Stan Hywet Hall “Deck the Halls” Akron, OH

Deck the Hall is one of the largest displays of holiday tradition in Ohio. The hall gets decked out with over one million lights. The Manor House includes a display of holiday post cards of the past. Dazzle is the fantastic and choreographed light show put on by Stan Hywet Hall. For the kids, the Playgarden gets turned into a fun and exciting Gingerbread Land.

The recurring event includes nightly tree lighting, and after Christmas the Gingerbread Man will be visiting the vent. There is also live music by area choirs and musicians. This beloved yearly event includes something for everyone. Holiday treats including cookies and cocoa. A fire in the courtyard. Visits with Santa and Rudolph. Several “Feature Photo Spots” are available to create family remembrances. There is also an animated Gingerbread Shop Window. Everything you could possibly want for a holiday party.

Dec. 14-23 and Dec. 26-30

Woodland Lights, Woodland Township, OH

The path to holiday fun opens early this year with special preview weekends beginning November 24th through the 26th and December 1st through the 3rd. Beginning December 8th the festival opens nightly and will be open nightly through December 30th excluding December 24th and 25th.

The 25th annual festival features activities, entertainment, live animals, food, rides for kids and, of course, Santa in his historic log cabin. Fans of the festival can expect to see the return of popular attractions, more lights than ever, music, a tunnel of lights, and carriage rides will now be offered every night of the event.

Every night includes Santa visits, five kid-size amusement rides, costumed cartoon characters, live animals and festival food. Special events like Pet Night and Star Wars weekend happening throughout the event. A holiday treat that is sure to be a family favorite.

Grinchworld at Woodland Lights has been completely redone so that guests can now step right into the Grinch storybook. In Grinchworld, you can help the Grinch plot on Mount Krumpet, steal the Who’s stockings, pack his slay, and even help carve his roast beast!
Come walk the path to holiday fun as they celebrate their 25th anniversary!

Dickens Victorian Village, Historic Downtown Cambridge, OH

Each year historic downtown Cambridge, Ohio, is charmingly transformed into a Dickens Victorian Village each holiday season.

From November through mid-January each year, visitors are invited to stroll amidst over 92 scenes of 166 lifelike figures representing classic scenes from Victorian society.

This innovative public art exhibition is enjoyed by families, couples, and groups alike – an experience that engages the senses as you explore the charming streetscape, striking historic architecture, and eclectic shops and eateries of Cambridge.

The Dickens scenes are stationed along Wheeling Avenue at each antique lamppost and bench, between 6th and 11th Streets, in windows on street level, and in second story windows. Wheeling Avenue is also the historic National Road/Route 40, and features an outstanding streetscape of original buildings from the 1800s. The Dickens Victorian Village scenes are comprised of life sized and hand-made mannequins wearing real vintage clothing. The faces for each character are individually sculpted and painted by local artists.

The displays include engaging depictions of classic Dickens-era scenes and figures such as Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim, the town crier, groups of carolers, a bucket brigade, lamplighters, school children, street peddlers, and Father Christmas, all posed in active scenes that appear frozen in time.

Also experience the courthouse, which comes alive nightly with thousands of pulsating lights synchronized to holiday music. This magnificent 1881 building jumps into the 21st Century as it is bathed in colored lights, 36 animated light displays, and 15,000 lights outlining the building. The display is computer controlled with 364 electrical circuits meticulously synchronized to a holiday soundtrack, with a total of 30,000 lights. Four different light shows, each show is 8 to 12 minutes in length, are performed throughout each evening beginning at 5:30 p.m., with the last show starting at 9 p.m.

23rd Annual Festival of Trees, Zanesville, OH

The Zanesville Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce is hosting their 23 annual Festival of Trees.

Visit the Muskingum County Welcome Center begin the festival on November 30th from 5:00pm-8:00pm for the Miracle on Main Street. Beautifully decorated trees and holiday decorations will be on display Muskingum county residents and visitors to enjoy.

Then on December 1st, come walk through the Festival of Trees 2016 entries from 9:00am-6:00pm. The Live Auction of over 200 festival entries begins on December 2nd at 9:00am and ends at 6:00pm. Join us all day during the auction for networking, bidding and holiday cheer “Happy Hour” gathering at the auction will be from 3:30pm until 6:00pm.

The money raised for the Festival of Trees comes back to the Chamber of Commerce. They support the local business community and have been helping local business owners in a variety of ways since 1905.

Unusual Christmas Traditions from Around the World

Though out human history people of come together during the cold and dark of winter to celebrate with light, warmth, food, drink and gifts. Here are some of the winter and Christmas traditions people celebrate around the world.

While Christmas isn’t celebrated in Japan, the holiday inspired a rather unusual winter tradition. In 1974, KFC unveiled a special Christmas family meal intended for visiting foreigners who wanted a more traditional holiday dinner. The locals also feel in love with this dinner and over 40 years many Japanese families eat The Colonel’s special recipe every 25th of December. The tradition is so popular, in fact, that customers are told to place their holiday order up to two months in advance!

Austria’s Christmas folklore has a bit of a dark side to it, which has recently crept into American pop culture: Krampus. In Austria, Saint Nick makes his gift-giving rounds with more than a sleigh and eight tinny reindeer. He also brings the impish Krampus along with him. According to legend while it is Saint Nicholas’s job to reward the good children, it is Krampus’ job to punish the bad children. Especially bad children are put into a sack and taken away (presumably for a midnight snack). Krampus’ new found favor in America has even lead to his own Hollywood film.

Icelandic children put their best foot forward at Christmas. From December 12th to the 23rd, Icelandic kids leave a shoe on their windowsill. While they sleep each night, 13 magical Yule Lads climb down from the mountains to leave gifts in the shoes of well-behaved children. Naughty kids end up with a potato instead! Originally, the Yule Lad tradition had a more sinister tone and many parents used their mysterious nighttime visits to scare their children into behaving. There seems to be a trend in parents around the world of using folklore to keep the little ones in line during the holidays.

However, in some folklore children become the main characters in a different fashion. According to Mexican legend, a poverty-stricken brother and sister left a bouquet of weedy branches as a gift to the Christ Child at their church. While other children laughed at their meager offering, a miracle began to unfold. A cluster of red star-shaped flowers began to bloom on each stem. The flowers became known as Flores de Noche Buena (Flowers of the Holy Night) and so began the Christmas link. The beautiful plant was re-named Poinsettia after the United States’ Mexican ambassador, Joel Roberts Poinsett, brought cuttings back to America.

A somewhat similar story, if a bit more creepy crawly, exists in the Ukraine, which comes with its own unusual tradition: Christmas trees in the Ukraine are often covered in spider webs. An ancient legend tells of a poor family who grew a Christmas tree from a pinecone. The children, so thrilled by the idea of their very own tree, spent months dreaming up ways to decorate it for the holiday. But the family was penniless, so the children’s tree would remain unadorned. Upon waking, the children discovered that spiders had spun webs of glistening silk around the tree’s branches. Each thread magically turned into silver and gold as the morning’s sun danced upon the tree’s bows. Today, Ukrainians dress up their trees with spider webs to welcome good luck into the coming year.