If you have children, the best part of the holiday season is seeing their sense of wonder and magic on Christmas morning. But trying to give them the picture-perfect holiday can be expensive, especially if you’re already facing student loans or credit card debt.
Celebrating the season doesn’t have bust your bank account; there are plenty of inexpensive Christmas ideas and tools you can use to create a wonderful experience for your family.
Read below for ideas to make this holiday season special on a budget.
Inexpensive Christmas resources
While the hottest gifts this season may be pricey electronics or elusive toys, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great holiday with your child.
You don’t even need to be especially crafty to make Christmas magic. Try these ready-made services you can use to celebrate the holiday.
NORAD Santa tracker
While the NORAD Santa tracker is well known for tracking St. Nick’s movements on Christmas Eve, it’s a terrific resource leading up to the holiday, too. With videos about Santa and his elves, new games, information about holiday traditions, and Christmas music, you and your child can surf the site together.
On the big night, check back for in-the-moment updates about Santa’s travels around the globe. Your child can track him from country to country and find out when he’ll be in your area.
Free personalized letters from Santa
On Free Letters From Santa Claus, you can design and personalize a letter for each child. Choose a background, select a template letter, and fill in the fields to personalize it to your kid’s interests.
Once complete, the site will email you a PDF of the designed letter and envelope for you to print yourself. With several different backgrounds and letters available, you can choose a different combination for each child so they all get a unique experience.
Personalized video message from Santa
With Portable North Pole, you can enchant your child with a special video message from Santa directly to them. Whether your child has been naughty or nice, create a personalized video where Santa talks directly to your child, calling him or her by name and mentioning recent achievements and accomplishments.
Portable North Pole offers several free video options you can customize, or you can get unlimited premium videos for $8.99.
Watch the reindeer cam
Share how Santa cares for his reindeer with your children! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, and all the rest need constant care, and now your kids can watch them around the clock with ReindeerCam.
Three times a day, Santa comes out to feed his reindeer. For children who love animals, it’s a great way to check in on the herd that pulls the sleigh.
Elf on the Shelf
If you’re willing to make the daily commitment, starting the “Elf on a Shelf” tradition in your family can be a cheap but charming part of the season. While the kits with books and accessories can get pricey, you can get an elf doll for as little as $10 online.
Check out Pinterest for fun ideas to pose the doll, such as taking a bath in a pot, playing with other toys, or delivering chocolates. Each morning will be fun as your child searches for the doll.
Catch Santa in the act
While not free, this is one of the most unique and inexpensive Christmas tools you can use to amaze your child. With Capture the Magic, you take pictures of your home (try a shot of the Christmas tree or fireplace) and then you can insert Santa or his reindeer right into the photos.
The results are remarkably realistic. You can show your kids photo evidence of Santa eating cookies in your kitchen, unloading gifts at the tree, or reindeer nibbling at the back door. Get three photos for $4.99, or check out other photo packages for discounts.
The photos will make for treasured keepsakes on Christmas morning and are sure to be looked at again and again.
Catch up on classic movies
If you have a library card, you can rent classic Christmas movies like Miracle on 34th Street, The Polar Express, A Christmas Story, Elf, or The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Make movie night a regular part of your Christmas tradition with popcorn or hot chocolate. You’ll enjoy the movies together and bond without spending a fortune.
Coming up with inexpensive Christmas ideas
As a parent, there’s a lot of pressure to give your child the perfect Christmas. But the best memories don’t come from the latest gaming system or hottest toy; they’re from experiences and time you spend together.
Use these inexpensive Christmas ideas to create the holiday magic and spark lasting memories as a family.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.
Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.47% – 6.99%3||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit SoFi|
|2.47% – 5.87%1||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Earnest|
|2.47% – 8.03%4||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Lendkey|
|2.95% – 6.37%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.72% – 8.32%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|