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5 Memorable (and almost free) holiday experiences for your kids

I am an author, Emmy-nominated TV host, and blogger at PocketsofPretty.com, a weekly newsletter and blog that help women easily infuse beauty and joy into everyday life

The holidays are really the most magical time of the year, and there are loads of ways to enjoy the season with your kiddos without breaking the bank.

We rounded up some awesome and almost-free ways to make this the most unforgettable holiday season ever.

1. Celebrate global holidays

Whether you light a menorah and learn about the eight-day long festival of lights; observe British Boxing Day (the day after Christmas); or keep the festivities going through January with Kwanzaa or the Latino-popular Three Kings Day, learning about how different cultures observe the season is not only educational for the little ones, but infuses extra meaning into the holidays.

2. The family that cooks together stays together

Some of our strongest family memories are centered around the kitchen; in fact our sense of smell and memory are proven to be connected! So create new (or keep up) family traditions by working on holiday recipes together. Whether it's Italian panettone, Mexican tamales, Swedish meatballs or gingerbread cookies, having fun in the kitchen creates amazing meals and memories.

3. Make giving a holiday tradition

Teaching your child to think about others in need this time of year is a gift that keeps on giving. And there are a variety of ways to get in the charitable act whether it's via your child's school through food and clothing drives, working with local hospitals or shelters or through established giving organizations like Toys for Tots, UNICEF or Goodwill. Have your children go through their old toys to donate to those less fortunate or have them pick out a new toy to give a kid in need. To keep things within your budget, visit SlickDeals.com, which lists the top 30 deals found that day on the internet on their home page so you can give guilt free.

4. Get moving

Make wellness part of your holidays by getting some much-needed exercise! Most yoga studios have Christmas morning classes where you can do a downward dog (and give some thanks) or sign up the family for a "jingle bell run." Often taking place on or around Christmas, the festive (and usually short-distance) races are family-friendly and a great way to burn off some calories before a big holiday feast!

5. Write thank-you cards

A great way to spend that school-free time between Christmas and the New Year is to sit down and write out thank-you cards with your kids. Make sure one of their gifts is a pack of stationery, and have them a make a list of all the presents they received from grandma to Aunt Sally and everyone in between. They can start out writing out thank-you notes for all their goodies, and then can continue just thanking those who have been helpful all year long. It is a lovely tradition that generates gratitude, and good manners!

Image: ritahogan/Flickr
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