Having big fun at the holidays doesn’t have to be synonymous with spending big money. And it doesn’t mean you have to spend endless hours strolling and trolling for deals at shopping centers.
Instead, filling your cup with holiday warmth can be as simple as helping your child build a Chanukah menorah at Home Depot or toasting with hot chocolate when the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train stops in town.
From coupons and community bazaars to fancy holiday festivals, here are some ideas for making your holidays more fun and affordable.
Coupons can help you save money on holiday gifts, dining out or experiences ranging from bowling to indoor rock climbing. Here are some sites for purchasing fundraiser coupon books or obtaining free coupons online.
Elton Hills Elementary PTSA Coupon Book Fundraiser
Many elementary schools raise money by selling coupon books for local goods and services through Integrity Fundraisers. The Parent-Teacher-Student Association of Rochester’s Elton Elementary, 1241 Elton Hills Drive NW, is participating this year. Integrity’s Rochester book is chock full of restaurant deals as well as discounts at Bowlocity, Colonial Lanes and Prairie Walls Climbing coupons.
Shop Rochester is a locally based company that links you to deals in town for fun experiences, home improvement, retail, services and travel.
Rochester Deals for Less
Want a deep discount on movie tickets, a trip to a local museum, a hockey game or national discounts on goods. This site is worth a visit.
Remember the Holiday Train event we mentioned? On December 5 at 1 p.m., the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is scheduled to pull in behind Mickey’s Irish Pub at HyVee Barlow Plaza, 1315 6th Street NW for a quick visit. Country singers Terry Clark, Kelly Prescott and Dallas Smith will give a free, half-hour performance scheduled to begin at 1:15.
While you’re at the plaza, you may want to shop for Chanukah treats and Christmas stocking stuffers at the HyVee, which offers grocery coupons online.
Community bazaars and festivals often are excellent sources of unique gifts as well as holiday cheer. Here are some links for getting connected.
Rochester MN Moms Blog
This blog is an abundant source of information about a broad range of local events year round. Its Ultimate Guide to Rochester MN Holiday Events includes a number of lists on topics including:
Events mentioned in the blog post include: the annual Festival of Trees at Mayo Civic Center, November 24 to 26; Zoodazzle lighting at the Zollman Zoo beginning on December 8; and Mayowood Mansion tours through December 17.
Chabad Lubovitch Chanukah Extravaganza
The celebration of Chanukah’s annual festival of lights begins at 5 p.m., December 14, downtown at Rochester’s Peace Plaza. It’s free to all. Enjoy the menorah lighting, crafts for children, doughnuts and potato latkes, hot apple cider and music.
On December 18, Home Depot will host a menorah-building workshop for children. Donations are encouraged, but this is a free event.
Church of the Resurrection Holiday Bazaar
Love an old-fashioned church bazaar? This 45th annual holiday event at Church of the Resurrection, 1600 11th Avenue SE, offers a bake sale, bingo, a room where children can buy inexpensive gifts, homemade crafts and a luncheon.
If you live at Springs at South Broadway in Rochester, you aren’t far from the holiday fun mentioned here. We're a cozy apartment community with well-designed floor plans, abundant amenities, pet friendly policies and a free shuttle service to and from the Mayo Clinic downtown.
You'll discover that we're close to shopping opportunities, including Apache Mall at U.S. Highway 52 and Highway 14 E. Speaking of being pet friendly, Apache Mall events include dog and cat photos with Santa through December 18. And speaking of cozy, the mall is holding holiday "PJ Nights" with Santa on Fridays through December 8.