For Bloomington, of course, there was the lighting ceremony on the courthouse square the day after Thanksgiving, and this year we'll be back in time for the big New Year's Eve countdown to noon at the Children's Museum. Holiday Trainland at the zoo was inexplicably absent this year, which is a big boo, since it was my favorite thing to do, hands down.
Ft. Smith, Arkansas, on the other hand, with half its residents NOT composed of university students, has WAY more and more elaborate Christmas lights, with the snowflakes down Garrison being especially nice, and it has the huge light display and Christmas train at Creekmore park.
Yep, an honest-to-god train!
Creekmore Park has one of those old-school ride-on trains, complete with conducter and bridges and lights and whistle, that runs around a large section of the park. For Christmas, this section of the park is also decorated to high heaven with various scenes chock-full of twinkle lights, The Twelve Days of Christmas and Santa on an Airplane and Dinosaurs in Santa Hats, etc. Every night in the lead-up to Christmas you can stand in a really long line in the dark and then ride the train and enjoy the lights:
Future plans for the day include: vacuuming; sneaking out to watch Avatar without the little lichens; painting the craft kit; baking cookies for Santa (who wants gingerbread, and also sugar cookies with crushed Butterfingers); re-reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas for the billionth time this month, but with extra emphasis; putting the girls to bed with a chapter from some interminably long Magic Schoolbus dinosaur chapter book; and then watching Get Smart from Netflix while Matt assembles the two bicycles that my mother bought for the girls.
And also he'll probably swear a lot.
P.S. It turns out that Papa has been secretly dyeing his dressing yellow with food coloring each year. We only know this because Papa just finished mixing up said dressing, and he's very upset because it seems that he accidentally chose the wrong color from the box this year--pink.