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How to celebrate the holidays in St. Louis before break starts

| Editor-in-Chief

The semester’s almost over—which means final projects, exams and papers are first and foremost on most students’ minds. While the holiday season might be on the backburner for now, there are a slew of entertaining activities to participate in this holiday season before break officially commences. Take a break from your study schedule to venture out into St. Louis for a fun, festive time.

Garden Glow

Where: Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd.
When: 5 p.m. every day through Jan. 1 (excluding Dec. 24 and Dec. 25)
Price: $16 on weeknights or $18 Fridays and Saturdays for a nonmember adult ticket
Nothing quite says “Happy holidays” like glimmering lights, and the Missouri Botanical Garden sparkles with 1 MILLION lights. For the first time, the Garden Glow admissions fee includes access to the Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show, which features G-scale trains traveling across 900 feet of track through a beautifully decorated holiday landscape. Plus, purchase festive treats like s’mores and hot chocolate (it can be spiked, if you’re over 21 years old) as you walk along the Garden Glow path.

Snowman Skate

Where: Shaw Park Ice Rink, 217 South Brentwood Blvd.
When: 6 p.m. Dec. 8
Price: $3 (including skate rental)
While there might not be much in the way of skiing or snowboarding here in St. Louis, there are plenty of opportunities to ice skate. Celebrate the end of classes this Friday by taking a trip to Clayton’s Shaw Park Ice Rink. And for an extra treat, take some pictures with Olaf from “Frozen.” Stay cozy by sipping on hot chocolate in the warming room, and stay around until 8 p.m. for a fireworks show to kick-start your finals week in style.

Central West End Window Walk

Where: Central West End
When: 1 p.m. on Dec. 9, 16 and 23
Price: Free!
The Central West End Window Walk highlights the seasonal cheer of the community, located just a short drive (or Metro ride) from Washington University. The Window Walk features street entertainment, including live music, food and drink offerings and discounts for the numerous businesses lining the neighborhood streets (plus, carriage rides and pictures with Santa). For an old-timey holiday feeling, celebrate the holiday by wandering the streets of the CWE and peering into the elegantly decorated windows—all without spending a dime.

Wild Lights

Where: Saint Louis Zoo
When: 5:30 p.m. every day through Dec. 30 (excluding Dec. 11, 12, 24 and 25)
Price: $8 on weeknights or $10 Fridays and Saturdays for a nonmember ticket
Enjoy over half a million twinkling lights at the Saint Louis Zoo, with fun displays like Starry Safari, Winter Wildland and Swan Lake. While most animal exhibits are closed throughout the event, three are open: Penguin & Puffin Coast, Monsanto Insectarium and Sea Lion Sound. There are also live performances (including carolers) on select weeknights, and you can roast your own s’mores over the open fire for an additional fee. As a child growing up in New York, one of my favorite holiday experiences was the Bronx Zoo’s version of Wild Lights—and I’m excited to know that I can put a new spin on that tradition in St. Louis.

2017 Holiday Parlor Tour

Where: Lafayette Square Historic District
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Dec. 10
Price: $20 in advance or $25 at the door
The Holiday Parlor Tour takes you through 11 homes decked out for the holiday season and begins at the Park House, located on the corner of Mississippi Avenue and Lafayette Avenue. As part of St. Louis tradition, residents of Lafayette Square open up their homes to the public twice a year, also allowing folks to see their houses as part of the Spring House and Garden Tour. In addition to highlighting the homes’ Victorian architecture, the tour includes carriage rides and visits with Santa.

“A Christmas Carol”

Where: The Fabulous Fox, 527 North Grand Blvd.
When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and Dec. 15, 2 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, 1 p.m. or 6 p.m. Dec. 17
Price: Starting at $20
Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is a holiday classic, and the fully staged musical version of the tale has become as much of a tradition as the book itself. With sets and costumes that remain true to the Victorian era and a 23-person cast, the musical doesn’t stray too far from the touching story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s newfound Christmas spirit. Make a night of it by grabbing dinner with friends and heading to the theater.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage”

Where: Peabody Opera House, 1400 Market St.
When: 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 15
Price: Starting at $20
If you’re feeling nostalgic for your youth this holiday season, reminisce on days of yore by watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on stage. The live performance expands on the television version, with more songs and a longer runtime. After the cast takes their final bow, celebrate with the Peanuts gang by singing along to the classic Christmas tunes from the original version with your fellow audience members. Although seeing the Peanuts crew immortalized as human beings might be disconcerting for some diehard fans of the comic strips, the live performance might bring a new depth to the characters you know and love.