Harmonious Holiday Happenings (with helpful hints)

Ciao Readers!  And happy and healthy holidays to you and yours!

Before we head off to Portugal to eat as much seafood as deprived desert-dwellers can (and I run the Lisbon holiday 10k – yay!), I thought I’d share some happy holiday happenings with a helpful hint or two.

It’s been an interesting month and from what I’ve experienced in the universe (and on the inter- webs) many people are suffering.  I try not to be preachy, so I will just share my experience – Headspace is a meditation app that is really all that and a bag of chips (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that).  It’s pretty much how I go to sleep every night, plus there are cool mini meditations (3 minutes) for everything from feeling “overwhelmed” to “frustrated” to fear of flying. If you’re finding yourself frazzled this time of year (or any), you can try it out for free.

So, now that that “public service announcement” is over, on to the festivities.

Almost every year we go to the River of Lights at our bipoapark – it is super sparkly and festive. I blogged about it, complete with tons of photos, two years ago here. Since you can see those photos, I’ll just add a few new ones and a helpful hint. They now sell tickets to what they call the “magic hour” – this means you get in at 5:00 instead of 6:00 when it usually opens.  Now, granted, it is more expensive, but if you can swing it this is the difference: on a normal night you wait in a line of cars to get into the parking lot for 1+ hours, you are then sent to the farthest reaches of a back parking lot located in another state, and then you trudge through the River of Lights like a sardine lined up end-to-end. Pay the few bucks more and you drive right into the parking lot and pretty much have the entire place to yourself – score!!!   It’s gotten so big they even went into part of the Japanese Garden this year:

Another thing I do pretty much every year, but did much differently this year, is attend the Festival of Trees. It’s an annual fundraiser for Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation which works with kids with disabilities. The Albuquerque Convention Center is stuffed full of 100+ trees and 200+ wreaths, plus festivities, a mini village, kids crafts, etc. You can go for free or donate any amount you like. While it’s over for this year, next year you can volunteer to help decorate!  That’s what I did this year – I had no idea they had to start in September or what a precise science tree and wreath decorating were.  I was mostly a “helper elf*” – for example, I made all the bows in the tree behind me in the photo (and sourced the supplies for the Hanukkah tree pictured). (*Okay, full disclosure, I relegated myself to helper elf as I don’t seem to have the decorating touch – the cool (at least I thought so) travel/foodie wreath I sourced and made (first photo) was in the silent auction – and purchased by me, the only bidder!)  Steve and I even went to the opening night shindig.  Fun, festive, and for a good cause:

Finally, what Festivus would be complete without a festive holiday run and an indulgent ooh-laa-laa fancy-pants tea at St. James Tea Room:

Whatever you do or do not celebrate Dear Readers, I hope you find a nice warm peaceful space this holiday season.  Here’s to a bright 2020!!!

Leave a comment


  1. thecharmingjay

     /  December 21, 2019

    Have a great time in Portugal! Nice to find a fellow New Mexico blogger!!

  2. Mom & Pop

     /  December 21, 2019

    Great hints. Great photos, and yummy tea cakes.
    Fantastic work on the wreath. Really fun holiday bog!

  3. I took my grandkids to the River of Lights last weekend. I was awesome!

  4. Happy Holidays. Enjoy Portugal.

  5. This is the first time I have really explored your blog. It sounds like you are an Albuquerque resident. Although originally from Wisconsin, we have lived here in Rio Rancho for almost seven years. I liked your pictures from River of Lights. I am a zoo docent at the BioPark and usually volunteer during River of Lights. I am also a docent at the Balloon Museum and crew for a local hot air balloon. I am sure that you have been to Balloon Fiesta, likely on numerous occasions. It is certainly something for us to be proud of here in New Mexico. I have a post on my blog on River of Lights. If you’re interested, it might be fun to compare my experience with your own. Not sure if you can click on a URL from here, but here it is …


    • Thank you for visiting. So, funny thing, I just went to your river of lights post and saw that I had already been there as I had “liked” it!!!! Your photos are much more professional grade. I am glad you all are so involved in your new home town! I have not only been to balloon fiesta more times than I can count, but have gone up in a balloon during it and even participated in one of the key drop games!

      • I’ve never been up in a balloon for one of the drop games but I have observed quite a few. Glad you liked my pictures. As you can probably tell, I like to combine elements from a number of my best pictures into collages, or at least 1 or 2 which are related. I typically do that in Powerpoint while occasionally using Photoshop just to do a little fine tuning when necessary. Taking pictures is a significant element of any trips that we take.

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