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 waiting for you to pay them a visit. There's Geisler’s Holiday Forest Christmas Tree Farm in Jacksonville, Motley’s Christmas Tree Farm in Little Rock, Schilling's Family Christmas Tree Farm in Lonoke and more. 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 holiday-flavored scoop in the mix.
3. See "The Nutcracker Spectacular" at the Robinson Center.
You know the story, you hum the songs, but there's something about seeing this iconic show on stage at the holidays that brings new life to a classic. This annual Ballet Arkansas production features professional dancers alongside a community cast of more than 200 kids and adults with live accompaniment by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Learn all about it here.
Ballet not your thing? Try "White Christmas" at Argenta Community Theater, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" and "Who's Holiday" at The Studio Theatre or even "Guys and Dolls" at The Rep.
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 with some Kyya or Markham & Fitz chocolates 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? If you need to get a word in with the big guy in the next two weeks, we made a handy cheat sheet of all the places you can find Kris Kringle in town. 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 faith communities, but if you're looking for a service and haven't found one yet, try these places of worship in some of the different Little Rock neighborhoods: downtown and Argenta, The Heights and Hillcrest or west Little Rock.
11. Go to a Christmas movie.
One of our favorite newer 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 "Christmas Vacation," "Elf," "It's a Wonderful Life" and more at cinemas across the city. Here's where to go and when.
12. Order a nightcap at Rock Town Distillery.
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 the state's first legal distillery post-Prohibition, reconnecting with friends and family over an expertly crafted cocktail or whiskey flight. Cheers!
Skipping the booze this season? Try one of these merry mocktail recipes.
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