Christmas Break Family Fun – on a budget!

The holidays are over and there are still at least 7 days between holiday gift bliss and going back to school where you have to entertain your children! If you’re a recovering working mom like me who has no business entertaining your children because you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing, this can be the most frightening time all year. Or, maybe not.

As I’ve had to entertain my kids more and more over the last year, I’ve come to learn a few things that I think can apply to post-holiday entertainment and not send you running for the left over Egg Nog (not that I’m saying you shouldn’t also keep that handy – and make sure you’re drinking the good stuff, not the stuff that you brought out for the kiddos).

Here’s what I’ve learned about post holiday entertainment that can be fun and on a budget:

1) Have a dolly fashion show – Whether your child received a new doll, or has old ones, kids always love dressing up their dolls; this is just a way to take it up a notch and let them show it all off. You can have a child serve as narrator, one can walk the dolls down the aisle, and one can be the judge. Oh, and don’t forget the photographer. After a while you will lose your mind with all the dolly drama, but the kids will be entertained for a long time.

2) Have a tea party with shrunken food (or, if you don’t want to have real food, you can create some from craft items). This idea we got from an American Girl book. Here are a few of the items that we had fun with:

    Craft foods:

  • Chocolate Oreo Cookies – take black and white foam sheets – cut them into circles and glue them together. You can also make a chocolate chip version with brown foam sheets cut in larger circles and the chips out of the black foam (you can also use construction paper, it’s just not as thick).

  • Milk – take a dixie cup and fill it with cotton balls. Perfect milk for dipping cookies.
    Real foods:

  • Petit Fours – stack two Oreo cookies together and frost them (put a layer of frosting in between); add some sprinkles and you’re ready for a fancy tea.

  • Miniature Pizzas – cut the pre-made refrigerated French roll into small slices; add pizza sauce and cheese and cook for 5-10 minutes in a 350 oven.

  • Miniature Watermelon Slices (this one is a bigger pain, so you may want to skip – I put it here because it did turn out cute) – cut limes in half,
    scoop out the inside, put red jello liquid into each half; refrigerate until firm, but not completely hard. When firm, add several miniature chocolate chips as
    the “seeds” (be sure to push them into the jello with a toothpick) then return to refrigerator until completely hardened. When hardened, cut the halfs in half
    and you’ll have watermelon wedges.
  • christmas break family fun

3) If your kids build it, they will play in it . . . I’m not sure why I bother with toys anymore. No matter how many toys and presents kids get, they always entertain themselves for far more hours with household leftover items. Give your kids a large cardboard box – maybe one that gifts came in or that you have laying around and see what they come up with. My kids built a two story house and an outhouse. Just for fun we put my 6 month old niece in the outhouse and sent my sister a picture letting her know we had potty trained the baby!

Entertaining kids after the holiday madness doesn’t have to be maddening. Hopefully these ideas will help spark some new ideas for you too. If so, I’d love to hear them.


written by: Heather Dugdale

Heather Dugdale’s blog shares her insights about learning how to be a mom and have family fun, while balancing work and life with kids.

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