For many Canadians, the holiday season is synonymous with splurging on gifts, travel, parties and other activities that can eat up hard earned savings quickly
Yet building memories and sharing experiences with family and friends are some of the most memorable parts of the holidays.
From musical activities to winter sports and winter festivals, here are five ways you can spend quality time without spending all your dimes.
Sharing the joy of the holiday season with others is a wonderful way to celebrate without spending a dime. Brew some hot chocolate and make holiday cards for loved ones then hand deliver them to spend some quality time together. Write a letter to Santa Claus and receive a reply from one of his helpers at Canada Post. Make homemade decorations and ornaments such as glittery pine cones and gingerbread houses.
'Tis the Season
From decades-old classics to new tunes, music is a key part of the holidays for many Canadians. There are plenty of free concerts and performances that are open to the public for Yuletide. Want to be a part of the festivities? Join a choir or gather a group of singers to go carolling, which you can do door-to-door or at a retirement centre. If you're more shy, sing your heart out at a Christmas-themed karaoke session from the comfort of your home.
The Great Outdoors
Heading outside to enjoy the winter weather is another way to enjoy the holidays without overspending. Host a snowman building competition: use your imagination to decorate your creation and vote for your favourite. Grab a sled and spend the afternoon riding down a hill with your friends and family. A good old fashioned snowball fight or making snow angels in your backyard are two other free activities that make the most of the snow before the winter blues set in. If you own skates, some towns make free outdoor skating rinks for locals to enjoy a lap or a hockey game.
Some of the best parts of the festive season are free community events. Santa Claus parades are particularly popular with families, while some towns host festivals to turn on their holiday lights. Browse local holidays markets, where small business owners rent stalls to sell handmade gifts and snacks. You can also enjoy your neighbours' displays by gathering a group of loved ones and taking a car or walking to take in the light show.
The Gift of Time
Volunteering is one of the most fulfilling ways to mark the season. Many non-profit organizations are looking for extra help around the holidays for fundraising projects. Collect toys and clothes as gifts for children and teens in need as part of a toy drive. Serve Christmas dinner at a local soup kitchen. Gather donations for the Salvation Army as part of their Christmas Kettle campaign. Drop by a nursing home and spend an afternoon with the elderly, who are at risk of being forgotten this time of year.