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Updated: Jun 17, 2022

affordable Christmas activities with family in Portland

I don’t know about you, but watching the awe + wonder in my childrens' eyes is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be a kid again? I wish I could bottle that feeling up.

We can all use a little help sometimes — ways to make things feel less busy and more magical, so here are a couple of simple ideas that don't involve glue sticks or glitter (and all the angels sang)!


Seriously, that's your blog worthy advice? I’m telling you friend. It’s “forced” (ha!) family time, it doesn't matter if it's raining (hello, it's Oregon or at least for me), it’s free and it’s a great way to just be together without distractions. We love zoo lights, but honestly, one of our favorite spots is to explore in our own neighborhood or surrounding neighborhoods that light up like Clark Griswold.

When our kids were younger, we would love to pile in the car in our pajamas, a cup of hot cocoa and drive around town looking for streets all lit up! Although it is more difficult to get the older kids together to continue this tradition, they still talk about their favorites. Aka: the guy who had a tree in the front room decorated, then coming up and out of his roof. It was an illusion, but boy was it awesome. Plus, I personally love looking at houses in general, then you add all the different styles and's kind of a win/win.


Now that you have all your neighbors' light displays down, have you ever tracked Santa’s flight starting on Christmas Eve? If not, you really need to, it’s seriously the cutest. The government agency “North American Aerospace Defense Command” has been tracking Santa’s movement across the globe for over 50 years. You can check out their official site at to watch video progress Old Saint Nick’s flight.


This is the least expensive thing to do but one that makes a huge impact on everyone's hearts! Grab your friends, your kids' friends, bundle up and go knock on friends' doors and sing a few holiday songs! Keep it short and move onto the next. Even the people who look like the Grinch can't help but feel the love from that one!


This is one of my favorites! Bundle up, drive to Ski Bowl on Mt. Hood and do some nighttime tubing in the neon lights! Something for the kids as well as the "big kids" to enjoy!


Using this time to connect with your loved ones is most important. We are so busy and active throughout the entire year, so it is a good time to put the phones down and simply connect.

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