The Holiday Traditions Of Waukesha, Wisconsin

The Holiday Traditions Of Waukesha, Wisconsin

There's nothing quite like the way Waukesha glows during the holiday season.

It's that season again, the season of putting up the tree, buying all the presents and, of course, getting lit. While everyone in just about every town spreads their holiday spirit, there's nothing quite like the way Waukesha, WI glows up for the holiday season.

After Halloween has passed our beloved Lifeway cow, Gertrude, takes her witch hat off and everyone starts preparing for the for the day after Thanksgiving when she starts to rock her Santa hat. Once Gertrude is in the Christmas spirit, everyone else is ready to deck the halls too!

The early December holiday season kicks off with the Waukesha Christmas Parade. Here you'll see the friendly faces of all the community club members, including the high schools' dance teams and band/ color guard. The holiday parade is the place to enjoy and appreciate what different members in our community do. It Is also just a fun time, until it's too cold to feel your toes.

While driving late at night to check out all of the Christmas lights, take a drive down Emslie Lane — or just about any neighborhood with light posts outside — to see the lit-up snowmen heads at the end of every driveway.

The CP Christmas train is a special gift that costs nothing to see. The train lights up and passes through many cities in the Midwest, including Waukesha, grabbing many people's attention. Once the train has people's attention, it accepts donations of nonperishable food items and more for the food banks across the Midwest.The train is the longest rolling food bank and provides entertainment and help for a good cause. So, when you see a train that looks like the polar express, be sure to consider making a difference and helping your local community.

Downtown Waukesha is always filled with Christmas spirit. This time of year, People's Park is where it's at. Once you see the green and red balloons outside the door, you already know they're blasting the Nora Jones Christmas album inside. The artwork on the walls has also changed from the "usual" to snowmen and snowflakes and Santa. The workers themselves are like Santa's little elves, wearing Santa hats as they deliver you the precious gift of their weekend brunch specials.

The holiday drinks at The Steaming Cup are back! They're like a dessert, a drink and a work of art with all of their colorful sprinkles, whipped crème and latte designs. While you're enjoying your coffee, take a peek out the window to see the magical horse-and-carriage, or take a ride downtown yourself.

When the temperature really starts to drop, Main Street will fill up with ice sculptures sculpted by residents of Waukesha themselves. The sculptures last just as long as Waukesha's winters do, which is a long time so there's no excuse to not see them!

Downtown Waukesha is known for its special themed runs and the holiday season has its famous 5k Santa Run. The 5k starts at Taylor's People's Park, takes you down Main Street, Frame Park, and over the Fox River. The run awards prizes for best costume and seasonal theme, so you better believe you'll see just about every one of Santa's elves, reindeer and the big man in the red suit — times 100! While the race is a 5k in the cold Wisconsin weather, which can be rough, it is still a fun time for all ages and an experience of a lifetime.

Finally, the biggest holiday tradition Waukesha has is visiting the Country Christmas Light Show, which just so happens to be Wisconsin's largest drive-thru holiday light show. This year will be the 21st year of Country Christmas, proving the holiday season in Waukesha is LIT! (pun extremely intended.) Just to get a feel of what this experience is really like, I'll tell you there are five themed sections including: Christmas village, Country Christmas trail, Streets of Bethlehem, Prairieville, old time Waukesha and, of course, Barevillie, which is a personal favorite (it has hidden bears for your carload to count up throughout your drive — I won’t tell you the number of bears there are, you'll just have to find out for yourself!).

At the end of the mile long course, your car will reach a 200-foot-long tunnel of 30,000 lights, and while this may give you an extreme headache or even heart attack, it's something you won't want to miss seeing.

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What Christmas Means To Me: An Atypical Prayer

You are where my life began and continues to grow, and the love is always unconditional, never ending, and felt as soon as you walk in the door.

This last Christmas, my grandfather gave me the opportunity to write the grace and prayer that is read before Christmas Dinner. Though it may not sound much like a typical prayer or a traditional grace, it sounded a little something like this:

"When I think of Christmas, I think of this moment right here. The one where we are all gathered together, bound together by love in a place where so many memories have been made. It’s the time that we get to spend together that makes Christmas so special, not the presents, not the food (though it is delicious and I’ll never say no to another one of Grandma’s cookies), but instead the bond that we continue to strengthen each and every year when we come together.

So this Christmas, I am thankful to be surrounded by a family that loves me. As I said in an article of mine that came out earlier this week, “never is the love in my house one-sided”, and that rings true here today. God has given us this holiday not only to celebrate Christ’s birth but also to remind us that the love of this family is never one-sided. It reminds us how special this family is, and how lucky we are to have one another.

I could not ask for better people to have in my life. I could not ask for better grandparents to teach me so many life lessons and to be there whenever I needed someone to turn to, parents that raised me into the strong, independent, and loving young woman that I am today, and a sister that I’ve become so much closer to this year and am proud to call my best friend. I could not ask for a better aunt and uncle that have never failed to make me feel loved and are always there to support me in everything that I do, and cousins that always take time to make sure I’m ok and give life advice that has helped shape who I am as I grow up. I could not ask for better little boys to be my little boys and bring joy and laughter to my life, and a dog that makes me happy to come home and I can always count on for kisses.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, but not for the reasons many people may think. It’s not because of the presents, or the cookies (though I do love them so please make as many as you can Grandma), but because of the love, I get to experience on this day. Family is where life starts and the love never ends, and in this family, this rings true. You are where my life began and continues to grow, and the love is always unconditional, never-ending, and felt as soon as you walk in the door.

Merry Christmas, I love you all with all my heart."

Christmas may be over, but the words in this prayer still ring true. Though people change and every holiday is different in its own way, these words will forever ring true.

Cover Image Credit: Nancy Summer

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10 Secret Santa Gifts Any Girl Would Love

What are some things on every girl's wish list?

So we get added to a secret santa group and we are given a budget and the ability to ask for anything we want. But what do we want? Trying to think of things that I want for secret santa is probably the most difficult thing ever. Here are some things that most girls would want for secret santa, including yourself!

1. Fuzzy Socks

Every girl loves fuzzy socks, no questions asked. Get her a pair or two of fuzzy socks and she will be so happy. They are universal and on almost every girl's Secret Santa list. Not to mention, they are affordable and will definitely fit in your budget.

2. Eyeshadow Palettes or Highlight

There are so many good quality eyeshadow palettes that are less than $20 from Colourpop that she will absolutely love. There are many that you can find at the drugstore as well, from brands such as NYX or e.l.f., that are very pigmented and versatile. Any girl will appreciate getting a quality highlighter as well. Some good ones are: Wet n Wild Mega Glo Highlighting Powder and e.l.f. Baked Highlight.

3. Lipsticks

A girl can never have too many lipsticks, especially matte liquid lipsticks. Some good shades that she would appreciate include: mauve, red, plum, dark burgundy, dark magenta, nude. These shades are so versatile and will definitely make her happy. Some good matte lipstick brands under a budget include: Wet n Wild Catsuit, NYX soft matte lip cream, and Colourpop.

4. Dainty Rings

Girls love to wear rings, especially dainty ones. You can find packs of these at any women's apparel and accessories store. Just a couple of rings with small gems, flower patterns, intricate designs, or just plain simple bands will do the trick. The best ones are the silver and gold colored ones. Also, make sure to find out her ring size beforehand so that the dainty rings actually fit her fingers!

5. Chocolate

Chocolate is always a great addition to a gift. Usually chocolate is not the only thing you would give someone as a Secret Santa gift, but adding some good chocolate bars along with the main gift is definitely appreciated. Toblerone and Hershey bars, as well as Lindt chocolate truffles are perfect for this.

6. Perfume/Body Mist

A girl always needs her yummy scented perfumes and body sprays. Any body mist from Bath and Body Works is perfect, especially the travel sized ones because every girl considers it an essential. Some perfumes from Victoria Secret also smell really nice and the person you are giving it to for Secret Santa is sure to love it.

7. Scarf or Hat

Since Secret Santa gifts are exchanged in the winter, scarves, and hats are often at the top of the list for girls. Any cute infinity scarf or knit beanie will not only keep a girl warm, but also act as a cute accessory in the winter time. It would be a perfect Secret Santa gift, and the beanies and scarves are very affordable.

8. Cute Tops

A girl will always appreciate getting more clothes. There are so many different kinds of shirts that a girl would want, including: a blouse, a chiffon shirt, loose t-shirt, cute crop top, etc. Based on her usual wardrobe choices, you can find a shirt that fits her style and give that to her as a gift. If she likes to go out a lot, get her one or more crop tops. If she wears simple clothes, get her a loose, comfy t-shirt.

9. Face Masks

Skincare is so important: everyone wants smooth skin! A face mask is a perfect gift because chances are she probably was going to buy a skincare product anyway. Getting it for her as a gift will make her happy and save her from having to go find one. Any charcoal, peel-off, clay, or hydrating face masks will be a great Secret Santa gift.

10. Earrings

Get her a pair of earrings! Make sure to know whether she would like to wear any dangly earrings before buying them. If she usually wear studs (and has multiple ear piercings) and likes to wear dangly, fancy earrings to a party, getting her a set of earrings might be your best option. Stores like Forever 21 have sets of earrings that include a couple pairs of different stud earrings, and some dangly (or hoop) earrings that would be perfect. Or you can get her one or the other: either a pair of very fancy dangly earrings, or a pair of very nice stud earrings.

With this list of generic yet amazing gifts to give for secret Santa, you won't have any trouble trying to find a gift for a friend or even think of gifts you might want for yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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