Right now, most of us are in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday season — decorating, shopping, holiday parties, and special outings. With all of this activity, time seems to rush by and we steamroll right into December 25th. And then it’s not shortly after the gifts are opened on Christmas morning that many people feel the spirit of the season dissipates. All of that preparation and excitement and then the feeling is gone after a few short hours.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Some families savor the season with a special vacation right after Christmas. Others will have lingering family get-togethers the day or two after Christmas. And others plan special gift-giving for Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, and Epiphany. This year we also celebrate the lights of Chanukah from December 20 to 28, adding a festive complement to the holiday season.
My recommendation to savor the spirit of the holidays is to plan events and special moments well after December 25th. With that in mind, here are some events and special outings you can do in Madison to extend the holiday spirit through the new year.
- Drive through the Holiday Fantasy in Lights in Olin Park. The lights are up until New Year’s Day. And when you finish driving through the park, you can continue on to downtown for dinner, driving along John Nolen Drive and taking in the beautiful view of the State Capitol building.
- Speaking of which, you can also visit the Capitol building and enjoy the beautifully decorated tree in the rotunda. There are also special events planned for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. True to form in Madison, there are displays related to the Nativity Scene, Chanukah, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation.
- Plan an evening ice skating at Tenney Park (weather permitting this year) and warming up in the beautiful new shelter there.
- Attend the final show of Madison Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker on December 26th. Yes, there is one last show after Christmas, so take advantage of the special date.
- Go shopping on State Street. Enjoy the lights and take a stroll down this outdoor pedestrian mall. And if it gets cold, duck into one of the many coffee shops and enjoy a warm beverage.
- See the Olbrich Botanical Gardens Holiday Express, open 10am to 4pm except December 25th and January 1st. Both children and adults enjoy the model trains winding through landscapes and hundreds of colorful poinsettias.
- Attend the UW Women’s Basketball game on December 30th. While most of UW is quiet over the holidays, the women’s team has a game at the Kohl Center against their Top-25 ranked conference rival, Ohio State.
- Make cookies and rent a Christmas movie. Perhaps you missed your favorite movie before Christmas. It’s much easier to find it available after the holidays. We like the selection at Video Station on University Avenue.
- Go to the Chazen Museum of Art. The expansion of the Chazen is simply phenomenal, and some of the current exhibits will not be there long-term. There is a Docent Tour on December 29th.
- The Children’s Museum of Madison celebrates a Winter Wonder Week from January 2 to 6. Most area students are still on holiday break that week, so take a trip downtown and enjoy the fun the museum has in store for your family at their new and improved location.
Whatever you do over the next two to three weeks, we wish you all the joy and merriment of the season. Happy Holidays from our family at The Livingston Inn!