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Take a Christmas lights drive

Nina Spitzer is a SheKnows.com columnist and a freelance writer living in sunny Cave Creek, Arizona.

Christmas decorating

Fantastic Christmas light displays are scattered all over neighborhoods during the holiday season and are just waiting to be enjoyed by all. Take an evening drive! What a wonderful, fun and inexpensive way to spend the holidays together!

Decorated Home

Gather up the warm blankets, Christmas CD's and some jingle bells. Bundle up the kids and pile everyone into the car for the once a year, full of cheer, Christmas lights drive.

Pinch a penny or two

Going to a Christmas show is pricey, especially with a large family. Movies can add up too, when you count in the cost of tickets, popcorn and drinks. Attending commercial light displays at the zoo or the local botanical garden can be magnificent, but far too expensive. Driving around town looking at amazing neighborhood Christmas light displays is free!

Where to start

Local newspapers publish listings of the best Christmas light displays in town. These lists are a great place to start. Pull out the paper and highlight the displays you'd like to visit. Guaranteed, you'll see the most dazzling displays. Homes covered with thousands of lights and ornaments, many mechanical and musical, are sure to elicit lots of "Cools" and "Wows" from the back seat.

Set the mood

Of course, you have a car heater that works and don't need blankets, but they do wonders to set a mood. The kids will love snuggling under a blanket or two and might even forget they hate each other for a while. Music is the next important ingredient. Who can resist singing along to a CD of Christmas carols, especially if they're the ones everyone knows best. The jingle bells are an added special touch you can probably find at a 99-cent store. Have a few for everyone in the car. Jingle along while singing Christmas carols, jingle along with the displays.

Timing is everything

Driving around looking at Christmas lights can be a ton of family fun, but be careful not to overdo it. The kids will begin to tire if your list of displays is too long, so know when to call it quits. A final stop for hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a candy cane might be fun before heading home, if the budget permits.

Have fun and remember to take along a camera. The light displays may be amazing but not as amazing as the kids' faces while they're enjoying the evening. Snap a few pictures of their smiles to add to their scrapbooks tomorrow.


Related articles:

How to celebrate Christmas when you can't afford to 
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