Can you believe Christmas is this Saturday? Are you all ready? I am. Around here we begin celebrating the season the day after Thanksgiving. That is when the TannenbaumForest officially opens. For me that always seems like the beginning of Christmas the season around here. Then there is the first weekend of December, which is always Prelude to Christmas. Prelude always puts me in a festive mood and it seems like the whole month of December is a celebration. The Friday night of Prelude the streets are lined with luminaries and there are all sorts of hustle and bustle. This year I had friends from Kansas City visit and they attended the festivities with me. So I was able to see my town through their eyes, and with three kids along, not only eyes but, stomachs. This is a great festival for kids and for families. It seems like every shop we visited there were cookies and cider to be had. They were all so good too, and very hard to resist.
Because we couldn’t get enough cookies, on Saturday morning we participated in the Amana Church Society’s cookie walk. For $20 you get a large box that you fill with cookies. After tasting our loot, we were lamenting that we didn’t get more of certain cookies. Like the little mint chocolate ones and the raspberry filled ones. I hope I can find out who made those ones and get the recipe.
After everyone got a cookie and we put the box in the car, we went to the Tannenbaum forest. This is a huge barn filled with decorated Christmas trees. All it cost to get in is a good will donation that goes to Make-A-Wish, to help a child’s wish come true. I love this part every year. Everyone is so creative and the trees get better every year. There is a tunnel of love, a pine forest that displays the nativity, a giant German pyramid and trees decked to the nines. One tree even had a suit of armor, and one a fire place; all very creative. And of course Santa was there, the kids were able to get their picture taken.
Then it was off to the AmanaHeritageMuseum to watch the “Glimpse of the Amana Christmas Past”. The Glimpse is a little Christmas play about what it was like in Communal Amana. It is a funny and sweet little play, with lots of singing. After that we visited the Amana General Store to see the gingerbread house. My favorite was the light house. I can’t even imagine how many hours it took to put that together! Next the Chocolate Haus where the kids made chocolate dipped candy canes.
By this time the kids had had plenty of sugar. So we stopped at the Amana Meat Market to buy some landjager sausages for a snack. There were cookies there too!
Really we could have spent more time out and about with all the activities going on, but we were getting tired and decided to go home for dinner. The thing I love about my town is there is always something to do here. When ever out of town visitors come they are always amazed at the cozy atmosphere and all the activities there are for a small town. If you think Iowa is just full of snow filled corn fields this time of year, you’re wrong! There is always something happening in my town: Amana Colonies.