*This post has been updated for 2018*

When we first moved to Orlando in 2014, Christmas was really weird for me.

After growing up in Erie, PA and spending ten years in Indiana, I am used to snow ….lots of snow.

But, when we started spending Christmas in Orlando,  ‘Let it Snow’ just wasn’t packing the same holiday punch it used to when I was celebrating up north.

The first Christmas I was down here, I remember asking some of my students what they do for Christmas. Several mentioned the festivities in Celebration, Florida. They said ” They make their own snow.” I remember teasing ” Where I come from, God makes our snow…”  but I digress.

This year will now be my 4th Christmas in Florida, and I have to admit…Christmas in the sand can still be pretty festive and amazing.

Christmas in Florida without snow is weird. But there is still plenty of festive, fun things to do in Orlando at Christmas to keep you in the holiday spirit.

You don’t have to put on layers of insulation to walk outside or spend a fortune, to get into the Christmas spirit.

via GIPHY

 

There are some pretty amazing holiday happenings in the area that won’t break your budget!

If you happen to be celebrating down here in the Sunshine State, here are some fun, affordable,family-friendly things to do in Orlando for Christmas!


Expedia.com
 

Light Up UCF   Light Up UCF is a festive holiday spot that will quickly become a Family Tradition

The University of Central Florida is the country’s largest ( by population) State University. And they do Christmas in a big way! 

Every year, the CFE arena is adorned with thousands of lights! Guests can enjoy carriage rides, ice skating and amusement rides.

Though some of the attractions do cost money, it is free to walk around and enjoy the lights, as well as partake in the free holiday film festival.

The attractions do have discount days, such as two-for-one Tuesdays. Mr. L and I went ice skating last year when it was BOGO. The fun we had was well worth the $12 spent! Traditions in the making!  Check the website for prices and discounts.It's a Christmas miracle that he went ice skating with me

Bass Pro Shops Santa’s Wonderland

Santa's Wonderland at Bass Pro Shops is free family fun at Christmas time in Florida

I was pleasantly surprised at how great Bass Pro Shops did Christmas!

Trust me, even if you are not into hunting or fishing, this place is cool. The husband will love ogling over large boats and the kids will have a blast checking out the amazing (and huge) aquarium.

At Christmas, they do it up! Plus, it is ALL FREE!

 Kids can ride a free carousel, have fun with a shooting arcade, lincoln log center and play archery range.

Santa has a mailbox there for kids to write letters, plus they can visit the big man himself and get a FREE 4X6 photo ( notwithstanding the free ones you can take on your phone).

Click here to learn more!

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail

There is no doubt that Disney is just magical at Christmas.

Sure, there is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Holidays around the World at Epcot.


But, honestly, some of the best Disney Holiday Magic doesn’t cost a dime!

Disney Springs is once again offering their Christmas Tree Trail, where visitors can view over twenty Disney-themed trees while they wait to meet Santa ( also free, but make sure you have plenty of time to wait…though it’s a pager system so you don’t have to stand in line).

Just head on over by the Earl of Sandwich and you won’t miss it! It runs through January 7, so you will still have time to catch this cool display even if you wait until after the Christmas rush.

Click Here to check out the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail 2018 on my IGTV

Here are some of my faves this year:

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail, Alice in Wonderland Tree. Keri Lawrence

The Alice in Wonderland Tree on the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail -Peter Pan Tree

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail -Peter Pan Tree

After hitting the Christmas Tree Trail ( and maybe picking up a couple of souvenirs while at Disney Springs), do some resort hopping for more free fun. 

I suggest hitting the monorail and heading towards the Grand Floridian to check out the AMAZING Gingerbread House in the lobby, or pop over to the Beach Club for the Gingerbread carousel. ( P.S. I think Gingerbread is Mickey’s favorite cookie.)

The Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian Resort took over 400 hours of baking and 160 hours of constructing. The house is gingerbread, with decor made of white chocolate and candies.

The Gingerbread House at the Grand Floridian Resort took over 400 hours of baking and 160 hours of constructing. The house is gingerbread, with decor made of white chocolate and candies.

The Gingerbread Carousel at the Beach Club Resort

The Gingerbread Carousel at the Beach Club Resort. ( It really spins!)

 

Free Fridays at Morse

Every Friday evening year-round, the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum in Winter Park is free to the public. During the holidays, however, they amp it up with some extra special events and entertainment by offering free live-music entertainment in their stunning daffodil terrace.

The Morse Museum is renowned for offering one of the largest collections of pieces by American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany’s works are ample around the museum, including the stunning chapel he designed for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

Stained Glass by Tiffany at the Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, FL

Stained Glass by Louis Comfort Tiffany on display at the Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park, FL

Pair a visit to this museum with a stroll down Winter Park’s Park Avenue and you will have the perfect romantic holiday date night.

Celebration Town Center

Not too far from #WDW, the town of Celebration ( aka the Town which Disney built) transforms into a Norman Rockwell-esque site with carriage rides, ice skating, carolers, thousands of lights….and, yes…snow. The event is free in the town center and you should schedule your visit around the timed snowfall  at 6,7,8 and 9 p.m. nightly. ( only in Florida does that  sentence make sense.)

Celebration, Florida reminds me of Norman Rockwell at Christmas

Celebration, Florida always reminds me of Norman Rockwell at Christmas

 These are a few of my favorite things to do in Orlando during Christmas with my family and I hope you enjoy them, too! What are your favorite holiday spots to check out every year? Leave me a note in the comments!

 

There are plenty of fun, free and frugal holiday activities to during Christmas in Orlando. Definitely some traditions in the making!

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