Ideas for affordable ways to have fun over the holiday season this year
Stuck for activities that won’t break the bank this Christmas? I’ve put together some tips to help you find the best free and affordable events to keep you entertained this December.
Christmas is expensive enough with all the gift buying (read our Christmas Shopping tips here), but when you factor in activities and entertainment over the festive season; the costs just keep getting higher and higher. However, if you plan ahead and keep an eye out for special events, you could save yourself a lot of time and money! Here are my tips for seeking out the activities to suit your budget.
Start with your local council website
Your local council website should serve as a resource of useful information – including Christmas events. You will find links to local libraries and art galleries and be able to see what events they’re hosting over the Christmas period. If you’re not sure of the web address for your local council, you can do a search via this link on the direct.gov.uk website.
Shopping Centres aren’t all about shopping
The thought of visiting a shopping centre in the run up to Christmas might fill you with dread, but if you can find yourself a parking space and battle through all the shoppers you might find that there’s some free fun to be had! For example, local to me, Manchester’s Trafford Centre has some great free craft workshops on.
The best way to find out about any upcoming events is to sign up to the shopping centre’s email list or connect with them using social media by liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter. This way you’ll be the first to know what’s happening and when.
Sign up for meal-deals direct to your inbox
As well as keeping your children entertained, you might also need to think about entertaining friends or family who have come to visit during the festive period. A great way to save on eating out is to sign up to discount websites such as Livingsocial and Groupon. These websites are free to join up to and will send you regular emails with restaurants offers so that your meals out don’t cost the earth.
You do need to be cautious though. Before buying a meal deal, check when the offer is valid from and which days of the week you can use it as most have restrictions on dates and times. It’s also worth checking the prices for any extra drinks or side orders as these can often make you meal suddenly seem not so reasonable.
Jacqueline Cohen, Marketing Manager at ClearDebt is a big fan of these sites, she explains,
After having a baby three years ago, we really cut back in my household and the need for nappies, childcare and more food in the house, far outweighed the opportunity to go out for dinner. With sites like Groupon, Living Social, Frugaloo and KGB, we now go out for dinner quite often – all for £25 or less – for the two of us! These sites are also great for Christmas and Birthday gifts so when the moneybox is running a little low in January, these sites will certainly lend a helping hand.
Plan a perfect night in
Celebrating the festive season doesn’t have to mean going out all the time. Personally when the winter weather kicks in I much prefer an evening in all snug and warm. This time of year there are always plenty of films to watch on TV, so pick one that you like and start planning a “movie night” around it. If movies on your TV at home just don’t compare to the cinema, there’s plenty of other fun you can have at home. Why not dig out your old board games and get some healthy competition going? Or if you’re more into video games set up a tournament between your friends.
What are your plans for the Christmas break?
We’d love to know how you’ll be spending the Christmas break, so tell us your plans and feel free to share any affordable events and activities you’ve come across.