Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Spin 12.22.09

"He sees you when you're sleeping, and he knows when you're awake." Anybody besides me ever stop to consider how completely CREEPY that lyric is?

Well I can't speak for Santa, but I've made my list and checked it 5.42 times--because I like to be different. Unfortunately, "checking" doesn't translate into "buying". (It really doesn't. Look it up.) That's right, my friends: Christmas is when it all falls apart for us "Type A"s of the world. Some people say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. I say if you can make it through the holiday season, you should kick back, relax, and join the space program. If only I had stuck to my original plan of buying everybody a bedazzled sweatshirt and a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club ("the gift that keeps on giving"), this entire crisis could have been averted. But once again, this year's shopping spree will be a race against the clock, with all gift wrapping taking place in the wee hours of Christmas Eve morning. In keeping with tradition, the latter act will be accompanied by a showing of holiday cartoon specials, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, or Bad Santa, as dictated by my mood.

Fortunately, the mood at Busch Gardens Tampa is considerably less frenzied. Think graceful ice skaters, soothing spiritual music, and crooning carolers. The ever popular Christmas on Ice (featuring professional skaters) and Christmas from the Heart (featuring a live choir) return to the park's Holidays event in 2009. Joining this stellar line-up is St. Nick himself, who is hosting special holiday breakfast events on select days during the month of December. Those who know Santa personally--as I do--would agree that the pleasure of his company is reason enough to attend such a feast. But for the benefit of everyone else (i.e., the naughty), they've also thrown in a musical performance, tap-dancing toy soldiers, and a family photo op. The fun doesn't end on Christmas, either. In fact, it's just getting started! From December 26-30, Busch Gardens will delight your visual senses with evening fireworks as they build up to their "ultimate New Year's Eve Celebration" on December 31.

"If you build it, they will come." The voice was that of a portly, distinguished gentleman wearing a red suit. The "it" was a life-size replica of Santa (complete with sleigh and reindeer) constructed entirely from Legos. And the audience? A cadre of Lego-toting grown up "kids", many of whom were first introduced to the colorful blocks when they were left under the Christmas tree by a mysterious character who doesn't believe in doors...Coincidence? Whether you subscribe to the conspiracy theory or not, you can't help but appreciate the craftsmanship behind Legoland California's Holly Jolly Holidays event. In addition to the Santa "shrine", this park also boasts the world's largest Lego Christmas tree, which checks in at a staggering 30+ feet in height! You could easily spend your entire visit exploring these and the many other holiday-themed Lego creations which await you, but don't forget to catch a showing of the musical "Let It Snow" before you hit the road. Legoland will also be hosting a special Kids' New Year's Eve party on December 31.

Legoland California built him a shrine, but Six Flags Fiesta Texas took things one step further and built him a castle. During the park's third annual Holiday in the Park event, you are invited to tour that castle and see exactly what it takes to prepare for the big night. Like other Holiday in the Park events taking place across the Six Flags chain, this one also features a daily tree lighting ceremony and a sledding hill. But we can't talk about Six Flags Fiesta Texas without talking entertainment. See the Nativity be brought to life before your very eyes in "The Majesty of Christmas". Then, for some lighter fun, catch the Rockville Dickens Carolers or the "Wiggly Christmas" show. This park is spectacular by day, so I can only imagine what one million lights add to the equation!

As long as you're hanging out in San Antonio, you may as well scurry on over to Schlitterbahn, and then to SeaWorld. Boy oh boy, three park holiday events in one city! I hereby declare San Antonio to be a hotbed of holiday cheer. SeaWorld San Antonio invites you to join their Christmas Celebration and hop aboard the Polar Express, a holiday-themed 4-D experience like no other. (Well...Like no other in San Antonio, anyway!) After you debark, let the gang from Sesame Street introduce you to holiday traditions from around the world in their own special singing, dancing way. Even Shamu believes in Christmas miracles, as evidenced by his festive holiday show. And if, like me, you find yourself in need of some comic relief by this point in the season, flippered friends Clyde and Seamore deliver in a big way as they invite you to "Deck the Halls" with them. Who knew sea lions had halls to deck? I think this stands as proof that Christmas has become too commercial.

Commercial or not, and regardless of how hard I try to ignore it, the big day fast approacheth! But if you haven't had an opportunity to partake in any park-sponsored yuletide merriment this year, it's not too late. Most events run through New Year's, and in a few cases, beyond. Wherever you spend your holidays, I hope it will be in the company of family and friends, and that it will be devoid of all traces of grinchiness. As for me, Santa says the jury is still out on whether I've been naughty or nice this year. (I don't suppose this has anything to do with the way I've been bah humbugging it up lately.) But I'm not sweating it. The jolly old fellow has one weakness, and I happen to bake it in batches of 75...

From my Grinch cave to yours, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, & best wishes for a prosperous 2010!