripe bag and gift them. It’s such a sweet idea and costs under £5, plus entertains the children.
What tips do you have for saving money at Christmas?