As much as I love the holiday season, it has become even more special now that I have kids.  But even though we want to make the holidays special for our girls, we still want to meet all of our long-term financial goals too. Here are few things we do to create memories without breaking the bank.

Christmas Eve Traditions

Every year our family has a tradition of going to look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. We put on our pajamas and coats, grab some homemade hot chocolate, and jump in the car. Greg then drives us all around town to look at the pretty Christmas lights and decorations people have put on display. One of the businesses in our town also has a huge Christmas display that you can drive through.  My kids absolutely loved it last year so we plan on making the drive at least a few times this year.

Decorating the Tree

Greg and I both have Christmas ornaments that are more than 30-years old and ornaments from when our kids were babies as well.  I love digging them out and helping the kids decorate the tree.  Our garage sale Christmas tree and mismatched ornaments never look that great, but we do have fun getting the tree ready for Santa.

I don’t do a lot of decorating around the house for Christmas other than putting up a tree.  I’ve just never gotten into the holiday décor thing, but I always think it looks nice when other people do.  My daughter seriously wants us to put up some Christmas lights like all of the neighbors, but I hate the thought of wasting so much electricity.  Is that sad or what?

Creating a 2014 Scrapbook

My awesome vacation scrapbook...

My awesome vacation scrapbook…

Since we love to travel, we go on lots of trips together.  We want our girls to have lots of memories and experiences while they are still young, but we also just like to spend the quality time with them away from the stresses of regular life. Exposing them to many different locations and cultures through travel is how we choose to use some of our money, but of course we supplement our spending with credit card rewards.

Regardless, we have a huge collection of photos from our trips. Some we print out, but most we do not. Sitting down to do some scrapbooking with the girls would be a great wintertime activity since we can’t spend too much time outside in the cold.  I usually like to put together some sort of collection of our travels and activities for each year, including things like birthdays, special events, and fun days we had.

I also recently put together a scrapbook of our recent trip to Europe with It was incredibly easy to do and I didn’t have to mess with glue or stickers or get a ton of photos developed. does all of the heavy lifting for you – you just have to upload your pictures and place them where you want them.  I highly recommend it if you don’t have the will or desire to pay for overpriced scrapbooking stickers or use double-sided tape.

The Christmas tree is up!

The Christmas tree is up!

Baking Some Christmas Memories

Having the girls help with some holiday baking is fun, messy, and great for making memories.. They love to help out in the kitchen and baking cookies is a fun way to make some memories. They helped me make homemade pumpkin pie this year when we harvested our pumpkins and had a blast helping pour the ingredients into the blender.  I hope to make some holiday cookies with them this year…and I also hope that I can keep my own grubby paws out of them!

Saving money is important, but we want to make memories too.  After all, these are things they’ll look back on when they are adults someday, and we want them to remember the fun things we did as a family. Memories of gifts you receive as a child will fade over time, but memories truly can last forever.

How do you create Christmas memories without breaking the bank? Do you have any holiday traditions?