I broke my own rule last week. THE RULE being that there is to be no sign of winter or holidays other than Thanksgiving until after Thanksgiving!
Our “holiday decorating team” (which is a totally made up thing that is comprised of whoever is around the office and in the mood to decorate for any given holiday or special event) decided that we were ready to spread some cheer. So, we lugged out the boxes of decorations and put up the office Christmas tree with twinkling lights, scattered various decorations around the building, and even streamed some holiday music. It was just the perk we needed.
So, here we are, still about two weeks out from the acceptable time to think about holiday fun, and I cannot help myself. I’m not even ashamed. Now I am just excited to enjoy Thanksgiving and then dive right into the most wonderful time of year. Here are five of the events I am most looking forward to in the coming weeks:
This is the kick-off to the holiday season in the Downtown Kenosha area. Start with the City of Kenosha’s tree lighting on the Kenosha Public Museum’s west lawn, and then enjoy an evening of lights, activities, entertainment and more Downtown! As you pop in and out of stores and restaurants be sure to take note of their window displays so you can vote for your favorite. One of my faovrite parts about Lightin' Up is hitting the streets of Downtown Kenosha with my camera. The hustle and bustle of shopping and kids squeeling with delight at the light displays just warms my heart. I love watching our downtown become a little brighter, a little softer, and a little more hopeful as people flock to enjoy special deals and activities. (I also love seeing the business owners hide their windows in the days leading up to the event so they can reveal their big surprise displays! So much time and pride are put into the decorations.) Something so simple as a few strings of lights and some festive decor in the windows brings such joy - hence the early decorations in our office.
Small Business Saturday
This may not be holiday-specific, but it’s a great time to focus on shopping local for the holidays. With so many great stores and restaurants to choose from finding the perfect gift (or gift certificate) for a special person in your life is a breeze. Plus, you’ll be putting dollars right back into local jobs! I have said this before in blogs, and I will say it again in this one - shopping local makes all the difference. Getting to know staff, learning more about products that are offered and where they came from, friendly customer service, and feeling good about the things you are buying make shopping small easy and rewarding. I love when I see friends post about their outings at local restaurants and their purchases at our small businesses... it's exciting to be in a store that is locally owned and unique. I can't ever recall seeing someone check-in on Facebook while buying a crate of anything from a big online retailer. An added bonus is that businesses team up to offer prices for the Small Business Saturday selfie contest - so snap some photos and enter the contest for your chance to win swag, gift certificates and more!
The Gallery of Trees and Christmas at Kemper
Just south of Downtown Kenosha, Kemper Center hosts two incredible events that feature festive decorations. The Gallery of Trees is a display of business-sponsored trees that are decorated in elaborate style and themes as a fundraiser for the Anderson Arts Center. Be sure to cast your vote for your favorite! This display is up for less than two weeks, so don't miss it! You will not be disappointed with the flare that the trees showcase. Browsing the trees and selecting my favorite one is a favorite tradition of mine. My co-worker (Meridith) and I sneak away for a lunch hour tour on one of the first days of the show each year. (She's an enabler and encourages my Christmas passion.) Next, Christmas at Kemper brings period décor to the rooms of Durkee Mansion. If you’re like me and love old-time holiday movies, you’ll just gush over the displays. Docents are available to tour you around the historic home, or you can wander around on your own. I can't help but picture myself at a holiday tea party in the parlor room while there... I'd definitely wear my best green velvet for the occasion. But I digress.
Kenosha HarborHoliday – International Market & Festival
This is a new collaborative event that merges the Kenosha Public Museum’s International Holiday Faire, the Civil War Museum’s Victorian Christmas event, Kenosha Winter HarborMarket, and Linnea Bakery’s Nordic Corral. Enjoy a day filled with cultural and historic holiday traditions, food and drink, entertainment, and plenty of shopping! Plus, photo opportunities with Santa, Reindeer, Icelandic Horses, and rides on the Streetcar will also be available! Entertainment includes everything from song and dance to storytelling and a make-your-own hot cocoa bar! I feel fortunate to be on the planning committee for this event, and it is likely part of the reason I am already in the mood for carols, gift wrapping, and all things peppermint! It is sure to be a wonderful time – I’ll be working the event, so if you see me come say HELLO!
Artistree Holiday Giftable Art Show
Lemon Street Gallery is the host to a whole display of handmade items that make great gifts. The Annual Artistree holiday gift showcase features gift-able artwork by local artists. For the past few years, I have found perfect gifts for various friends or family members – everything from pottery pieces and wind chimes to wool mittens and journals. I love being able to give people original pieces of artwork that support our local artists and galleries.
There are so many other holiday events in Downtown Kenosha. From Seussified holiday plays to jazzy holiday concerts, dances, visits with Santa, and so much more! Spend a little time browsing through the Downtown Events Calendar to find the things that will get you in the holiday spirit – even if it’s a little early! Go ahead. Break the rules and start enjoying the excitement of the season – if anyone asks you why you’re jumping the gun, just tell them Laura told you to do it.