It’s that time of year when many of us are feeling broke. Maybe we’ve spent too much on Christmas once again but the damage is done, so if you’re looking for a few free seasonal activities, or ones which require very little money, then read on.
Take in a small town Santa Claus parade, preferably one at night with lots of lights.
I love being able to walk down to the corner of my subdivision and see our little parade. It gives you a chance to see with all the neighbors who have been hibernating inside this time of year, and later you can visit the town square for free hot chocolate and cookies. There are the same floats year after year but who cares, it’s tradition, plus Santa is the main attraction. Sure beats the city parade where you have to leave so early to get a parking spot and then stand in the cold for hours staking out your curbside space.
Splurge on a fancy specialty coffee at the mall. $5 for a Cup of Christmas Cheer, complete with burnt brown sugar topping. What a marketing tool – sign me up.
Verdict – a bit too sweet, but the perfect antidote to shop til you drop. Personally, I avoid the mall but some people enjoy all the last minute hustle and bustle and need the extra calories to brave the crowds.
Take in A Free Celebration of Lights Bus Tour: The city provides special transit buses for half hour tours of the lights, all for the price of a donated can of goods.
If you don’t have a Celebration of Lights in your area, then take a walk around your neighborhood and enjoy the twinkling displays.
Avert your eyes when you come to The Inflatable Village, (lost count after thirty), because it shines brighter than Rudolph’s nose.
Go skating. Many local arenas sponsor free family hours once the kids are out of school.
Go Caroling in the Snow. Many years ago, I had a group of grade school carolers at my front door – what fun they were having! Our local paper still publishes a free carol song book, but I wonder what happens to the stacks of free copies in the grocery store now that so many people don’t read a print newspaper anymore.
No carolers in your group, then attend a church Christmas cantata or carol sing.
I’m a big fan of those old church hymns from years ago, although the last time I attended church there was folk music? Christmas Eve mass belongs to Hark the Harold Angels Sing and The First Noel, and always Joy to the World at the end. Not a church goer, dust off your old albums in the basement and crank up the vintage turntable.
Set up your traditional nativity scene, the reason for the season if you are Christian. My dad made this one back in 1950 from old barn board, long before barn board was fashionable, and my mother bought the figurines at Kresge’s dime store. The star he made in grade school always sits atop the snow on the roof.
Sit in your living room and stare at your tree, or twinkly lights if you don’t have a tree, or light some candles.
Open a box of Pot of Gold chocolates ($3.99 on sale), and indulge in your favorites.
Watch your favorite classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, White Christmas, The Sound of Music, A Christmas Carol or all of them.
Or make reading the book an annual tradition.
Enjoy a wee small glass of port and a slice of Christmas cake late on Christmas Eve (my Irish family tradition), watch midnight mass on TV and wait for Santa to come. Track his progress on the eleven o’clock news. Merry Christmas to one and all!