5 FREE Ways to Celebrate the Holiday Season Across the Triangle
From tree lightings to caroling performances, not all holiday events require a fee
Photo courtesy of 1,000 Words/Shutterstock.com
Seeing your child’s face light up during a holiday event is definitely worth the price of admission, but you may be able to accomplish this without spending a dime! Here are five free ways to celebrate the holidays across the Triangle.
1. Experience the sparkling lights of a nighttime Christmas parade.
See the Christmas parade in Apex on Dec. 2 at 5 p.m., in Benson on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and in Hillsborough on Dec. 2 at 4:45 p.m. If you don’t mind the drive, you can see the Meban Christmas parade Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and the Selma Christmas Parade Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. Choose from numerous daytime Christmas parades as well by browsing our 2017 holiday events roundup.
2. Enjoy the wonder of a tree-lighting ceremony.
Tree lightings are free and take place in several Triangle locations: at Waverly Place in Cary Nov. 17 at 6 p.m., at North Hills in Raleigh Nov. 18 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.; in downtown Mebane Nov. 18 at 8 p.m.; in downtown Clayton Nov. 30 at 7:45 p.m.; in downtown Fuquay-Varina Nov. 30 at 6 p.m.; in downtown Apex Dec. 1 at 5 p.m.; in downtown Garner Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.; in downtown Cary Dec. 2 at 6 p.m., in downtown Benson Dec. 1 at 6:45 p.m.; in Knightdale at Station Park Amphitheater Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.; and in downtown Holly Springs Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. Refer to our 2017 holiday roundup for details.
3. Take in a holiday light show.
While some require a ticket, others are free. The new Triangle Town Center Holiday Light Show Spectacular begins at 6 p.m. and continues until the mall closes. It features a 30-foot Christmas tree and special lighting on the building facade and landscape, choreographed to holiday music. Check out Park West Village in Morrisville the weekend of Nov. 17 to see the Magical Winter Lights Show at Stone Theatre Park West 14 as part of its Winter Wonderland celebration. Meadow Lights in Benson is free as well, and known to be the largest and oldest Christmas light show in Eastern North Carolina, with lights stretching across more than 30 acres. Visit the Old Country Store for old-fashioned candy, ride a train or carousel and visit with Santa. (Train and carousel rides are available for $2 each.) Discover more light shows in our "Must-See Holiday Light Shows Across North Carolina" roundup — most of which require a fee.
4. Listen to Christmas carolers.
Enjoy the sounds of Cary Youth Voices during the tree-lighting ceremony at Waverly Place in Cary Nov. 17, 6-8:30 p.m. and hear Christmas carols at Mebane’s Hometown Holiday Celebration Nov. 18, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Duke Chorale’s Christmas Concert, which features traditional carols for the entire audience to sing and stories and special treats for children, is Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. at Duke Chapel. Admission is one nonperishable food item for needy families in Durham. You can also listen to carolers at Christmas on Salem Street in Apex, Dec. 1, 5-9 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Vicki L. Miller/Shutterstock.com
5. Experience Christmases of yesteryear.
Learn about Victorian holiday traditions during Cary’s annual Heart of the Holidays festivities Dec. 2, and enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, a historic 1868 hotel, 4-6 p.m. During Mordecai Historic Park’s Holiday Open House in Raleigh Dec. 9, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Dec. 10, 1-4 p.m., tour the home as it would have been decorated for Christmas during colonial days through the World War II era. For a $5 fee, you can also experience an 1870s Christmas during Christmas by Candlelight at Duke Homestead Dec. 1 and 8, and Christmas at Historic Stagville Dec. 2. For $3 or $2 enjoy Christmas in the Piedmont During the Civil War at Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham Dec. 16, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. featuring living historians who demonstrate cooking and gift-wrapping in the 19th century.