by Katie Heid
Anyone who’s kept their holiday radar set to “trendy” over the last few years is keenly aware of a new Christmas tradition – The Elf on the Shelf. For just an arm and a leg, you too can purchase the magical elf, give him or her a name, and then spend the 25 days before Christmas scrambling to make your kid’s Christmas even more magical than he can imagine! The idea is the elf “moves” to a different location around the house every night while the kids sleep. The next morning, the kids hunt for the elf. The more creative the hiding spot, the better!
Translation: it gives busy moms one more thing to do this holiday season. Douse the elf in an orange juice glass or fling it at the Christmas tree seconds before the little ones bound out of bed in the morning because you forgot about it the night before. (Of course, that’s never happened to me.)
And, if the added hassle of moving the elf weren’t stressful enough, you also have to watch your back. I swear that creepy thing is going to come alive in the middle of the night and stab me in my sleep. Perhaps it’s because she’s housebound – she only comes out 25 days a year and then gets stuffed back into storage for the next eleven months.
That’s how I feel most winters. In Michigan, the cold months between December and March(ish) can leave us with an acute case of cabin fever. I’ve been told the best way to combat that diagnosis is to get out in the cold and face it head-on. So, in the interest of self-preservation, I’ve discovered a few spots around our beautiful state that every elf, man, woman, and child can enjoy this winter:
- Snow Snake – When the summer golf and zip lining season shuts down, Snow Snake in Clare explodes into a Winter Wonderland that’s perfect for people of all ages. Shoot down a 750-foot tubing run on an inflatable air tube. Too tired to climb back up the hill? No problem. Just relax on your tube and let the rope tow pull you to back to the top. If snow tubing is not your thing, grab your skis and hit the slopes.
- Frankenmuth – Growing up, a trip to Frankenmuth meant a delicious all-you-can-eat chicken dinner at Zehnder’s Restaurant or the The Bavarian Inn. Special trips included a stop by Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, whose website boasts more than 50,000 Christmas decorations. Nowadays, the Zenhder’s franchise offers you an escape from the cold with its indoor water park “Splash Village.”
- Train Rides – All board various train rides around the state. Head to Crossroads Village outside of Flint or head to the “North Pole” aboard the historic Pere Marquette 1225 out of Owosso. You can also explore for a train ride opportunity close to you.
This list should be a good start to beating the winter blues this year and keep you from feeling like an Elf on the Shelf yourself!