Make the most of the holiday season with our 2021 Holiday Bucket List! We’ve compiled a list of fun activities to get you into the Christmas spirit. Keep reading for eight festive ideas to do with your family and friends this month.
1. Visit with Santa at Whistle Stop Plaza
For anyone with little kids, meeting Santa is of the highest importance. Luckily, Santa will be greeting guests in Whistle Stop Plaza on Fridays and Saturdays between December 3rd and 18th. Please note that children cannot sit on Santa’s lap this year, but they can speak with him at his desk. Visits with Santa are free of charge—just be sure to bring along your camera and Christmas lists!
2. Explore the Holiday Train Show
Check out Short Line Model Railroad Club’s annual Holiday Train Show at 11 S State Street! The train show will be on display from now until January 17th and can be viewed from 1pm-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Visitors will enjoy seeing miniature trains roll through detailed scenery on nearly 1,000 feet of track. Many of the trains feature realistic steam and sounds—perfect for folks of all ages who have an interest in locomotives. This event is free to the public but donations are appreciated. Masks are required.
3. Experience Christmas Lights Like Never Before
Refreshing Mountain has decked out its entire park with holiday lights! Guests will enjoy whizzing through the winter wonderland on ziplines and exploring illuminated obstacle courses. They also offer a walk-through observation deck, a half-mile drive-through light show, and a wildlife center tour. You can even stay overnight in one of their cozy Christmas cabins! Visit their website to book your holiday adventure.
4. Enjoy Cocoa & Christmas Carols
Nothing gets people in the holiday spirit quite like hot chocolate and Christmas carols. This year, Grace Church is hosting a Carols & Cocoa event on Sunday, December 19th from 5-7pm with live music, cocoa, s’mores, and a visit from Frosty the Snowman. Guests will also receive door prizes from various local organizations and vendors. This free event is a great way to connect with friends and family while celebrating the Christmas season!
5. Take Your Dog to Visit Santa
On Saturday, December 11th from 3-5 pm, Leo’s Helping Paws is hosting a Santa Paws Event at the Ephrata Rec Center to take festive photos of your pooch! They will also be selling dog treats, clothing, and toys to benefit non-profit animal rescues in Pennsylvania and bordering states.
6. Sample Seasonal Wines at Weathered Vineyards
Have a taste of the seasonal wines, beers, and more at Weathered Vineyards! Their tasting room features live music every Friday and Saturday. Enjoy holiday flavors, ambiance, and a romantic date on the town. Check out their website to learn about their music schedule and menu.
7. Host a Holiday Cookie Contest
Take a creative spin on the traditional Christmas party and host a cookie swap! Have your friends bring their favorite holiday treats and recipes to trade. If you’re looking for some design inspiration, we recommend visiting Laura the Cookie Lady’s Instagram page. Or, if you’re not much of a baker, stop by her shop on E Main Street to buy some of her stunning sweets!
8. Test Your Trivia Knowledge
If you and your friends are holiday movie fanatics, show off your skills at Old Republic Distillery Tavern’s Christmas Movie Trivia Night on December 18th. This four-round trivia night starts at 6:30pm and is free to the public. Don’t forget to bring your wallet, though! You don’t want to miss out on ORD Tavern’s hand-crafted cocktails and small bite menu.
We hope these activities help get you and your loved ones in the holiday spirit while enjoying all the festive fun that our Ephrata community has to offer!