If your wallet is feeling the pinch from endless holiday spending (and, seriously, whose isn’t?) there are still plenty of things you can do with your family that won't cost you a thing.
From Christmas tree and menorah lightings to visits with Santa and holiday light displays, we’ve put together a list of our favorite FREE events that will keep your family entertained and you able to afford those last-minute gifts.
To find even more things to do, check out our guide to holiday fun on Long Island and our December GoList.
As always, happy holidays.
Holiday music at Hicks — Westbury
Saturdays and Sundays through December 17
The festive sounds of a brass band at Hicks Nurseries are sure to get everyone into the holiday spirit.
Christmas animated story at Hicks Nurseries – Westbury
Now through Sunday, December 24
The Spirit of Christmas uses animated animals to tell a holiday story at Hicks Nurseries. Admission is FREE, but donations of nonperishable food items for Long Island Cares are welcome.
RELATED: LI homes with spectacular holiday light displays
Santa photo-ops delight all season long. Photo courtesy of Hick Nurseries
Meet Santa at Hicks – Westbury
Through Saturday, December 23
Hicks Nurseries offers the perfect photo-op with Santa Claus. Don’t forget your camera. There’s also a North Pole mailbox, where kids can mail their letters and receive a response back from the big guy—include a self-addressed stamped envelope and "mail" the letter by December 15.
Nassau Lionel Operating Engineers Open House — Levittown
All aboard! Long Island’s largest operating O-gauge exhibit takes you on a journey through a decked-out-for-the-holidays miniature village.
Long Beach Boardwalk Lights — Long Beach
Through January 6
Long Beach’s boardwalk is lit up for the holidays every evening from 5 to 9pm. A variety of special events are planned, including visits from Santa and live musical performances.
Holidays at Heritage Farm & Garden — Muttontown
December 9-10, 17, 23
Santa is here, ready and willing to have his photo taken.
Holiday model train exhibit at Babylon Town Hall — Babylon
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through January 7
This fun display features important community landmarks and other details about the Town of Babylon’s rich history.
RELATED: A dozen great things to do with LI kids this holiday season
The colors of the season are in full display at Heritage Trust. Photo courtesy of Heritage Trust.
Tree lighting and visit from Santa at Planting Fields Arboretum — Oyster Bay
There is so much going on here to get the whole family into the spirit of the season, including a tree lighting, a visit from Santa, caroling by the Barber Shop Quartet, and other musical performances. You can also take a self-guided tour of Coe Hall, which is decorated for the holidays.
Santa’s Workshop at the Drowned Meadow Cottage — Port Jefferson
This historic house in Port Jefferson Village is decked out for the holidays, including Santa’s workshop, giant nutcrackers, a gingerbread house, and other custom confectionery delights.
The TMB Model Train Show has many new trains to amaze the viewers. Photo courtesy of the TMB Model Train club
TMB model train show — Farmingdale
December 9-10; select weekends through February 4, 2018
Among the 10 larger-size trains running on 19 miles of track, you’ll find Thomas the Tank Engine and the Polar Express. For adults, there’s a model train layout that was once featured in an episode of The Sopranos.
Free craft for kids at Lakeshore Learning Store — New Hyde Park
Saturdays in December
Stop by the Lakeshore Learning Store and let your kids (3 and older) create a holiday craft to take home.
Pictures with Santa at Old Mill Nurseries — Bellmore
Not only will Santa be here, but you might just get a glimpse of Rudolph as well. Enjoy holiday treats and hot chocolate. Donations of unwrapped toys for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program are appreciated.
West End Electric Light Parade — Long Beach
Saturday December 9
Celebrate the season with a parade of cars, fire trucks, floats, and bicycles all decked out for the holidays. Enjoy special offerings from local restaurants and plenty of activities for kids.
Amagansett menorah lighting — Amagansett
Tuesday, December 12
Enjoy hot cocoa, donuts, and Hanukkah music at this lighting of twin 6-foot menorahs.
Chanukah latka party — East Hampton
Tuesday, December 12
You can bring your own family recipe or share with others at Chabad of the Hampton’s latka party.
Grand menorah lighting at City Hall — Long Beach
Wednesday, December 13
It’s time to light Long Island’s largest menorah. Celebrate the season with live musical performances, a lit-up dreidel ride, and a Hanukkah gelt drop.
Pop-up Shabbat — Williston Park
Thursday, December 14
All are invited to a musical celebration of shabbat and Hanukkah.
Montauk menorah lighting — Montauk
Thursday, December 14
Celebrate the season with hot cocoa, donuts, and seasonal music as 6-foot-talls menorah are lit.
Annual Christmas tree and menorah lightings at Heritage Trust — Mount Sinai
The lighting of the Heritage Trust Christmas tree on December 3 is a festive event that includes hot cocoa and cookies, carols, Santa Claus, a holiday boutique, and a musical performance by the Mount Sinai Middle School Jazz Choir. On December 16, celebrate the annual lighting of the Heritage Trust menorah, hosted by the Temple Beth Emeth. Free refreshments follow the lighting.
Menorahcade — East Hampton
Sunday, December 17
Follow the parade of cars and celebrants from Woods Lane beginning at 3pm to Herrick Park for a 4:30pm menorah lighting.
Top photo: Enjoy holiday magic at Hicks Nurseries. Photo courtesy of the nurseries