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With our busy lives it is hard to settle on something to do during the holidays, other than relax. If you happen to live in Indiana, like I do, then I have found 10 places to visit during the holidays. Admissions for the events I’ve located are either relatively low or completely free. If specifics for the event or town were provided, then I posed them here for you. Each event is in a different town, so, it should be easy to locate something fun near you. I know that travel can be a hassle during the holidays, but it’s nice to try new things and create new memories with family or friends.

Check out this list of towns and events. Indiana has many things to offer during the holiday season. If you are looking to find more options in your own back yard or have been looking for an excuse for the little road trip you keep talking about, then let’s explore Christmas- Hoosier style.

1. Santa Claus, Indiana

This town can claim that it has the only post office in the world with the Santa Claus name. During the holiday season there are numerous Christmas themed events such as Santa’s Candy Castle, Santa Claus Christmas Store, Santa’s Stables, and many more. You can’t get more festive than this. The Kids can even write Santa a letter in the Santa Claus Museum and Village. Christmas is everyday here, but ringing in the actually holiday can be that much more magical.

2. Indianapolis – Christmas at the Zoo

This event has become known for its fantastic lighting displays around the holidays. You can also enjoy the active animals that enjoy the cooler weather of the season. You can get in Wednesday through Sunday from 5-9 p.m. through December 29th. The Zoo will, however, be closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christmas at the Zoo is included in the regular entry fee for the grounds.

3. Hammond – A Christmas Story Comes Home

Hammond, Indiana is home to the setting for one of the most infamous holiday movies ever: A Christmas Story. The Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond will be showing an exhibit that contains six animated scenes from the movie. These displays were first showcased in the windows of Macy’s in New York City. Come enjoy a little piece of hometown cinema history. The free event will be held through January 5th everyday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

4. Shipshewana – Ice Festival

The festival is on December 27th and 28th. There will be ice carving from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the 27th by teams of people creating themed sculptures. On the 28th the ice carving competition will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additionally, there is a chili cook-off between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. You can even purchase a commemorative pin fro the event that is designed each year by a Westview High School student. The pin gets you into the chili cook-off for free and gives you discounts in town throughout January.

5. Zionsville – Christmas in the Village

Christmas lives in the town all month long. On the 21st, Santa will be in “Santa’s House” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Horse drawn carriages are available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the antique trolley car will be running during the same hours as “Santa’s House.”

6. Madison – Santa’s Cottage

Santa will be at the Broadway Fountain in his cottage from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 29, Dec. 6, Dec. 7, Dec. 13, Dec. 20 and Dec. 21, and from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 22. While you’re there check out the beautiful scenery of historic Madison and browse the unique shops lining the downtown strip.

7. Evansville – Ritzy’s Fantasy of Lights

The event lends aid to the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center, and includes more than 60 intricate lighting displays. Some of which feature animated pieces up to 20 feet tall. Event begins at 5 p.m. each evening and goes until the first of January.

8. Fort Wayne – Botanical Conservatory Christmas

The Conservatory Showcase will be filled with Red Poinsettias to set the mood for the holiday season, along with a cozy fireplace setting. It should provide warm memories and plenty of photograph opportunities.
Hours are: Tuesday – Saturday 10 am – 5 pm, Thursday 10 am – 8 pm, Sunday Noon – 4 pm, Closed Mondays Admission: Adults $5, Children (ages 3-17) $3, Age 2 and under Free.

9. Kokomo – Christmas at the Seiberling

Holiday events have been occurring all month, but they till continue through the 22nd. The holiday tours of the beautifully and seasonally decorated mansion run Tuesday through Sunday 1-4 p.m. Daytime tour admission is $5 adults, $4 seniors, and $2 for kids 12 & under.

10. Michigan City – Christmas at Barker Mansion

Experience the magic of the holiday with three floors of decorated rooms. Lasts through January 15th. Must call for times. Admission Fee: $5 adults; $2 children.

By: Kyle Yung

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If you’re like me and hate the cold (and for those of you who live in a climate that doesn’t get below 60 degrees, you are disliked), then you are probably looking for activities to do with your child inside. Arts and crafts is always a hit with kids, so why not dust off your old crafting supplies (or go to the store and buy some) and make something awesome with your kids? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Christmas Tree: Paint hands or trace hands and decorate!

2. Wreath: You can either paint your kid’s hands or paint a paper plate (with the inside circle cut out) and decorate!

3. Jesus in a Manger: Paint your child’s hand brown and glue a baby and straw to make Jesus sleeping in his manger. There is also a poem that can go along with this craft: “I used my hand to make a manger, a place for Jesus to lay. I’ll use my heart so full of love, as a place for Jesus to stay.”

Or you could do this footprint version:

4. Holly…Or as I like to call them, “Mistletoes.”

You can do this with clay or paint your child’s feet as well!

5. Santa: This triangle Santa will also help your child learn their shapes!

6. Salt Dough Ornament: You can make any kind of ornament with this salt dough recipe.

7. Reindeer: One of the cutest crafts to do with your kids and cherish for years. Just paint one of their feet and paint their hands as the reindeer’s antlers. Make sure to date it so you can see how they’ve grown.

8. Snowman: There are several ways to make a snowman, but giving your child all the separate pieces to “build” a snowman will be loads of fun.

9. Snowflakes: Coffee filter snowflakes are a perfect craft for the kids! You can either have them paint the coffee filter with watercolors or have them color them with markers and spray the coffee filter with water. This has the same effect as watercolors. Then either you or your child (depending on their age) cut the coffee filter and create the snowflake!

10. Angel: This handprint and footprint angel is a fun and messy craft that the kids will enjoy.

Or if your kids are super hip and love the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, this ornament is perfect. The world just needs to know about this ornament idea!

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Do you live in the Toledo area and are looking for something special to do this holiday season? Well I have got ten great places and activities to do with your kids to make this holiday season the most memorable!

1. The Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo

Take the kids to the zoo and explore it at night! There is even a light show, where the lights are synchronized to music. Hot chocolate is at every turn and you can even warm up in some of the buildings and look at the animals!


2. The Wolcott House Christmas Tour

Explore this lavishly decorated home with your children! This year’s theme is “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”


3. Children’s Wonderland at Tam-O-Shanter

Kids can make ornaments, go to an elf workshop, ride the train, play putt putt, and more!


4. Toledo Walleye Game

Bundle up and support our local hockey team, the Toledo Walleye! I know, not technically Christmas related, but still fun for the kids! (And a great excuse for hot chocolate!)


5. A Christmas Story House & Museum

Do you and your kids love the movie A Christmas Story? Yes? Well then you will love visiting the home the movie was filmed in. A bit of a drive from Toledo to Cleveland, it will be magical for your kids to practically step right into their beloved film! There is also a gift shop!


6. Imagination Station

Take your kids to this gem in Toledo where they can learn about all things science! They have select holiday hours, so check before you go!

7. Walleye Madness at Midnight

This New Year’s Eve, go on out to Port Clinton and celebrate the New Year as you watch the 20 foot, 600 pound walleye drop! The night is loaded with fun activities for the whole family.


8. Carriage Rides

The Shops at Fallen Timbers offer complementary carriage rides during the weekends from 5-8pm.


9. Visit Santa

The local malls, e.g.  The Shops at Fallen Timbers or the Franklin Park Mall, have Santa visiting through Christmas Eve, so bring your kids!


10. Go Ice Skating

Take your kids ice-skating at the local skating rink. The Toledo Zoo even offers ice-skating!

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The holiday season is all about tradition and it’s never too late to begin a tradition that will forever be cemented in your child’s memory. I don’t know about you, but the little traditions that my family did every Christmas (and still do) were what always made the holidays extra special. There are several traditions that you could incorporate into your family’s celebration this winter, but here are my fourteen favorites:

1. Bake and decorate Christmas cookies as a family. Make an event out of it—have a decorating station and have special aprons for your entire family to wear.

2. When your kids go to sleep (double check that they are actually asleep), use a footprint template and flour to create Santa’s footprints, as if St. Nick traipsed through your home in the middle of the night.

3. On Christmas Eve, have your child open one present—a Christmas Eve box that includes new pajamas to wear that night, a book, and hot chocolate.

4. Buy your kids a new ornament each year and have them hang it on the tree. When they eventually move out on their own, they will have their own ornament collection and the memories to go with it.

5. Find a “giving tree”—you can normally find these at your church, stores, or restaurants (Olive Garden has one!). These trees have ornaments that have a tag or label attached to it with a person’s age and gift ideas. You can pick one (or two…or several) and shop for these families in need.

6. Get a real Christmas tree and decorate it as a family.

7. Get the Elf on the Shelf and spend all of December coming up with creative ideas as to how your elf will be found by your kid. Pinterest has hundreds of great ideas for that pesky elf!

8. Write a letter to Santa. Please take note of my advice here.

9. Make “reindeer food.” You can find the recipe and poem here. (There are several different versions!)

10. Go see Christmas lights, either at your local zoo or neighborhood.

11. Make a gingerbread house.

12. Read a different holiday book each night before bed. You could even wrap these books and have your kid open them to discover the story inside. Need book ideas? Look here.

13. Watch a Christmas movie together. This list has some great films to choose from.

14. Start doing “Random Acts of Kindness” as a family. You can find several acts of kindness ideas here.

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Christmas music—it’s something everyone loves (and if you don’t like Christmas music, then clearly you have a small heart and live at the top of Mount Crumpit), yet certain songs get redone so much that the music loses its special something. For me, if I hear one more rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” I might scream. Nothing against those classic, if not a little stuffy, holiday songs, but I enjoy them sparingly. And let’s just face it; most kids love the more upbeat songs that are far simpler for them to sing along to. So if your child loves to shake his or her booty and is all about Christmas, then I have some great songs for you to introduce them to.

1. “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”: If your child hasn’t heard this song, clearly you aren’t raising them right. This is a classic! It’s not Christmas without Rudolph.

2. “Jingle Bells”: There are several versions of this song, but I particularly love the Bing Crosby & The Andrews Sisters’ take on this classic.

3. “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”: This song may make your child desperately want a hippo. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

4. “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”: The Andrews Sisters & Danny Kaye’s version of this is my favorite.

5. “(The Toys Gave A Party For) Poppa Santa Claus”: The Andrew Sisters & Bing Crosby…are you seeing a pattern here?

6. “A Merry Christmas at Grandmother’s”: The Andrews Sisters is obviously where it’s at when it comes to Christmas music. Broaden your kids’ musical horizons.

7. “Santa Claus is Coming To Town”: And remind them that if they’re nice, he won’t be dropping a lump of coal in their stocking.

8. “Up On The House Top”: This is particularly fun to sing and do motions to.

9. “Frosty the Snowman”: But don’t get their hopes up when their own snowman refuses to come to life, no matter how many hats they put on him.

10. “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”: He really is awful…

11.“The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)”: You’ll probably want to rip your ears off, but your kids will love it. And it’s all about the kids, right?

12. “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”: They may become more protective over Grandma after this. Maybe.

So pop in these songs and have a Christmas dance party! And if you are able to find a techno Christmas music CD, buy it. I know it sounds ridiculous, but your kids will dance till they drop. Trust me.

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By: Adam McCully

The commercialization of Christmas has become utterly atrocious.  Perhaps it’s because we live in an age where Christmas commercials start appearing in early July, perhaps it’s because we’re just plain spoiled.  Whatever the case, we’ve forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.  It’s time we remember what makes the holiday season so special: family, togetherness, peace on Earth and good will towards men, blah, blah, blah! Fuck that, I WANT AN APACHE HELICOPTER FOR CHRISTMAS!!!


Cohiba Behike Cigars – $470 a piece

Cohiba Behike Cigars – $470 a piece


Nike Air Force One by Prryya & Chinatan’s Couture and Jewelry – $5,000

Nike Air Force One by Prryya & Chinatan’s Couture and Jewelry – $5,000


1788 Vieux Cognac – $37,000

1788 Vieux Cognac – $37,000


T-72 Tank – $50,097 (I’m not even joking, you can buy a fully functional tank for less than $100,000)

T-72 Tank – $50,097 (I’m not even joking, you can buy a fully functional tank for less than $100,000)


Ariel Atom V8 Supercharged – $190,000

Ariel Atom V8 Supercharged – $190,000


Trip To Space – $200,000

Trip To Space – $200,000


Icon Aircraft A5 – $250,000

Icon Aircraft A5 – $250,000


Baliceaux Island – $300,000

Baliceaux Island – $300,000


Gold And Diamond-Studded Pot – $420,000

Gold And Diamond-Studded Pot – $420,000


Dodge Tomahawk – $550,000

Dodge Tomahawk – $550,000


Personal Submarine – $786,240

Personal Submarine – $786,240


The Aurora Diamante Pen – $1.3 Million

The Aurora Diamante Pen – $1.3 Million


Patek Philippe’s Sky Moon Tourbillon – $1.3 million

Patek Philippe’s Sky Moon Tourbillon – $1.3 million


Diamond Studded Boots – $3.1 Million

Diamond Studded Boots – $3.1 Million


Bugatti Veyron Super Sport – $4 Million

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport – $4 Million


Tranquility Estate – $ 75 Million

Tranquility Estate – $ 75 Million


Apache Helicopter – $52 Million

Apache Helicopter – $52 Million


Super Yacht “Cakewalk” – $100 Million

Super Yacht “Cakewalk” – $100 Million


Spelling Mansion – $150 million

Spelling Mansion – $150 million


A-10 Warthog -- Not for sale...yet

A-10 Warthog — Not for sale…yet


















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For me, one of the best memories during the holidays was reading books as a family. Of course, I believe you should do this year-round, but it is a great tradition to instill for your children. You could even replace that story you read at bedtime every single night with one of these great books. Your kids may protest at the change in story, but your sanity (yes, we all know you now hate that stinking curious monkey) will thank you. You’re welcome.

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

The Grinch, who lives on the top of Mount Crumpit, makes it his goal to ruin Christmas in Whoville. In my opinion, one of the best  Christmas stories ever written. Your heart will surely grow three sizes.

2. ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

Really, do I have to tell you what this is about? Come on.

3. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

A young boy, who doesn’t believe in Santa, hops aboard a train to the North Pole.

4. Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney

Llama llama once again teaches us the importance of patience–and what Christmas is truly all about.

5. The Biggest Most Beautiful Christmas Tree by Amye Rosenburg

The animals in a forest make their tree home as beautiful as can be in the hopes that Santa will come for a visit.

6. A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas by Philip Yates

This piratey twist on the holiday classic Twas the Night Before Christmas will have your little landlubbers mesmerized.

7. The Dinosaurs’ Night Before Christmas by Anne Muecke

Yet another twist on the classic Twas The Night Before Christmas, the dinosaur fossils in a museum all come to life! Your children will love it.

8. The Mitten, Adapted and Illustrated by Jan Brett

Adapted from a Ukrainian folktale, this story is about a mitten that is left behind in the forest and several animals all squeeze inside, making room for each other.

9. Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh

This little dog believes that she is the “other reindeer” and travels to the North Pole to become part of Santa’s team.

10. Santa Mouse by Michael Brown

When a little mouse realizes that no one ever gives Santa presents for Christmas, Santa Claus names the mouse Santa Mouse and makes him his helper.


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This Christmas season is the perfect time to teach your children the importance of kindness. Sometimes we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our lives that we never stop to be truly kind and go out of our way to do so. One act of kindness can go a long way. This holiday season, I encourage you, no, challenge you, to accomplish 25 random acts of kindness with your kids.  Need help figuring out what exactly you can do? Don’t worry; I’ve got you covered!

1. Buy toys specifically for donation, such as Toys for Tots.

2. Rake leaves or shovel snow for a neighbor (or several neighbors!)

3. Bake cookies for your mail carrier/neighbor/landlord/or just someone who you think needs cheering up.

4. Make Christmas ornaments or cards for the elderly in nursing homes.

5. Pick up litter at the park or in your neighborhood.

6. Let someone go in front of you in line at the store.

7. Pay for someone’s dinner at a restaurant.

8. Buy and donate toys or coloring books for the kids at the local children’s hospital.

9. Give money or buy groceries for a homeless person.

10. Put together care packages filled with toothpaste, toothbrush, snacks, deodorant, and chapstick and hand out to people in need.

11. “Ding dong ditch” random people with gift baskets.

12. If you know of a family that is in need and are unable to provide Christmas for their own kids, provide it for them anonymously.

13. Go through your kitchen and donate food to the local food pantry.

14. Go through your clothes, as well as your children’s, and donate any unwanted clothing to Goodwill or to a family in need.

15. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.

16. Donate books to the library/schools/waiting rooms at hospitals/dentists/doctors et cetera.

17. Make Christmas wreaths and leave them on doorsteps or on cars with a “Random Act of Kindness” tag attached to it, such as those shown below.

18. You know those awesome vending machines that dole out candy or random toys? Have your kids place quarters in the slots for some other kids.

19. Make a nice dinner and deliver it to a family friend.

20. Take get well balloons to the hospital and have the nurse give them to someone who is alone.

21. Donate any gently used stuffed animals (or buy some at the dollar store!) to the local fire department. They’ll use them to help comfort children who have been in traumatic situations.

22. Go caroling in your neighborhood.

23. Buy and deliver coffee or hot chocolate to the local police/fire department/hospital or even the Salvation Army bell ringers.

24. If you have a larger vehicle, such as a truck, deliver Christmas trees to those who do not have one or cannot afford one.

25. Have your kids hide dollar bills throughout the toy section at your local dollar store.

For kids, the holiday season is always magical. Let’s make this year even more special because kindness is magic.

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Black Friday is upon us. You all know that day. The day where we all show our crazy, stand in line for hours in the cold, and all for the sake of a good deal. Well, not all of us are doing that; I, for one, will be sleeping in while you silly people shiver in the early morning hours.

If you’re looking for a good deal on toys for your kids, then shopping on Black Friday is a great idea for you—just be careful you don’t get trampled on. Wal-Mart, Target, and Toys R Us are fantastic places to be standing in line at for the toys on your kids’ wish lists this year. Or if you’re not feeling up to dealing with the crowds, is your best bet. Not quite sure what toys to get for your kid? (As if they haven’t already told you…) Here are the top ten hottest toys for kids this year:

1. Skylander SWAP Force

This game, available on all consoles, features new characters with which you can swap their pieces to create new character combinations. Place your figurine on the portal (which comes with the starter kit) and your new character will appear in the game.

2. Furby Boom

Furby Boom, as much as it pains me to say it, is one of the top toys for kids this year. With its bright colors and interactive features, your kids will love this thing to pieces.

Are you surprised to see that Furby Boom made it on the list? I said they were creepy, I never said that kids didn’t like them. *shudder*

3. Despicable Me 2 Figurines

If your child loved Despicable Me and its sequel, then they will love these figurines! You can purchase either Minion Dave, Agnes, or Gru–all of which talk. They each have several phrases that they will say, and they also sing!


4. The Rainbow Loom (or any version of this toy, such as the Cra-Z-Loom from Toys R Us)

If you didn’t already know or read my review of The Rainbow Loom, then I am here to tell you that this toy is a sure-hit with your kid. There are several versions of the rubber band jewelry loom, such as the Cra-Z-Loom from Toys R Us. Honestly, I believe any version will suffice, as long as your kids are able to make their jewelry creations.

5. Xbox One

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this new gaming console, but it’s from the creators of Xbox. Oh wait. OF COURSE YOU’VE HEARD OF IT! (Unless you live under a rock.) With this new version, you are able to control it via voice, watch live TV, personalize your home screen, record and share videos of gameplay, Skype, and much more. If your child isn’t already begging you for this, add it to your list. They’ll thank you later.

6. Disney INFINITY

Disney INFINITY allows you to enter into your favorite Disney and Disney/Pixar worlds and become some of your beloved characters (Like Captain Jack Sparrow!). In this game for the Wii, you and your kids will be able to complete quests, battle enemies, and solve puzzles–all within the worlds of your favorite characters. Who wouldn’t love that? (No one, that’s who!)

7. LEGOS Legends of Chima

Really, can you ever go wrong with LEGOS? No. No you cannot. LEGOS Legends of Chima comes with seven mini-figures with weapons, as well as a rotating tower cannon and a lion gate. It does contain 1,258 pieces, so be sure to watch your children carefully (especially if they’re prone to sticking small things in their mouth…).

8. LeapPad Ultra

The LeapPad Ultra is basically a tablet specifically designed for kids. It comes with 11 preloaded apps, including Art Studio Ultra, Photo Fun Ultra, and an MP3 player. There are over 800 available apps, e-books, games, videos, and music for your child to download and it comes with 8GB of memory. This thing may be expensive, but it will certainly keep your kids entertained for hours (and they’ll be learning at the same time!).


9. DocMcStuffins Deluxe Get Better Check Up Center

This toy comes with everything your child needs to play doctor–even a lab coat! Your child will be engrossed in this toy for hours, diagnosing you with every sickness under the sun. As if it couldn’t get any better, it comes with a talking Big Book of Boo Boos, a light up talking tabletop, X-rays, and a scale and height checker.

10. FurReal Friends Cuddles My Giggly Monkey Pet

This cuddly monkey, for ages 4 and up, allows your child to feed it via a banana-shaped bottle, change its diaper, and will fall asleep when rocked. Cuddles (yes, that is its name) will even say “Whee” when you swing her around. Your kids will love her…you may not. (I don’t trust that face…)