Indulge Me, Please — I Promise this will be the LAST Holiday-Themed Post of the Year!

With the images so fresh in my mind, and laundry still to be done from our trip to New York City over Christmas, I wanted to share with you some of the classic holiday lights of “The Big Apple” that contribute to such a festive, magical atmosphere in an already-interesting city (or as my husband would say instead, some of the holiday images that simply bring in thousands of additional people to an already-crowded metropolis)!

And as we march on toward 2013, let us remember to carry that generous holiday spirit throughout the year:

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself…
~Norman Wesley Brooks, “Let Every Day Be Christmas”


(For each of the galleries, click on any of the individual photos to bring up a full-screen slide show of the gallery.)

Macy’s in Herald Square:


The iconic Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center with Prometheus keeping watch over the skaters on the rink, along with views of the Empire State Building’s glittering lobby:


Lord & Taylor department store on Fifth Avenue:


Holiday lights from Midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park and Fifth Avenue:


Saks Fifth Avenue department store window displays:


Enjoy these last days of 2012 and Happy 2013!

Ciao! ~ Kat

Bentleyville ~ Magical Tour of Lights

Irritation festers as I am faced with Christmas holiday decorations before Halloween is even over.  I make one exception to these premature December holiday signs that I otherwise despise . . . Bentleyville.  In order to bring life to this annual magical tour of lights in Duluth, Minnesota, teams of volunteers must start constructing the scenes and stringing the lights while the leaves are still on the trees.

[photos and video from the 2011 Bentleyville Tour of Lights]

bentleyville 2 2011

Most years, our family has made Bentleyville part of our annual Christmas Eve tradition.  Santa Claus patiently sits at Bentleyville every night through December 23, but on Christmas Eve, he already has taken off for the North Pole to finish loading his sleigh for the night’s ride, leaving Mrs. Claus at Bentleyville to visit with good girls and boys (or those who still hope to redeem themselves before the night is over).

bentleyville 3 2011

This amazing light show is free to the public, with goodwill offering containers scattered throughout the site, and a list of generous sponsors who help make it possible every year.  The original generous sponsor, though, is Nathan Bentley himself – the founder and Bentleyville’s namesake.  The full history of Bentleyville is detailed on its website, starting with a modest display in Nathan Bentley’s residential yard, growing to overtake his property and require shuttle buses and volunteers to direct traffic, and ultimately outgrowing Nathan Bentley’s home, turning into a joyous community event, open and accessible to all.

bentleyville 5 2011

With Duluth’s illuminated Aerial Lift Bridge in the background, thousands of people from all over the state and beyond enjoy Bentleyville’s light and music show, cookies and roasted marshmallows, hot cider and coffee.  That sense of community and holiday feelings of good cheer overwhelm you as you walk through tunnels of light and listen to the excited voices of children (as well as the voices of those adults rediscovering that unique Christmas spirit) – something about Bentleyville lets us all soak up that holiday magic about which songs are written.

bentleyville 7 2011

So, forgive me for adding to the premature Christmas displays, but perhaps you also will agree that Bentleyville may be an exception, as it certainly is exceptional?

bentleyville 2011

If you happen to find reason to swing by Duluth, Minnesota this holiday season, be sure to put a walk through Bentleyville on your list of things to do while visiting.  If you are not able to enjoy this show in person, enjoy this small taste of the magic of Bentleyville from last year’s display:

Bentleyville opens for the 2012 holiday season on November 17th, and will be open daily through December 26th.  Details regarding hours, parking, driving directions and more can be found on Bentleyville’s website.

Ciao! ~ Kat