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This week you'll find lots of Christmas fun, some terrific last minute savings and more. Enjoy!

Fun ways to connect with Santa

This is one of my favorite things to do every year. Portable North Pole (PNP) allows you to create a personalized Santa video for that special someone on your list. It can be a kid, an adult, you name it. Each year they make this better and better. This year you can add a picture, a special message even an additional scene. The video is then sent to your email and ready to view. It s free and will have your loved ones wondering how you did it.

Disney offers a similar service. You do need to register first.

Smilebox does a similar thing only it lets you download a picture or video with their name and age even questions for Santa. Then Santa replies.

More Christmas Fun

The Domain is offering free horse drawn carriage rides each Friday and Saturday until Christmas. Tips are of course appreciated. Every year this tends to create pretty long lines. The rides happen between 5:30pm and 9:30pm near the Dillard s entrance and the Macy s entrance. For more information, contact Guest Services at The Domain at (512) 795-4230 or visitThe Domain website.

The Four Seasons gingerbread village is already up and it s always free to visit. This year s theme is the Grinch That Stole Christmas and it is amazing! This Wednesday and Thursday, December 4th and 5th from 5pm to 6pm they have their open houses. You ll get a chance to ask the chefs questions, see Santa and enjoy complimentary cookies and cider. You can check out the story I did and see pictures of why it s definitely worth a visit here.

Mozart s Coffee Roasters has a free 12-minute light show each night through January 5th. The shows start at the top of the hour starting at 6pm through midnight. It s a fun way to enjoy the holidays and some hot chocolate. Here s some video of the show from a few years ago.You can learn more here.

The Tuba Christmas is always a fun event. It takes place this Monday, December 23rd at noon on the south steps of the Texas Capitol. It s free and really fun to watch.

Christmas Lights

We've got a terrific list of places to check out Christmas lights here.


Shopping Savings

The new Austin Children s Museum a.k.a. The Thinkery opened a few weeks ago. If you haven't been, it's amazing! And Wednesday, Dec. 18th the Thinkery is doing a one-day only Tax Free day, plus 20% off all Thinkery apparel. This is a great place to get local Holiday gifts for the kiddos in your life. The Thinkery has so many different types of toys and games not found in your typical toy store. Many of them are designed to nurture curiosity and creativity.And that same night is Community Night. Families are invited to come out between 5pm and 8pm all they ask is for a dollar donation.

It s the last week to fit in some last-minute shopping! It s not too late to find some great deals. Many stores will ship your purchases to you until December 23rd! Our friends at Austin based Offers.com have put together a Shipping Deadlines page to see which retailers will ship late, and a Last-Minute Gifts page to see where the best deals are on last-minute gifts and gift cards. Here are some top deals of the week:

Walmart

$50 off Monster NCredible Headphones + Free Shipping

Expires 12/22/13

Sony

$100 off Playstation Vita + Free Shipping

Expires 12/19/13

Kmart

$25 off orders $125+

Expires 12/31/13

JCPenney

10% off your purchase + Free Shipping over $49

Shari s Berries

20% off orders $49+

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