Free and Low-Cost Places in Florida to Experience an Old Fashioned Christmas

L. Cane

For many, Christmas has evolved over the years as technology has advanced, prices have risen, and societal norms have arguably changed. Some people embrace these changes, and others long for a time when Christmas was a bit more simple or "old-fashioned."

Many of us fondly remember a pared-down Christmas with our grandparents and would like to experience that type of holiday again. It brings a warm feeling to our hearts and wonderful memories. Many believe that you shouldn't have to spend a lot of money to enjoy a memorable Christmas.

Florida has no shortage of Christmas celebrations, but many are expensive or crowded. There are a few places in Florida where one can experience what many would consider an old-fashioned Christmas for not a lot of money, as follows. (Some are even free.)

An Old Florida Christmas, Bradenton: Located at Manatee Village in Bradenton on December 10th, you can experience Christmas as it used to be in the sunshine state. There will be free seasonal crafts, and the buildings will be decorated in Victorian and Florida pioneer styles. This event is free.

A Very Merry Old Fashioned Christmas at Ponce Inlet Historical Museum: This free event takes place on December 11th, and you can tour the museum, play old-fashioned games, and make Christmas cards.

Yule of Yesteryear, Valparaiso: This is another free event on December 10th. You can tour the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, hear music performed by local choirs, and watch as local Civil War reenactors depict a historic Christmastime encampment in Perrine Park. There will also be exhibits featuring the area’s early industries, such as fishing, boat building, and pioneer living.

Rural Florida Christmas, Florida State Fairgrounds: This event is also on December 10th. One of the most fun things about this event is the ability to learn about how the Christmas traditions of the 19th century are different from our celebrations today. The event is focused on allowing guests to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas from another time. Tickets are $12.

Barberville Pioneer Settlement: If you want to go pretty far back in history, you can celebrate Christmas like a pioneer on December 10th in Barberville. Folk artists will perform traditional Christmas music. Santa will visit on the porch of a cabin. And there will be demonstrations of blacksmithing, pottery, woodworking, and weaving as well as live history demonstrations. Admission is $10.

Holiday Evening at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Miami: For $10, you can tour the main house in the museum on December 14th to see how the place may have looked at Christmas 100 years ago. The illuminated gardens are lovely, and there's also live music and a gingerbread house contest.

The Victorian Christmas Stroll at the Henry B. Plant Museum, Tampa: One of Tampa's best-known attractions is all decked out for a simple holiday celebration. Starting December 1st, you can see countless Christmas trees decorated with over 40,000 lights and ornaments. Take in vintage toys, clothing, and decorations while learning about the museum and the rich, unique history of Tampa. Tickets start at $18, depending on the time of the tour.

Hopefully, these varied options offer opportunities for a nostalgic Christmas outing without spending much money.

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