12 cheap (and free) things to do with kids during the Christmas holidays

Christmas is an expensive time of year and it’s natural to want to make it extra special for your children. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to get into the festive spirit. Check out this list of cheap and free activities that you can do this Christmas as a family.

Visit Santa’s grotto 

Taking your children to see Santa is an experience they won’t forget (and you’ll have pictures to last a lifetime). There are places all across the UK where you can visit Santa and some are free. Many of them host a range of fun activities so you can make the most of it and spend all day getting festive. We recommend booking in advance so that you’re not left disappointed.

And if you’re a dog mum, they even do Santa’s grottos for dogs now!

Make your own Christmas wreath 

Christmas wreaths spread joy in your neighbourhood for dog walkers, guests and passersby to admire. Making your own is a fun and rewarding activity for your green fingers and it will give your little ones something to be proud of. Our guide doesn’t use plastic, only items from the Earth that can be returned to the Earth afterwards – something we’re especially passionate about at Christmas.

Discover our DIY Christmas wreath tutorial here. 


Partake in a Christmas movie night 

Bring all of your duvets, pillows and blankets downstairs and create a cosy nest to watch your movies in. You can go one step further and build a fort. Grab your favourite treats like popcorn or pick and mix and begin your marathon!

DIY Christmas crackers

It’s not Christmas dinner without a cracker but let’s be honest, no one wants the little plastic toy that ends up in the bin. Making your own Christmas crackers allows you to give a personalised gift that your loved ones will appreciate. Let your children choose a gift for everyone (no plastic though) and transform your table setting in just five simple steps.

Learn how to make DIY plastic-free Christmas crackers. 


Handmade Christmas stockings 

Making your own Christmas stocking adds that personal touch to the festivities. Whether your family hangs their stockings on the mantlepiece or you use them as gift bags, they are super quick and easy to make. Got a big family? No problem, you can make a bunch of them in only one afternoon. And if you can’t sew, we’ve got you covered with a no-sew handmade Christmas stocking guide too.

Read our step-by-step stocking guides here. 

Attend a Christmas light switch on event 

Watching your local town come to life with excitement and bright lights is brilliant. Watching your children’s faces light up is completely free! Simply get your hats and scarves on and warm yourselves up with a hot chocolate while you have a jingle to Christmas music. For many, the Christmas light switch on events has returned for the first time since Covid-19 and they’re back with a bang with the likes of markets, fireworks and fairground games.


Make your own Christmas decorations 

Decorating your home as a family is one of the most fun traditions at Christmas time. This year, you can get everyone involved by making your own! We’ve compiled a list of eco-friendly and budget-friendly DIY Christmas decorations including dried orange garlands, pom-pom Christmas trees and origami baubles.

Discover the full list of eco-friendly Christmas decorations here. 

Go ice skating 

Whether you cautiously inch your way along the handrails or you’re a secret professional, there are plenty of rinks to get your skate on this Christmas. These days, many are covered so you don’t have to worry about the weather getting in the way. Plus, many have additional activities and local places to grab a coffee if you wanted to spend the day out. Remember to wrap up warm!

Visit the Christmas markets 

Most Christmas markets are free to enter and they’re fantastic for finding unique presents, enjoying mince pies with friends and getting in the Christmas spirit. Most towns have a market so you don’t have to venture far to find one. They’re lit up with lights and the smell of seriously good food wafts throughout. Are you sold yet?


Bake festive treats 

The kitchen may get a bit messy but isn’t that the fun of it? BBC Good Food has tons of easy biscuits, cake and treats Christmas recipes to make with your children. They will love licking the remains of the bowl and if you’re feeling kind, spread the joy and share them with your neighbours or school friends.

Make Christmas cards for loved ones 

Save your old Christmas cards each year and cut them out to reuse them next year. All you need is some paper and glue: simply stick the cutouts on. You can also add some colourful drawings and biodegradable glitter to create something you’ll treasure forever.


Go on a Christmas light hunt 

One evening, wrap up cosy and talk a walk around your neighbourhood and marvel at the lit-up houses. Enjoy a flask of hot chocolate or non-alcoholic mulled wine while you stroll.

But don’t forget to research free events that are happening in your area too because you never know what surprises you’ll find.

Discover our eco-friendly Christmas gift guide 

Still need to grab some last-minute Christmas gifts? We’ve got your back. In our eco-friendly Christmas gift guide, you’ll find the perfect gift for parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, children and pets. The best part? They’ve been handpicked by our trusty team and we know they’re going to make a positive difference to the planet in the new year.


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