Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Holidays on a Budget: Five places to look for free Christmas events

Posted December 1, 2016

The sights and sounds of the holidays filled Rolesville streets on Dec. 6. Floats, marching bands, and dance troops set the stage for Santa to make an entrance and wish everyone a Happy Holiday. 
Photo Credit: Nathalie Fuerst

It's easy to go way over budget during the holidays what with elaborate meals, cookie baking, wish lists and more.

For many, admission to a holiday show or two or a special event with Santa are just out of the question. So I thought I'd put together a list of five places to look for free holiday events across the Triangle. These will add plenty of cheer to your holidays - and definitely won't break the bank.

Parades and community celebrations: This weekend and next weekend are big weekends for the free parades and tree lighting ceremonies in communities across the Triangle. Kids will have a blast seeing Santa or marveling at the sparkly giant Christmas tree once the switch is flipped. Parents can sit back, watching their kids take it all in. This weekend, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest and Durham also are having other big free holiday events. Go Ask Mom's Weekend Plans post has the details on those.

Rolesville Christmas parade

Historic site holiday events: Christmas wasn't always about the hottest toys or video game. In fact, at one point, kids were happy getting oranges and peppermint sticks. State and local historic sites offer free events during the holidays that focus on old fashioned Christmas celebrations. They include events at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site in Johnston County, Historic Stagville in Durham and Joel Lane Museum House in Raleigh this weekend. Again, check this weekend's Weekend Plans post for more information. Next weekend, Raleigh's Mordecai Historic Park has a free holiday open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Dec. 10, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 11.

Historic Stagville Christmas celebration

Holiday lights: You don't have to pay top dollar to see massive holiday light displays. In addition to all of the strands of blinking lights that homeowners are stringing up, it's free to see the massive displays at Meadow Lights, Lake Myra Christmas and Piper's Lights. Our holiday lights post has schedules and locations.

Meadow Lights 2013

Store events: Of course, they'd love for you to buy something, but stores across the region do offer free holiday events. They include Quail Ridge Books, which will host Grinch at 2 p.m., Saturday, and a Nutcracker storytime courtesy of the Carolina Ballet at 2 p.m., Dec. 10. Barnes & Noble stores are offering holiday storytimes this month. And Bass Pro Shop has all kinds of free activities and visits with Santa.

Bass Pro Shop Christmas

Park and library events: We have so many great parks and libraries around here and many are offering holiday celebrations. For instance, Historic Oak View County Park's Sleigh Rides & Cider is this weekend. West Point on the Eno Park, 5101 N. Roxboro Rd., Durham, will host a Christmas open house from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 11. And, starting this week, kids can make cookie houses at Wake County Libraries.

Main house at Historic Oak View County Park


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