The flu season is happening people, and if you haven’t had the flu at your house, be prepared. Moms, here’s what you’ll need to keep you sane when the plague takes over.
TV. iPad. Kindle. Tablet. Some type of screen. Screen must be on at all times. Do not attempt any learning during this time. Do not attempt reading or writing. Do not suggest coloring. Hand the child the remote, and walk away. These items are key in your flu survival kit, screen time during flu season is a go.
Flu station AKA pit of despair. This area is typically the couch. Surround child with blanket, tissues, water, Gatorade, PediaLite, hand sanitizer, trash can for disgusting tissues, Bear-bear or equivalent lovey.
Thermometer. You will use this one million times per day. Sanitize or change cover frequently as you will also be continually checking your temperature and the temperature of the other children and possibly the dog. Can dogs get the flu?
Disinfectant spray/wipes. Plan to walk around your house spraying/wiping anything child may have touched. Or breathed on. Or looked at.
Medicine. You will try cherry liquid, which child will spit directly in your face. Next, you will try generic berry liquid, it will also be rejected. Then, you will try grape chewable, THOSE ARE DISGUSTING! Don’t even think about trying a Ricola cough drop have you lost your damn mind? You will try bubblegum chewable, those may be tolerated. You will spend $150 at Target on medicine that you will never use.
Coffee. You will run out of coffee because you cannot leave your house. Flu season is ruining your life, and you need coffee. You will cry and beg your sister to bring you a latte. She will do this because she loves you. You are lucky.
Earbuds. Because you will be tired of pretending to watch Aladdin again and it is okay to zone out on an audiobook while ferrying water and tissues and medicine and love from your safe zone in the kitchen to the pit of despair.
Good luck out there. The flu will eventually end. Right? Tell me it ends.
“How far along are you?” “You’re carrying high, are you having a boy?” “Are you having really weird food cravings?” “Are you sure you’re not having twins?” “So, are you going to have more babies right away?”
“Are you going back to work after the baby comes?”
Like so many pregnancy well-meaning inquiries, the answer to the question of whether or not a mother will return to work is extremely personal.
Determining whether to continue to pursue a career or to stay home to be a full-time parent is stressful and can be complicated, both emotionally and financially. This decision is tied to career aspirations, desire to provide an idyllic childhood and financial stresses of forgoing income and/or paying for childcare.
For those who decide for any number of reasons to return to the workforce, the next hurdle is a big one – finding childcare that is convenient, affordable, and best for your child. With the rising costs of childcare and the scarcity in many large cities making waiting lists months long, finding and affording quality care for children is becoming more and more difficult.
Also, let’s be honest . . . childcare in Denver is really expensive
As many of us know all too well, the Denver metro area has become an incredibly expensive place to live. This is even truer when you’re a parent! According to Child Care Aware, the average cost of center-based care for an infant is approximately $15,600.
I stayed home with my daughter for the first 18 months of her life. My decision to do so was driven not only by my want for more time with her, but also by the cost of childcare and the lack of availability. Even if a family is fortunate enough to have the financial means to pay for quality care, waitlists can be long and the process can be daunting. So, I waited longer to go back to work and spent time finding the best childcare solution for us.
I consider myself lucky with regards to my current daycare situation
My daughter currently attends a wonderful daycare center run by a well-regarded non-profit, located only four blocks from my office. The staff is fantastic and dedicated, so it doesn’t hurt as much to make the paycheck-sized payments.
Here are some tips and resources that helped me in my search, in the hopes that they might help you!
Colorado Shines connects Colorado families with licensed quality child care programs and resources to support children’s early learning. Part of the Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Shines-rated programs are state-licensed, meet health and safety standards and are regularly monitored. They have a fantastic guide on How to Find Quality Childcare and you can search their online database of over 4,000 area child care centers, preschool programs, family child care, Head Start programs, and other school-aged programs to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Mile High United Way skilled team of child care navigators will help you figure out child care options that are convenient and affordable. They also can assist you in your search for a center with availability.
The Colorado Preschool Program (CPP) is a state-funded early childhood education program. Each year the General Assembly funds half- or full-day preschool for up to 29,360 children considered to be at-risk for later school failure. There are a number of qualifying factors that determine a child’s eligibility, which vary by school district.
The Denver Preschool Program provides tuition support for 4-year-olds in their last year of preschool before kindergarten. All children who live in the city and county of Denver are eligible, and support is based on income.
If you don’t qualify for the programs listed above, there are other options! Here are a few more ways to reduce the overall burden of childcare costs on your household:
Child care and dependent care tax credit. You can deduct up to $3000 in childcare expenses per child ($6000 maximum), to save on your overall tax bill.
Child tax credit – each child in your house under the age of 17 is eligible for a $2000 tax credit
If your employer offers it, set up a Dependent Care Account. This flexible spending account allows you to set aside up to $5000 before taxes. That money can be to pay for child care.
Fundamentally, we need change
I do realize that none of these resources are magic bullets in finding and affording care. Unfortunately, at its core, the child care system in this country needs to change. We need more affordable child care options with stable and rewarding employment opportunities for staff. The best thing that we can all do is speak up and share our thoughts. Contact your elected representatives – school board, city council, senators, and congresspeople. I hope you will join me to make childcare more accessible and affordable!
Baby Girl, do you know what I do all day while you’re at daycare and I’m at work?
Do you know that while you’re at daycare and I’m at work, I try my best to act like I know what I’m doing? I make decisions and answer questions. Sometimes I attend important meetings with important people and try to say smart things. But do you know that most of the time I feel neither important or smart? Do you know that most of the time I actually have no idea what I’m doing? Not even close.
I’m just trying to figure things out one step at a time. I ask a lot of questions and I make a lot of mistakes. And I try not to let it bother me – all the not knowing what to say and messing up, what feels like, all the time. But it does. And that’s why the big hug I get from you when I come home from at the end of our day is extra special.
“The feeling of you in my arms always fills me right back up.”
Do you know that while you’re at daycare and I’m at work, I sometimes take myself out to lunch? That once in a while I sit all by myself at a table for two, smack dab in the sun, just like a kitty cat? I’ll eat rice or noodles from a big bowl and think about lots of things. Work, your daddy, myself, and you. And I remember that you’re in your own place all on your own too. And I always don’t know exactly what you’re doing at that moment, but I know we’re okay and we’re where we’re supposed to be, even though I miss you. And isn’t that so weird?
Did you know that sometimes I sneak away from my computer and do other things all by myself too? Special, unassuming things, that feel surreal without a toddler in tow. I like to get coffee on the way to work. Not really because I need it – although sometimes I do – really, I get coffee just because I can. I like to walk into the shop, instead of going through the drive-through, because I don’t have a kid and their car seat to contend with. Getting to put the sugar and cinnamon in my coffee exactly the way I want feels equal parts satisfying and rebellious.
I might meet a friend for lunch once in a very blue moon and end up mostly talking about you. Or, I’ll walk around Target on my lunch break and try on clothes just for fun because that’s nearly impossible to do when we’re together. I’ll go on lots of walks and listen to a podcast, or music that I’ve been collecting since way before you were ever born. And then I’ll feel like I forgot something, something is definitely missing. My wallet, my keys, my phone? Nope. It’s you.
“I always feel like I’m missing something when you’re not around. I am tethered to you, even when we are untethered.”
Do you know that I go back to my desk and try not to get too fixated on how many hours are still left in the day? I alternate between checking email and checking your nap log on the daycare app. Or scrolling through work files and also photos of you from the weekend on my phone. Finally, I get to drive home, and the whole way back I mentally prepare myself for the impending dinner, bath, bedtime hustle. Did you know that when we both finally get home, I will never not love the way you run to my feet for a hug so I can scoop you up in my arms? You’ve just recently learned how to hug me back. How to really squeeze me tight in your arms, the way I squeeze you. And nothing – absolutely nothing – is better than that.
There’s a John Steinbeck quote that gets floated around this time of year. “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” That’s how my days – how my life – feels now that you are in it. Those days at work, while you’re at daycare, are long. It’s funny how they make both your hugs feel tighter and my coffee taste better.
But did you know baby girl, that no matter what happens while we’re apart, living our separate lives at daycare and work for those nine hours, you are always the best part of my day?
Are you a working mom who can relate? What do you tell your littles about your day?
I quit my career to stay home with my babies and left the things I knew to dedicate myself to my family and children. I decided that in “work-life balance,” my work and life would be the same . . . So, where would I find the balance part of the equation? I knew I’d have to find it because staying home is work too. Whether our career is in a place where we take a paycheck or a place where we’re full-time everything to our kids, how do we do all the things, keep our sanity, and love our kids well?
For me, my balance is found in fitness. Exercise has been part of my life since I was active as a teen. In my late twenties, I found my passion for the adrenaline rush that running brought me. As a mom, I decided to share my balance and my passion with others and I became a certified group fitness instructor focusing on prenatal fitness, postnatal fitness, and senior fitness.
I know that exercise and taking care of our physical fitness is something a lot of moms let slide. Especially in the beginning, it’s hard to feel like hitting the gym. You’re recovering from childbirth and your body still doesn’t quite feel like your own, you’re physically and mentally exhausted, your boobs are cracked and your ankles are still a little foreign . . . the last thing you want to do is remember the Zumba combinations.
Guess what? That’s okay. There are so many fitness options available to moms.
Tips for finding fitness that works for you:
Think about your fitness goals
Consider the physical activities you like – high or low impact, competitive or relaxing,
Decide where you want to work out – at home, in a gym, or outside
Determine how flexible you are – do you need a fitness routine that is portable, or can you dedicate yourself to a specific location?
Think about your body, right now, where you are today. What would help you feel the most connected, what would help you feel strong, what would help you achieve balance?
Local Gyms and Exercise Groups
Recently, Denver Moms published a fitness guide that features gyms across the metro area like Chuze Fitness that specifically cater to moms and offer childcare!
Are you looking for other moms to workout with? Consider Fit4Mom or Hot Mamas Exercise. Do you want a more custom-tailored experience? Consider Chuze Fitness or Life Time Fitness. What about something low-impact and great for prenatal and postnatal toning like Pure Barre or Bar Method? If you are cost-conscious, we recommend joining your local recreation center or basic gym like Prestige Fitness. And of course, our most important consideration is childcare. All of the facilities above have clean, wonderful environments for your kids.
Online and Mobile Application Fitness Options
This is great for the on-the-go or traveling moms, or those who would rather sweat in the privacy of their own homes. I have three fitness apps on my phone which allow me to work out when I travel or can’t get out of the house. The exercises are customized to my goals and help keep me accountable. Whether it’s Beach Body, Body by Simone or Fitbit Coach, I like having variety and options. This keeps the exercises fresh and helps push me to get into better shape.
If you can afford it, personal training is one-on-one customized exercises to meet your fitness goals. Finding a great personal trainer that you click with can be challenging. I found one at a dirty gym who combined Crossfit with HIIT and made exercising fun again. He was a blast and I miss working out with him regularly. There are now traveling gyms such as Gymguyz, where personal trainers can come to your house. You can also find trainers at Thumbtack.com.
No matter what your fitness goals are, all it takes is 15-20 minutes to get back in shape after baby. Start small and find the best option or options for you and your family. Find the thing that brings you balance. And if you find yourself in Evergreen, CO, stop by the recreation center and join me for a class. I’d love to have you!
December 13th | 5:30pm-8pm
Celebrate the Festival of Lights with an Israeli Hanukkah Celebration at the Denver JCC. The fun will include music, games, arts & crafts, donuts, dreidels, a special drum circle, and a Kosher-style dinner.
December 15th | 9:30am-11:30am
Denver’s most beloved Chanukah spectacular will feature a student concert, a classroom art auction, brunch, and fun for the whole family! The event benefits the BMH-BJ preschool and
December 15th | 10am-12pm
Celebrate the Festival of Lights with an Israeli Hanukkah Celebration at the Denver JCC. The fun will include music, games, arts & crafts, donuts, dreidels, a special drum circle, and a Kosher-style dinner.
December 15th | 5pm-7pm
We’ll play Hanukkah games, eat delicious food and share our favorite Hanukkah memories. Your tickets include food, 1 drink (they have Gluten Free beer!), and a whole lot of dreidel practice so that when the time comes, you’re ready to win big!
December 17th | 5:30pm-7:30pm
Get ready for a night of fun including Hannukah bingo, a friendly game of dreidel, and holiday wine charm crafting. This is a fantastic opportunity to get to mix and mingle with other amazing Jewish women! Address provided upon registration. Appetizers and drinks will be provided. Please use this as an excuse to get fancy and dress up in your holiday best! $10 for members only. Not a member? Become one now!
December 19th | 7pm
Join the Denver Jewish Film Festival for a musical documentary about the amazing story of a group of Jewish songwriters who wrote the soundtrack to Christmas. The screening will be hosted at Sie FilmCenter and will include a Chinese Food Buffet (not certified Kosher) and, of course, Christmas music!
December 21st | 6pm
To start the week of Chanukah off on a joyful note, Cantor Marty will be leading a Mini Rockin’ Havdalah for families with preschool and elementary school children. This upbeat participatory service will have children dancing and singing. Following the service, families are invited to stay for refreshments and a fun
Chanukah craft project to get ready for the Festival of Lights.
December 22nd | 10am-12pm
Come get ready for the first night of Hanukkah by making your own Menorah. Enjoy a scavenger hunt around the JCC to collect all the materials to create a masterpiece for the Festival of Light! Don’t forget to play a few rounds of Dreidel to win some gelt!
December 22nd | 3:30pm-5:30pm
Come to the Big Bear Ice Arena to chill and celebrate “FROZEN CHANUKAH”! What can be more delightful than a combination of sparkling Ice and dazzling Menorah! Music, skating, latkes and jelly donuts, gelt, a grand Menorah lighting, a jumping castle, face painting, and more!
December 23rd | 5pm-6:30pm
Join State Government representatives & the wider Denver Community for the annual Chanukah Menorah lighting on the West Steps. Join us for an evening of community unity, pride and light with food and fun for all ages, including a giant Menorah, formal addresses from State Government officials, a live DJ, epic fire-show, Dinner BBQ, doughnuts with Dinger, chocolate gelt (coins), cotton candy, glow lights and more!
December 24th | 5pm-7:30pm
Parade into Denver in a menorah topped stretch limo! With Chanukah games, Chinese food, an Instagram scavenger hunt and more! Leaving from and returning to Chabad South Metro Denver.
$20 per teen, limited seats available.
Join us for the most festive night of the year! There will be fun for all ages.
– Worship in the Sanctuary (BYO menorah + candles) – 5:30
– Dinner with latkes + activities for kids – 6:00
– Hanukkah concert featuring Steve Brodsky + Friends – 7:00
The holidays are upon us, and there’s so much to do in Denver! Once you’ve picked out the perfect Christmas tree, head out to See Santa and take in some of our Favorite Holiday Lights, or do some Christmas shopping. Then, for a special evening out with the family or a Holiday date with your love, we’ve got the list of the best Holiday Shows and Holiday Concerts around Denver
A Christmas Holiday tradition, Colorado Ballet is dazzling audiences for the 59th season of The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s unforgettable score, performed by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra, lifts your heart while you’re dazzled by the twirling snowflakes, shimmering Sugarplum Fairy, and magic and beauty of the incredible production. Pro Tip: The performance lasts two hours, which may be a little long for young children/ those known to be fidgety. There is an intermission, so that helps!
Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical features the hit songs “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas” (written by Albert Hague and Dr. Seuss) from the original animated series. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming Grinch, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away from the Holiday loving Whos. Magnificent sets and costumes inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original illustrations help transport audiences to the whimsical world of Whoville, while the Music and Book of Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason breathe new life into this timeless story of the true meaning of Christmas.
The beloved TV classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. See all of your favorite characters as they come to life in “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical.” It’s an adventure that teaches us that what makes you different can be what makes you special.
Moscow Ballet’s Gift of Christmas Tour is coming to the Paramount Theatre – This Christmas give your family the gift of Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker! Step into a simpler time filled with sweet dreams and Christmas magic. With world-class artists, over 200 dazzling costumes, stunning sets, towering puppets, and soaring birds, don’t miss your chance to ring in the holidays with this acclaimed Christmas extravaganza. The New York Times, “Hot Ticket!” Celebrate this cherished holiday tradition and relive the dream with Tchaikovsky’s timeless score. Get tickets to this holiday show for the whole family now!
Join the celebration as Mannheim Steamroller makes history again – Celebrating 35 years of holiday magic as they bring their annual holiday tour to fans throughout the country. Experience the performance of the #1 Christmas music artist in history and for the first time ever, hear the entire album that started it all, LIVE – “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas!”
The warm sounds of the holidays fill the Hall with festive seasonal favorites including ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, narrated from stage by beloved Denver vocalist Devin DeSantis! This family-friendly evening, led by guest conductor Timothy Semanik, features traditional Christmas carols, your favorite new winter tunes, and even some newly arranged surprises – all with a chance to sing along to your heart’s content! And you better not pout because Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to see who’s naughty and who’s nice in preparation for the big night!
As seen on PBS! This is one of the holiday shows that is a perfect family event! Take a journey through Christmas in Ireland with superb dancing, singing and Irish traditional music celebrating the international spirit of the holiday season.
Charlie Brown and his friends are bringing the true meaning of Christmas to this on-stage adaptation of everyone’s favorite Christmas television classic with a retelling of the story and a fun sing-along. Share Charlie Brown and the whole Peanuts gang with your family and share the message that Christmas is so much more than presents!
Santa Claus is coming to town, and bringing the newest family holiday tradition to Denver’s Paramount Theatre during a national tour of Ken Ludwig’s Twas the Night Before Christmas. The all-new live stage adaptation of the classic Christmas poem provides audiences with a modern twist, as the enjoyable and lovable storyline follows an unstoppable trio: a mouse, an elf and a little girl who are determined to witness a Christmas miracle.
Holiday Shows & Holiday Concerts for Mom, Dad, & Friends
December 6th | 7:30pm Love Actually is the ultimate romantic comedy from the makers of Bridget Jones’s Diary and Notting Hill. Funny, irresistible, and heartwarming, an all-star cast will take you on a breathtaking tour of love’s delightful twists and turns. Fall under the spell of Love Actually and share the laughs and charm again and again.
Movie screened with live orchestra performing full film score. Stay for the credits, you’ll be glad you did!
The musical legend John Denver is honored once more, but with a festive holiday theme in a special concert with your Colorado Symphony. Returning once more by popular demand, just in time for the holidays, see and hear two-time GRAMMY® Award-winning singer/songwriter John Denver performing classic songs in archival video footage, backed by live performances from the Colorado Symphony and members of his former band. This concert is an innovative multi-media treat and unforgettable tribute with NEW holiday content.
Celebrate this holiday season with a holiday concert featuring the celestial voices of multi-platinum Irish singing sensation Celtic Woman with your Colorado Symphony. Featuring music from the all-female ensemble’s most favorite Yuletide songs performed by them over the years. Prepare for an enchanting and festive evening filled with mesmerizing music, performance, and holiday cheer.
Some holiday shows are just for adults, so leave the kids at home for this 18+ only event, because BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon are back at the Paramount Theatre in an all-new two-queen holiday extravaganza! After last year’s wildly successful “To Jesus, Thanks for Everything” Jinkx and DeLa return to the stage this holiday season in a high-spirited scramble to maintain your interest!
DeLa is all sugar and Jinkx is all spice – but how do these two very different gals deal with the stress of the holidays? A little song, a lot of eggnog, and theaters full of people looking at them… Yup – all they want for Christmas is attention!
If you’re ready for one of the best holiday shows around town, check this one out! A storied holiday classic returns with a freshly enriched design to experience the beloved masterpiece, Messiah. This innovative presentation is newly organized to present the narrative clearly while still maintaining the great musical traditions of this noble work. A Chamber Chorus of the Colorado Symphony Chorus will join the soloists on stage to bring more immediacy to the narrative while the full forces of the Symphony Chorus continue to thrill with their exciting and exacting choral sound, presenting Handel’s masterpiece in an enhanced dramatic context that this story-telling composer would have appreciated.
Christmas and Holiday Events in & Around Denver 2019
The Christmas and holiday season is officially upon us, Hanukkah is coming, and we’re all excited to get the most merriment out of this season! Check out our 2019 Ultimate Guide to Christmas and Holiday Events Around Denver! If you’re looking for something family friendly, and fun to do — we’ve got the ultimate guide!
To make planning your family fun a little easier, we’ve created posts to help you find exactly what you’re looking for! Each of the below images will take you to a guide specific to that topic. From shopping events, to festivals, light displays, Santa photos, and more, this will be your BEST resource for all things holiday around the Denver metro area!
Load up your family, grab some hot cocoa, and head out to enjoy the most beautiful Christmas and holiday lights and displays in the Denver Metro Area!
Where to See Santa Around Denver
Whether you've been naughty or nice, you still must go get those cute photos with Santa! We've got to scoop on where and when to catch up with him!
Christmas Trees Around Denver
Looking for the perfect Christmas tree? Whether your style is Charlie Brown or Clark Griswold, we've got you covered!
Holiday Parades and Special Events
Bundle up, get out, and enjoy some of the BEST holiday parades and special events the Denver area has to offer!
Denver Holiday Markets & Shopping
Grab your list and head out to one of our favorite holiday markets to get just the right thing for everyone on your list!
Denver Holiday Shows and Concerts
Are the holidays incomplete without The Nutcracker? Do you love a good Christmas concert or comedy show? Here's a list of holiday shows and concerts around Denver!
Outdoor Ice Skating Around Denver
Grab your skates and head out to enjoy a wintry wonderland of fun on the ice!
Hanukkah In Denver
Get your friends and loved ones together for eight crazy-wonderful nights!
Our Favorite Holiday Posts
Winter and holiday posts from the Denver Moms' team.
Did we miss any holiday events around Denver this year? Please let us know by emailing [email protected], so we can add it to our Christmas and holiday fun!
Make sure you never miss out on things to do around Denver: Subscribe to our weekly Denver Moms’ newsletter! Be the first to know about our exclusive events, special offers and discounts, neighborhood group activities and, of course, local resources and parenting voices powered by local Denver area moms!
Of all the wintery activities is there anything better than gliding around with friends and family on an outdoor ice rink surrounded by twinkling lights? Luckily for us, the Denver area is host to dozens of outdoor ice rinks open for business in the winter months that could be straight out of a Hallmark Christmas movie. Here’s a list of this year’s Denver outdoor ice rinks that will give you and your family all the Frozen vibes.
DIA is the best at reminding us how awesome our city is. Take for instance the [email protected] programs which feature a FREE (yes, free!) ice rink in the winter season. Located outside on the plaza between the Westin hotel and the Jeppesen terminal, visitors can literally twirl and glide through their holiday travel. In addition to a free skate sesh, there’s hot cocoa, cider, and entertainment on Friday afternoons. Not traveling this season? No problem. Take the light rail out to the airport for a super fun and affordable family outing.
Open: November 26, 2019 – February 16, 2020: hours vary
Cost: Free admission, with $7.00 skate rentals for kids 12 and under, and $9 for adults 13 years and older.
The Rink at Skyline Park has become a holiday staple in the heart of Downtown Denver for the past decade. This outdoor skating rink has something for everyone – kid-friendly amenities including skate with Santa dates, broomball games, and even the option for private parties. Add in a cup of cider from the adjacent Christkindl Market, and you’ve got the makings for a perfectly cozy winter afternoon.
Cost: $6 for children 10 and under, $8 for adults. $4 skate rentals.
One of the few ice trails in the country, this outdoor ice rink is actually a frozen skating path that winds in and around Discovery Park decked out with sparkly lights. Fire pits and hot beverages lining the trail make being a spectator almost as fun as getting out on the ice. Head to Parker for a truly special skating experience.
Open: November 21, 2019 – January 05, 2020 : hours vary
Cost: $7.50 for children 12 and under, $9.50 for adults for one-hour admission. Skate rental included.
15 years running, this Denver ice skating rink at the center of Belmar Plaza is a holiday tradition in the Lakewood area. With tons of events including skating shows, ugly sweater night, and a Noon-Year’s Eve celebration, there is so much frozen fun to be had.
Open: November 23, 2019 – February 2020 : hours vary
Cost: $8 for children 12 and under, $10 for adults. Skate rental included.
The only outdoor ice rinks in the north Denver metro area, Winterskate in Louisville offers so much more than just ice and lights. Located in historic downtown Louisville, Winterskate also has free musical entertainment, carriage rides, and concessions. Oh, and did we mention this rink is the largest outdoor ice rink in the country? Add this one to your winter bucket list, for sure.
Cost: $9 for children 12 and under, $10 for adults. Skate rental included.
Located next to Zen Asian Sushi Bar & Grill, this Stapleton staple is a great way to have some active fun in between holiday shopping and errands. The Break the Ice holiday kick-off event on November 30 includes a block party, aerial performance, character skates and more.
If you find yourself adventuring beyond the Denver metro area, here are some more Colorado outdoor ice rinks to check out this winter season:
Finding the perfect Christmas tree to deck the halls is something parents hope will be an experience that brings back beautiful nostalgic memories for our children someday. So many of us fondly remember loading up in the car, heading to the Christmas tree lot of farm and searching for the BEST Christmas trees ever! Dad (or Mom!) would cut it down (or pick it out), and we’d all sip hot chocolate while Dad wrestled the tree to the top of the minivan — right?
Well, whether you’re looking to cut down your own tree, find a live tree to plant in your yard after the holidays, scout for a gorgeous pre-cut Balsam Fir, don’t worry! We’ve got the spots for you to make your Christmas tree dreams all come true, without having to go all Clark Griswold.
If you’re not prepared to pull a permit and venture into a park but still cut your own tree, CreekSide Tree Nursery is your place! Opening November 29th, CreekSide Tree Nursery has every type of Christmas Tree in ONE location! They have fresh-cut Christmas trees, living trees, and two cut-your-own Christmas tree fields! Visit them in Niwot at 95th + Niwot Rd. While you shop, emjoy complementary hot chocolate, tea, and candy canes. If you’re there on a weekend, Santa visits Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm – 4pm!
If your family is looking for all the classic elements of an old time tree lot complete with friendly staff, free candy canes, music, and freshly cut trees, then head to this second generation family-owned Christmas Tree destination in Arvada. They have three types of trees, fresh garland, wreaths, and more! – Everything you need to deck your halls!
Tree Town Wonderland is not your typical tree lot. It’s a magical place where family and friends can gather and share in holiday fun. Hundreds of trees, with thousands of lights, are decorated throughout the two-acre site. Be sure to check their Special Holiday Events and plan your trip so that your littles can see Santa, catch storytime with Mrs. Claus, or even meet a reindeer!
Tomari’s is a locally-owned and community-minded Christmas Tree destination just up the hill in Morrison. Tomari’s has a huge selection of locally-sourced cut trees as well as Noble Fir and Nordman Fir trees, and they’ll help bundle and secure them to your vehicle. The Christmas Trees are just steps from Tomari’s gourmet coffee cafe, so enjoy shopping with a cup of hot cocoa, cider, or a flavored steamer. If you and your elves show up hungry, try their award winning freen fhili or some fantastic pastries!
Aurora Town Center | Stapleton Northfield Mall | Colorado Springs
Experience the joys and memories of buying a real Christmas tree with your friends and family at Jolly Christmas Trees three locations across the metro area. Jolly Christmas Trees make your holiday magical with tree varietals selected to last in Colorado’s dry winter climate: Fraser Firs, Balsam Firs, Scotch Pines, White Pines, and Korean Firs. They also have light-up inflatables and lots of tree accessories to make your holiday merry!
Proud to offer the freshest Christmas trees and accessories in Denver, this family owned business has become a holiday tradition. Take your pick of a variety of trees chosen because they’re best suited for the Denver climate: Noble Firs, Fraser Firs, Nordman Firs, and Grand Firs. All the trees are premium grade, freshly cut, and selected for superior quality shape!
Known for their commitment to sustainability, Everitt Fams in Lakewood brings that same commitment to their Christmas tree lot. For every tree cut down, another is planted, and the trees are grown at a local tree farm. Bring the kiddos to enjoy the firepit and free smores!
Intentionally grown for holidays in Colorado, the selection at Cottonwood Farms is unbeatable. Just minutes from Boulder, Lafayette, Louisville, Superior, and Erie, fresh, pre-cut trees are available beginning November 29th.
This award-winning annual holiday shopping event brings authentic German and European holiday traditions to Denver! This market opens every year on the Friday before Thanksgiving, and lasts through the 23rd of December. Guests can find delicious cuisine, festive German drinks, handmade jewelry, toys, clothing, gifts and much more. Live entertainment is featured inside the festival tent every evening, and dancing is highly encouraged!
November 30 – December 1 | December 6th – 8th | December 13th – 15th
If you’re looking for our favorite reinvented retail experience for those who want it all — one of a kind gifts that come with a story, seasonal cocktails, food trucks and groovy background tunes, then you have got to get in on the Denver Holiday Flea. Just rebranded and ready for another unforgettable holiday season at The Denver Sports Castle three weekends this holiday season, it is the place to find all things craft: waxed canvas totes to teak cutting boards, fanny packs to IPAs, jewelry to jam. They curate the artists and the products, and are a new-age sales and marketing platform for emerging brands. They’re friends of the maker and champions of the shaker – and they’ll delight everyone on your holiday gift list!
Head to the Denver Botanic Gardens Shop for one-of-a-kind, handcrafted holiday items; bath and body products; pottery; jewelry; specialty foods; clothing; antiques; and the Gardens’ Guild’s popular herbal vinegars and seasonings. Admission to Denver Botanic Gardens is free during the Winter Gift Market, and the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory and the Shop at the Gardens will be open.
Come down to the Sugar Plum Bazaar and enjoy the lighting of the lights at the City and county building the same night!!! We will have over 100 local artisans and businesses as well as a couple bars and food trucks. It is the perfect place to bring your family that is in town for the weekend and get ALL your holiday shopping done while supporting small businesses.
The town of Georgetown transforms for two weekends into a bustling Christmas scene reminiscent of Christmas of long ago. If you’ve been thinking about checking out holiday markets, this is the one! Thousands of people gather to experience a traditional Holiday where Christmas hasn’t changed in 100 years. There will be roasted chestnuts, shopping, horse-drawn wagon rides through Historic Georgetown, and wonderful sights and smells.St. Nicholas in his traditional dress and the daily procession of the Santa Lucia, as well as carolers in Victorian costume and dancers will all bring Christmas to life for Colorado families!
Did we miss an event? Please comment below, so we can add it to our Christmas and Holiday fun!
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The calendar is full of Christmas and Holiday fun around the Denver Area! We’ve got the list of all our favorite Holiday Parades & Special Holiday Events to get help spread cheer to you and yours! Also, check out our favorite Holiday Lights around Denver, and be sure to catch up with the big man in red at one of the area’s many Santa Sightings this season!
The 29th Annual “Catch the Glow” Parade will brighten downtown Estes Park the day after Thanksgiving – Friday, November 29.
Each year as many as 20,000 people line Elkhorn Avenue to “Catch the Glow” of this whimsical holiday parade, as well as spend the afternoon visiting Santa and strolling through downtown Estes Park. The parade features more than 40 units, including hand crafted floats from the Town of Estes Park and nonprofits, marching bands, fire trucks and other specialty vehicles.
The Downtown Denver Partnership invites you to join them for a spectacular event! The 9NEWS Parade of Lights is a magical nighttime event, which features more than 40 units including extravagantly illuminated floats, giant helium-filled character balloons, magnificent marching bands, traditional equestrian units and vibrant cultural entries. This holiday parade is a longtime favorite!
Enjoy musical entertainment provided by local schools & churches, a living nativity, petting zoo and visits with Santa. The Parade begins at 7:00 p.m. at the south end of Main Street and ends on South Street. All floats and entries must have lights. The Parade of Lights will include the Louisville Arts District First Friday Art Walk. Main Street will be closed starting at 5pm. The Art Walk will be from 5-6:30pm.
Saturdays in December, authentic and historic downtown Golden becomes a festive holiday center with traditional decorations and fun family events. The free Olde Golden Christmas Parade starts at 1a:00 a.m. with cowboys on horses, floats, marching bands, old cars, elves on unicycles, the Grinch in his corvette, and of course, Santa Claus. The parade winds down Washington Avenue with lots of activities before and after including snappy barbershop quartets, hot cider, Victorian carolers, and antique fire trucks. Presented by the Golden Chamber of Commerce. *Rain, snow, or shine*
Crowds will enjoy marching bands, lit fire engines, holiday carolers and much more. The grand finale includes an appearance by the jolly old man himself – Santa Claus! The Parade starts at 15th & Walnut and heads West to Broadway, then North on Broadway to Spruce, and then East on Spruce ending at 15th.
Join us on Saturday, December 7th for the 37th Annual Conifer Christmas Parade featuring the March of Toys theme. Don’t miss holiday trolleys, warm spirits, live entertainment, Christmas Markets, Santaland and of course the very best small town Christmas Parade at this year’s 37th Annual Christmas in Conifer celebration!
From ancient time, light has been both a source of mystery and magic, providing necessary warmth and guidance. Enjoy the mystery and magic of millions of sparkling lights and the sights and sounds of winter holiday celebrations as Longmont Lights continues with special activities in Roosevelt Park December 13th and 14th. There will be fireworks following the parade on Friday.
The Parker Christmas Carriage Parade is a valued tradition held annually in downtown Parker in celebration of the holiday season. The Town of Parker and the Colorado Driving Society present this exciting event on the second Saturday of December each year and the parade is free to attend. Come and experience that holiday feeling in the air and enjoy this all-equestrian parade made up of dozens of horse-drawn carriages, wagons, surreys and stagecoaches from across Colorado, all dressed up for the occasion. Event-goers also enjoy a holiday farmer’s market, a petting zoo and pony rides, ice sculpting and visiting time and pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Claus!
An over-the-top holiday extravaganza as big as the season it celebrates
Not for the faint of festivity, this over-the-top indoor immersive installation turns the holiday spirit all the way up with mesmerizing displays of decorations that shift time and reality. Camp Christmas is Denver’s newest holiday experience, where yuletide traditions of the past and present get merrily mashed together in a massive 10,000-square-foot wonderland. It’s not just pretty lights and mistletoe. This is where Marie Antoinette commands a Rococo sleigh, where ancient Roman festivals become Santa-fied, and where pink is more than just a color – it’s a place. Come in from the cold with your whole family and get wrapped in the ooey-gooey, odd and sweet rituals that have brought light to the darkness of winter for thousands of years.
This December 5th, Krampus returns to the Denver Christkindl Market to find the misbehaving children! Join us in this annual tradition celebrating the German lore of St. Nick’s companion, Krampus, who has been known to roam regions including Austria and Bavaria seeking out those who didn’t make the Nice list. Have you been good this year??
Meet Saint Nikolaus, the German bringer of gifts, at our annual St. Nikolaus Day! In Germany, children wait for St. Nikolaus to come and to put a present under their pillows provided that the children were good during the year. Children who behaved badly may expect to find a twig or a piece of coal under their pillows (if they haven’t been caught by the Krampus the night before!). do some shopping, and stick around to sip hot cocoa and watch the Parade of Lights!
Historic downtown Golden will feature Victorian carolers, performances, visits with Santa, Newfoundland cart rides, parades, breakfast and photos with Santa, and holiday lights along the downtown area. Don’t miss Golden’s awe-inspiring Candlelight Walk!
Looking for a special Holiday Event for your family? Join the Friends of the Littleton Library and Museum family for the most festive time of the year. Take delight in the smell of warm apple cider, cinnamon, cookies, and evergreens, while twinkling luminaries brighten the crisp December night air. Take a hay ride through the fields for a fresh perspective of the farms, while you snuggle with your favorite rosy-cheeked buddy.
Get into the holiday spirit by taking a ride on Downtown’s 1st & only Holiday Carousel. Due to popular demand, the carousel has been extended through the new year, with NEW YEAR’S EVE RIDES! So rekindle some of that childhood magic at Denver Pavilions. $3 per ride or FREE w/ a voucher from any Denver Pavilions merchant.
A portion of proceeds goes to Food Bank for the Rockies.
On Friday, November 29, Downtown Denver’s major landmarks will light up for the holidays during the Grand Illumination. The event features entertainment and lighting ceremonies at Denver Union Station and the City and County Building. Hundreds of thousands of lights will also illuminate the 16th Street Mall, Skyline Park, the D&F Clock Tower, 14th Street, Larimer Square and more.
The Denver Botanic Gardens York Street location is transformed into a twinkling winter wonderland at this annual family-friendly event with thousands of lights. Wander the gardens and enjoy refreshments with the whole family. Don’t miss the interactive light display, holiday treats, and seasonal entertainment!
Expected to span nearly 70 acres of the Denver Zoo this year, the Zoo Lights are an annual family tradition for many. Besides the real animal stars, you will find illuminated animals in action throughout the Zoo Lights experience.
Since 1988 Golden’s Candlelight Walk has been a traditional favorite. This FREE community event brings thousands of families and friends into Golden. Holding a candle and singing holiday songs, everyone walks down Washington Avenue from 15th Street in front of Foothills Art Center to 10th Street, where Santa and the mayor will help “light the lights” of our beautiful town. Experience the “hometown” feel of the holiday season in historic downtown Golden.
Gather your friends, family and neighbors for this annual celebration! Join Mayor Adam Paul for a tree lighting ceremony at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, November 30. Enjoy a stroll among the light displays or hop on a wagon ride, listen to festive live music and warm up with roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate. Spin the dreidel to get coin-shaped chocolate gelt. Snap a photo with jolly old Santa Claus or craft an ornament to commemorate this happy holiday.
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, November 29th – December 22nd | 4:30pm – 8:30pm
Chatfield Farms will be transformed into a magical village this holiday season with special guests Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Santa’s live reindeer! Don’t miss this new and exciting holiday experience for all ages. Hop on the hayride to catch a short movie at Santa’s cinema and find unique holiday gifts in his workshop.
Hudson Christmas is the premier holiday light show in the Denver metro area, with thousands of twinkling lights in majestic trees, visits with Santa (through December 23) and memories for the whole family. Stroll along a festively-decorated outdoor walking path as you sip hot chocolate and experience dazzling displays of color and sound. Mark your calendars for this magical Littleton tradition.
Did we miss a holiday lights display or tree lighting around the Denver area? Comment below and we’ll add it to our list!
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The holiday season is upon us, and we know all your little ones are thinking it’s time to make a Christmas wishlist and go see Santa to check if you’ve been nice or naughty! We’ve got the details on where to see Santa around Denver, so get your lists ready and get Santa photos!
November 30th | December 7th| December 14th | December 21st
Head downtown to Larimer Square for some holiday cheer and to see Santa! Larimer Square is a favorite Denver destination for fabulous boutiques filled with something for everyone on your list! While you’re there, check out the carolers, carriage rides, and have a sit down with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the season. Visits with the big man in red are free and open to the public.
Head to Cherry Creek Mall to get Santa photos and become an official member of the flight crew! At this special visit with Santa, children get a personalized Cadet Badge, will try on a virtual flight suit, dance in the snow, and more! The Flight Academy is free, and a variety of photo packages are available for purchase.
Bring the entire family for breakfast with Santa at Apex Community Recreation Center. Bring your own camera! An adult must accompany children. Ages 3 to 103 must pay. Children two and under are free, but still need to register. No tickets sold at the door. Register by December 4th.
November 29th : 11am – 2pm| Saturdays November 30 – December 21st 11am – 2pm
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa for FREE at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center. Whether you are asking for a fire engine for Tommy, a new doll for Molly, or a diamond ring for mommy, bring your list and a camera to capture priceless holiday memories. Then, take a FREE ride on the 100% Electric Tebo Train aka Snowflake Express. Children ages 10 and under (along with accompanying adults) will chug along Pearl Street in this one-of-a-kind experience. The Snowflake Express boards at the corner of 13th and Pearl where hot chocolate samples will be provided. Last train leaves the station at 2:00 pm.
Now – December 24th : hours vary | Reservations available but not required
Head to FlatIron Crossing Mall to visit Santa for photos! He will be available for photos and visits at his Headquarters presented by HGTV, located at the base of the Grand Staircase. Visit the Magical Observatory where you can capture photos with family & friends, scan yourself at the Naughty or Nice O’Meter, and create and star in your own Elfie videos!
Pet Photos: November 14th, 21st, and December 5th : Cats and dogs only. Please be sure to have your pet on a leash or in a pet carrier.
November 29th – December 15th, Friday – Saturday : 12pm – 6pm | December 18th – 19th : 3pm – 6pm | December 20th – 23rd : 12pm – 6pm | December 24th : 12pm – 4pm
At noon on November 27th, Santa will arrive by horse drawn carriage at the corner of Walnut and Linden streets to kick off the holidays! He is all set to welcome children of all ages and their families to his workshop in Old Town Square. Come give him your list and capture the memory with Santa photos! Visitors may take their own photos for free, or may take advantage of purchasing photos from a professional photographer.
Celebrate the magic of the Christmas season and enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet with Jolly Old Saint Nick as he comes to visit us for the holidays at Eastridge. Bring your appetite for the best pancakes and sausage this side of the North Pole. Want to treat your family to a magical morning and make your dreams come true? Santa and his merry elves arrive at 9:00am to listen to every good child’s special wish for Christmas. Remember to bring your camera to capture this favorite family tradition. Children may also enjoy creating crafts and listening to festive holiday music and stories from Mrs. Claus in the Workshop when they come to Breakfast with Santa in Highlands Ranch!
Buy your tickets in advance, as this event may sell out!
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, November 29th – December 22nd : 4:30pm – 8:30pm
Come join the fun as Chatfield Farms is transformed into a magical village of holiday lights and fun. This exciting holiday experience for all ages has something for everyone, and of course Take pictures with Santa and his live reindeer after you give him your wish list, craft with Mrs. Claus! Then, hop on the hayride to catch a short movie and find unique holiday gifts in his workshop.
Did we miss an event? Comment below so we can add it to our guide!
Make sure you never miss out on things to do around Denver: Subscribe to our weekly Denver Moms’ newsletter! Be the first to know about our exclusive events, special offers and discounts, neighborhood group activities and, of course, local resources and parenting voices powered by local Denver area moms!
One of the aspects of Denver living that I have had to get used to are the unpredictable springs; or “sprinters,” as I’ve heard them affectionately referred to. Our entryway is a conglomeration of snow boots, rain boots, sneakers, and flip flops–and we use them all in a 24-hour period. It snowed last Mother’s Day, for crying out loud!
So whether it’s rain or (more likely) snow this spring and you’re stuck indoors, here are some fun ideas:
Denver Area Attractions
The Children’s Museum– Have you all checked out the brand new Children’s museum? It’s wonderful! Check out the art room and water play area! The Denver Nature and Science Museum– Most exhibits have little children’s areas (space, body world, etc), and the kids-only Discovery Zone boasts a dinosaur digging area, water play, and lots of special programs and storytimes. There is a special robot exhibit going on now, too. The Denver Art Museum– Free for kids! Also: a special art drop in “Create Playdate” the second Wednesday of the month. Denver Firefighter Museum– This small museum is a big hit with my firefighter loving 3-year-old. They have a big fire truck to play on, as well as a whole upstairs set up like a fire station. Apex Indoor Clubhouse– This amazing tree house themed indoor playground in Arvada is a great choice for those rainy or snowy days when your crew needs to burn off energy inside.
Mall Play Areas- Cherry Creek Mall has a new dinosaur set up in their play place, and the newly renovated Southwest Plaza has added a children’s play place, as well.
Local Libraries and many local bookstores have story times and other activities. Check their websites for more details.
Your Local Rec Center- Try the indoor pool or gymnastic area… our local rec center has open gym (complete with a foam pit and giant trampoline) every day and is only $5/kid.
Other places to try: History Colorado Center, Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys, and The Molly Brown House.
At Home Ideas
Bath time during the day- This one was a game changer for me! I always kept baths at night, because that is the traditional routine, right? Well, one day I was stuck inside and desperate for something to do, so I plopped the kids in the bath and they had a grand old time, and it gave us something to do.
Indoor lunch picnic with a blanket on the floor–invite the stuffed animals, too!
Keep a well stocked craft area- Some of our favorites besides the standard crayons/markers/paint/paper are Water Wows and Reusable Sticker Books. GoNoodle– GoNoodle is website with funny little videos for kids to keep them moving. We love it on rainy days when they just need to get the wiggles out. Note: There are parts you pay for, but there is a free sign up and also a selection of free videos too.
Get in the Kitchen- Some favorite things to make with kids: Pudding, Banana Bread, and Banana Swirl (thank you, Daniel Tiger).
Another invaluable resource I use is also the Toddler/Preschooler busy book.
Looking for more rainy/snowy day activities? Don’t miss::