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With Christmas a mere matter of weeks away, we’re sure the last thing you want to think about is how you’re going to keep the kids entertained over the festive period. But as they’ll probably be hyperactive with excitement ahead of the big day, it might be worth starting to think of ideas now so they don’t drive you mad. Plus, entertaining the kids over a busy period like Christmas can prove costly. To help you beat the boredom this year, have a look at some of our money-saving tips.

Visit Father Christmas

Regardless of where you live in the UK, you’re guaranteed to be in close proximity to Santa’s grotto. They can be found at most department stores and town centres across the country, with many open from November to December. Many grottos charge an entrance fee to see the man in red and prices can vary. But for the best chance of finding a free Santa’s grotto, head down to your local garden centre or winter fete - where they should at least be cheaper, if not free.

Alternatively, why not bring Father Christmas to you this year, with the clever use of technology? A new downloadable app has made it easy for your little ones to receive a personalised video message just for them from Father Christmas. Prices start from £2.99 but there are two free videos on the site so keep a watchful eye out! For more information, click here.

Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Shop

As we recently found out, many people say that the start of the festive season is marked by the Coca-Cola Christmas advert appearing on their TV screens. If your kids are fans, why not take them along to see the real life Coca-Cola Trucks when they make a stop in your city?

The Coca-Cola truck tour runs from the 28th November to the 23rd December and stops in 45 locations around the UK. If you go along, you can soak up the festive atmosphere by sipping on a free Coca-Cola and listening to a Christmas choir.

Christmas Markets

Christmas markets are great for children, with most major towns hosting their own. Some of the best markets include Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast, and the largest is in Birmingham. Most markets charge no fee to get in and it’s then up to you how much you want to spend while you’re there. If you want to take your children along, you can keep them entertained by browsing the stalls, grabbing a hot chocolate or riding a fairground ride, and it’s a great chance to pick up some last-minute gifts too.

Ice Skating

Many outdoor ice rinks pop up in town and city centres during the festive season, and they’re always popular with couples and families. You usually have to pay to skate and as demand is high, prices can be expensive - but there are some ways that you can keep costs down. For example, going at off-peak times such as the weekday or during the mornings can help with this.

Alternatively, if you go as a family or with another parent and child, it might be worth paying as a group. Doing this should work out cheaper than if you were to pay individually. If there is an indoor ice rink near you, it may be worth comparing prices as they can often work out cheaper than the public rinks.

Head Outdoors

Places like The National Trust have a variety of events going on around Christmas time, so head down to one of their parks with your little ones this festive season. Activities and events will be held at all National Trust parks in the UK, with craft fairs and Christmas markets running right up until Christmas. Activities for children include storytelling, arts and crafts and trail walks. To find an event taking place near you, click here.

Whatever your thoughts are on snow, if we have a white Christmas this year – and this winter is predicted to be a white one - your children will be entertained for hours. Helping them to make a snowman is a great way to pass the time or you could get them making snow angels. Alternatively, if your child is an avid singer why not take them carolling around the neighbourhood? You could also drive them around to see some of the spectacular Christmas light displays that your neighbours have put up. All great ideas to keep them feeling festive – and they won’t cost you a penny!

How do you plan to keep your little ones entertained over the festive period? Share your ideas with us over on Twitter or Facebook.

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