When the holiday season begins to approach, many people begin to make lists – shopping lists, Christmas card lists, etc. But what about a list detailing things to do to make it your best holiday season ever? What would you put on that kind of list?
At the top of our own list is getting into the proper frame of mind by taking time to reflect on your life and what’s important. How was your year? Was it a good one or one that you will be relieved to see fade into history? If it was a less-than-stellar year, have you learned anything from your trials that you can take with you into the New Year to make your future better? If it was a good year, have you given thanks? Many people are facing difficulties, especially economic hardship. If you have been fortunate, a great way to show your gratitude is to exemplify the spirit of the season and give to others.
After doing some self-assessment, focus on those around you — your family. Spend time with your family during the holidays. Christmas is a season for making memories. One of the simplest ways for making lasting holiday memories is to enjoy some of the area’s most beloved holiday traditions. To help you, we’ve come up with our top-9 things to do during the holidays
A Christmas List of Pittsburgh Memories
- Light Up Night. Start the season off right by joining in the festivities
of Light Up Night. The evening is jam-packed with events, including the arrival of Santa Claus and a grand fireworks finale. This spectacular event sets the stage for a fantastic holiday season.
- The Crèche. Pittsburgh is home to the world’s only authorized replica of the crèche in St. Peter’s
Square at the Vatican. This magnificent, life-sized Nativity was unveiled in 1999 and has since become one of the most visited destinations during the Christmas season. This glorious depiction of the first Christmas will awe both young and old alike and best depicts “the reason for the
season.” The Creche.
- The Rink at PPG Place. Think you have to head to Rockefeller Center to skate amongst skyscrapers? Think again. The Rink at PPG Place is a magical place. Skaters glide around an enormous lighted Christmas tree in the center of the rink. It is particularly breathtaking at night when the lights reflect off the panes of glass from the buildings at PPG complex. www.ppgplace.com/
- Santas From Around the World. While you are at PPG Place, don’t forget to visit the Wintergarden, where the Santas from Around the World exhibit will help you and your family to become familiar with how other cultures around the world depict that “Jolly Old Elf.”
- Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden. Speaking of visiting gardens, don’t overlook a visit to Phipps Conservatory. The Winter Flower Show features holiday foliage and flowers. As a bonus, the fragrance of flowers and warm air revitalizes the spirit during the colorless, cold days of winter. http://phipps.conservatory.org
- Carnegie Science Center. The Miniature Railroad & Village has delighted visitors for generations. With numerous trains and other modes of transportation leading gazers into a miniscule world depicting how area residents lived in the past. The Miniature Railroad & Village is the ultimate train display. www.carnegiesciencecenter.org
- Nationality Rooms. Encircling the lower-level floors of the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus is an exhibit that pays tribute to the world’s different cultures, the Nationality Rooms. These 26 functional classrooms are each decorated and furnished to pay tribute to that particular heritage. At Christmastime, the Nationality Rooms don holiday finery to reflect the customs and traditions of that country. Santa visits every land on Christmas Eve, and outside of stealing his sleigh, this is the only way to go to take a trip around the world and take in each country’s holiday style.
- Carnegie Museum of Art. No grander setting for displaying holiday decorations can be found than at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Hall of Architecture. These majestic decorated Christmas trees are situated among the towering marble columns and casts of architectural masterpieces from the past. Also not to be missed is the Neapolitan Presepio, an elaborate Nativity. What the Presepio lacks in size as compared to the Pittsburgh Crèche, it makes up for in scope with more than 100 figures.
- First Night. The holiday season begins with a collective celebration on Light Up Night; therefore, it’s only fitting to wrap up
the season with a citywide celebration as well. This New Year’s Eve celebration offers more than 140 events from concerts to fireworks and provides a way for every member of the family to ring in the New Year.
With so many unique ways to celebrate with those you love during the holidays, don’t stay at home watching Ralphie’s Christmas memories on the 24-hour marathon of A Christmas Story, get out there and create some memories of your own. And taking those memories into the New Year will assure that it will be a happy one.