This week you’ll find lots of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas deals whether you’re shopping at the stores or online. And be sure to check out all the free family fun events in here too. Enjoy!
Free Thanksgiving meals
The following list is courtesy of LiveMom.com.
- November 22, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., North Austin Christian Church. FREE. (1734 Rutland Dr)
- November 22, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., St. Louis Catholic Church, Wozniak Hall. FREE. (7601 Burnet Rd)
- November 22, noon - 2 p.m., Ministry of Challenge. FREE. (1500 E 12th St)
- November 22, 11:30 a.m - 2 p.m., Bethany United Methodist Church. FREE. (10010 Anderson Mill Rd)
- November 22, noon - 4 p.m., Salvation Army Social Service Center. FREE. (501 E 8th St)
HEB Feast of Sharing Holiday Dinner -- November 20, 4 - 8 p.m., Palmer Events Center. H-E-B plans to serve over 14,000 meals to residents of Austin, Travis County and surrounding communities. If you are interested in volunteering, go here. (900 Barton Springs Rd)
St. William Catholic Church -- November 22 (Thanksgiving Day), from noon - 2 p.m. On Thanksgiving day Saint William Catholic Church will host a meal at the Saint William Parish Hall, from noon – 2 p.m. for anyone in the Round Rock area who is in need, or who does not have family locally, or for those who simply want to join in a large gathering on this special holiday. All are welcome. (620 Round Rock West Drive, Round Rock)
Operation Turkey -- November 22 (Thanksgiving Day), 8:30 a.m. - noon. Operation Turkey cooks, assembles, and delivers meals to area homeless people on Thanksgiving Day. Volunteers are needed to cook food, sort donations, package the food in to-go containers, and deliver dinners and donations. Cooking and assembly takes place at various Bikini's Sports Bar & Grill from 8:30 a.m. - noon, then meals are handed out to area homeless. To volunteer for Operation Turkey, fill out this form. Meals are being assembled and delivered in North Austin, Downtown Austin, San Marcos, and even Richardson (near Dallas). Go here for locations and specifics.
Day of Giving and Thanks -- November 23, 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center. Teens from all over the city gather to do various community service project after they finish then come back together to have a Thanksgiving Lunch. FREE. (2608 Gonzales St)
For more Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities, check out this list on LiveMom.com. Local blog A is for Austin has also shared a great volunteer opportunity here.
Black Friday Freebies
These deals are all courtesy of DealNews.com
- Bealls-- Shoppers who arrive when doors open at 6 am on Black Friday will receive a free Bealls Christmas 2012 tree ornament. And for those who really want to be early — in other words, be in front of the store come midnight — the first 100 customers in line will also walk home with either a "16GB WiFi tablet," a $100 gift card, or $5 Bealls Bucks via a Bealls scratch-off card.
- Half Price Books -- In addition to a free $5 gift card, the first 100 customers to show up when the doors open at 7 am will also get a free tote bag, which will be ideal for hauling off your Black Friday bounty. One of those totes may contain another freebie: an extra $100 gift card!
- Old Navy is giving away a Wii U Console this Black Friday! While it's likely that the retailer will only give away one console per store, a larger number of customers can spend at least $40 and take home a free copy of Super Mario Bros. U, which is a $60 value! Old Navy's doors open at midnight on Friday, and the first customers in line will receive a wristband for this free game offer.
- Sam's Club
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially on Black Friday; you'll need stamina to make it through those crowds! As Sam's Club opens its doors at 7 am on Black Friday, it'll be handing its members a free cup of Starbucks holiday blend coffee along with a free Artisan Fresh pastry. Really, who wants to shop in the morning on an empty stomach ... and without caffeine?
Austin based Offers.com has a complete list of the latest deals, store hours, print ads and more in the Offers.com Black Friday Savings Center. Below our deals team put together the top deals they’ve spotted that can help you save big right now! Retailers are posting the same or better deals online on Black Friday so check out the fun Black Friday disaster video that is among the year’s most popular Black Friday videos on YouTube to help spread the message to stay safe by shopping online this year. Thanks Shermayne for the tips!
Tiger Direct Deal
40% off Samsung 32" LED HDTV + Free Shipping
50% off Canon PowerShot A1300 16mp Digital Camera + Free Shipping
Up to 60% off The North Face Apparel & Accessories + Free Shipping
50% off Dell Inspiron 14z Laptop - Only $299 + Free Shipping
My Gofer Deal
50% off Vivitar DVR 508 HD Camcorder + Free Shipping
Don’t forget JCPenney is offering free haircuts for kids grades K through 6th grade on Sundays starting November 4th.
Remember there are lots of free downloadable books for your kindle at Amazon.com.
Tide is giving away free over the lid resealable stickers because of concerns that kids may mistake them for candy. This is a way to make the tubs safer if you have children. Could take 8 weeks to receive this.
Free Medium Fountain Drink or Reg. Frozen Drink w/Any Size Popcorn at Cinemark . Like them on Facebook to get the deal.
FREE TATTOO REMOVAL — ONE DAY ONLY!
Austin Dermagraphix Tattoo will be giving away free tattoo removal treatments at its tattoo removal clinic on December 12, 2012. I’m telling you this early because appointments must be made to get a treatment on that day. They will try to treat any walkins and the clinic on a first come, first serve basis, between scheduled appointments. This is only available to new clients of the clinic. To schedule an appointment, visit AustinDermagraphix.com or call 512-520-9771.
The Garden Room is having a great black Friday special. Save 40 percent on every item that is all black on Friday and Saturday.
Four Seasons Gingerbread Village - Wednesday, November 21 through January 1, 2013. I just shot a story on this which will air Sunday night and it is incredible. The village is created by the Four Seasons pastry chefs and takes months to complete. This year’s theme: "Eclectic Austin" landmarks. You’ll see everything from The Salt Lick to the Cathedral of Junk to Hey Cupcake. It’s FREE. The open houses are next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 to 6pm and you can enjoy free cookies and Santa will be there too. Four Seasons Austin, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.
Thanks to Heidi at Free Fun in Austin.com for the following list of holiday events:
Annual Lighting of the Square, Friday, November 23 at 5:30 p.m. Kick off the holiday season with Georgetown's Annual Lighting of the Square. Join in holiday carols provided by The Austin Carolers, warm your tummy with hot chocolate and cookies, and stay for pictures with Santa (inside the Williamson County Courthouse from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.). Go by the The Williamson Museum and let the kids make a Christmas Light Garland and check out the antique toy collection (from 6 - 8 p.m.). Plan to get in some shopping as merchants stay open late. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and stick around for a FREE showing of the classic movie A Christmas Story on the giant outdoor movie screen, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Downtown Square, Georgetown.
Bastrop River of Lights - Friday, November 23 through New Year's Eve, from 6 - 9 p.m. Bastrop River of Lights walking trail is located in Fisherman’s Park and continues all the way down the Lower Colorado River to Ferry Park, about a half mile. Fisherman's Park, Bastrop.
Holiday Lights & Ice, Barton Creek Resort & Spa, November 21 - January 6 -- Austin's largest outdoor ice rink, accompanied by a display of 200,000 lights, offers local residents, club members and resort guests the opportunity to lace up their skates and enjoy festive holiday cheer and seasonal treats. For complete hours of operation, visit their website. Monday - Thursday, tickets are $23 for adults/$17 for children; Friday - Sunday, $26 for adults/$19 for children. For club members, skating tickets are $19 for adults and $14 for children all week. (8212 Barton Club Dr, Austin)
Friday Family Fun Day, Austin's Park, Friday, November 23 -- Visit Austin's Park to enjoy unlimited buffet and fountain drinks, as well as unlimited Laser Tag, Little Shot, Rock Wall and Mini-Golf. Admission is $9.95 + tax per person. Add on unlimited Go-Karts, Bumper Boats, and Spinning Tea Cups for an additional $5.00 + tax. Kids under 40" tall can eat and play for FREE. Buffet closes 1 hour before park closure. Unlimited Fountain Drinks available until close. (16231 IH-35, Pflugerville)
Ice Skating on the Plaza, Whole Foods Lamar, November 24 - January 6, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily -- Enjoy outdoor ice skating, a rare treat here in Texas, on the upstairs plaza of the Whole Foods flagship store. Listen to music, sip cocoa, or buy a cup of soup. $10 per person. (525 N Lamar Blvd, Austin)
Ice skating at Chaparral Ice, Northcross Mall -- Public skating times are offered at Chaparral Ice! Admission is $6 and skate rental is $4 for children and adults age 6 and up. Kids 5 years of age and under skate for ONLY $5, including skate rental. Check out the public skate schedule for specific times and to plan your visit. (2525 W Anderson Ln, Austin)
This great list of Christmas light displays is courtesy of Free fun in Austin.com.
Christmas Light Show, November 9 through December 31, Mozart's Coffee Roasters -- Free light show happens at the top of each hour starting at 6 p.m. (6 p.m., 7:00, 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, and midnight). FREE. (3825 Lake Austin Blvd)
Wake Up Santa, Saturday, November 17, 10 a.m., Highland Mall -- Santa has been fast asleep at the North Pole and it's time to wake him and welcome him to his holiday home at Highland Mall! Children and parents are invited to come help wake Santa with music, merriment, donuts and hot chocolate. Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas. FREE. Santa will be available for photos for purchase at the photo set following the event. (6001 Airport Blvd)
Mueller Tower Lighting, Tuesday, November 27, 6 - 8 p.m. -- Join us for the 7th annual lighting of the "Noel" signs atop the old airport control tower. There will be kids' activities, music and more fun! Activities begin at 6 p.m. with remarks and the lighting beginning at 7 p.m. FREE. (Tom Miller & Berkman Drive)
Chuy's Parade, Saturday, December 1, 11 a.m., Downtown Austin -- The parade is approximately 1 hour long and starts at the State Capitol, moving south on Congress all the way to Cesar Chavez. Enjoy inflatable balloons, festive holiday floats, famous children's characters, marching bands, classic cars, and Santa! Bring a toy! At a designated time during the procession, the parade will stop to collect the toys, to be distributed by Operation Blue Santa. FREE.
Breakfast with Santa, Saturday, December 1, 8:30 - 10 a.m., Lakeline Mall -- Open only to Simon Kidgets members ($5 annual fee to join). Breakfast is provided by Chick-Fil-A for members only while supplies last, and Santa will be there with a special gift for members. This is your chance to spend some quality time with Santa before the crowds arrive, as well as write him a letter with your personal wishlist, and enjoy all kinds of holiday crafts. (11200 Lakeline Mall Blvd)
Zilker Holiday Tree Lighting, Sunday, December 2, 6 p.m., Zilker Park -- Join us for the tree lighting ceremony at 6:00 pm. Featuring local entertainment, food, novelties and live music. FREE. (2100 Barton Springs Rd)
Zilker Holiday Tree Schedule -- From December 3-31, 6 p.m. - midnight, the tree will be on display nightly. REMINDER - December 15-23 the area roads will be closed as thousands visit the Trail of Lights. If you are planning to visit the Holiday Tree itself, make sure to plan around those nights!
Holiday Sing-Along & Downtown Stroll, Saturday, December 1, 6 p.m., Congress Avenue -- Join Austinites for community caroling at the Capitol grounds. When the caroling ends, the holiday tree in front of the Capitol is lit and participants stroll down Congress Avenue where they find the street alive with music, art, shopping and more. Come downtown to see the new lights and celebrate the lighting of this year's 40-foot tree with its lights programmed to local holiday music on Dec. 1. Festivities start at 6:00 p.m.
Big Frog South Austin's 1st Anniversary, December 8, Big Frog South Austin -- Santa will be on site to take photos, and Big Frog will print the photo on one white shirt for FREE (additional white shirts with Santa photos will be $10.00 each)! A jazz quartet will provide musical entertainment, and there will also be food and treats for your enjoyment. 5400 Brodie Lane, Ste 235)
Luminations, December 8 & 9, 6 - 9 p.m., Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center -- Enjoy gardens lighted with thousands of luminarias and twinkle lights and to listen to music of the season from local performers and area schools.. Admission is FREE with two canned food items for the Capital Area Food Bank. (4801 La Crosse Ave)
Trail of Lights, December 16 - 23, Zilker Park -- After a 2 year absence, the Trail of Lights is back! Guests will participate in the celebration of the holidays with millions of festive lights on display and a post-trail experience for additional family fun. On Sunday, December 16, the Trail of Lights kicks off in Zilker Park with a grand opening and will run through Sunday, December 23. This year’s events include numerous performers — dancers, singers, musicians and carolers — with themes every night, including Heritage Night, School Spirit Night and Military Appreciation. Food and drink will be available for sale, including hot chocolate, cider and bites from local food trailers. Thanks to H-E-B, every child that attends the Trail of Lights will recieve a FREE book. (2100 Barton Springs Rd)
River of Lights, November 23 - December 31, 6 - 9 p.m., Fisherman's Park -- Bastrop River of Lights walking trail is located in Fisherman’s Park and continues all the way down the Lower Colorado River to Ferry Park, about a half mile. FREE. (1200 Willow St, Bastrop)
6th Annual Tree Lighting & Santa's Arrival, Thursday, November 15, 6 - 9 p.m., Hill Country Galleria -- Events include performances by PAIYH Dance Studios and Veritas Academy Drum Line, Santa's arrival (7 p.m.), Christmas Tree lighting, fireworks, and live music by the Vintage 15. FREE. (12700 Hill Country Blvd, Bee Cave)
Meet Santa and Take Your Own Photos for Free, November 15 - December 24, Hill Country Galleria -- Click here for Santa's schedule. FREE. (12700 Hill Country Blvd, Bee Cave)
Pet Photos with Santa, Saturday, December 1, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., Dogadillo -- $12 to get a pet photo with Santa; includes a 4x6 photo framed Christmas card. (12912 Hill Country Blvd, near Dillards, Bee Cave)
Snow Day, Saturday, December 15, noon - 4 p.m., Bee Cave Library -- Play in the snow! Real snow! FREE. (12700 Hill Country Blvd, Bee Cave)
Budafest 2012, December 1 & 2, 10 a.m. - dusk, Buda City Park -- Parade at 10 a.m. on Saturday, full carnival, over 125 craft vendors, local food vendors, live music, antiques, and of course Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission is FREE, but parking at the park is a small fee benefiting Project Graduation. (204 San Antonio St, Buda)
Main Street Bethlehem, December 7, 8, 9 and 14, 15, 16, from 6 - 9 p.m. -- Experience Bethlehem as the ancient city of Christ's birth comes alive again, in Burnet. Feel the anticipation of Joseph and Mary approaching the gates, urgency quickening their steps. Pick your way through transients, peddlers, the crippled, and aged in the town’s fringe. Experience the presence of animals as they affect all aspects of life in that time... camels, donkeys, sheep, goats, chickens, and doves. Explore the narrow streets to faint strains of ancient music and savor the smells of fresh goat butter, campfires, and hot bread. Then immerse yourself in the din of the marketplace: the revelers in the tavern, shouted insults to and from the Roman oppressors, merchants, craftspeople, taxpayers, and beggars all seeking money, or position, or revenge. Search for the inn, only to find it full. Follow the trail to the cave where a road-weary couple has moved in with the animals. FREE. (Two blocks east of the town square, Burnet)
Holiday by the Tracks, December 1 at 10 a.m., Veterans Memorial Park -- Pictures with Santa ($5), Arts and Crafts, food, River Valley Farmer's Market, Live Nativity, and a Lighted Christmas Parade! The kick off for FestiviTrees will also happen at Holiday by the Tracks. Decorate a tree with recycled materials or create a tree from recylced materials! FREE. (Veterans Memorial Park, Elgin)
St. Nikolausmarkt & Lighted Christmas Parade, December 7, 3 - 11 p.m., Marktplatz (Market Square) -- Arts and crafts, local food, holiday entertainment, FREE photos with St. Nik. Admission is FREE. (100 W Main St, Fredricksburg)
Annual Lighting of the Square, November 23, 5:30 p.m., Downtown Georgetown -- Kick off the Holiday Season with our Annual Lighting of the Square. Join in with the Holiday Carols provided by The Austin Carolers, warm your tummy with hot chocolate and cookies, and stay for pictures with Santa! Plan to get in some shopping as merchants stay open late. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and stick around for a FREE showing of the classic movie A Christmas Story on our giant outdoor movie screen!
32nd Annual Christmas Stroll, December 1 (9 a.m. - 8 p.m.), Downtown Georgetown -- Take part in the kick-off parade to welcome Santa to the square, listen to holiday carolers, stroll along magical main street, munch on wonderful holiday treats at the bakery and candy store, become part of a live Nativity in Bethlehem Village, tease the Grinch in Whoo-Village, lunch on some festival foods, and enjoy shopping with our 200 plus vendors. You can even pretend you're on the slopes with a ride down Snowzilla! (Note: The website states that the lighting of the square is Friday, November 30. That has been changed to November 23.)
Photos with Cowboy Kringle, November 17 (10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and 18 (12 p.m. - 5 p.m.) -- Gruene's own brand of Santa. Pictures will be taken in the breezeway between The Grapevine and Gruene General Store. Packages are available, along with photo ornaments, Christmas cards and other special order items. A portion of the profits from photos taken on November 17 & 18 will benefit Communities in Schools. For more info including future dates and hours, click here. After taking photos with Santa, stop by and do some Christmas shopping at Gruene Market Days. (1610 Hunter Rd, New Braunfels)
2012 Lights Spectacular, November 23 - January 1 -- Johnson City, one of the largest light displays in the state, will have millions of lights on local homes, businesses, churches, as well as 100,000 lights on the Blanco County Courthouse. The Courthouse will be open on Saturday & Sunday nights from 6:00-9:00 p.m. with a tree, sales of ornaments and crafts from the Garden Club. Guests can also enjoy carriage rides and fireworks on some nights, weather permitting. For special event nights, go here. Admission to all events is FREE.
Dickens Christmas, November 30 & December 1, Downtown Lockhart -- The Lighted Christmas Parade will travel around the Courthouse Square beginning at Friday 6 p.m. On Saturday the holiday celebration continues with “A Dickens’ Christmas in Lockhart," featuring authentic Victorian decorations, choirs, jugglers, bagpipers, carriage rides, vendors, the lighting of the Yule Log, and thousands of lights. The Downtown Square is transformed into 19th century England as characters from Charles Dickens' classic novels parade down Main Street to the Square. For a full schedule of activities, go here. For a map of downtown Lockhart and the parade route, go here. FREE.
Walkway of Lights, November 16 - January 1, 2013 Lakeside Park -- Newly expanded. Over 2 million lights transform Lakeside Park into a holiday wonderland. Open every night from 6 to 10 p.m. (weather permitting) with Santa on the weekends. FREE.
Christmas Light Parade, Saturday, December 8, 5:30 - 8 p.m., Downtown Pflugerville -- Parade begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends with the lighting of the Christmas tree at Main and Third Street. FREE.
Holiday in the Park, Saturday, December 1, 2 - 5 p.m., Cat Hollow Park -- Come enjoy a FREE fun-filled Family Holiday Festival and Craft Fair. There will be tons of fun and activities for all ages, including train rides, bounce castles, crafts, and more. Bring your camera for pictures with Santa and Rudolph. (8320 O'Connor Dr, Round Rock)
Christmas Family Night, Friday, December 7, 6:30 p.m., Downtown Round Rock -- Events include the lighting of the tree and water tower, games and activities, live music, dancers, candlemaking, carriage rides, and more. Santa will make his grand entrance on a horse drawn sleigh shortly after the lighting. Pictures with Santa are a nominal fee, but parents are encouraged to bring their own cameras. Plus, enjoy FREE hot dogs, popcorn, hot chocolate, and other refreshments, activities and snacks. The Round Rock Public Library hosts a puppet show and has Christmas ornament crafts, letters to Santa and a craft sale. FREE.
Rock'N Lights Holiday Light Tour, December 3-31, Old Settlers Park -- A new family holiday tradition comes to light this holiday season in Round Rock! Come and experience the new Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour and Rock’N Lights Village. Rock’N Lights is a brand new drive-thru light show that features thousands of sparkling lights through Old Settlers Park. The 2 million lights, 1 ½ mile path is a must see event of the season! Rock’N Lights Village is a full-scale carnival with rides, refreshment and souvenir midway at the end of the display in the Dell Diamond parking lot. Rock’N Lights Village will be open to the public 6 - 9 p.m. Sunday - Thursday and 6 - 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday, and holidays. Admission to the park is $15 per family vehicle. Admission price to Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour includes one free ride ticket per child (12 years & under) to be used at Rock'N Lights Village. Additional ride tickets can be purchased at Rock'N Lights Village. Rock’N Lights Holiday Light Tour is located at Old Settlers Park and Rock’N Lights Village is located in the Dell Diamond Parking lot at the exit to Rock”N Lights Holiday Light Tour. The tour begins off of Old Settlers Blvd. and exits at Hwy. 79.
Trail of Lights, November 24 - December 31, EmilyAnn Theater & Garden -- Stroll along a walking trail through 8 acres of lighted displays decorated by more than 100 local businesses, community groups and families. Listen to live entertainment and visit with Santa and Mrs Claus. The Jingle Bell Express, a favorite with the little ones, will run Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday evenings 6-9 p.m. and then the entire week of Christmas. FREE hot chocolate will be served and water will be available for sale. The trail is open Sun - Thurs, 6 - 9 p.m., Fri - Sat, 6 - 10 p.m. (1101 FM 2325, Wimberly)
For even more local holiday happenings, check out this list over at R We There Yet Mom?