It’s officially winter, which also means it’s officially that time of year when the sun sets at 5pm. It’s all so disorienting, you get home from class or work at 11:00PM only to check the time and realize it isn’t even past 6:00! And if you’re like some 10 million Americans, it’s possible you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka the Big SAD). So, I’ve compiled a list of fun holiday activities that, hopefully, will help brighten up your winter.
Santa’s Rescue from Weavers | Friday, December 6; 5:30 – 8:30PM
You would think by now that Santa would learn what a hazard
flying over Lawrence, KS is since he needs to get rescued from the top of
Weavers every year. Actually, it has happened so often that the city knows
exactly what time he’ll be there! Starting at 5:30PM, the 900 block of
Massachusetts will be alive and buzzing with anticipation. There will be plenty
of opportunity to sing Christmas carols (if that’s your thing) and to take in
the beauty of the lit trees lining downtown. Parents! After Santa’s rescue, he
will stick around and get gift requests from children so you don’t have to.
The Lawrence Holiday Extravaganza | Saturday, December 7; 9:00AM – 4:00PM
Do you put off getting Christmas presents? Are you horrible
at buying gifts? If so, don’t stress! The Lawrence Holiday Extravaganza can
help you out. This wholesome, happy, bright event features several local
artists and business owners who showcase and sell their work. It will take
place at the Rock Chalk Park Sports Pavilion.
27th Annual Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade | Saturday, December 7; 11:00AM
Lawrence loves it’s traditions, and this parade is no
exception. As usual, it will feature several beautiful horses, riders, and
carriages. The Christmas Parade is a great way to start feeling that “may your
days be merry and bright” vibe that White Christmas always talks about. It is
well-suited for everyone, so bring all your (Big SAD) friends and family.
There’s something so joyful about watching a horse parade knowing that you
won’t be the one left to pick up what they leave behind.
The Arts Center’s “The Nutcracker: A Kansas Ballet” | Weekend of December 13 & Weekend of December 20
The Arts Center’s annual performance of “The Nutcracker” is
perfect for anyone that enjoys the music and basic premise of the ballet but
grows increasingly uncomfortable with the problematic stereotypes in the
original. It provides a nice sense of comfort and visibility as the story takes
place entirely in Kansas. And as someone who used to perform in it every year
and watched it for several years after, I will say that it is reliably
entertaining. Tickets are reasonably priced and can be bought either at the
Arts Center front desk or on their website.
Those cool houses that sync their lights up to the radio | Dates vary
If you’re musically inclined but unsatisfied with the
monotony of traditional Christmas music, these houses are for you. The
inhabitants of the houses put up lights all over the yard and sync up the
sequences to a radio station. They even have a sign to tell you what the radio
station is! So helpful. The outcome is a really entertaining, mesmerizing light
show for all ages to enjoy. One house plays the most epic rendition of “Carol
of the Bells” I’ve ever heard, complete with electric guitar. This handy-dandy website
has the comprehensive list of houses and addresses.
Powell Gardens | Thursdays – Sundays until January 5, 2020; 4:00 – 10:00PM
Powell Gardens doesn’t let winter stop their cute
activities! This year the theme is “Luminosity;” colorful lights are placed
across the gardens and all along the main path. They also provide spiked hot
chocolate for that *ahem* extra little pinch of joy. I have never been myself,
but I’ve heard only good things. Tickets are available on their website.
Kansas City Southern’s Holiday Express Train | December 18 – 22
KC’s Holiday Express Train is a free (free! + parking)
experience fit for all. There are several cars available to tour, all of which
are elaborately decorated inside and out. The train will pull into Union
Station and stay for the whole weekend. A perfect activity to take that one
really extra friend, family member, or partner to.
Crown Center Ice Terrace | Open November 2019 – March 2020
A personal favorite of mine, Crown Center Ice Terrace gives
off great, no judgement vibes. Skaters of all ages and all levels of experience
come together to have some winter fun. There are beautiful lights surrounding
the rink, and the Zamboni provides an awesome, almost ASMR level of
satisfaction. Adding to the excitement is Fritz’s, which is located just across
the street inside the mall. I can say with confidence that their train service
is the best I’ve ever had. Besides, there is no better remedy to cold, bruised
legs than fairly decent diner food.