This review is following a
sponsored visit to This Is the Place
Somewhere buried in all the the baking and parties and decorating and gifts of Christmas, we all have the desire for holiday simplicity. The boys and I found it this week at the This Is The Place Candle Light Christmas. Strolling through Heritage Village with the soft light of lanterns peeping through cabin windows into quiet darkness, we felt transported to a time in Utah's past that truly was simple and slow.
Before you take your family, I want to pass on a few tips to help you have a great time right from the beginning. Can I recommend taking a few minutes to orient yourself with the map and program before leaving the light of the visitor center? It won't be impossible to figure out what is happening once you're in the village gate, but the unlit street and softly lit buildings had us a little confused about where activities were happening and which buildings were worth wandering towards. Know that primarily, the Candle Light Christmas activities are happening along Main Street, but taking a good lighted look at the program will get you started in confidence.
Old Time Storytelling
Listen by lamplight to a classic Christmas story being read by a soft-spoken pioneer. Look around at your children enamored in the tale of a man named St. Nick and imagine for a moment that this could be your family evenings.
Treats and Drinks to Keep You Warm
Brigham's Donuts has become our first stop during any This Is the Place visit. We know we love them and we're going to get them so why bother waiting! Moms, forget decorum. Your kids will be licking the sugary goodness off their fingers and begging for more. After every belly is happy, head upstairs for Native American storytelling with a lesson kids and adults will recognize.
Print and Craft Making
The first Christmas card cost a week's wages and was hard work to duplicate. It encourages me to see my digital generation boys asking questions and paying close attention to how it all happened on an (analog) printing press. For Candle Light Christmas, all the crafts are in the back of this building. Kids can color a greeting card, make tree ornaments, and roll their own beeswax candle.
Santa's Prep Work
Santa's Naughty & Nice lists have residence at This Is the Place...who knew!? It took the train conductor to finally help us find this building behind the ZCMI general store, and my boys were 100% convinced they were going to put Johnny Cash on the Nice list (true story). When marker met paper, though, B was a little confused and VERY serious, signing his entire legal name. I probably would have preferred him to not do that, but this Mom found it touching that at 8-1/2 years old he the gravity of Santa's judgement on him still holds wait. He wanted to make sure he was accurately recorded on the official gift recipient registry.
Gift List Shopping
We had never been in to the ZCMI Store before, and how can I ever let that happen again? Kids needs the excitement of picking a treat from a candy counter. They also need the privilege of a toy shop where nothing is electronic and flashing at them. This store has an impressive display of marbles for sale, a cool wooden kitchen and grocery store play station, baubles and trinkets for all ages.
There isn't a direction to look at This Is the Place that the simplicity doesn't wash over you. The lights are understated; the lamps warm and inviting. The Patty Cake Polka lessons in the schoolhouse get the whole family moving and laughing together. The nativity in a barn with breaths of farmyard animals echoing as a tiny babe cries. There was a time these were the ways the holidays focused families on what really mattered. Candle Light Christmas can help bring the focus back to slow and simple once again.
Want to save $2 on admission?
Mention code "A LOCAL WANDER"
when purchasing your tickets.