YMCA’s breakfast with Santa- Boston tavern, middleboro

Had an amazing morning at the Boston Tavern seeing Santa, doing crafts and eating a delicious breakfast!

Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro- Foxboro

I’m not going to be the first or last person to tell you about the free pictures with Santa at Bass Pro shops. The photos are beautiful, especially since they’re free! I’ve seen so many Facebook posts this year from upset moms who left the store without getting pictures done- so let me give you some tips for happy photos!

1. Get your bass pass in advance. My sister ran over to the store when it opened. She was in line at 9:55am for a 10:00 opening. The line was already outrageous, and by the time she got to the counter the passes were already for 2 pm. She asked for the time we wanted (4:30) and we came back with the kids about 30 mins before our pass time.

2. Make a plan. If you can’t make two trips, make a plan to shop Patriot place. There are some amazing stores and restaurants! You may even want to catch a movie at the theater, or check the patriot place Facebook page for free events (they do a ton!) AC Moore sometimes does workshops, but you’ll want to check their website for times and details. I find it’s easier to know ahead of time where we want to go, since patriot place is so large and you may need to drive between places.

3. Utilize the busy tables. Bass Pro has set up craft tables next to the line. Send your kids over to kill time while you wait. There’s nothing worse than a cranky kid meeting Santa, or a photo while their little eyes are still red from crying.

4. Baby wipes. Doesn’t matter if it’s marker from the craft table, tears, their snack, boogers or even just germs from petting the dog (who is also waiting for a Picture with Santa) – you’re going to wish you had something to clean them off before the picture. It will help you relax and let them enjoy themselves at the coloring station, or if they need to eat.

5. Make a plan for lunch. Pictures are done right around the corner from Blue Fin cafe. I swear they do it on purpose! After standing in line and smelling all that delicious food, you’re going to be hungry- and so are your kids. Bring snacks or eat before you go because once they smell the food they’re going to be hungry-whining.

6. Try to relax! Holidays are stressful and holiday pictures are so high-pressure. The more you worry about keeping the kids clean and getting a good shot, the more stressed they get. Cue whining, and ultimately complete meltdown. Remind yourself the pictures are free, and try to make some cool memories while you wait. It’s worth it!

Yankee Candle Factory- South Deerfield

Walking around the factory is free! You’ll see it snow inside the Christmas room, demonstrations on making beeswax candles and so much more! For a price you can dip your hand or an ornament in wax or make your own jar candle. The kids made several ornaments averaging $3.99 a piece. Santa is available to meet year round. In the off season he is in the toy store. During Christmas he moves to the main lobby and is available for photos. The wait was 2 hours long, so we elected to skip it. Look online for events and features- today they were doing a Santa parade and free rides in a horse drawn carriage or on the train.

Polar Express Story time at Barnes and Noble- Dartmouth

I. Love. Barnes and Noble. We’ve had a blast at several of their free events, and tonight was no different. The kids listened to a reading of the Polar Express, had cookies and cocoa, did activities, met with Santa (after he arrived on a fire truck) and came home with jingle bells, ornaments, stationary for letters to Santa and activity worksheets- all free. I will definitely continue taking them to all of the events! I particularly love that their events are inclusive for all ages, and not only geared to the little ones!

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