Lighting the Night

I’ve always loved lights at this time of year.  When I was a kid, my family always drove around during this time of year and admired other folks holidays lights.  (We used to leave little notes of thanks in people’s mailboxes if we really enjoyed their lights.)

For a few years Child and I always visited the Minnesota Zoo in December for their “Bright Lights Winter Nights” festivities.  All around the zoo lake and paths close to the zoo buildings, there were lots of lights, mostly in shapes of various zoo animals.  Walking around seeing the lights on crisp winter nights was almost magical.  Inside there were usually crafts and hot chocolate.  You didn’t actually see any real animals, but it was still a great holiday treat.  After four years, they quit doing it – when I called the zoo they said that it cost more to put on the show than they brought in.  Sigh.

When I got the email in November about a light show at the zoo, I knew not to get my hopes up… there was no way they were going to replicate Bright Lights during pandemic.  The light show is called “Nature Illuminated” and is a drive-through event running through mid-January. 

YA and I are zoo members, so we were able to sign up for the first week of members-only viewing.  There was a per-car charge that I might normally balk at, but since there weren’t any other holidays festivities on the horizon, I coughed it up.  We got to the zoo at the appointed time and got our car in line.  There was an audio tour available online – luckily I had YA to get that going.  The tour took about 25 minutes with lots of over-sized inflatables, fabulously lit up.  The audio was pretty good too, although there were a couple of “commercials” that I could have done without – especially since we’re already members.  I thought it was interesting that not all the illuminated animals are represented at the Minnesota Zoo – but I’m not complaining about seeing polar bears!

It was nice – not nearly as much fun as I remember the old light show, but without any other concerts, parties or gatherings this 2020 holidays season, it will probably be the most fun activity we do outside the house!!

What have you adapted for the holidays this year?

25 thoughts on “Lighting the Night”

  1. Good Morning! I always love hearing about your holiday rituals, Sherrilee. You and YA do so many wonderful things together. I am quite lazy and boring in comparison. I have my tree up and decorated, and will probably watch some of our favorite Christmas movies. Jim is a total sucker for the Hallmark Christmas romance movies. I tolerate them and enjoy predicting plot points and generally mocking them, but I still cry. He is probably the only man on earth who loves chick flicks! Have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Daughter is flying here on Tuesday, and has been self quarantined the whole month just to reduce bringing any viruses home. The planes will be iffy, I know. We haven’t seen her for a year. We will drive to Brookings after Christmas.

    Our family is small, and extended relatives live far away, so our Christmas festivities are typically quiet ones. The usual decorations are up. We don’t decorate outside. Daughter and son have requested favorite dishes for our respective visits, which is pretty typical. Son wants tourtiere, a French Canadian meat pie with cheddar in the crust. Daughter has our menus planned for every day she is here. We won’t go to church at all. Our big church day is this Sunday, when we play bells and sing with a handful of LDS folks in our annual Service of Lessons and Carols. I don’t imagine there will be any more than ten singers. Seating for the congregation is limited, and the service will be live streamed. Musicians will be distanced and masked.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. YA asked me last night if I thought Santa was done picking up things for the stockings. I see this as a personal victory that even at the ripe old age of 25, she still willing to humor me about Santa and the stockings. Oh and she wanted me to tell Santa that if he wanted to bring honey roasted cashews that would be fine.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Daughter is also very concerned about talking to Santa. One of the local theaters is doing zoom meetings with Santa so we’re gonna try that. Now the question for us is, we know the two actors playing Santa… which do we think would be better?? I’m sure Daughter won’t care. But we do. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  4. And then to answer the question… Usually there are lots of Christmas parties, and pot-lucks – wonder when those will happen again! I esp. miss the carol singing, but I am signed up with my sister to the Minnesota Chorale’s sing-along Messiah this Sunday.

    You would think with this much at home time, the packages and cards would all be sent – nope. I’ve just finally written my Christmas letter – I found that I didn’t go into as much detail about what we’ve been doing, cause there’s not that much to tell!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. We are a lot further ahead of shopping than normal. I don’t think we’re quite done… and I’ve got a few things wrapped and under the tree which is a pretty big deal; we procrastinate the wrapping…
    Son and DIL are shipping their stuff right here so then I we can wrap and put under the tree. We joked about meeting in the Cannon Falls McDonalds parking lot and tossing our gifts out to each other. She’s pretty safe and Kelly and daughter are pretty safe. I’m being careful but I am out more. Son is kind of the wildcard…so I guess we won’t chance it yet.

    I miss the Christmas Eve’s with family, but that all changed 20 years ago as people died and married and moved. Just being home is nice too; I appreciate that more and more.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. As is our custom, Daughter insists that we will watch A Muppets Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve. I am also instructed that garlic mashed potatoes will be on the menu for Christmas Day, as always.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Don’t know if this is of any interest to anyone on here, but a friend of mine, a former Westsider, now lives on a “wedding” farm in Beldenville, WI. They have created a wonderful Christmas display of lighted trees and such which is there for your viewing enjoyment Friday, Saturday, or Sunday from 5 to 8, until Christmas eve. W6124 County Rd N, Beldenville, WI is the address. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there during those times as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Strange collisions and pandemic reality: CNN is a rash of terrible news for the suffering. Below that are their articles on all the expensive toys they recommend we buy. TCM is fixated on dark stories and war stories for this month.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Our family will opt out of Christmas this year. The single exception is my erstwife’s plan to show me her Belgian apartment. My new computer has no microphone or camera, but I have downloaded Zoom software that lets me see and hear what she shows me.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. We will FaceTime to Boise and Evan on the 25th. We sent money for both groups to buy their own presents. Sandy will get stocking stuffers. I always request no presents. We are sharing as much as we can with local food and homeless charities. Tomorrow my daughter is bringing over a pie we will share through our screen door. Saddest part for me is that we will not be there for our grand daughter’s majority birthday on the 25th. We have a fun sort of ritual about her Christmas birthday. Maybe we can FaceTime that. We are blessed that everyone has a job.I would like to be eating some of Mr. Tuxedo’s cooking. He has gotten so good. His cottage industry is perking along, but he does not push it hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. School Sisters of Notre Dame are a wonderful order of nuns here in Mankato, about whom a book was written 20 years ago. They add so much to this community, so open and giving. Story today is that in their Wisconsin chapter 8 sisters died n one week. They were all elderly, as are most of the sisters here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. One of the local nuns in Mankato is my dear friend Sr. Beth Haltiner. She’s 96 years old, can barely see, hear, or talk, but her mind is sharp. She sends me lovely letters in a lovely cursive script. Last year she celebrated her 75th jubilee as a nun. She’s one of the kindest, sweetest people I know.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. In my neighborhood there’s a house on a hillside where they put out a Christmas candle, a light-up decoration that’s around three feet tall. It sits there by itself on the hillside. When my nieces were little and came over at Christmastime, it was a ritual for them to come up the hill by that house, and they’d wait to see it – “There’s the candle! There’s the candle!”.

    A couple of years ago I dropped off a card at that house and wrote them a little note about how much I always enjoy their candle.

    Liked by 2 people

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