Candlelight Christmas at This Is The Place Heritage Park
If you're looking for some good old-fashioned fun during this holiday season, make a trip with your family tonight to This Is The Place Heritage Park for its annual Candlelight Christmas. This evening event runs through most of the month of December, and is a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Think Father Christmas, live nativity, old-fashioned dancing, caroling, crafts, yummy doughnuts and more.
My family and I have visited This Is The Place Heritage Park on various occasions, but this was our first encounter with Candlelight Christmas. When you arrive at the gift shop and purchase your tickets, you receive a map and activity guide to the different buildings open at the park. The employee at the front desk recommended that we visit with Father Christmas first (to avoid crowds later), who happened to be on the upstairs level of the gift shop building. At first, my three-year-old was enthusiastic about seeing Santa, but as soon as we ascended the staircase and saw Santa across the room, my kids instantly vetoed that idea. My kids are Santa-phobic and have no desire to even get close to any white-bearded guy dressed in red and white. Despite my children's unfounded fears, if your kids like Santa, this is a great place to see him.
Upon leaving the gift shop, my kids wanted to see the live nativity first. I've never been to a live nativity, so I didn't know what to expect. Housed in the barn, the live nativity meant that there were a woman and man playing Mary and Joseph who looked admiringly at their baby Jesus while goats bleated in the nearby pens. The kids liked seeing the baby.
Our next stop featured old-fashioned dancing lessons in the school house. My husband danced and twirled with my two older girls. They loved this! The dancing was interrupted by a group of period-dressed carolers that filled the dance hall with pretty Christmas music, which mesmerized my kids.
We wandered up the main street into another little building, in which a man dressed as an old-timey print maker explained how the first Christmas cards came about. He invited my kids to help him make a few prints (using an old-fashioned printing press) of the original Christmas card. We took the prints with us, which made nice souvenirs of the evening.
Our other activities included riding the train around the village (free), making gingerbread cookies, and eating yummy freshly made "Brigham's Doughnuts". You definitely don't want to miss these little gems, which come dusted in cinnamon sugar or, if you pay a little extra, other toppings. If you order a dozen (which we did), this will adequately feed a family of 3-4. The doughnuts are small, but rich, and it's really hard to eat more than 3-4 in one sitting.
In the end, we didn't get to experience all of the activities, since my kids were exhausted after all of the walking and adventuring. If there was one thing the kiddos really wanted more of, it was crafts. The Candlelight Christmas website promises "making crafts and homemade gifts", but the only "craft" we could find was the printing press Christmas card, which didn't satisfy my kids' crafting desires. Just don't come to Candlelight Christmas expecting crafts (like my kids were), and you'll find plenty of other enjoyable things to do during Candlelight Christmas. Overall, this was a really fun and different way to get into the Christmas spirit!
Use The Salt Project and get $2 off each ticket!
- Free parking at This Is The Place Heritage Park
- Bundle up when you go! You'll be walking outside A LOT (wear good walking shoes), and it gets pretty chilly if you're not dressed in winter attire. Coats, gloves, scarves, hats, etc. are all helpful.
- Candlelight Christmas is ADA and stroller accessible and open to all ages. However, strollers get a bit cumbersome if you want to ride the train or take a wagon ride. If you can, it's easier to leave the stroller at home, but not required. We managed just fine with an umbrella stroller, since we could fold it up easily to take on the train with us.
- The train ride is free but the wagon ride costs additional money. If you want to take the wagon ride, bring an additional $5-8 per person.
Thanks for the detailed review! I have seen this advertised but wasn't sure what to expect. It sounds like a unique experience with something for everyone. We'll have to try to make it there.