The kids are out of school and plans for the season may have been disrupted a bit. We may not be going over the hills to grandma’s house. The grown-ups, who don’t necessarily get an extended break, are as tired as the kids. What to do? Well, there are a number of ways to get some seasonal cheer going and I’ll highlight a few below. The photographs aren’t necessarily connected, though they were taken downtown and this is a lovely time to walk around and enjoy the lights.
Speaking of enjoying the lights, did you know the city has a list of official Knoxville Neighborhood Holiday Trails? There are likely other neighborhoods with beautiful lights to wow the family, but these are guaranteed and following their list will lead you directly to some of the best without having to wander aimlessly about the city in hopes of getting lucky. We went to three of the sites last night, even joined by Urban Daughter and Son-in-law in another car and connected via blue tooth. It’s safe, it’s free and its festive!
If you have children who have enjoyed hunting for the elf in downtown stores in previous years, you can enjoy the elf again this year – without going inside. Participating shops have hidden the elf in their beautiful window displays. You can catch the elf until January 3. So, while parents enjoy the window decorations, the young ones can find the elf. It’s a good time to pick up local products from locally owned businesses, as well. They will bring the gift of your choice to do the door if you don’t want’ to go inside! Please drop a few of your dollars their way. They need your help.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you might want to follow the peppermint trail. Spots are marked all over downtown to indicate the participating businesses. Peppermint treats are sprinkled throughout, some more adult than others. Combine it with elf hunting to double the fun.
Another great outdoor activity is Zoo Lights at Zoo Knoxville. Arrive after dusk and see the zoo lighted like you’ve never seen it. Grab a hot chocolate and stroll through the Enchanted Forest and check out the massive lanterns of all your favorite animals. Embrace the chill and start a new holiday tradition.
Our family enjoyed the Clarence Brown Theatre production of “A Christmas Memory,” which is streaming through Christmas Day. Urban Woman and I enjoy every delicious word from Truman Capote’s short story. Carol Mayo Jenkins does a wonderful job with the reading. Grab a hot chocolate, or a whiskey as Buddy and his elderly friend did in the story, and cuddle with the household on the couch. Good times.
If you’d like to enjoy some of the spirit of the Christmas Story, my friends at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church are offering online programing for ten days leading up to Christmas. It’s about as wide a range of seasonal inspiration as you’ll find anywhere.
There are probably plenty other ways to find your holiday happy and I hope you find yours. We’ll keep doing lights, watching bad Christmas movies. I love my long walk on Christmas day when all is quiet in the downtown area.
If you have other ideas, feel free to share them in the comments. Here’s hoping you all joy and peace and small moments of comfort.