I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy the holidays. There’s something about the nostalgia that the holidays evoke that bring warmth to my heart. People tend to be a lot more giving and a lot kinder to others, and that’s definitely something that we need more of. Unfortunately one of the other things that tends to happen around the holidays is empty bank accounts. If you have a large family or a lot of friends, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Buying presents, traveling home for the holidays, attending event after event; all of those things make it difficult to look at your bank account balance each day. In order to maintain my sanity and a little extra pocket change I have become pretty adept at finding free or low-cost activities during the holidays.
There are so many different ways to find events in your local area. Posted flyers, gathering spots, word of mouth, and of course the internet. Social media has made it a lot easier to search and access events. Depending on the platform, you can search through event pages, by location, by date, or by using hashtags. You don’t have to rely on someone inviting you to an event, you can seek them out yourself. The best part is that there are so many different free options to choose from so you can give your pocketbook a break.
DC Traffic Requires Serious Planning
This year I decided to brave the crazy traffic and head into Washington, DC and take advantage of some of the different free activities. At the beginning of the month I did extensive research utilizing social media; I wanted to make sure that I could attend several different events in the same day. If I was going to face the nightmare traffic, I was definitely going to make the most of the journey. If you have never lived in the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area, then you don’t know what a nightmare it can be to navigate. Traffic is extremely unpredictable; it doesn’t matter the time of day or day of the week, bumper to bumper traffic is always a potential issue in the DMV. When I was researching events, I narrowed it down by location, day, and then by the time of day. I also took into consideration the amount of time I would potentially spend at each location because that would determine in what order I would attempt to attend the events. Obviously you don’t have to be as meticulous as I am, and typically I am not that bad, but the thought of DC traffic really made me make a serious plan.
DC Area Events
I decided on several events that were in relative close proximity that would allow me to visit almost one right after the other. The U.S. Botanic Garden was offering a wonderful train exhibit, as well as a poinsettia exhibit, on top of the already wonderful experience of the gardens. The Botanic Garden in Balboa Park, San Diego, California is one of my favorite places to visit, so I absolutely HAD to see the one in D.C. I really underestimated the amount of people that would have the same enthusiasm as I did. After standing in line for almost 45 minutes, I made the decision to forego the train exhibit and venture into the main area to see the poinsettias. I was in awe of how many poinsettias there were, not to mention the amazing plant-based recreations of so many famous buildings. The Conservatory where the poinsettia exhibit was located, was a small area, but I could’ve stayed there for hours. I wish that there had been more information about the buildings because I would love to know what they were made out of, the time it took, how many people it took, etc.
Since the sun sets early this time of year, I had to make sure I left enough time to go out and enjoy the Capitol building and the surrounding area. The clouds in the sky offered a beautiful backdrop so I was very glad I left the Botanic Garden when I did. For being a very cold Saturday evening, there was surprisingly quite a few people on the lawn. The tree in front of the Capitol building contained ornaments from all 50 states; I thought that was a very beautiful way to show the uniqueness of each state in the Union. This California girl still has not got the hang of winter clothes, so I wasn’t able to withstand the wind for very long. I decided to move on to the next location on my adventure list.
Well…. unfortunately not every adventure turns out as planned. I had planned to take a look at Georgetown GLOW because the way that it was advertised made it seem like a driving experience. I was only able to locate one of the lit up areas and even that wasn’t too impressive. After searching the area, and fighting with traffic, I decided to get some tacos and head home. Most travel bloggers only show you the super impressive aspects of their travels, they don’t show you the fails. I am not a travelbot, I am an actual person so I will always tell you about the fails.
Other Holiday Ideas
There are so many different things that you can do during the holidays that require zero money, it just takes a little extra time and effort to search. Most local state or city parks offer events and/or they have the park decorated with beautiful lights and scenes. One thing that I really enjoy doing is making myself a thermos of coffee or hot chocolate and going to see the different light displays. It never ceases to amaze me the things that people can create; the imagination is endless. If you are lucky enough to live in a city that has a unique quality about it, be sure to fully appreciate it. I took the three photos above in San Diego, California, and all three locations were completely free and open to the public. Adventures are out there, YOU just have to get out there!
As always, thank you for reading my Adventuring ramblings. I look forward to reading any comments or feedback you may have and I hope that this encourages you to embark on adventures of your own. Until next time!