Help us settle a debate: when does the holiday season officially start?
Is it after the first snowfall? Is it after Thanksgiving?
If your answer is neither of those, but actually the day after Halloween, then this one’s for you.
The Sioux Falls area is full of ways to celebrate the holiday season starting in November. And, with the strain the holidays put on everyone’s wallets, we wanted to help you get in the holiday spirit this season for little to no money.
So, our early gift to you is a guide to free ways to celebrate the holidays this year:
Visit the Winter Wonderland at Falls Park
The city of Sioux Falls does a fantastic job of highlighting its namesake in the most festive way each year, and the best part is that it doesn’t cost you a dime to visit the Winter Wonderland.
Last year’s display featured hundreds of thousands of lights and hundreds of lit-up trees; this year, the park will be lit up from November 18, 2022, through January 8, 2023.
As a bonus, we will be hosting our next KindnessFirst event on opening night of the Winter Wonderland.
Stop by the Falls Overlook Café between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Friday, November 18, to get a free hot chocolate, coffee, or cider and a scoop of Stensland ice cream on us!
Attend the Pavilion tree lighting ceremony and 30th Annual Parade of Lights
The Washington Pavilion will be lighting up their annual Christmas tree — the largest in Sioux Falls — at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, November 25.
That also happens to be the same night as the 30th Annual Parade of Lights. Win-win!
You can start your night at the corner of 11th Street and Main Avenue to watch the tree lighting and then move down to Phillips Avenue for the parade from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., which makes for a full evening of free holiday cheer.
You’re welcome to watch the parade in front of our newly renovated Downtown building at the corner of 9th and Phillips or add some cheer to your photos with our Parade of Lights Snapchat filter!
Explore the 605 Made Holiday Market
The 605 Made Holiday Market at Cherapa Place is a great place to find locally made, handmade gifts for the holidays.
The market is free to attend, but you’re of course welcome to spend some money to support local makers and pick up a few unique gifts.
This year’s market, which we proudly co-sponsor, will be open on Saturday, December 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the underground parking garage at Cherapa Place. Come check it out!
Take some time to volunteer
Nothing will put you in the holiday spirit like giving back to others and your community!
Donating to your favorite organizations is a great way to give back during the holidays, but a free alternative is to give nothing but your time by volunteering instead.
This year, try serving a meal at The Banquet, helping out at Feeding South Dakota, or reaching out to your favorite local organizations to see what volunteer opportunities there are — and don’t be surprised if you find yourself volunteering alongside our teammates.
Get out of town
Of course, no one does the holidays like a small-town community.
Some of the towns on our Community Card roster have their own free holiday activities happening just a short drive from Sioux Falls:
- Brandon Parade of Lights: Saturday, November 26, starting at 6:00 p.m.
- Brandon’s 5th Annual Light Up the Town: Saturday, November 26 – Friday, December 9
- Light Up Flandreau: Saturday, November 26, starting at 5:30 p.m.
- Hartford Hometown Christmas: Sunday, December 4, starting at 12:00 p.m.