Our 10 favorite things about Midwest holidays.

Illustration of blue and orange ornaments hanging in front on a blue background.

As a Midwest-based agency, there’s a lot of things we love about holidays in the heartland. So we decided to make a list of the top 10 traditions that have brought us cheer year after year.

Perusing holiday craft fairs.

Between the endless assortment of home decor, soaps, baked goods and other handmade items, holiday art and craft fairs are filled to the brim with one-of-a-kind gift ideas for everyone on your list. And this year, a lot of these local fairs are now offering virtual options as well as drive-through shopping and curbside pickup to ensure we’re all staying safe and practicing social distancing.

Frolicking in snow pants.

Sledding, tubing, skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing — take your pick. In the Midwest, we don’t let the cold weather stop us from getting a breath of fresh air. Besides, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.

Please pass the casserole.

Or should we say hot dish? Whatever you call it (or put in it), it sure does hit the spot on a cold night. Most are pretty easy to make, too, if you’re in need of some dinner inspiration.

Tis the season Market Day, snow days and casseroles.

Holiday promenading.

The Historic East Village Promenade is a Des Moines holiday classic filled with live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, twinkling lights and ice skating. Plus, you can browse the shops after hours, checking off your holiday gift list while having your fill of spiced drinks and sweets. This year, the promenade was spread out over 12 days to keep crowds to a minimum and included social distancing activities like outdoor scavenger hunts, window shopping and curbside pickup.

Taking in the lights and sights.

Some of our favorite holiday light displays include the Jolly Holiday Lights — which benefits Make-A-Wish Iowa — or the impressive displays in historic neighborhoods like Beaverdale and Valley Junction. Note: Hot cocoa and footy pajamas are not required, but strongly recommended.

Hunting for tannenbaums.

Nothing beats bundling up and trudging out into the wilderness like the Griswolds to find the perfect tree to adorn with ornaments and tinsel. As long as you don’t forget the saw.

East Village Promenade, Jolly Holiday Light display and trees all aglow really made the season bright.

Good ol’ cookie swaps.

Why settle on only sugar cookies when you could have a dozen different tasty treats to sample while you pack on the winter layer? Just get a couple friends, coworkers or family members to join in on the exchange. And to maintain social distancing, you can do porch drop offs or mail a package of your sweets to others within your group.

Making homemade lefsa.

A staple at any scandinavian holiday gathering, this traditional potato flatbread from Norway is better than sliced bread. Just slather on some butter and enjoy. And if you want to get really merry, sprinkle on some cinnamon and sugar.

Giving to local charities.

There are so many organizations doing great things for our community and we love supporting them whenever we can — especially during the holidays. DMARC, Toys for Tots, Food Bank of Iowa, EMBARC and Youth Emergency Services and Shelter are just a few of our favorites.

Our hearts (and stomachs) grow three sizes this time of year.

Living in a winter wonderland.

It may make travel tricky and it may be a pain to shovel, but it’s pretty magical during the holidays. Plus, without it we wouldn’t have snowmen, snowball fights or fresh powder for toboggan races.

We hope you find time to enjoy a few of these traditions (or a few of your own) before 2020 comes to a close. And we wish you the happiest of Holidays. See you in the New Year!

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