Make your list and check it twice, your visit to Gull Lake will be nothing but nice! Start planning now because you’re going to need more than 12 Days of Christmas to experience all the magical events taking place in the Brainerd Lakes area this holiday season. Here are our top 12 picks for celebrating the holidays in Minnesota-style to wrap up the year:
SERTOMA WINTER WONDERLAND
Twinkling lights strung into captivating displays are sure to put you in the holiday spirit as you drive through this breathtaking winter wonderland at Northland Arboretum, which runs from November 25 through the month of December. This spectacular holiday tradition includes a driving tour of 75 colorfully animated lit displays. Sure to add a sparkle of excitement, funds raised from this event benefit local clubs and nonprofit organizations. Over the past 14 years, the Sertoma Winter Wonderland has contributed nearly $250,000 back into the community.
Held in the gallery and gift shop at The Crossing Arts Alliance, this annual holiday shopping event boasts an amazing selection of art, fine crafts, art supplies, holiday gifts, and much more, all created by local artisans. The market is open daily through Christmas Eve – Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Don’t miss this fun shopping experience and great opportunity to support the Gull Lake community’s makers and artists!
Celebrate the holiday season in Downtown Brainerd with festivities that begin Saturday, November 27 just in time for Small Business Saturday. The Holiday Passport Promotion begins the same day and runs through December 12. Shoppers will earn a passport stamp for each purchase made at a participating business (one stamp per visit per day). A grand prize drawing will be awarded on December 16. Check out the downtown lights and decorated storefronts during the Third Annual Downtown Window Walk on Friday, December 3 from 5 to 7 p.m., as well as the return of Santa’s Workshop the first three Saturdays in December. This free event will take place at 614 Front Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include seasonal crafts, pictures with Santa and more.
HOLIDAY MAKER WORKSHOPS
To gear up for the holidays with a special homemade touch, join Copper Creek Garden Center in Nisswa for the following how-to sessions: on November 22, Advent Wreath Workshop, on November 28, Christmas Lantern Workshop; on December 3, 4, and 10, Holiday Wreath Workshop; and on December 11, Evergreen Centerpiece Workshop. Tickets can be purchased online and guests can BYOB to sip while you work!
DIY WINTER CENTERPIECE
Create a beautiful winter centerpiece at Landsburg Nursery in Brainerd on December 2 from 1 to 3 p.m. You’ll add your own fresh greens, make yarn trees, add some ribbon and berries, maybe a pine cone or two and then…voila! You have a gorgeous centerpiece that will last all winter and you can tell everyone at the table that you made it! Cost is $70 and the activity is led by The Frugal Farmhouse.
MAKE N’ TAKE WINTERGREENS WORKSHOP
Each Saturday in December until Christmas, the workshop at Landsburg Nursery is staffed with design experts to help you create a holiday masterpiece. Get great personalized advice, free use of tools, and a free application of Wilt Stop, plus you’ll have tons of fun and you’ll get to leave the mess behind! Fresh locally grown evergreen products and accents will be available to purchase. Bring in your own pots or purchase some new ones onsite. Gather a group of 8 or more and schedule your own make n’ take party.
A CONCERTO FOR THE HOLIDAYS
On December 5 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., enjoy a free winter concert at the Tornstrom Auditorium. Musicians from the Heartland Symphony Orchestra will warm your heart with the sounds of the season.
ELF, THE MUSICAL
This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. Based on the beloved holiday film, the comedy follows Buddy the Elf in his quest to find his true identity. The festive production by Brainerd Community Theatre will run December 14-16 at the Chalberg Theatre in Brainerd.
A CHRISTMAS STORY
Dramatized from the popular 1983 movie, the play is set in the 1940s, when a young boy named Ralphie attempts to convince his parents, his teacher and Santa that a Red Ryder BB gun really is the perfect Christmas gift. This impressive production by Stage North Theater Company will run December 16-19 at the Franklin Art Center in Brainerd.
SANTA PAWS AT BUSTER PARK
You and your trusty companion are invited to the playground for dogs for a photo with Santa and Mrs. Paws, December 18 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Buster Dog Park in Brainerd. Elf helpers will take photos so you can help stage or even be in the photo with your cute canine. And, if your pup was a good dog this year, Santa may even have some special goodie bags to give away!
FULL MOON SHOWSHOE HIKE
Don the winter gear and head to Northland Arboretum on December 18 from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. for a hike under the full moon. Cost is $20 for the guided hike and includes hot chocolate and cookies!
THAT HOLIDAY FEELING
Tyke’s Carpet Castle proudly presents, Sinatra and Company “That Holiday Feeling,” a fun-filled variety holiday show featuring the talents of award-winning vocalist Tim Patrick, accomplished singer and producer Colleen Raye and top-notch big band vocalist Debbie O’Keefe, each bringing their own brand of talent and charisma to the stage. Catch this special production at the Gichi-ziibi Performing Arts Center in Brainerd on December 19 at 6 p.m.
UNWRAP THE HOLIDAYS WITH A STAY AT GULL LAKE BEACH RESORTS
If you’re looking to celebrate the holidays in a true winter wonderland, look no further than Gull Lake Beach Resorts, where we pull out all the stops to create the perfect home base for enjoying all the activities of the season. We hope the holidays in Central Minnesota will become a new tradition for you and yours! Contact us today to book your festive getaway.