As a child, my favorite part of the holidays was going to the Nutcracker Ballet performance at the Naples Philharmonic. I loved wearing my velour holiday dress, frilly ankle socks and patent leather mary janes. I would squirm in my seat until Tchaikovsky’s brief “Minature Overature” would sound, and then my smile would widen and eyes brighten. I would imagine that I was Clara, gracefully dancing across the stage into the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. During intermission, the Philharmonic would have a tree ceremony with dozens of decorated evergreens. Growing up, this was my favorite holiday tradition.
Here are some fun holiday traditions for you and your children to celebrate for years to come.
Movie night is a cozy holiday tradition. Heat up some hot cocoa or chai tea and pop some kettle corn. The Grinch (2000) or How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) are both entertaining because of the Grinch’s silly Scrooge-like character. Jim Carrey’s overacting in the 2000 movie suits the Grinch’s spirit and will cause your children to squeal with delight. Will Ferrell’s naïve character Buddly the Elf in Elf (2003) is laugh-out-loud with a touch of adult humor. For the nontraditional holiday movie, go with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare before Christmas (1993). Or how about those oldies but goodies that you remember from your childhood? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) or White Christmas (1954).
Or just head down to the movie theater to catch a new flick. Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Mr. Fantastic Fox and The Princess and the Frog are now showing. Also, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel is coming out on December 23. If you haven’t seen the first Alvin and the Chipmunks, it’s definitely worth renting. Visit www. hollywood.com for movie reviews, news and times.
For the outdoors family, plan an adventure. With the whimsical blizzards blowing in this month, you’ll probably get lucky and be able to plan a snow day. Make a snowman and go sledding. For a sled selection, head down to Liberty Hardware (691 S. Broadway) or McGuckin Hardware (2525 Arapahoe Ave.). Liberty Hardware offers torpedos, saucers, baby sleds and foam sliders. McGuckin offers saucers, toboggans, inflatable or wood sleds, ski sleds with breaks and torpedo. Visit www.sledriding.com to find designated sledding areas.
The Boulder County-based Ice Meister manufactures the SLICER, a sled for winter and summer use.
Freeze water in the huge ice trays and attach them to the bottom of the SLICER and you are set to sled on snow or grass. Visit icesled.com for more information.
Also, head downtown to the ice rink, located 1801 13th St., between Walnut and Canyon Boulevard to teach your kids how to skate. Skate rentals are $3, and ice rink admission is $6.00 for adults, $4 for children 4 to 12 years old, and free for kids 3 and younger. For après skate, stop at the neighboring Boulder Creek Market for a tasty Crazy Cajun sandwich, or try the Rib House, dubbed one of the West’s top 10 BBQ joints by Sunset magazine. Boulder Valley Ice at Superior (125 Superior Plaza Way) also has public skating. Visit www.bvice.pucksystems.com for times. Recreational skating is $6 per session and skate rental is $3.
Miracle on Twenty Ninth Street
On Saturday, Dec. 19th, the Twenty Ninth Street Mall will be hosting holiday events at Macy’s Plaza. While you are finishing up your last minute shopping, your kids can decorate gingerbread houses and cookies at Camp Culinary from 2 to 4 p.m. Your kids can meet all of Santa’s reindeer from 4 to 6 p.m. Carolers will be singing from 4 to 6 p.m., and there will be free horsedrawn carriage rides from 5 to 8 p.m. Visit www.twentyninthstreet.com for more information.
Giving is receiving
Reminding your child that the holidays are about giving is important.
Spend a day with your kids shopping for kids in need. Have your kids decorate holiday greeting cards and wrap gifts for the less fortunate and then drop them off at a gift drop box. Visit www.toysfortots.org or www.shareagift.org for information on toy drop-off locations and participation and volunteering opportunities. Or drop off items to at-risk teens at Attention Homes’ Broadway House. Visit attentionhomes.squarespace.com/wishlist/ to find out what items are on their wish lists.
Get out the icing and sprinkles! Decorating holiday cookies is a tasty tradition. Whether you are going with the no fuss Nestle’s Toll House dough or making your cookies from scratch, pick up some holiday cookie cutters at Peppercorn Gourmet Goods (1235 Pearl St.) and McGuckin Hardware. Buy your seasonal spices — juniper berries, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg — at the Savory Spice (2041 Broadway). For fun and creative recipes, buy Joan Nathan’s The Children’s Jewish Holiday Kitchen: 70 Fun Recipes for You and Your Kids or Holiday Cookbook for Kids by Mystic Seaport Museum at the Boulder Book Store (1107 Pearl St.).