For all of us the Holidays can be a busy, sometimes great, sometimes stressful, time of year. And if you’re thinking about someone you love who has died, their absence can make the season all the more difficult. It’s hard to put aside feelings of loss and enjoy the Holiday season when the person you love is not there to share in celebrating the traditions you’ve built with them over the years.
The New Normal
Through no fault of your own and circumstances beyond your control, you now have the task of coming up with a new definition of “normal” for your Holidays this year and the years to come. However within this redefinition process it is possible to affect change that can make you feel joyful and as though you’re finding the path forward to a happy life.
There’s a chance that while rebuilding the new version of normal for yourself you can take this opportunity to change things in your life that have been ignored or put on the back burner. It’s possible to gain something positive from the death of a family member or friend, and it’s nothing to feel guilty about, because it’s worth betting on that that person would want you to be happy and to take every opportunity to live your best life.
Take Time When You Need It
It’s unreasonable to expect someone who’s dealing with grief to be living their best life right away. It’s a process. We all tend to put on a happy face for the Holidays but it’s alright to have pangs of grief, it’s completely natural, and sometimes a good cry (even for the guys) can be the most emotionally cleansing thing you can do.
Be honest with yourself and give yourself permission to fall apart once in a while, but don’t submit to it completely. When you find yourself in this situation, just give yourself a few moments, let it all out, then take a deep breath, think fondly of your lost family member or friend, wish them the best, and rejoin your life. Keep pushing your way forward. Finding the path forward to a happy life is possible, it just takes time and a commitment to seek out joy in your life again.
Participate in Life
Joy can be a hard thing to find if you’re not looking for it. It’s important to embrace your vitality. (Yes, you do have vitality!) Look for happiness in the world around you and be open to enjoying it. We’ve all had some party or event we really didn’t feel like going to and begrudgingly got dressed and trudged to the car only to arrive at the party and have a fantastic time. Life can be like that, where happiness is often found in places you wouldn’t expect it or in things you’ve never even tried before.
Now more than ever it’s important to actively seek ways to be happy. Joy during the Holidays may have come effortlessly before the death of your family member or friend, but now it’s up to you to make this new version of your life, in the absence of that person, the best life that it can be. There are simple things you can do every day to avoid getting bogged down and keep yourself moving in a positive direction. Below, we offer a list of things going on in the metro area that might get you moving in that positive direction.
Staying physically active is a great way to feel productive and reduce stress.* We all know that winter in Minnesota can be harsh, to say the least, with the bone-chilling temperatures, mountains of snow, and miniscule amounts of daylight, but getting a bit of exercise can bring welcomed relief from these elements and actually make you feel better.
If you’re a brave soul, you can bundle up and take on Old Man Winter by going for a brisk walk, skiing (down-hill or cross-country), snow shoeing, ice-skating, snowball fighting, or just trudging through the snow. But for those who prefer warmer temperatures, and really who could blame you, alternatives could include; climbing the stairs in your home, chasing your children or grandchildren, having a kid teach you how to play a Wii or Kinect video game, or taking in the sights of Holiday decorations and beleaguered bag-burdened shoppers while walking around the Mall of America (the walking distance around all three levels of Mall of America is more than 1.5 miles).
The options for exercise are truly endless, and the aches and pains that stress and sadness can bring may be reduced by getting your body in motion. And you don’t have to exercise alone. Finding a group or partner in these activities can make for an even more enjoyable experience.
The Holidays are a great time to connect, or reconnect, with positive people who love and support you. It’s likely that you’re not alone in your feelings of grief this time of year, so shared experiences in seeking joy can be beneficial to not only you, but to your family, friends, and community.
Try Something New
This is an ideal time to experiment with new and different ways of getting together and celebrating the Holidays. If the thought of your past traditions seem incomplete without the person who died, you may want to try participating in new events or activities that may someday be added to the redefined version of your Holiday tradition.
At Mueller Memorial, we’re committed to assisting you in finding the path forward to a happy life (and a happy Holiday) and would like to suggest a few wonderful Holiday events going on around the metro in the coming weeks. There are a variety of events for all ages and abilities and many of them are free! Hopefully any one of these will put you in the cheerful spirit of the Holidays.
Twin Cities Holiday Events 2016
Minneapolis Holiday Boutique *New This Year*
Friday & Saturday, November 11th & 12th 10am – 9pm, Sunday November 13th 10am – 5pm, $12 MINNEAPOLIS | US Bank Stadium, 900 Sout 5th Street 55415
More than 200 companies will join together to create the shopping event of the season! The Minneapolis Holiday Boutique brings together unique, high-quality vendors that offer the latest trends in apparel, jewelry, personal accessories, décor, gifts, children’s items and gourmet foods. www.minneapolisholidayboutique.com
Macy’s Annual Santaland Display
Sunday, November 20th – Saturday, December 24th (10am-8pm but vary with store hours), Free!
MINNEAPOLIS – NICOLLET MALL | Macy’s, 8th Floor Auditorium , 700 On The Mall, 55402
Come witness “A Day in the Life of an Elf” at the 54th annual holiday show. Santa and his elves will be there for photos. Visit Mrs. Claus' Bakery, which includes fresh gingerbread cookies and many other holiday treats. More information and exact hours of operation can be found by calling Macy’s at 612-375-2200.
Saturday, November 27th – Sunday December 18th (Saturdays and Sundays), 9:00am, $14.95 - $21.95
MULTIPLE METRO LOCATIONS | Macys’ in Minneapolis, Southdale, & Ridgedale
Have yourself a very merry feast! Join Jolly Old St. Nick for a delicious buffet meal of breakfast favorites including french toast, bacon & eggs, fruit, juice and more! Afterwards, stay and play - we'll have fun and games for the whole family. Seating is limited. Tickets go on sale November 13th at 12:00pm. For more information and to reserve your spot, call 1.877.556.2297. Breakfast tickets are $21.95 per person, $14.95 for children under 12 and under. (Dates vary by location)
Or join Macy’s for a festive Holiday Dinner Buffet and a Magical Evening with Santa at the Downtown Minneapolis store on Fri. Dec. 16th. Buffet dinner is served at 6pm. Call 1.877.556.2297 for more details and to reserve your place at the table or visit: http://www.macysrestaurants.com/santa
Friday, November 25th – Friday, December 23rd, Th. 5p-9p, Fr. 5p-10p, Sat. 11a-10p, Sun. 11a-7p Free!
MINNEAPOLIS – LORING PARK | Near the Intersection of Hennepin Ave. & Oak Grove St., 55403
This year’s Holidazzle features stories highlighting local people, products and places that showcase the food scene, art district, park system, active lifestyle, local entertainers and community groups that make our city and our region unique and special. Minneapolis-centric vendors provide options for food, beverages and unique gift and craft items. This year’s programming lineup will include the outdoor skating rink, visits from Santa Claus, musical performances from bands and choirs, weekly movies featuring holiday classics, themed days, giveaways, surprise and delight moments and more. Open Thursdays through Sundays only. www.holidazzle.com
NECA Holiday Lights in the Park
Tuesday, November 22nd – January 1st (2017), 5:00 – 10pm nightly, $10 per standard vehicle
ST. PAUL | Phalen Park, 1615 Phalen Drive, 55106
Visitors will experience a program of more than 60 larger-than-life holiday light sculptures and animated displays from the comfort of their vehicles as they cruise through the park in the evening hours. Guests can purchase tickets at the park gate or in advance by visiting the website at, http://saintpaulpolicefoundation.com/holiday-lights/
Christmas Decorating Party
Saturday, November 26th, 9am-12pm, Free!
WHITE BEAR LAKE | The Fillebrown House, 4735 Lake Avenue, 55110
Help beautify your community by joining the White Bear Lake Historical Society in decorating the charming Fillebrown House for Christmas. Refreshments, door prizes, and holiday music will be an exciting kick off to the Holiday season. To RSVP, call 651-407-5327 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rice Park Tree Lighting Ceremony
Saturday, November 19st, 4:30pm – 7pm, Free!
ST. PAUL | Rice Park, 109 West 4th Street, 55102
Celebrate the Season in one of the most elegantly decorated parks in the metro. Surrounded by the Landmark Center, The Saint Paul Hotel, The Ordway Center, and the St. Paul Library, Rice Park is placed in an historic setting, which only amplifies the dazzling classic-style Holiday décor. The tree will be lit for the first time of the season in a festive ceremony. Mascots, music and reindeer will be on hand beginning at 4:30pm. The tree lighting ceremony officially begins at 6pm with the lights going on around 6:30pm; 7pm will be the grand opening of WinterSkate. (See the next event.) For more information visit,
Saturday, November 19th, 2016 – Sunday, February 5th, 2017, (hours vary depending on date), Free!
ST. PAUL | Landmark Plaza, corner of West 5th & Market Streets, 55102
If you come down to wonder at the marvel of Rice Park’s lovely decorations, why not strap on some skates and take a turn around the WinterSkate ice rink? The rink generally opens daily at 11am and closes earlier on weekdays and later on the weekends. Hours and more information can be found at, visitsaintpaul.com/things-to-do/winter-fun/wells-fargo-winterskate/
November and December, 2016, (Varying event dates and times), Free - $30
ALL AROUND THE TWIN CITIES
Many of the colleges around the metro perform special Holiday presentations that feature, choirs, symphonies, dance, and dramatic performances. Colleges holding performances this year include, Augsburg, Macalester, Hamline, Bethel, Concordia, St. Thomas, and St Benedict’s/St John’s, among others. For a list of performance dates and times, and for reserving these high demand tickets visit the link. http://www.mnprivatecolleges.org/events-news/upcoming-events/holiday-concerts
Hill House Holidays at the James J. Hill House
December 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 24th* Tours every 30min 1:00 – 4:30pm, $8-12, *24th 10am-2pm
ST. PAUL | James J. Hill House, 240 Summit Ave. 55102 Reservation required.
“The bustle and excitement of a Gilded Age Christmas is brought to life as the servants of the James J. Hill House prepare for the holidays. Costumed actors portray people who worked for the Hill family in a dramatized portrayal of servant life and holiday preparations at the Hill family’s Summit Avenue mansion. The one-hour program moves through the elegant first floor spaces and then to the basement servant work areas. The script is based on letters and oral histories of people who worked for the Hill family during the first decade of the 20th century.” http://events.mnhs.org/calendar/Results.cfm?EventID=5924 Reservations call: 651-297-2555
Governor’s Residence Holiday Tours
Tuesdays, December 6th & 20thth, 11am – 1pm; Tuesday December 13th, 5pm – 7pm, FREE!
ST. PAUL | 1006 Summit Avenue, 55105
The 2016 Holiday Season at the Minnesota Governor's Residence will kick-off the evening of Thursday, December 1, 2016 with festive holiday lighting of the outside garland and tree. The Residence will be open for three public tours on Tuesdays, December 6 and 20 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and on Tuesday, December 13 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. No reservations are required; the tours will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no fee for the tour, but please consider bringing with you a monetary donation or non-perishable food items for Second Harvest Heartland. For more information visit, http://www.mn.gov/admin/governors-residence/tours/schedule/
Holiday Flower Show at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory
December 3rd – January 2nd, 10am – 4pm daily, Free (donation of $2 is recommended)
ST. PAUL | Como Park Conservatory, 1225 Estabrook Drive, 55103
“The Holiday Flower Show tradition began in 1925 and continues to be the most anticipated and visited flower attraction at the Conservatory today. The Holiday show will feature new Poinsettia Gold Rush, a beautiful gold colored Poinsettia, just hitting the market this year. Supplemented with orange and red Poinsettias, and beautiful rusty orange Philodendrons.” The Conservatory will also be holding a Holiday tea on Thursday December 7th ($40-$45) For more information about all their events or the flower show visit, http://www.comozooconservatory.org/events/special-events/
Jingle Bear 5k Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run (150 meter dash)
Saturday, December 3rd, 9am – 11am, 5k registration fee after Nov. 19th, $35; Kids 150m fun run, $10
WHITE BEAR LAKE | Near VFW Post 1782, 4496 Lake Avenue South, White Bear Lake, 55110
This is a fun and festive way to kick off your holidays by getting active while helping others! Tie jingle bells to your shoelaces (they supply the bells, Santa hats, and race shirts) and run or walk a 5 kilometer (3.2 mile) route along the beautiful shore of White Bear Lake. Help others celebrate the season by bringing a non-perishable food item for the White Bear Lake Food Shelf. After the race, enjoy a $6.50 breakfast buffet at the VFW. Discount early online registration is available at, http://www.jinglebearrun.com
Saturdays, December 3rd, 10th, & 17th 11am – 3pm, Free!
WHITE BEAR LAKE | In the area just east of Highway 61 between 3rd and 4th Streets, 55110
If you’re planning to venture out for the Jingle Bear 5k (see above), or if you just like the idea of strolling in the quaint downtown area of White Bear Lake this frosty event is the perfect chance to see White Bear at its bustling, wintery best. There will be horse drawn trolly rides and photos with Santa free with the donation of non-perishable food items. For more information go to, http://www.downtownwhitebearlake.com/events.htm
Saturday, December 3rd, Morning through the Afternoon, Free Shopping Event
ST. PAUL | Grand Avenue shops in the area of Grand Ave and South Victoria Street, 55105
Enjoy a day on Grand Avenue for this leisurely, family-friendly holiday event featuring a Breakfast with Santa (not free), live reindeer, Vulcan fire truck rides, a soup tasting, carolers, and fabulous holiday shopping at Grand Avenue's retailers. For more information visit, http://www.grandave.com/events/grand-meander
Saturday, December 3rd 10am – 4pm AND Sunday, December 4th 12 – 4pm, Free Shopping Event
ROSEVILLE | Roseville City Hall, 2660 Civic Center Road, 55113
Visit the 13th Annual Roseville Holiday Craft Fair and get your mittens on some unique handmade items perfect for gift giving! The event will feature more than 70 crafters. Refreshments are available for purchase from Dunn Brothers. For more, visit their very informative website at, www.holidaycraftfair.com
Saturdays, December 10th & 17th, 12pm - 5pm, Free!
MINNEAPOLIS | Lakes & Legends Brewing Co., 1368 Lasalle Ave 55403, FREE!
“Procraftinators” unite! Minneapolis Craft Market is hosting two special *Saturday* holiday markets inside the taproom at Lakes & Legends Brewing Company in downtown Minneapolis. Join them at the beautiful 3,500 square-foot tap room to visit with 22 local artists and makers while sipping delicious farm-to-table Belgian-style beers. They'll have a gift-wrapping station, music, and holiday cheer! More information at, www.mplscraftmarket.com
Saturday, December 11th, 6pm - 7:30pm, $5 in advance (by Dec 2), $7 at the door
INVER GROVE HEIGHTS | Veteran’s Memorial Community Center, 8055 Barbara Avenue, 55077
Ho! Ho! Ho! Santa is coming to visit the Community Center’s West Arena on skates! Skate around the ice with Santa and your family. Arrive dressed in red or green and you will get a special holiday prize. Hot beverages and snacks will be provided. Visit their website at: www.invergroveheights.org/index.aspx?nid=350
New Year’s Eve Events
Sat, December 31st AND Sun, January 1st (2017), 10am – 1pm, Free ($2 donation is recommended)
ST. PAUL | Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, Estabrook Drive, 55103
Ring in the New Year with the kids or grandkids that may not otherwise be able to keep their eyes open ‘til midnight. The Noon Year’s party features mid-day entertainment by KidsDance! and will have craft making, special animal enrichment, giveaways, and a countdown to noon with hundreds of beach balls dropped from the ceiling. For further information visit, www.comozooconservatory.org
New Years Eve Extravaganza at Afton Alps
Saturday, December 31st, 9:30am – Midnight, $43 - $53 per lift ticket, depending on age & arrival time
HASTINGS | Afton Alps Recreation Area, 6600 Peller Avenue, 55033
Swoosh down any of the 48 trails that Afton Alps features during the day and later take on the front runs that will stay open until midnight for New Years Eve. This family friendly event will ring in the New Year with lifts open 9:30am to Midnight. This is a great way to get out and start your New Year on an exhilarating and fun-filled note. Check out www.aftonalps.com for more information.
Acme Comedy Company featuring Jackie Kashian
Thursday, December 31st, Shows at 8pm and 10:30pm, $25, $55 including dinner
MINNEAPOLIS | Acme Comedy Co., 708 North First Street, 55401
Let stand-up comedian, Jackie Kashian, help you ring in the New Year with laughter. Her current hour standup special "This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux" was one of the top five comedy specials of 2014 on vulture.com. In the last year, she's been on the Conan O'Brien show, @midnight and has done some “acting” on Netflix's Lady Dynamite and IFC's Maron. She is also a co-host to a NEW comedy podcast on the Nerdist Network called The Jackie and Laurie Show. For tickets go to http://acmecomedycompany.com/the-club/calendar/2016/12/
Ice Skating on New Year’s Eve
Saturday, December 31st, 10am – 1am (Jan. 2017), $6 – 9 depending on age, $7 skate rental
MINNEAPOLIS | The Depot Ice Rink, 300 South Washington Avenue, 55415
Sail across the ice with the flurry of activity on Washington Avenue as your backdrop at the Depot Ice Rink this New Year’s Eve. The rink will stay open until 1am to help you glide into the new year with fun and festivity. You can take a break from the action and enjoy a snack, glass of wine, beer, or hot chocolate rink-side. More information can be found at, www.thedepotminneapolis.com/ice-rink.php
(St. Paul’s WinterSkate will be open 11am-11pm)
Holiday Movies to Change Your Mood
If you don’t want to head out into the hustle and bustle of the Holiday events, you can always pop some popcorn and curl up with an uplifting Holiday movie. Here are some suggestions:
Christmas and the Holidays
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – Steve Martin & John Candy stumble and bumble their way home, hoping to make it back in time for Thanksgiving.
It’s a Wonderful Life – The mother of all feel-good Christmas movies!
Love Actually – It’s a little racy, but it sweetly celebrates love of all kinds as it counts down the days ‘til Christmas.
Scrooged – Bill Murray takes a hilarious turn as the iconic curmudgeon in this “A Christmas Carol” remake.
A Christmas Story – The coming-of-age Christmas film that brought us classics like “You’ll shoot yer eye out,” the triple dog dare, and the leg lamp.
Elf – Will Farrell charms as Buddy the Elf who leaves the kind-hearted North Pole for the harsher streets of New York to seek out his cranky long-lost father and some Christmas cheer.
Die Hard – Yes you read that correctly. The high-thrill hostage situation that made Bruce Willis an action star takes place as he attempts to reconcile with his wife on Christmas. Yippee ki-yay!
The Holiday – Romance flourishes as two single gals swap houses across continents to take a Christmastime “holiday” from their regular routines.
Home Alone – In this fun family favorite, eight-year-old Kevin ends up with the run of his house and must defend it against a pair of inept burglars. Tinsel-filled antics ensue.
The Hallmark Channel – Featuring 24/7 wall-to-wall holiday movies beginning before Halloween. (Yes, BEFORE Halloween.) Check local listings or visit http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/schedule
New Year’s Eve
Bridget Jones’ Diary – This film, based on the book by Helen Fielding, picks up with our heroine on New Year’s Eve and follows her as she blithely stumbles her way through the next year.
An Affair to Remember – A classic, epic romance that centers around a very important meeting on New Year’s Eve.
Trading Places – This reversal of fortunes comedy culminates with an action packed scheme taking place on a train on New Year’s Eve. This one’s NOT for kids. And keep an eye out for Senator Franken.
Back to the Future – If you’ve got younger ones trying to stay up to watch the clock strike twelve, why not watch a movie that plays around with time? They’ll likely get a kick out of the 1980’s version cutting edge special effects, but the story is as fun and exciting as ever!
New Year’s Eve – A-list actors pack vignettes of intertwined New Yorkers stories all taking place on Manhattan’s biggest party night of the year.
We hope that something on this list has caught your eye and looks like a good chance for you to have some fun, or try a new experience this Holiday season. There are so many opportunities this time of year to find joy in your family, friends, and community. It’s our sincere hope that we at Mueller Memorial can help you to connect with the happiness that this season can bring, and to support your progress in finding the path forward to a happy life.
Celebrate the Season of Joy!
* You always want to respect your physical limits and not push yourself beyond what is a safe amount of activity for you as an individual. If there is any doubt that you would be able to perform any of these activities or any other exercise regimen please consult your physician before attempting them.
***All times and prices for events listed were accurate at the time of publication. Please double check any activities’ times, hours of operation, availability, and prices as they may be subject to change or limited availability.