Christmas on a budget: 10 cheap and easy children’s Christmas craft activities

The most wonderful time of the year has arrived, and it’s the perfect excuse to get your craft on with the kids – keeping them busy throughout December! Here are 10 cheap and easy children’s Christmas craft activity ideas that you can do at home with the little ones on a budget…

1. Decorate your own ornaments

Personalise the tree by painting your own baubles and tree decorations; it’s such great fun and the perfect way to keep the kiddies busy on a wintery day. My two have made decorations every year since they were old enough to hold a paintbrush, and I love all of the different homemade decorations we have on our tree.

They also make them as gifts for the grandparents, and they’re always well received. Hobbycraft and The Range sell all sorts of wonderful paint-your-own decorations starting from about £1, and you can get them sent quickly online from Amazon too.

frugal mum children painting christmas decorations, kitchen table, craft


2. Print the wrapping paper

So much of the wrapping paper we put into the recycling after Christmas isn’t actually recyclable, so parcel paper is a great way to wrap in a more eco-friendly way. It comes in large rolls, it’s inexpensive and it’s a great way to entertain the kids.

frugal mum child printing wrapping paper, stamps, brown paper, gift wrapping

Finn and Lola decorate the brown paper with Christmas stamps, or paint or draw Christmas pictures – making our gifts even more special. These drawings from a few years ago were so adorable and went down a treat!

childrens drawings on brown paper, personalised craft christmas wrapping


3. Make Christmas cards

We actually stopped sending out hoards of Christmas cards a few years ago, to try and create less waste at the most wasteful time of the year. Instead the kids just make cards for immediate family, and nothing beats a handmade card from a little person! It’s great fun too!


4. Make your own Christmas decorations

If you want to make your own ornaments from scratch, then use salt dough and cookie cutters to make decorations to paint. Salt dough is so cheap and easy – you’ll have the ingredients in your pantry cupboard already and there’s very little prep time needed. They make brilliant gifts from the kids too.

You’ll need: 250g plain flour, 125g table salt, 125ml water

Method: Preheat the oven on a low temperature (about 100/120 degrees) and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt, then add the water and stir until it comes together into a ball.

Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and roll it out to about a 1cm thickness. Then use Christmas cookie cutters to shape or get the kiddies to do their handprints. Remember to poke a hole through at the top of each decoration so that they can be hung onto a tree.

Put your finished items on the lined baking sheet and bake for 2-3 hrs or until solid. Leave to cool and then paint. Once the paint is dry, glaze with a PVA glue to seal and protect. Finally, once this is dry, add twine or ribbon so that they can be hung onto the Christmas tree.

salt dough hand print santa decoration, ornament


5. Make a table centrepiece

Pine cones and twinkle lights are a cheap and simple centrepiece, but you can make it even more special by getting the kids involved. Lola made this beauty last year – painting a cardboard house we picked up in a craft shop for a few quid. There are loads of cardboard Christmas themed bits at places like Hobbycraft or The Range, or raid the recycling bin and make your own.

frugal mum kitchen table, homemade centrepiece, christmas cabin, pine cones, fairy lights, childrens craft


6. Decorate your windows

If you’ve got some paper and a pair of scissors you can easily transform your windows – snowflakes are such a cheap and easy way to make your home feel festive! There are loads of tutorials online – some for simple designs, and others more elaborate to give a good challenge to older kids. Just grab some paper and get snipping!

We also print Christmas colouring pages onto tracing paper and colour them in with permanent markers – they look so effective, as the sun shines through them once they’re stuck onto the windows.


7. Print and colour decorations

Download and print my FREE colour-in Christmas paper chain or Christmas bunting to keep the kids busy and make the whole house feel festive. It’ll only cost you a few bits of paper but they look so effective – print as many times as you like and watch them grow longer and longer!

frugal mum, free printable christmas paper chain, children, craft, colour in

frugal mum, free printable christmas paper bunting, children, craft, colour in


8. Make your own gift tags

Gift tags are such a simple thing to make, and it’s a lovely activity to occupy the kids on a rainy winter day when Christmas is over. Here’s what you need…

  • Last year’s Christmas cards
  • A small hole punch
  • Ribbon or twine
  • Scissors

Every year after Christmas, I re-use all of the Christmas cards we’ve received to make gift tags for the following year. It’s a fab way to give the cards a second lease of life before they end up in the recycling bin – great for the environment and your bank balance! Just cut out characters, words or shapes from the old cards, punch a hole in the top left-hand corner and attach your ribbon.

frugal mum homemade gift tags, last years christmas cards


9. Decorate a wreath

Why not create a cheap wreath from bits and bobs you can forage from the woods? Free, beautiful and eco-friendly – win, win, win! Pine cones, leaves and foliage look brilliant as they are or spray painted. You could use Christmas tree decorations you already have to decorate your wreath too – repaint old ones to give them a new lease of life.


10. Christmas colouring

Take a look at my FREE printable colouring pages – I’ve included a range of different ones to suit different ages and themes. If the kids are bored on a rainy December afternoon, you’ve got an easy activity to whip out to keep them occupied.

frugal mum, december box, free printable childrens colouring pages, christmas activity



Time to write to a letter to Santa?

Take a look at my free, printable Santa letter templates to get started…

letters to santa templates, printable, frugal mum

Trying to have an inexpensive Christmas?

Check out my article: Christmas without money – 30 tips for a DIY family Christmas on a small budget.

And, make sure you print my Christmas Activity Advent Calendar for lots of frugal, festive fun with the kids!

frugal mum, free printable christmas activity advent calendar, family fun for the kids


This post may contain affiliate links.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like