Last year we went to the Circle of Lights on the Friday after Thanksgiving. While it was a fun event, the actual lighting is very anti-climactic because it lasts only a couple seconds. I don't really mind the crowd, but it does make it tough to keep track of four kids. And with all the activity, there is no access to the actual monument.
This year, we went down on Saturday. Much less people and you have access to the whole monument. The kids could walk up to the base of the monument and look up at the lights stretched to the top of the monument.
With less of a crowd, moving around was easier. We hit the South Bend Chocolate Company for some hot chocolate at the end of the evening. All in all it was a fun evening and under $20 for the evening.