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Build traditions without breaking the family bank DEAL DETECTIVE Jenna Urban

The holidays bring families closer together, and many people are looking for ways to create holiday memories without tapping into their Christmas Clubs. Creating a family tradition doesn’t mean that you have to spend big bucks. There are a ton of cheap or free family attractions throughout Lackawanna County that will keep you within your holiday budget.

Northeast Pennsylvania hosts one of the most beautiful light holiday light displays at Nay Aug Park. Running until December 31 at 7 p.m., pack the car and head to the top of Mulberry Street in Scranton to enjoy over 100 displays of holiday lights. There is no charge for this holiday treat, but donations are accepted at the end of the ride where you can also get a picture with Santa.

One of my favorite family activities is the family trolley ride. Take a train ride with Santa Claus on Dec. 10, 11, 17, and 18 when rides depart at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m. Groups are encouraged to make reservations at (570) 963-6590. The cost is $8 for adults and $6 for kids.

Lowes offers free Build and Grow Clinics on Saturdays at 10 a.m. On Dec. 10, bring your kids to Lowes to build a Coal Car. Visit lowesbuildandgrow.com for more information.

On Dec. 10, there will be a Holiday Petting Zoo at the Mall at Steamtown between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

If you are looking for an inexpensive family meal, then you might want to stop by one of the many “Breakfast with Santa” events throughout the area. Most of these events are fundraisers, so the cost is very family-friendly. Most events cost around $6 for adults and $3 for kids.

One that caught my eye is on Dec. 10 at Scranton High School with seatings at 9 and 11 a.m., and it benefits Matthew’s Mission. Call (570) 961-0818 for reservations. This is such a wonderful time of the year to help support fundraisers while you spend time with your family.

On Dec. 17, bring the family to a free showing of the Disney holiday movie, “The Search for Santa Paws,” at the F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m. and the movie will start at 2 p.m. Pre-movie entertainment will start at 1:30 p.m. with choral music, bell ringers, dancers, and a juggler.

The annual performance of ‘The Nutcracker,’ is a treat at the end of December. Bring your family to Marywood University on Dec. 26, 27, and 28 for the 2 or 7:30 p.m. performances presented by the Ballet Theatre of Scranton. Reserve your free tickets by calling (570) 347-2867.

Do you know of any family friendly events? Share with us on facebook.com/golackawanna

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