These days, the Christmas holiday is marked with lots of spending. Spending on expensive gifts, decorations, lavish parties, and travel is what it’s become for many people. Joy, love, and sharing is still mixed in there somewhere, but things are not how they were generations ago.

Some of you may remember celebrating Christmas with your family in simpler, quieter ways. Tradition mattered. Has it disappeared? No! Definitely not. But sometimes so much emphasis is placed on the commercial aspect that people yearn for what’s “simple”.

It can become stressful. Let’s take a step back and think about the kind of Christmas our grandparents would be fond of. Old-fashioned maybe? Well, today we’re listing some ideas to help you get into a more laid-back, nostalgic Christmas spirit. Who knows? Maybe you’ll start a new tradition.

  1. Craft DIY Wrappings

    Create your own gift wrap by using recycled materials, plain paper, stamps, or old fabric. No need to spend a ton of money when newspapers, cereal boxes, and paper bags can be upgraded with a little creativity. It’s a fun activity that gets your family gathered around the table.

  2. Make Your Own Decorations

    Skip the store-bought ornaments and go with classic popcorn garlands and paper chains like back in the day. Make tree ornaments or décor for the inside and outside of your house using your own imagination or tutorials.

    Handmade decorations also make fantastic gifts! Incorporate bits of nature by using pinecones, cranberries, or holly. And there’s so much you can do with paper, scissors, and a glue gun. Have fun!

  3. Bake Treats

    How lovely grandma’s house smells when it’s filled with scent of freshly baked cookies or chocolate! Make candy, cakes, or other goodies to give as gifts. Team up with kids, friends, and family to spend quality time together as you invade the kitchen. Use your own recipes or check out some of these holiday cookies, cupcakes, or candy ornaments.

  4. Send Out Holiday Cards

    Do you still receive holiday cards in the mail? It’s not a forgotten practice, but it’s done less and less. Brighten someone’s day by mailing out cards this year signed by your own hand. If you’re feeling extra crafty, make them yourself!

  5. Ditch Travel Plans

    Instead of traveling far from home, keep it local. Stay home or go to small gatherings that include friends and family.

  6. Create or Share a Special Memory

    Swap stories with your elders. Take a Christmas photo or a bunch of them throughout the whole day, and just change the theme: pajamas, wild faces, ugly sweaters, etc. Another idea is to collect things to put into a time capsule with your family. Pick something to do this year or every year and keep the tradition alive.

  7. Get Out and Spread Some Cheer

    Unplug. Have some fun sledding, caroling, building snowmen, or decorating your yard or house. Drive around to check out the Christmas lights in other neighborhoods. Even better? Help out a neighbor.

    Spend some time volunteering at a local shelter, senior home, or other charity. It will give you a chance to spread love around the community.

  8. Stay In and Play In

    Crank up the Christmas songs! There are so many activities you can do at home that don’t involve inviting throngs of guests over. Watch Christmas movies or read stories while gathered together, drinking cocoa and eating homemade cookies. Throw a game night and/or family slumber party where everyone sleeps in the main living area.

  9. Have a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day Dinner

    You can encourage everyone to dress up or dress down – ugly sweaters welcome! Decorate your table and light some candles. Celebrate with old recipes that you’ve prepared together, or go out to one of the few restaurants open for business this time of year.

  10. Give Thank You Notes

    A handwritten thank you card never goes out of style. Write one to anyone who’s given you a gift, was a wonderful party host, or who did something kind for you or your family this season. Don’t forget the stamp!

  11. Spend Less on Gifts

    If you want to spend less on gifts this year, there are several ways you can do it. Of course, sticking to a total budget is one. Instead of running up your credit cards on gifts, use a cash budget for what you want to buy. You can also shorten your gift list. Quit stressing about getting EVERYONE a present and keep it limited. They won’t mind and if they do, they’re missing the point of the season.

    A favorite “old-fashioned” tradition is to give out homemade gifts. Sweets, handmade bath and body goods, jellies, and sewn items are just a few ideas Unleash your inner artsy-crafty self.

Since our grandparents (or parents) weren’t bombarded with the amount of technology and distractions that we have today, more time was spent connecting with people.

Kindness, love, and giving is what the holiday season is about, so putting less emphasis on fancy gifts and more on gratitude and joy is what’s important. No matter how you celebrate the holiday season this year, enjoy it!