Christmas Lights to Awe and Inspire

Hallie Witwer
If you’re anything like me, you love yourself some Christmas lights. Come these winter months, I don’t care if they are clinging to the needles of a pine or tacked securely upon a rooftop, there is just something about seeing all the different colors glowing together in front of a blanket of white snow. Well, if you live in the Cleveland area there are no shortages of venues that you can visit to see some great displays that are sure to bring out the inner child in you and remind everyone of the magic of Christmas that can so often be lost in the hustle and bustle of the modern holiday season.

I’ll start with a close-to-home favorite. Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio, is a sight to see all year round, but come the holiday season the historic mansion really morphs into something to take one’s breath away. With 70 acres of stunning gardens surrounding an architectural masterpiece, words can’t describe what adding 500,000 holiday lights does to the experience. “Deck the Hall: Joys of Christmas Past” is happening select nights now through the end of December. Check it out December 1st-4th, 8th-11th, 15th-23rd, and 26th-30th. Don’t miss this opportunity to tour the estate in the evening hours while surrounded with the glow of the holidays and historical artistry. Visit Deck The Hall for ticket information.

Need something a bit closer to Cleveland? From December 2nd-31st go to the Cleveland Museum of Art for its annual Winter Lights Lantern Festival. Experience something a little out of the ordinary as the museum goes outside the classical holiday look and takes on a month long festival that is more than just amazing lighting. It also has music, dancers, and, of course, the incredible artwork synonymous with the Cleveland Museum of Art. This is an innovative way to celebrate the holidays and get a little history and culture in at one time. Take part in the workshops they offer and get your own creative juices flowing. We all have an artist inside us and this is the perfect way to explore our capabilities. Go to Cleveland Art Events for details.

We can’t forget Public Square right in downtown Cleveland. Though most of the events that go along with these lights took place only during the ceremonial lighting in November, they are still not to be missed. Of course, there is no charge. All you have to do is take it all in, and I know from experience that making a pit stop to see these lights at the end of a date really does make it all that more special. So whether you’re just looking to brighten up your night, or impress a pretty girl, Public Square is the place to be this December. Oh yeah, and while you’re down there make sure to shake the hand of an Occupy Cleveland protester!

Heading back towards the Akron, Ohio, area there is Lock 3’s annual winter celebration. The Lighting Spectacular would be enough on its own to impress me, but on top of that they offer an ice skating rink that will be open through the end of January, shopping at the holiday market, a community visual arts display with 40 hand-painted banners from Akron’s very own local groups and organizations, and a variety of different food and drink. Lock 3 Holiday Festival has any additional information you might need.

So there you have it; a handful of places to brighten up your holiday season. We know it’s a busy time and the list of things to do is always growing much too long and becomes even more unbearable. Even so, I highly suggest taking some time out of your night to enjoy some of these gorgeous displays. Make it even more special by sharing it with a loved one, or perhaps that new acquaintance that you have a feeling is just on the verge of becoming something more. Personally, when I take in even the simplest of Christmas lights I can always immediately feel my heart warming. And as corny as that sounds, in a time of my life where I never have time to eat breakfast or sometimes even tell those I should that I love them, it’s moments like this that even I realize are priceless.
image from google images