When you take a moment to organize your holiday activities, it gives you time to simplify them, if needed, and work them into your schedule and budget.

Put yourself in control of the activities you do, and not the other way around. Go ahead and enjoy the season. Have fun with your spouse, kids or grandkids. There are lots of things to do to keep up your holiday spirit without burning a hole in your wallet!

Often, the best memories do not require spending money, but rather, something priceless…your time.

Take a drive through a community festival of lights display.

Go caroling at a local nursing home.

Attend a midnight church service on Christmas Eve.

Drive around area neighborhoods to see the different houses decorated at night and take a vote on which house is the best.

Go on a scavenger hunt for natural items in your backyard with your kids to use in crafts and decorating (pinecones, acorns, leaves, twigs, etc.).

Have a festive cookie-baking day. Play some holiday music, pass out the aprons and get hands dirty with dough! Pack some up to take to the neighbors.

Have a family tree trimming party. Make hot cider and play holiday music. String cranberries or popcorn to wrap around the tree, make paper ornaments, paint plain glass bulbs to display, reminisce about the older decorations on your tree.

Have an “It’s a Wonderful Life” holiday movie party or any other favorite holiday classic. Pass around the popcorn.

Purchase an advent calendar to use this year, or better yet, make your own using a “thought for the day” verse favorite holiday memories written under each of the 24 paper doors.

Go caroling with a few friends or family throughout your neighborhood. Bring tapered candles to light the way.

Build a snowman and make snow angels in your yard if there’s snow and even if you don’t have kids at home!

Attend a holiday parade this year. Bring fold up chairs and a thermos of hot chocolate.

Make crafts together.

Scrapbook past holiday season’s into one album.

Have a cookie decorating party.

Host a Christmas tea on a Sunday afternoon, asking all children and adult guests to bring in either a canned food for the local food bank, a new toy for a toy drive, or a pair of mittens to donate to a local shelter.

Take the kids to see Santa at the mall.

Make cards and take them to a local nursing home.

Do a meal exchange with a close friend where each of you makes a double recipe of several meals that freeze well and exchange with each other so you will have a variety in your freezer over the busy holiday season.

Have a cookie swap.

Make elegant sugared fruit: dip plums, red grapes, peaches, pears and apples into egg white and roll in sugar. Display in a pretty bowl for an instant centerpiece.

Dig up all the candles in your home, big ones, little ones, half used ones, etc. Light the house on Christmas eve with candlelight flickering everywhere.

Make a Yule-log this year. Find a dried log and tie pine sprigs and rosemary and cinnamon sticks with raffia. On Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Years Eve, burn the sweet fragranced log and make wishes for the coming year.

Update your holiday photos from last year and display on your coffee table for the entire month of December.

Make a gingerbread house.

Light a big red candle at every meal in your kitchen for the month of December.

Open your holiday cards at the dinner table to share them with the entire family.

Interview your parents and/or grandparents about the holiday season when they were young. Take notes and tuck them away for your kids.

Hang a wreath on your office door.

Play holiday music in your car.

Don’t be a scrooge. Get out and enjoy the season! Making new memories are all a part of what the season is all about! Happy Holidays to all!

Connecticut Media Group