Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato

Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato

I was just reading about the Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato, and I plan to squeeze a visit onto our calendar this season. Even if you don’t live super close, it really looks like something that’s worth the drive. It takes place at Sibley Park in Mankato. You can drive through the display, or if you prefer you can walk through it. It starts on November 23th and goes through December 31st. The event is open to the public, but cash donations and non-perishable items are welcome.

The 7th Annual Kiwanis Holiday Lights kicks off November 23 at 6 p.m.

The Girl Scouts Mankato Area Unit present a parade to open the event.
The parade will wrap up with Santa Claus himself who’ll flip the switch to turn on the lights.
Santa will stick around on weekends for free visits through December 23.

New this year: opening weekend features a lighted Ferris wheel, while a lighted carousel will be available every night.

The events also features an ice sculpting contest December 14-15 as well as learning to curl December 21.
Guests can walk or drive through the display.

Kiwanis Holiday Lights in Mankato

Santa & Albert’s Annual Holiday Play at Bachman’s

Traditions are a huge part of the holidays. The Santa & Albert Play at Bachman’s in Minneapolis has been a tradition for more than 30 years! It takes place at the Bachman’s flagship store on Lyndale in Minneapolis. This weekend (Nov 17-18) is your first opportunity to catch this great free event.

Christmas is coming, and there are toys to be made! This year, Albert the Elf has earned a coveted spot competing in one of the North Pole’s most popular contests, “Who Wants To Be A Toymaker?” The goal is to craft something uniquely new with only leftover odds and ends from the toy making process. Albert certainly has the talent, but will his creativity waver or will he have what it takes to design a toy that wins over the hearts of children across the world?


The play lasts approximately 20 minutes and seating is first come, first served. Following the play, Santa and Albert will lead a sing-along of carols and take pictures with guests. Please bring your own camera to have your picture taken with Santa and Albert.

Saturdays | 10 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm & 2:30 pm
Sundays | 11:30 am, 1 pm & 2:30 pm

November 17 – December 16, 2018

Canadian Pacific Holiday Train

There’s just something about trains and Christmas that go hand in hand! The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train starts rolling into Minnesota in the next few days.  Making several stops along the way, while collecting donations to local food shelves.  You’ll find live music and entertainment at the stops.  The train will roll into several Minnesota locations December 5th-14th.   We are sharing a little early so you can check the map and get the perfect spot and date on your calendar.

What’s a Holiday Train event like?

A typical Holiday Train event goes something like this: the train arrives and pulls to a safe stop in front of the crowd. The stage door lowers and the band opens with its first song. After that, a brief presentation takes place with local food bank officials and other dignitaries. Once complete, the band resumes performing a mix of traditional and modern holiday-themed songs. The whole event lasts about 30 minutes. Once the band plays its farewell song, the stage door closes, and the train heads off to the next stop.

It’s important to keep a safe distance away from the train so we can safely continue our journey.

The MN schedule can be found here on their website.

An “Eventually” Christmas: Holidays at the Mill

One of our favorite events is coming up at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis.  The famous slogan “Eventually—Why Not Now?” comes to life during this holiday event.  We first went to this event a few years and really enjoyed it, watching the story unfold during each scene as we rode the Flour Tower elevator ride. The event is recommended for ages 8 and up.  You have four different dates and several time slots to choose from.  Advance tickets can be purchased here on the Minnesota Historical Society Website.  Not sure if this will sell out but many holiday events this time of year do so keep that in mind.

Join the Ghost of Mill City Past for an intimate look at the 1920 Washburn Crosby holiday party in this unique play set in the museum’s Flour Tower elevator ride. Scenes unfold on different floors where the audience meets characters drawn from the pages of the company’s employee newspaper, the Eventually News.

Witness the rocky romance of Celia and Otto; meet marketing mastermind Benjamin S. Bull; experience the awesome sweeping power of Bill Smith and learn the secret origin of the Washburn Crosby marketing slogan, “Eventually—Why Not Now?”  Performances are at 5, 6 and  7 p.m. Recommended for ages 8 and older. Ticket includes museum admission and refreshments after the play.



Annual Green Gifts Fair at Midtown Global Market


One of my favorite places to do some holiday shopping, is the Green Gifts Fair. I’ve purchased some great soaps, clothing and art at this sale.  This year is the 13th annual event, taking place at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. It’s a one day event, Saturday November 17th, from 10-5pm. With over 80 different vendors, all caring about our environment and being green, there’s sure to be something for everyone.


• SHOP. 80+ eco-friendly vendors for holiday gifts
• EAT. Plan to eat lunch or dinner at the Midtown Global Market, offering over 30 global food options
• LEARN. Complete a passport for prizes with the whole family
• CELEBRATE. Music, live stage demonstrations, and a family exploration space
• VOLUNTEER. Help us make the event a success by volunteering and get a Do It Green! Minnesota recycled t-shirt and an eco-friendly appreciation gift by contacting
• PROMOTE. Please invite your family, friends and co-workers through email, Facebook or Twitter hash tag #GreenGiftsFair!


Annual Bags, Bows and Boxes Warehouse Sale


Each fall and spring I head to my favorite warehouse sale to stock up on bags, envelopes and wrapping paper.  The awesome Bags, Bows and Boxes Gage warehouse sale is located in Shakopee near Canterbury Park.   The bright yellow signs point you in the right direction when you get close.

C L O S E O U T!  1st Quality!


Giftwrap, Jewelry & Gift Boxes
Gift Bags & Tissue
Favor Boxes, Ribbons & Bows
Paper Plates & Napkins
Basket Making Wrap & Shred
 Bakery Boxes  & Goodie Bags
Wine Bags & Boxes
Save 40-80% off retail!

The sale happens in the fall and again in the spring on select weekends:


November 16th-18th

November 30th-December 2nd


March 29-31

April 5-7

April 11-13

You can also check their FB page or website for hours and possible short notice pop up sales. 


Three Upcoming Special Event Movies at Riverview Theater – Minneapolis

We’ve mentioned the Riverview Movie Theatre in Minneapolis before, a great place for inexpensive movies.  Occasionally they also have some special event movies.

We spotted three great events coming up soon.  The first is something new, the Adventure Film Festival.  It takes place this Thursday, November 15th. Enjoy the 2018 lineup of the best independent adventure films of the year.

Sing-a-long-a Sound of Music, a great film that the whole family can enjoy and yes even sing along with!.  Showing November 23-25 and again on December 1-2, advance tickets can be purchased here on their website.

The third special event show, although not for the whole family, should be quite popular – the Lord of the Rings Trilogy!  The Lord of the Rings event takes place December 30th and you can purchase advance tickets here on their website.



The North Pole Express at the Union Depot

This recent snow has us thinking it’s December and although we don’t want to rush things, we know it will be here soon.  If you love trains the The North Pole Express at the Union Depot is something you’ll want to put on your list and get spots reserved.  It takes place November 29-December 2nd.  There’s a great video and more information about this event here.   Tickets can also be purchased in advance here.  It’s not a long ride but it will be a memorable one for the kids.

The North Pole Express

Children and trains go together during the Holiday Season like colorful lights, brightly iced cookies, festively wrapped gifts, family and friends. Please join the nonprofit Friends of the 261 annual journey on the North Pole Express.

The North Pole Express is our group’s largest yearly fundraiser enabling us to continue to operate and maintain the star of the show the Milwaukee Road #261 steam locomotive, built in 1944, and experience a ride in one of our of historic rail cars.

Our show is brought to you by our excited ALL volunteer crew, Santa and his elves that promises to make this a memorable Holiday Tradition.

Climb aboard this holiday train from the past that includes the North Pole and a visit from Santa himself! Avoid the trouble of setting up your old train set around the tree this year and let us provide you with a REAL steam train for the holidays.

Military Promotion at Minnesota Zoo


Sunday, November 11th is Veterans Day, a time we honor and thank our veterans, present and past, who have served our country. Many places are offering discounts and free items on Sunday, including the Minnesota Zoo which has a military promotion from now through January 1st.

November 11, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Minnesota Zoo
Military personnel receive free admission, free parking, and half-price admission for family members.

SSA Gift Shops
Military personnel receive 20% discount on purchases, excluding promotional and clearance items.

Lancer Food Service
Military personnel receive 20% discount on food purchases, excluding free-standing kiosks and alcohol.

IMAX Theatre
Show your military ID at the IMAX Theatre box office to receive $12 Hollywood Feature tickets or one (1) free ticket for an IMAX Documentary. No further discounts apply.


100 Years of Christmas at Dayton’s: Edina Historical Society Event

Many of us remember shopping at Dayton’s and have fond memories of the holiday display each year.  Even though I grew up in rural MN, I was able to see the holiday display several times and it was always magical.

The Edina Historical Society is hosting 100 Years of Christmas at Dayton’s, a program that reflects on the history and magic of Dayton’s.  This event takes place on December 7th from 7-8:30.  It sold out last year, so you’ll want to get your tickets sooner than later.  Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Edina Historical Society directly or here on their website.

100 Years of Christmas at Dayton’s

For 100 years Dayton’s department store helped Minnesotans celebrate Christmas.? We will look at how Dayton’s made the Christmas season magical by reviewing various window displays, unique gifts, store promotions, Santa Land, the unforgettable auditorium displays, along with a general history of the Minneapolis retail store.? We will also look at the behind the scenes action by examining anecdotes from the management and the ever-helpful store employees, who made the name Dayton’s synonymous with Christmas shopping.