By Lynn Blamires feature writer for My Local Utah
As the days cool off after the heat of summer and start getting shorter, thoughts turn to the dinner holidays and end-of-year celebrations. With less than 60 days until the New Year begins, it is a time filled with parties with friends, dinners with family, and well, traditions.
Twelve Traditional Traditions to Make Your Holidays Special
#1 Holiday light displays
A favorite tradition is a family night to see Christmas lights. Northern Utah has some of the best light displays to enrich your children’s anticipation for Christmas morning:
- November 21 – Layton City – Lights Before Christmas. In a ceremony that begins with Christmas music sung by two elementary school choirs, the lights will be turned on at 7:00 p.m. This event is both a drive-through and a walking display.
- November 25 – Fantasy at the Bay Christmas light display. This is a drive-through experience that can be enhanced with 3D Snowflake glasses.
- November 21 – Roy City lights. The lighting ceremony starts at 4:30 p.m. and includes a visit from Miss Roy and Santa Claus. This is a walk through a winter wonderland of brightly-lit trees at the Roy City Municipal Building complex.
- November 25 – The Lights on Temple Square. Due to ongoing Temple construction, plans have been modified, but the lights will be no less spectacular.
- December 2 – Hogle Zoo Lights. This year’s Zoo Lights event at Hogle Zoo is slated to be the biggest and best yet. More than 200 lighted displays make the Zoo festive for the holidays.
- November – The Lights on Sherwood Drive. Located in Kaysville, this community project is a local Utah holiday tradition. The animation is enhanced with music through your car radio and the display is different every year.
- November 26 – The Ogden Christmas Village. The Christmas Village will once again light up downtown Ogden. Occupying an entire block, each house in the village displays stories about Christmas.
- November 17 – Luminaria at Thanksgiving Point. Luminaria is an enchanting walk-through of Ashton Gardens that transports you to another world with all of the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes of the holidays.
These are just some of the displays offered that will light your Christmas calendar. Find out more information by searching these out on your favorite browser.
#2 Make Your Own Christmas Light Tour
Bundle the family into the car and look for special light displays around town. Make a stop at a favorite fast-food restaurant for a treat or finish at home talking about your favorite displays over hot cocoa.
#3 Take a Ride on the Polar Express
The Heber Valley Railroad offers its annual North Pole Express excursion, which many families hail as the very best polar express train ride in Utah. During the 90-minute ride, passengers will be entertained by Santa’s Elves, hot cocoa, and chocolate chip cookies. Each child will receive a bell in the tradition of the story. Book tickets early to enjoy this memorable Christmas tradition.
#4 Make Your Own Advent Calendar
Nothing passes slower in a child’s mind than the 24 days before Christmas. However, if you make every one of those days special, you will have the best month ever. You could make your calendar 24 days of service and help your children lose themselves in making others happy. There are endless ways to be creative in making these days special.
#5 Watch a Christmas Movie
This has been a favorite tradition of mine. We love to watch Christmas movies like A Muppet Christmas Carol, The Grinch, A Christmas Story, Miracle on 24th Street, or any of the Home Alone movies. There are so many that you could watch one each night before Christmas.
#6 Attend a Christmas Play
A Christmas play at The Terrace Playhouse would be a special treat. Jacci Florence is featuring A Christmas Carol and which is an experience at the playhouse. It is a theater in the round and this troupe has a way of drawing you in and making the event an experience.
#7 Bake Holiday Treats Together
Make memories with your children in the kitchen. Bake cookies or cupcakes, decorate them and take some to your neighbors. Build a gingerbread house, decorate it, and put it on display. It is easier if you buy a kit, and your children will love to show it off.
#8 Check Out Christmas Books from Your Local Library
Get stories to read to your children like The Night Before Christmas to read on Christmas Eve. Let them pick out books on their reading levels to build their reading skills. Read Christmas stories from the Bible together. There are lots of Christmas audiobooks at the library to choose from as well.
#9 Be Creative – Make a New Christmas Tradition
Christmas is about traditions – old and new. One family made a tradition that included shaving cream. Each person had to make a beard on their own face using shaving cream. As you can imagine, creativity was rampant. Then they made it a contest and judged the best beard.
#10 Write a Letter to Santa and Mail It.
Find details for the Letters from Santa program on the Postal Service’s website, including Saint Nick’s mailing address. Getting an answer back is the best part of this deal.
#11 Decorate Your Christmas Tree Together
Some have the tradition to pick out a fresh tree together and bring it home to decorate. Whether you use a fresh tree or an artificial one, putting it up and decorating it together is a great way to start the season.
#12 Go Swimming at an Indoor Pool
Layton Surf n Swim, the Clearfield Aquatic Center, the Roy Complex, the Bountiful Recreation Center, and the Fairmont Aquatic Center in Salt Lake all feature covered pools. I know families that like to go during the day on Christmas Eve or any time while the kids are out of school on Christmas break.
These are just some ideas to make your holidays special this year. The important thing to remember is to include family and friends in your holiday plans.