Let’s sing along with Andy Williams, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year“. Yes, I’m in the camp that loves the Christmas season. The best thing about it is that although we associate the holidays with spending large sums of money it’s not a requirement.
Other than the religious aspect for many of us this season there are really four main holiday categories which are gifts, food, decorations and entertainment. Like many this year, we’ve trimmed our gift list both in number of recipients and dollar amount. To the regret of Mr. Boomer and our kids, I’ve never been a baker so we don’t have much additional food costs other than the main holiday turkey meal.
We’ve gradually added to our holiday decorations over the years to the point that the collection is complete. In our community holiday entertainment can range from classic Nutcracker performances to comedies involving reindeer and a grandma and ticket prices have just as large a range. There are many ways to enjoy seasonal entertainment at no cost.
My church has several non-worship events going on this month including Christmas tree fantasy open house to seasonal music concerts to breakfast with Santa Claus. These are all open to the public and are not unique. Check out the churches near you to see what’s available the next few weeks.
One of the best things about holidays is spending time with friends and family. Invite people over to watch a favorite television special or movie. Mr. Boomer’s favorite is “A Christmas Story” which we watch without fail every year.
Another idea is to gather a group to go out caroling. If you want to get out of your neighborhood call local retirement or nursing homes to see if they’d welcome being serenaded. It’ll bring joy to you and your audience.
In San Diego, you can view professional holiday decorations from the comfort of your car at the local race track. Nice idea but at $14 a car, it’s not cheap or free. Why pay when many people deck out their homes to celebrate the season?
Just about every city has a block or street that goes above and beyond with the decorations. Some even choreograph the lights to seasonal music for extra entertainment. Check your newspaper for listing information or Google your city to find the best holiday light displays.
In order to attract and keep shoppers longer many malls offer free entertainment in addition to the traditional Santa Claus. Enjoy musical, dance and theatrical performances in the warmth of an indoor shopping center.
When my kids were little the holiday season included at least one trip to the mall for the annual visit with Santa Claus. The boys would be so excited as we prepared for the trek. The best part (other than seeing their happiness) was the price tag. Don’t forget to have someone join you to snap a photo and avoid pricey pictures.
Holiday parades start Thanksgiving Day and I never tire of the spectacle. The holiday parade season opened here with the Mother Goose parade (pre-Thanksgiving) and finishes with the Holiday Bowl Big Balloon parade December 30th. Just like the holiday lights, kids of all ages seem to enjoy the bands, floats, balloons and more.
Take advantage of these and more free holiday entertainment options. As you can see cutting back monetarily this year doesn’t have to mean cutting back on fun.
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