6 Simple inexpensive Ways to Make the Holidays Magical this year

twinkle lights on a dark background text overlay magical christmas

Do you remember the feeling of Christmas as a child? It is a kind of magic that is hard to describe, but it is a feeling most of us know. It truly is not attached to a certain food or a purchased gift but it is a feeling in our hearts. Here are 6 simple and inexpensive ways to make the holidays magical this year.

Maybe you popped in here because you want to awake that spirit of Christmas, but you cannot add any more stress or expense to your already full to overflowing life. I hear you!

I’m not going to say why, but we need a little Christmas right this very minute. I don’t know about you but with all we have been through, a little extra comfort and joy are totally welcome for me even if it is a little early by some people’s standards.

But I cannot and will not add extra pressure or stress to my life…or suggest you add it to yours.

Before we begin, you might enjoy my post about telling my 3-year-old the truth about Santa Claus and why I did it.

Why I Told My 3-Year-Old the Truth about Santa

Just so you know, this post might contain affiliate links, and as an affiliate and Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full disclosure here.

Here are 6 simple and inexpensive ways to make the holidays magical this year.

Decorate together
Create a Soundtrack
Simple Rituals
A Spirit of Giving

Decorate together

As a recovering perfectionist, it has been difficult for me to not go solo in decorating my home. Turns out my kids love decorating. They ask about it way before it is time and they love getting involved in the process. Maybe your family is not that way.

Either way, I urge you to make them feel welcome in the decorating process anyway.

Do you get tired while decorating from overstimulation (energetic children) and decision fatigue? Create strategies that help make it so much less stressful to decorate with them. This paves the way to more of the magical feelings.

For example, I break up the decorating into chunks. I pull out the boxes (we only have three) one day. Set up the tree and add lights only the next day.

Then the family can help put ornaments on together.

If the tree is already set up, the branches are fluffed and the lights are on, it makes putting the decorations on together much more manageable for us. I do not rearrange the ornaments. I enjoy the togetherness.

If letting go of ornament placement is not for you. Consider a small tabletop tree in the kids’ room for any ornaments they want.

In addition, I have a small collection of miniature nativity sets and small trees that I let the kids decide where most of those will go. They can put them on the bathroom counter, in the kitchen, or on a bookshelf, for example.

Add to the festive feelings with music and some of my homemade hot chocolate.

Use Candle Light

Have you ever lost power? Aside from the fear of losing everything in the freezer, did you enjoy the time of temporarily going unplugged?

If we lose power, we pull out the candles and light them. We occupy ourselves with simple things and it feels so good. I can’t really explain it, but it has Little House on the Prairie vibes. I would almost feel disappointed when the power kicked back on.

We can recreate this feeling by cutting the electronics and overhead lights. Then by the light of candles, the glow of the tree, or small accent lighting, we enjoy some quiet time together.

Sometimes we add some gentle music like jazz, classical, or Christmas music and enjoy the house and faces lit by candlelight.

Unplug and do something quiet

Like the quietness we feel from the dimmed lights of candles or the glow of the tree, we can take it one step further and unplug for a little longer to enjoy some slow quiet connection together.

We play quiet games, do a puzzle, read, or the kids play on the floor. Sometimes I do a handicraft or soak my feet.

Doing this, even if it is just 30 minutes after dinner, can feel so different than the regular pace of life that it takes on a magical feel. Try it!

Create a Soundtrack

My husband happens to have an astounding collection of Christmas music. For weeks, we has the playlists running on the Bluetooth speakers as a soundtrack for our lives during this season.

If you do not have a collection of your own, you can listen on a streaming service, or in most areas, at least one radio station will play Christmas music exclusively for several weeks.

Here are some of your favorite holiday albums (no particular order):

Charlie Brown Christmas
The Best of Christmas Album by Nat King Cole
A Christmas Album by Amy Grant
An Amy Grant Christmas by Amy Grant
Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey
Christmas Story by Point of Grace
Christmas Collection by The Carpenters
White Christmas by Bing Crosby
A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector

Simple Rituals and Traditions

We can mark the season with joy and sacredness by adding a ritual that is set apart to this time of year. You do not need to spend a lot of money or any at all to set up a tradition like this. Nor does it need to be complicated or more work for you.

Several years ago, I found a pretty advent calendar at the thrift store for a couple of dollars. You could even make a simple one like this together.

Every year, I put a piece of candy inside each tiny cupboard with a slip of paper with a reading or a tiny activity. Usually, the reading is about advent (Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love) or from the Nativity story.

The tiny activity in the box is a note that says something like, “If you chose, you can save your candy and put it in your lunchbox for tomorrow”. Sometimes, the note says, “find baby Jesus around the house and place him in the manger”. Or it might say, “Say 3 nice things about why you love your brother”. Here are more ideas.

During December, the majority of our reading is holiday-themed books. I keep ours with our holiday decorations and pull them out this time of year. Each evening when we read together, we chose a book from our holiday collection. Some years, I have wrapped each one and that added an element of fun to have one to open each night.

Creating those simple traditions helps set the season apart from the rest of the year and cultivates that feeling of Christmas magic in our home.

What are some rituals or traditions that you do? Comment below.

Check out my shop for printable to make the holiday special.

A Spirit of Giving

Most years, we kick off the season by preparing a few gift boxes for Operation Christmas Child. General, this is done not long after Halloween because of the collection and shipping times set by that organization. I love that before we do anything else, we give.

Then throughout the season, I create opportunities to give or do a random act of kindness every week. Check out my post with dozens of ideas for acts of kindness:

Revolutionary Acts of Kindness to do with Your Kids Right Now

Most of them do not cost anything and can be done with your kids. There is nothing as magical a feeling as doing something to brighten someone’s day.

Other ways we give of our time in ways that do not cost much is to rake leaves for someone, put the cart away at the store, make eye contact and connect with the cashier or people serving you at stores and businesses, offer to babysit for parents so they can go shopping, or invite friends over for coffee and hot chocolate.

6 simple and inexpensive ways to make the holidays magical this year

Decorate together
Create a Soundtrack
Simple Rituals
A Spirit of Giving


Do you need a little Christmas right this very minute? We have been through some interesting months, a little extra comfort and joy are needed!

Awaken the spirit of Christmas without adding any more stress or expense to your already full to overflowing life.

What made Christmas feel magical for you as a child? Is it hard to describe? It could be a certain food or presents but is it also a feeling in your heart? What are some simple and inexpensive ways to make the holidays magical this year for you?


Are there any of these swaps that you have considered for making your holiday season more magical? Are you already doing some of them? What do you do that is not on the list? I would love to hear your thoughts. Comments below or we can move the conversation to social media.

Your feedback is important to me

I love connecting with my readers because your feedback is important to me. Please leave a (really kind) comment below, or find me on social media @altogethermostly

Jaime Ragsdale
Jaime Ragsdale, Founder of Altogether Mostly

About the author, Jaime

Here at Altogether Mostly, you will find grace, compassion, joy, and beauty. I use empathy and a little tough love to bring out the best in people. I live in the Midwest United States with my loving husband and awesome children. For more about me and Altogether Mostly, please visit my about page here.

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