A trio of young guests visiting Santa's Christmas Tree Farm...

A trio of young guests visiting Santa's Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue spend a moment to converse with Santa. Credit: Ewa Skapski of Ewa Skapski Photography

The holiday season is in full swing and it's time to experience the joys of the season like meet-and-greets with Santa Claus and festive light shows. If you're looking for holiday fun for the whole family that won’t break the bank, here are some inexpensive things to try that'll help you save money and have some fun along the way:

FARM FUN

Santa’s Christmas tree Farm

The main attraction here is to cut down your own tree (trees start at $90), but there’s no purchase necessary to come by and try the festive amenities, such as faux ice skating ($10; rentals included), pony rides ($10) and free photos with Santa. Young guests can also explore bouncy houses and all can purchase hot chocolate and popcorn, then sit at picnic tables or shop for seasonal items in the Christmas store.

INFO 30105 Main Rd., Cutchogue; 631-735-9242, santaschristmastreefarmli.com. The farm is open daily through Christmas Eve for trees; activities are available weekends through Christmas Eve.

Winter Wonderlandat Waterdrinker Family Farm

Visitors can pay $20 per person (ages two and younger are free) to explore this farm’s annual holiday event, which features synthetic ice-skating, fire pits (where marshmallows for roasting and hot chocolate are available to purchase), mini-golf, animal meet-and-greets and a walk through its “Christmas carol House of Lights” experience. The farm also has a gift shop amid a neighboring brewery where those 21 and over can buy beer, wine and cider.

INFO 663 Wading River Rd., Manorville; 631-878-8653, water-drinker.com. Open Wednesdays through Sundays until Dec. 23.

LIGHT SHOWS

Bright Lights: Celebrate the Season

The library of the former Gold Coast mansion that now...

The library of the former Gold Coast mansion that now is part of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport is only one of many rooms that is dressed for the season during the facility's "Bright Lights" holiday event.  Credit: Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum

Check out the holiday lights at the third annual holiday event at Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, where tickets for nonmembers are $25, $15 ages 3-12, and free for ages two and younger. The event features thousands of soft white lights placed across the grounds and the former Gold Coast estate’s mansion both inside and out. Guests can also visit with Santa in his workshop, explore the museum’s animal and marine exhibits, watch a 15-minute laser show in the facility’s planetarium and take part in “Candlelight Tours” of the mansion. Children can also try a scavenger hunt.

INFO 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport; 631-854-5579, vanderbiltmuseum.org. Open weekends through Dec. 18.

Holiday Light Spectacularat the Holtsville Ecology Site

This festive display is part of the things to see...

This festive display is part of the things to see when walking through the Holtsville Ecology Site's "Holiday Light Spectacular" event.  Credit: Kristen D’Andrea

Back for another year, this annual indoor light show is more than just a fun stroll; it benefits the animals who reside at the Holtsville Ecology Site. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for kids under 12 (ages three and under are free), Santa will be waiting in his workshop for photos (for an additional fee paid on-site).

INFO 249 Buckley Rd., Holtsville; 631-451.5330, brookhavenny.gov. Dec. 9-11, 16-18; tickets available online in advance.

TREE LIGHTINGS AND FESTIVE TOWNS

This December, there are dozens of Long Island communities putting up Christmas trees and menorahs, all of which are free to visit and provide striking, colorful and festive backdrops for selfies or snaps with friends and family.


 

People gather around the annual bonfire held in Downtown Riverhead,...

People gather around the annual bonfire held in Downtown Riverhead, as part of the community's holiday celebration. Credit: Kristy Verity

The Downtown Riverhead holiday bonfire and parade (downtownriverhead.org) on Dec. 10 kicks off with a procession that starts at  Osborn Avenue and West Main Street, then heads down Main before ending at the Peconic Riverfront, where the bonfire will burn. Attendees can also look forward to free hot cocoa and candy canes, plus music by DJ Phil, carolers singing live and another opportunity to point your camera at Kriss Kringle. A Christmas tree, menorah and a manger will all be ready for guests at the Downtown Riverhead Town Square (125 E. Main St.).

During the Huntington Holiday Spectacular, a block of Wall Street in Huntington Village will be shut down (between Gerard and Main Streets; huntingtonholidayspectacular.com), and visitors can explore the scene where the holiday tree looms above the buildings in a setting surrounded by glowing candy canes and reindeer, and where light shows are slated to take place daily every 30 minutes between 5:30 and 11 p.m.

HOLIDAY SHOWS

CANDLELIGHT EVENINGS

Kris Kringle stands on the porch of a historic building at...

Kris Kringle stands on the porch of a historic building at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration in Old Bethpage. Credit: Lauri Vale

The Old Bethpage Village Restoration is holding its tribute to holiday seasons of yesteryear for only $20 per person ($15 for ages 5-12 years old and seniors, ages four and under are free). The 19th-century buildings will be illuminated by candlelight while holiday brass and fiddle music plays.  Expect performances of Civil War-era Christmas songs. Guests will also have a chance to contra dance, hear old holiday tales, sip on hot apple cider by a bonfire and see a tree decorated as if it were 1866.

INFO 1303 Round Swamp Rd., Old Bethpage; 516-572-8409, oldbethpagevillagerestoration.org. Dec. 21-23, 26-29.