Tis the season to celebrate the joy of the Christmas holidays, surrounded by the warmth of your favorite seniors, cherished family, and dear friends! I've explored the latest happenings in downtown areas and across the north metro near our offices, adding a festive touch to our gatherings. Let's make this holiday season truly special and memorable!
European Christmas Market
Minnesota’s most authentic European Christmas market is back again at the Union Depot in St. Paul. This is the 10th anniversary of the market–a COVID survivor extraordinaire. The market opens on November 24th and continues on weekends through December 17th. There are over 50 live entertainers this year for you to enjoy. This is a free event that features many of the same goods you would find at an actual European Christmas market! On a cold day, you can head inside a tent to enjoy hot chocolate and food selections from a variety of local restaurants. There are a lot of European foods to enjoy at the market for both gratifying immediate consumption and to bring home to chow on later. This is also a place to find those unique gifts that make the holidays fun. These vendors have beautiful goods and foods from Europe that you’d be challenged to find anywhere else.
As this is an outdoor event, please don warm attire, and ensure that seniors have suitable footwear for comfort and safety. The event takes place at the Union Depot, steeped in history, offering a nostalgic journey to the era when railroad travel reigned supreme. Take a leisurely stroll, marvel at the captivating artwork, and admire the intricate woodwork that graces the depot. Experience the exceptional acoustics of a bygone era—imagine announcing "Casey Jones is now arriving on track 11" and witnessing your voice carry effortlessly throughout the building. Parking options are plentiful in the surrounding area, including both free and paid options for your convenience.
American Sweedish Institute–” Don’t you Know”
Not to be outdone on the European front Minneapolis’s Sweedish Institute will be hosting A Nordic Christmas on December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Be sure to also stop by the Julmarknad - the Scandinavian Christmas Market taking place inside the institute and at the ASI courtyard during the weekend. Shop for handmade goods from more than 60 regional artists. Tickets are available for admission on Dec. 2nd and 3rd. Admission includes both the market and the museum. The Grinch will be making an appearance from the Children’s Museum on December 3rd. Check out the site for more details. The museum itself is a resource for learning about Sweeden and Swedish-American culture and heritage, Scandinavian folk arts, and culture. It’s warm and toasty, they have a cafe and a mansion you can tour! Get your tickets in advance! This might be a better option for seniors on a super cold or snowy day for a family outing.
Christmas Tree Lighting and Market
Bring your family, friends, and holiday spirit for this fun and festive hometown event. On Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023, join in on the countdown to light up the official city Christmas tree. It takes place at Anoka City Hall River Plaza in historic downtown Anoka. Festivities are planned from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Enjoy complimentary horse-drawn trolley rides along 2nd Avenue, merry holiday music, bonfires to keep you warm and toasty, listen for the Anoka High School Seventh Avenue Carolers strolling in the early evening, enjoy the beautiful holiday décor, and more. Food vendors will be selling warm beverages and tasty treats.
Capture photographs as your grandchildren share their holiday wish list during their free visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Plus, large wooden cutouts of nutcrackers and snowmen will be perfect backdrops for selfies and family photos. Merriment will abound to bring back memories of an old-fashioned Christmas that seniors will love.
The event is part of a weekend of fun, Friday and Saturday, at Artisan Delights Winter Market with local artisans showcasing their original hand-made designs, artwork, and baked goods. You will find accessories, clothing, fiber art, fishing lures, glass art, home decor, jewelry, soaps, candles, pottery, woodworking, and much more!
If you get hungry in Anoka just look in any direction and you are bound to find some great restaurants ready to serve you! I let the family shop last year while I stopped in at the local 10K craft brew and played cribbage. Our Comfort Keeper home care office is located in the same building–now that’s handy on Friday. The 10K has nice restrooms and access from 2nd Ave.
Be sure to dress for the weather!
Chisago Lakes Area
Activities abound throughout the Lakes area with each small town having its own events. This makes for a really great atmosphere where you can experience a lot of different things throughout the holidays.
From bazaars and festivals, the area has so much to offer. Lindstrom has its tree lighting on December 2nd, including horse-drawn sleigh rides, music, caroling, refreshments, and of course, Santa! Bring your letters to Santa with a return addressed envelope, and Santa will reply! Even to grandparents!
Need a break from the excitement, or the cold! Winehaven is open with warmth, restrooms, and plenty of seating. If you prefer more of a German refreshment, the Uncommon Loon Brewing Company might be more your style with a great variety of beer.
Enamored by the charming small-town ambiance of the Chisago Lakes area, we established an office here this year. Our goal is to enhance our service to veterans and seniors, providing exceptional in-home care tailored to the unique needs of this community. We are thrilled to be a part of this welcoming neck of the woods!
White Bear Lake
White Bear Lake has several holiday options. It’s the season to help our fellow man and this year you can also eat some great soup! Choose from 28 delicious soup varieties on Saturday, December 2nd, 11 am- 4 pm. Purchase cups, bowls, or flights of soup to contribute to the fundraiser for the White Bear Lake Area Food Shelf. The event is at EAT! at Banning & 5th 2202 5th Street.
Rust Architects will be providing ice sculptures in the downtown area of White Bear Lake again this year. There will be an ice sculpture hunt around the local businesses, just stop by the Rust Architects split-level office on Dec. 13th-16th (8 am-5 pm) to pick up a hunt passport to fill out. Live ice carving will be on December 13th from 10 am to 2 pm in front of Rust Architects building 4744 Washington Square. See the map for locations of sculptures to come.
Take your favorite senior(s) and get out there and enjoy some of the holiday events before cabin fever closes in!