My Holiday Favorites

My Holiday Favorites

Most holiday events and experiences get started right after the Thanksgiving holiday, but some start much earlier. I am a huge fan of the holidays. Everything about them makes me happy. I have compiled a list of my favorites for your holiday enjoyment.

Holiday-Mix_FacebookEat, drink and be merry at Engage! Cleveland 6th Annual Holiday MIX. Get ready to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with hundreds of other Cleveland Young Professionals and Engage! Cleveland at The Corner Alley Uptown.  Join us for networking, bowling, arcade games, music from DJ Garrett and so much more!

Starting the day after Thanksgiving is Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden, which runs Friday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Jan. 3. Glow is a crowd favorite for all ages as you can see the most creative and beautifully decorated gingerbread houses and trees. Not to mention stepping into the Garden to warm up in balmy tropical temperatures.


On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Cleveland’s annual Winterfest takes place all over downtown Cleveland with a hub at Playhouse Square. On Saturday, November 28, Winterfest begins at 9am with events well into the evening. Highlights include Santa appearances, ice sculptors, carriage rides, holiday shopping and the annual tree lighting at Playhouse Square at 5pm. This is a great event to bring out-of-town friends and family.

Next up is an annual tradition for my family. Holiday Circlefest, which takes place in the University Circle neighborhood around Wade Oval, is the perfect way to explore many of our finest museums for free. Yes, you read that right. On Sunday, December 6 from 1pm – 7pm, all of the institutions around the oval open their doors free of charge. You can bounce between them all day and experience each one’s unique offerings.

Okay procrastinators, this one is for you. Shop for all of your last minute gifts the Saturday before Christmas at the Last Minute Market at the Screw Factory. Wait, wait…they are changing locations, so this year it is the Last Minute Market at the Galleria. Shop among hundreds of Cleveland vendors selling gifts, ornaments and other lovely things to put you in the holiday spirit.

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Each year I try to experience one new holiday experience and this year is no different. On my bucket list for this year’s holiday season is to visit, Deck the Halls at Stan Hywet Hall in Akron. It runs from Friday, Nov. 27-Saturday, Jan. 3. There are tons of activities, but I am interested in seeing the historic manor all decked out for the holidays. Stan Hywet features more than 800,000 lights on display. It may be chilly, but rev up the car and head a little south for some fun.

As many of you know if you have been reading my blogs, I grew up in the Youngstown area. When I head back home, I get off on the last exit in Ohio before you would hit the Pennsylvania turnpike. As you might imagine, my family lives pretty close to PA, so my all time favorite experience includes a day in Hermitage, PA. First up on the list is to visit Kraynak’s Christmasland. Think Christmas trees decorated down a long hallway each with its own theme and splendor, plus tons of décor to take each tree to the next level. After visiting these beauties, head to Daffin’s Chocolate Kingdom to see an entire kingdom made out of chocolate. There is a 400-pound chocolate turtle, a 125-pound chocolate reindeer and 75-pound chocolate frog. Chocolate castles, a train, a village, and a ferris wheel which brings this whimsical land to life. Around the holidays it is decorated and each person gets a free chocolate sample…yum!

What are some of your favorite holiday events and traditions? Let me know!

BlogAshley Basile Oeken