Posts

Five New Holiday Traditions To Try

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Five New Holiday Traditions To Try. I’d forgotten the excitement the twins used to show when we’d open the boxes filled with Christmas decorations. Now they’re 19 and too cool (I think they still dig it) to show it. But 8-year-old Zoe is all about asking “where did we get those stars?” And “is it time to see the ZooLights yet?” If you’re looking for some new ideas to try, these are good thought starters…

 

Five New Holiday Traditions To Try:

1. The Christmas Tree Ring Memory String:

The Todd thought of this our first Christmas together, when he grabbed the slice we’d just taken off the tree stump and labeled it “T+E 1997.”  It’s so fun to add a new tree ring every year … and now the Memory String stretches clear across our living room.

 

 

2. The 12 Days of Christmas Melee:

I’ve tried doing the “12 Days of Christmas” tradition, and it’s exhausting.  But if you do it with your family or a group of friends, it becomes fun, intriguing, and usually stupidly entertaining.  Assign one or two of the 12 days to each family member or friend.  They need to do something for another member of the group, in secret, giving nothing away.  It can be as small as cleaning the snow off the car and having it heated up and ready when that person goes to work, or as fancy as a Singing Elf Delivery Gram (don’t ask, my friend Steve delivered it to The Todd, and let’s say Steve enjoyed wearing those Elf tights, dancing and singing a little too much.)  On Christmas Eve, everyone has to figure out who did what or gave what to whom.   There’s laughter, shrieking and some really brilliant ideas that come to light.

 

3. Project Adopt A Grandma/Graduate Student/Refugee Family:

Bear with me.  Sometimes this means coming out of your comfort zone a little.  But there are thousands of people in your city or town that think a day spent with you would be amazing, and it doesn’t need to be on Christmas, or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, or whatever you might celebrate.

  • For older folks in a care facility, they may not be able to get out to shop for loved ones, mail packages, get their hair done, buy a nice red coat for going to church.  A day with your patience, friendly kids and transportation would make their holiday.  Check in with your local Elder Care facilities and Meals On Wheels for a referral.

 

  • Graduate students at your local college are likely broke, new to town and maybe new to this country.  Some of our very best Christmas Eves were spent going around the room and having everyone talk about what “Higher Power” meant to them.  To Jennika from Ukraine, Higher Power was the feeling she got from her music as a concert pianist.  For Yen from Communist China, the joy he felt from complex math equations “filled his spirit” as he said.  Check with Student Services and the school church groups.

 

  • Refugee families are my favorite: the courageous little families make their way to our country from every corner of the globe.  I have never worked with one that wasn’t thrilled and grateful to be here and wanting so much to be part of the community.  But it’s scary: language barriers, confusion over customs, transportation problems–they are frightening and discouraging for anyone.  Teaching the families about the holidays and some of the different ones everyone shares is a wonderful experience.  We help the kids make small crafts and gifts for their parents, take the family to see the lights or a concert.   Check with your local Catholic Refugee Services for placement suggestions.

 

4. Try the Epic Tour of Lights:

This needs to only cost you a gallon of gas.  Everyone in the family maps out their favorite lit-up houses for the holidays.  Plug ‘em into your iPhone or make a little map.  Pass out the cocoa and get the car started.  Try LightMuse or ChristmasLightFinder to get you started. Locals here along the Wasatch Front, there’s an incredible list that’s either free as a drive-by (F) or nominal cost ($):

 

5.  Japanese Sky Lanterns & New Year’s Eve Wishes:

My favorite of our new traditions.  Japanese sky lanterns are inexpensive and heart-stoppingly beautiful.  Just before midnight, we take our lantern and write a wish for the upcoming year on one side, and a worry from the year we’re leaving on the other side.  As the clock turns 12, we send our lanterns into the sky, carrying our wishes to the heavens as our worries burn away with the paper.  I’ve found inexpensive sky lanterns in bulk here.  (Editor’s note: this is very important: many municipalities will have their own laws about the use of these lanterns. Please check first, and make sure you use a clear space with an open skyline to set your lanterns into the sky.)

An Exhaustive List Of Every Christmas Light Show Along The Wasatch Front

An Exhaustive List Of Every Christmas Light Show Along The Wasatch Front. I must hate myself. Really.  I do this to myself EVERY YEAR, but to my Littles, the light cruises are an indispensable part of the Holidays.  We circle city blocks for hours, marveling at the lights and amazing creations that people with more time, money and (clearly) intelligence can put together. Since the only thing it has to cost you is a gallon or two of gas, it’s one of the most affordable options. Here’s a breakdown by county along the Wasatch Front, including the wildly enthusiastic amateurs. You’re welcome.

(Editor’s note: if you’re looking for more ways to instill meaning and fun into the Holidays with the people you love, take a look at our post on “Creating Holiday Traditions” here.  And what about taking care of yourself, enjoying the Holidays instead of just “getting through another one,” by checking out our tips here.)

 

An Exhaustive List Of Every Christmas Light Show Along The Wasatch Front

 

 

Utah County:

6-10-pm: Spanish Fork Festival of Lights-runs every night through New Year’s Day. Tickets $7-30.

6:30-10pm: The Christmas Light Cruise on the Provo River-tickets are $8.00, children under 2 free.

5:30-10:30pm: Pond Town in Salem-a sweet light display on the pond at the center of town, free admission. The display runs through 1.2.15

5-10pm: The Shops At Riverwoods-is ablaze with lights through January 1, 2018.  There’s carriage rides Friday, Saturday and Monday.  Free admission, small charge for the carriage rides.

5-10pm: Provo Town Center-watch the free holiday light and music show through December 31, free admission. 351 W Center St, Provo

5-10:30pm: Christmas in Color– now at the Utah Lake Stake Park – Marina, 4400 Center St, Provo. $25-30 per car- no limit on how many passengers.

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals UC: free admission

936 S 200 E, Orem: 100,000 lights set to music

Adam says to be sure to hit the Fibernet building in Orem. The building is just East of the University Mall-they’ve added even more lights this year!

 

Salt Lake County:

5-10pm: The Lights At Temple Square-of course, the Grand MamaJama of all holiday lights is the heart-stopping display at Temple Square.  Open seven days a week through December 31, admission is free.  Be sure to stop by the reflecting pool.

6-9pm: Candlelight Christmas at This Is The Place State Park-discover the warm glow of a pioneer Christmas with dancing, crafts and a visit with Father Christmas.  Dude.  Hardcore…  Tickets: adults $11, kids $8, children under 2 free.  Runs December 8-27 Monday through Saturday, closed 24-25th.

5:30-9pm: Zoo Lights at Utah’s Hogle Zoo-I’m seriously considering putting sunglasses on the kids this year, it’s that wildly colored and bright.  Open through December 31st, tickets are $4-6 for members, and $7-5 for non-members.

5-11pm: Light Up The Night At The Gateway Mall-hundreds of thousands of lights. including a wildly rotating color wheel on their gigantic Christmas Tree.  Free admission, open through January 2, 2018.

Noon-6pm: Gallivan Center Ice Skating Rink and Light Display-gorgeous neon splashes of color all over the Gallivan Center, plus ice skating and a fire barrel! Check here for sudden closures or schedule changes.  Admission to see the lights is free, ice rink is a small fee.

5-10pm: The Lights At Gardner Village-there’s free admission and Elf Hunts!  Runs through December 31.

Dusk to 11pm: The “Tree Of Life” is a beautiful addition to the Draper City Park–thousands of white lights that have created kind of a draw for spiritual seekers to the tree.  Draper City Park, 12500 South 1300 East.

5:30-11pm: Christmas in Color – a high-tech animated display from the group that creates the Midway Ice Castles. $20 per car on weekdays, $25 on weekends. (No limit to how many per car.) Salt Lake County Equestrian Park, 11161 s 2200 W, South Jordan.

 

frosty

The Plucky Non-Professionals SLC: free admission

Christmas Street: 5400 South 3200 West, Salt Lake City.  Best seen on foot.

Christmas Street Sugarhouse: the oldest neighborhood to claim the title here in Utah. Glen Arbor St, Salt Lake City

Christenson & Hymas Light Display: tune your radio to 99.5 for the music that goes with the show. 11693 S. 700 E., Draper

Frosty’s Winter Wonderland: something new goes up every night, slow for a moment and Frosty or one of his kids will trot over to hand you a candy cane. 805 E 18th Ave, Salt Lake City

1528 W 8740 S, West Jordan:

Lights on Wakefield: if you’d like to donate, they’re raising money for the Mascot Miracles Foundation (pediatric cancer) tune your radio to 87.9fm. 6388 S. Wakefield Way (5885 W.)

 

Toole County: 

6-9pm: Clark Historic Farm, live nativity and luminary walk.  Tickets $2 per person, or $1 with food donation.

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals TC: free admission

Lights on 1310: Sunday-Thursday 6-10pm, Friday-Saturday 6-11pm

Wait!  There’s more from the Toole Transcript here.

 

 

Davis County:

Dusk-11pm: Layton City Lights In The Park-free admission, open through January 1.

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals DC: free admission.

1600 S 1100 W, Syracuse: 25 years of light display madness

2413 N 2100 W, Clinton:

1385 S 2600 W, Syracuse:

354 E 200 S, Clearfield

223 N 1400 W, Clearfield: Christmas lights dance to the music, set your channel to 93.7fm

The Lights On Sherwood Drive: huge display in Kaysville – 5:30-10pm

 

Weber County:

5-9pm: Ogden’s Christmas Village-free admission, meet with Santa, take a tour of the homes.  Crafts, photos with Santa and food available for sale.  Runs through December 31.

 

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals WC: free admission

Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Exeter Dr, Morgan: admission is free, but they’re asking for donations for Primary Children’s Medical Center if you’re so inclined.

 

Box Elder County:

5-10pm: Fantasy At The Bay, Willard Bay State Park-my kids LOVE this wonderful display.   Take a horse-drawn wagon ride through the lights for free, but PLEASE tip the driver–this sweet man offers the service for free because he doesn’t want any child disappointed.  Admission is 50% off on Wednesdays, and get a $1.00 off coupon here.  It’s worth the drive.  Open through December 31, seven days a week.

 

The Plucky Non-Professionals BEC: free admission:

The Hooper Holiday House:  The Goodrich family is proud to invite you, turn the radio to 90.5 for musical accompaniment.

Tremonton-102 S Tremont St: lights synchronized to music, 5:30-11pm

 

Heading down south?

St. George has a huge collection of Holiday light displays, and the ambitious Braden with HedgeHog Electric compiled them all for you–it’s part of a fundraising drive for the Southwest Utah Habitat For Humanity.  You can find that excellent Holiday map here.

The St. George LDS Temple’s light display is back and exceptionally beautiful this year. Details here.

 

Okay, seriously, I can no longer feel my fingers.  I’ve been writing this post for the last 5 hours.  Yet, there are more! Be sure to check here for more enthusiastic amateurs.  There’s bound to be a house or two near you.  I’m sure that there’s great places I’ve missed.  Please add your two cents in a comment below.  C’mon!  It’s for the children…