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Countdown to Christmas: Frugal Traditions for the Holiday Season

The countdown to Christmas is officially on — with just 24 days to go, our December calendar is already filling up. We have Girl Scout events, school musicals, family celebrations. And, somewhere in the middle of it, we try to find ways to enjoy the season together with our own, small traditions.

It keeps us busy enjoying the season without spending a lot of money on holiday family fun. There’s hot cocoa & lights, gingerbread houses, holiday stories, and Santa tracking. It’s all about having fun with my girls, on a budget!

This morning, we marked the start of December by checking out NORAD Santa Tracker. Each December, NORAD tracks Santa’s activities as he and the elves prepare for Christmas. There is a new game every day, as you get a peek into a different part of Santa’s Village. Today, the clock tower is active as the elves begin their own countdown. I kinda love the Christmas tree light game — those connect-a-maze games are my favorite!

The girls will sneak a peek at Santa’s village all month long, but NORAD goes on high alert for Christmas Eve. That’s when we get to use Google Earth to see where Santa stops throughout the day. The girls are always in a hurry to get into bed, as soon as they find out Santa is in North America. It’s become a fun tradition, and something we can do by mobile phone, when we’re on the go with other Christmas Eve activities.

Tomorrow night, we’ll hit the city’s tree lighting celebration. It’s time to visit the winter market, walk the lighted streets, share hot cocoa, and check out the girls’ gingerbread houses on display. This year, they’ve added carriage rides. The girls are going to love that.

Then, Sunday is Tree Trimming Night! It’s kind of a big deal around here, with a simple appetizer buffet and lots of discussion of Christmases past, as our ornament collection sparks fun memories. Once the tree is up, I’ll be dying to fill it with our wrapped book countdown — I wonder if I have enough to extend the countdown this year.

What are your favorite holiday traditions?

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