The stockings are hung with care, the gingerbread houses are covered in gumdrops, the neighbors are blowing fuses with their blowup reindeer on the front lawn and we can't deny it anymore — 'tis the season!
If you're spending the holidays in Little Rock this year, here are a few of the most iconic ideas for a joyful season.
1. Get your tree from a local tree farm
If you don't have a Christmas tree yet (no judgment here), never fear. There are plenty of area farms that are waiting for you to pay them a visit. There's the Bradbury Christmas Tree Farm in Mabelvale, Geisler's Holiday Forest in Jacksonville and Motley’s Christmas Tree Farm in Little Rock. Pack up the family, throw on a few more layers and check out the details here.
2. Sip hot chocolate at Loblolly Creamery
You've had a busy day of shopping and strolling, checking out the holiday window displays in all your go-to local shops. How do you recoup? With a hearty mug of hot chocolate from Loblolly Creamery. Use the cocoa and homemade marshmallows to refuel your shopping spirit or reward yourself for finishing a hard day's work. Either way, kicking back at the SoMa ice cream shop is it's own kind of therapy, especially if there's a scoop of Holiday Rocky Road in the mix.
3. See "The Gift of the Magi" or "The Santaland Diaries" at The Rep
Every year the Arkansas Repertory Theatre saves the December show for a particularly wondrous production, and this year is no different. Using both the main stage and black box annex theater, The Rep has two shows running this season — a brand new musical retelling of O. Henry's classic tale and a saucy one-man show about an elf at Macy's from humorist David Sedaris — to fit whatever mood you find yourself in. Learn all about it here.
4. Visit the tree at The Capital Hotel
Let there be lights, ornaments, ribbons and more lights! The Capital Hotel may be known as "the front porch of Little Rock," but this magnificent tree is right at home in a grand ballroom. The lighting ceremony always draws a crowd and visitors keep coming all season long to experience the tree pictured above. But before you head home, pop in the Capital Bar & Grill and try their award-winning eggnog.
5. Volunteer for a local nonprofit
All cheesiness aside, the holiday spirit of giving and peace is what the season is all about. We love that this city has no shortage of nonprofits and ways to help out our neighbors. You can always sign up to serve meals or sort donations, but if you're curious about the specific needs of the community, learn more here.
6. Make s'mores with Arkansas ingredients
Did you know it's a scientific fact that treats taste sweeter when they come from The Natural State? Ok, so maybe it's not lab-tested, but you'll have a hard time convincing us otherwise. Remember those handmade marshmallows we mentioned? Stack them on some Izard Chocolate and call it a perfect day.
7. Tour the holiday lights
If you're known for your merry and bright Clark Griswold streak, you probably already know the best places to see holiday lights. For the rest of us, there's exploring to be done. Set out in search of your neighborhood's best displays, then make your way to the State Capitol Building, Sherwood's Enchanted Forest or any of these sparkling sights.
8. Chat it up with Santa
How else is he going to know what's on your wish list? Lucky for us, our sister publication, Little Rock Family, created a handy cheat sheet of all the places you can find Kris Kringle this holiday season. Check it out here.
9. See the sights at the State Capitol
Yes, the grand building looks wonderfully festive from the outside, what with all the lights and lawn decor, but an even more impressive sight awaits inside. Step through the golden doors and feast your eyes on the elegant decorations in the building's rotunda. Go ahead. We dare you to not take a selfie with the Rockefeller pine.
10. Attend a religious service
Many in the area already have plans to celebrate Christmas with their local church communities, but if you're looking for a service and haven't found one yet, try these places of worship in different Little Rock neighborhoods: downtown and Argenta, The Heights and Hillcrest, Chenal Valley or west Little Rock.
11. Go to a Christmas movie
One of our favorite new traditions in Little Rock is when local movie theaters hold screenings of holiday classic films. It doesn't get much better than watching George Bailey on the big screen with a big bucket of popcorn in your lap. Catch "Miracle on 34th Street" at Riverdale 10 on Dec. 12, "Elf" at McCain Mall on Dec. 16 and "It's a Wonderful Life" at Breckenridge on Christmas Eve.
12. Order a nightcap from South on Main
At the end of the day, when the shops are all closed and the gifts still need to be wrapped, the holidays are still about taking a moment to rest with your loved ones. That's when you'll be at South on Main, reconnecting with friends and family over an expertly crafted cocktail. Cheers!