So much of the holidays seem to center around gifts and eating.
We focus so much of our energy on shopping and material things that many people leave Thanksgiving dinner with their families to camp outside of stores to get their hands on the latest item for cheap.
An exorbitant amount of time during the holidays is also spent in the kitchen, at the grocery stores or crammed into packed restaurants. There’s no arguing that food is an important part of the holidays; our favorite uncle’s pasta a la vodka or a friend’s famous apple cobbler reminds us of this festive time of year and is something we can look forward to year round. But there are tons of fun — and free — events happening around the community this time of year that sometimes get overlooked.
To name a few, the Morse Museum holds a free Christmas Eve open house every year, Winter Park’s Hanukkah on the Park offers singing performances, live music and dancers in Central Park on Sunday, Dec. 25, and school bands from the teams playing in the Champs Sports Bowl march up Park Avenue on Thursday, Dec. 29, as a prelude to the game.
Maybe some people don’t realize these events are taking place in their communities but, in many cases, people’s to-do lists and calendars are so full during the holidays that they don’t leave enough time for some good, old-fashioned fun.
The holiday songs we treasure so much this time of year rhyme about carolers, chestnuts on an open fire and — though there’s not snow here to dash through — enjoying the cool, crisp weather. But these things are rarely priorities these days.
Getting together with family and friends is very important during the holidays, but it’s also important to connect with the community. Meeting neighbors, getting out to public parks and experiencing something new not only benefits an individual but our society as a whole.
There’s always a way to introduce some of these fun and often cultural events into existing holiday plans. Instead of dinner at a family member’s house, get everyone together to take in a free, live show or visit a local museum. Take a drive through the neighborhood to look at the holiday lights on the streets and houses. There are tons of ways to spice up your holidays and create new, lasting and enriching traditions.