Sometimes December feels more like the season to be busy, with the frantic pace of end-of-year work assignments, office parties, shopping, cooking, cleaning for house guests…well, you know the drill. Rather than simply reacting to every demand, consider taking a more proactive stance: What do I want my month to look like? What memories do I want to create? And then plan accordingly. Try subbing a few of these five memorable activities for other less-jolly obligations; there’s even one as close as BackCountry’s own Sundial House.
Here’s to a happy holiday season…on your terms.
9 News Parade of Lights-Dec. 2 at 8pm & Dec. 3 at 6pm
This 42-year-old tradition remains the perfect way to kick off Denver’s holiday season. On a two-mile route in downtown Denver, this parade features marching bands, ornate floats, and, of course, special appearances by Major Waddles the Penguin and Santa. Dress warmly, take a thermos of hot cocoa, and stake out your spot along the route, or grab tickets ASAP for the limited grandstand seating in front of the beautifully lit City and County Building. Learn more.
Hometown Holiday and Tree Lighting-Dec. 2, 4:30pm-7:30pm
If you prefer smaller crowds or just staying closer to home, try on this special Highlands Ranch tradition. Hometown Holiday is an old-fashioned community celebration with caroling, entertainment, food, and a visit from Santa Claus himself. (Naturally, the big guy has a busy schedule these days, so catch him before he leaves at 7:30.) The tree lighting is planned for 5pm. Held at Town Center South. Learn more.
Denver Zoo Lights-Dec. 2-Jan. 1, 2017, 5:30pm-9pm
Imagine all 70 acres of the Denver Zoo, bright with illuminated animal sculptures that swing through trees, jump across lawns, and hide in bushes. Plus, you’ll enjoy all the holiday carolers, Santa meet-and-greets, and much more at this beloved Denver tradition. Zoo Lights is a memorable way to spend time with family, get a little exercise, and, of course, support the animals. Tip: Go on a “Value Night” for smaller crowds and reduced entry fee. Tickets range from $10-17. Learn more.
Cookies with Santa-Dec. 10, 9am-1:30pm
True, BackCountry™ is a bit of a hike from the North Pole, but the lure of cookies and photo ops with star-struck BackCountry kids brings Santa back year after year. Come enjoy time with your neighbors, wear your favorite ugly sweater or other festive attire, and have your kids bring their wishlists. Residents, RSVP through BackCountryLife.org by Monday, December 5th.
Denver Performing Arts Holiday Events-through December
Make attending at least one festive performance a holiday tradition in your family. The DCPA is offering something for everyone this month, from classics to new favorites in the making. Consider a musical performance of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The soaring majesty of Handel’s Messiah. David Sedaris’s hilariously snarky Santaland Diaries about his stint as a Macy’s elf. Or The Nutcracker, dazzlingly performed by the Colorado Ballet. Ticket prices vary. Learn more.