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Cheap and Easy Christmas Things that Even You Can Do!

I assume you’re already doing all the religious stuff, and have already bought, made, figured out, or given up on gifts. Here are a bunch of other nice Christmasy things you can do pretty easily, using materials that you may actually have in your house and skills you can probably muster up even at this stage of your life.

 

SOMETHING SWEET TO EAT:

Fudge recipe that doesn’t require a candy thermometer.

fudge

Can be dressed up with various nuts, crushed candies, flavored chips (peanut butter, mint, butterscotch, etc.), but yummy on its own. There are also lots of other great recipes on that page, with clear instructions.

Also more of less foolproof, and without any exotic ingredients or equipment, but messy to make: buckeyes. I let the kids do this one, since it involves a lot of hand-mooshing of dough and unsanitary dipping in chocolate.

 

SOMETHING SAVORY TO EAT:

 

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Jew-for-a-day potato latkes that are great for Chanukah but don’t require any special Jew ingredients. I didn’t bother with the cheesecloth; I just squeezed out the potato shreds in a colander and added a bit of extra flour. So tasty and tender. Serve with sour cream. Leave time to go lie down afterwards.

 

SOMETHING TO LISTEN TO:

Christmas music that is free and won’t make you grind your teeth: The Boston Camerata never disappoints.

medieval feast

 

SOME DECORATIONS TO MAKE:

 

paper ornament

Neat Christmas decorations that require only some paper, a stapler, and some string
.

The dog actually made this one, and he’s an idiot! That’s how easy it is! The dog couldn’t even find the stapler, so he used needle and thread. For a fancier look, try using this basic idea, but with lots of different sizes and shapes (giant to tiny), different cuts (straight, scalloped, etc.), with shiny, patterned, or regular paper, and hang them from string or ribbons or yarn, and add sparkly beads to the string. Instantly dresses up a room if you hang up half a dozen from the ceiling.

We also had fun last year gluing together various kinds of pasta for ornaments. Hot glue worked the best. These can be painted (metallic spray paint is great) or even colored with markers, but you can also get on board the “natural pasta look” train that is not actually a thing. We made wreaths, trees, angels, instruments, and all kinds of stars. We really did! But here are the ones I can actually find, to take a picture of, including the inevitable unfinished Dalek:

 

pasta ornaments

Just look on Pinterest for “pasta ornament” and you’ll see all the possibilities. Because it’s Christmas, I didn’t say “pastabilities.”

 

SOMETHING TO READ OUT LOUD:

 

A_Christmas_Carol_-_Mr._Fezziwig's_Ball

Full text of A Christmas Carol by Dickens from Project Gutenberg. I have never actually gotten around to reading this out loud to the kids, but it’s doable. It’s a long short story, not a novel. If you can find a copy of it anywhere, the 1951 movie with Alastair Sim is the best by far.

 

SOMETHING TO AVOID:

argy bargy

Contentious social media. Seriously, if you are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, you will not feel more peaceful and generous after spending time arguing about torture, racism, rape culture, or liturgical practices, so just close that tab and go find something nicer to do with your time. It’s not that these things aren’t important, and it’s not that you’re wrong. It’s just arguing about them is not going to help us get ready for Christmas. Save some argy bargy for the New Year! It’ll keep.

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