By Esther Fultz
Often, the last few weeks of the semester just seem to drag on. After returning from Thanksgiving break, students have to complete final papers and projects and study for final exams. While having a negative attitude the last few weeks of the semester or completely focusing on school can be tempting, plenty of opportunities also exist for engaging in fun Christmas activities near Cedarville. The activities listed below can provide much-needed study breaks, help students connect with their local communities, and make memories with friends.
1. Little Town of Lights
For over 30 years, Cedarville residents and university students have celebrated Christmas with Little Town of Lights the first Saturday of every December. Little Town of Lights features a parade with Santa Claus and other floats, and local businesses give away free items. For students who don’t regularly shop at the small businesses in town and aren’t as involved with the community, this can be a perfect opportunity to meet new faces and explore what the town has to offer.
2. Visiting Clifton Mill
Clifton Mill is one of the most popular places to visit near Cedarville during Christmas time. With over 4 million lights illuminating the mill, gorge, riverbanks, trees and bridges, the legendary lights of Clifton Mill have been nominated multiple times for USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards. Gates open at 5 p.m. and lights are on 6-9 p.m. seven days a week after November 24, and admission is $15 a person for ages 4 and over. Saturday nights draw the largest crowds, while weeknights are the least busy and can provide a more enjoyable experience for students wanting to experience the lights in a calmer environment.
3. Holiday in the City in Springfield
About 20 minutes outside of Cedarville, downtown Springfield features a variety of holiday attractions including outdoor ice skating, live music, horse and carriage rides and light displays. There are also plenty of local shops nearby to buy holiday themed food, drinks and baked goods. Open since the Christmas tree illumination on the November 24, Holiday in the City runs until January 6.
4. Christmas-Themed Performances
This Sunday, December 3, Cedarville University will host its annual Community Christmas Celebration from 6-7:30 p.m., showcasing the talent of Cedarville’s choral and instrumental ensembles. Performing arts centers in the area also host Christmas-themed events, including the Nutcracker on December 1 & 2 at the Clark State Performing Arts Center in Springfield and December 8-17 at the Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton. For students who live locally or planto stay further into finals week, The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens will also be performed at the Clark State Performing Arts Center on December 15th and Handel’s Messiah will be performed at the Schuster Center on December 13th. Tickets are available for purchase online.
5. Christmas Drinks at Local Coffee Shops
For students not wanting to spend a full evening attending a festive event during the last couple weeks of the semester, trying holiday-themed drinks from local coffee shops is a perfect way to enjoy the season and support local businesses without sacrificing much-needed time for homework. In Cedarville, Beans ‘n’ Cream has several specialty holiday drinks including the Cindy Lou Who latte, the Gingerbread House chai latte, and the Polar Express, and Orion has the Candy Cane Forest, Snickerdoodle Latte, and Praline Perfection. A little further from campus, Winans in Springfield serves a peppermint mocha, sugar cookie latte, and a frosty mint oreo frappe, and Pettibone Coffee in Dayton serves a spiced orange mocha.
6. Holiday Mini Market at RiverScape
If you’re looking for unique Christmas gifts for family and friends and want to support local vendors while taking a break from studying for finals, Dayton’s Holiday Mini Market at RiverScape might be for you. The mini market will be open from 4-8 p.m. the next three Saturdays, December 2, 9 and 16.
7. Whimsical Windows Contest
Every year, small businesses in downtown Dayton compete to decorate their windows. The public votes throughout December and the winner receives a $500 prize. An Elf Hunt also takes place every December. Twenty-four elves are hidden across downtown windows, and Dayton visitors can enter the contest by snapping photos of the elves. Each photo of a different elf counts as an entry, and visitors who enter the contest have the opportunity to win weekly
Downtown Dollars, a prize of $100 redeemable at over 80 local businesses that never expires.
8. Christmas-Themed Running Events
Not everyone enjoys running but for those who do, Christmas-themed events can be a fun way to stay active, challenge yourself and your friends, and explore new places near Cedarville. Even if you aren’t a runner, a Christmas-themed event with friends might just be what inspires you to start! Nutter Park in Beavercreek is hosting a holiday-themed 5K, 10K, and half marathon on Saturday, December 2. Registration is open online now until each event begins at 8:00am, and all finishers will receive a themed medal.
Esther Fultz is a senior Social Work major and the Off Campus Editor for Cedars. When she’s not writing or editing for Cedars she enjoys thrifting, making coffee, exploring new places, and spending time with friends.
Photo of Holiday in the City Springfield from Ohio.org