Looking for a safe way to enjoy the holidays this year? We have a few safe local events for you to celebrate the holiday season, whether you’re looking for outside activities or digital story time or streaming options.
Another holiday streaming concert is available to families and friends, presented by Group 2, a saxophone quartet formed at MSU. The concert will air on their website today and throughout the season. The performance, which you can enjoy from home, is about an hour long and will feature holiday classics. Group 2 is made up of four saxophonists: Evan Harris, Eric Zheng, Tyler Young, and Adam Epler. While quarantining together, the group of musicians decided to record their private concert at a local church.
The quartet has been named first prize at the New Orleans Chamber Festival Competition, and has won several national competitions for their craft. Find out more information on Group 2 and the holiday concert here.
If your holiday plans include pajamas and popcorn in the safety of your home, here’s an option for you. The East Lansing Public Library is hosting “Storyline,” beginning Dec. 14. Community member and Director of Abbott Nursery School, Kate Burch, will be reading The Polar Express. Dial in anytime (517-319-6915) to experience a personal story time and enjoy a literary train ride to the North Pole. Each week, you can call in to hear a new story. For more info, visit the ELPL website.
In keeping up with the family-friendly digital theme, WKAR is hosting a Family Pajama Jam film screening of Super WHY! Judith’s Happy Chanukah on Thursday, Dec. 17 from 7 to 8 p.m. They invite families to grab a cup of hot cocoa and a comfortable seat to take part in this free event, sponsored by MSU Federal Credit Union. For more details or to RSVP, visit their Facebook event page.
The Lansing Symphony Orchestra is sharing joy through music this month. It circulated the above clip on the first night of Hanukkah. The music was recorded at People’s Church in East Lansing for “Silver Bells in the City Home Edition.”
The Lansing Symphony Orchestra is also planning to broadcast its 2014 Holiday Pops concert on Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. More information should be available soon here.
Burcham Hills is hosting a free outdoor Festival of Lights on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 21 and 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. on their grounds, located at 2700 Burcham Drive in East Lansing. The event includes 13,500 lights and welcomes cars to drive through the winter wonderland. There will also be live music, free hot chocolate, and candy canes.
For more details and to RSVP, call 517-827-1072. Reservations are suggested by Friday, Dec. 18. Donations of food items will be accepted for the Greater Lansing Food Bank, and donors will receive a free face mask or shopping cart cover.
Burcham Hills Executive Director Kari Rennie spoke about the inaugural, contactless event. “2020 has been a hard year for everyone,” she said. “Going into the holiday season we knew it was going to look different, and we wanted to find a unique way to still celebrate and spread some holiday cheer.”
The not-for-profit assisted living, memory care, and independent living facility invites the East Lansing community to remain in their cars, drive through the route, enjoy stops, sweets, and giveaways. A welcome station with masked employees will provide hot chocolate and candy canes to cars. Another stop features live musical entertainment by Carla and Larry, a Handbell Duet from Holland, Michigan. The last stop features a special guest: Santa.
“The goal is to spread holiday cheer and moments of encouragement for our East Lansing community,” Rennie said. “We are a community who is used to celebrating together and although we are unable to do our events this year, we have not let that stop us on sharing our spirit and giving those around us an opportunity to come enjoy with us, give back to a great cause, and see what we offer here at Burcham Hills.”
For more information, visit the Burcham Hills event page. If you are attending, make sure to view the map there about how to enter and drive through the property.
You can also hold an indoor family craft night at home. Pinterest is a great resource, but the world of DIY is endless and can leave you frustrated. Let Paint Your Poison cover the bases for you and provide your family with ready-to-paint kits. Pre-pandemic, the local business hosted traveling events at bars and restaurants and private home painting parties in the greater Lansing area, including City Limits Bowling Alley in East Lansing. Now, they’re offering paint kits, virtual painting parties, and more.
Family holiday paint kits include various styles like tree wood cutouts, candle jar and candle making kits, different winter landscapes, princess style paintings, reindeer portraits, and snowy scenes. Kits include all necessary materials like canvas, paints, brushes, video instruction, and more, unless specifically marked otherwise.
“My hope with the art kits is to keep people entertained and creative while stuck at home, especially through winter,” said Amanda of Paint Your Poison. “I’ve also been able to use a few of the kits as fundraisers for local non-profits, including raising $300 for Constellation Cat Cafe in an effort to keep their doors open.”
Kits are available for local pickup or shipping with delivery fees. Local delivery times are estimated at 2 to 3 days within a 20 mile radius of Downtown Lansing. The local business also offers gift cards for future paint parties. For more details, visit Paint Your Poison’s website.
Hop in your car or go on a walk to see the spectacular light displays that your neighbors have created. ELi has received word that Whitehills and Oakwood Historic Neighborhood have both really outdone themselves this year.
We also received a tip that a house on Touraine Avenue has a unique display including elements from Star Wars.
It seems that being home more often has encouraged some to go all out. Radio station 99.1 WMFK also held a contest in which listeners could submit photos of their decorated homes in the Greater Lansing area for the chance to win a $500 Visa gift card from MSUFCU. The deadline for pictures was Dec. 13.
East Lansing residents may well be familiar with the luminaries that line the Bailey neighborhood each winter as part of a fundraiser for the Pump House.
If you drive around on the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21, check out the Bailey neighborhood to see luminaria line the street. Konrad Hittner, who has helped organize the project for years, recommends checking out the Bailey neighborhood, including the new Bailey Park to see some lights.
Hittner told ELi that the number of luminaries purchased this year had doubled — about 5,000, compared to the usual average of 2,500. This year, the display will also overlap with not only with the solstice but also the alignment of Jupiter and Saturn.
Luminaries are still available for purchase. You can email Konrad Hittner here.
This article has been updated on Dec. 18, 2020 at 12:20 a.m. to include two new events.
This article was updated on December 23, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. to include a new event.
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