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Ho, ho, ho: It's your holiday weekend guide

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Here we are again.

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend — and your house is full of visiting relatives of all ages. Or, it’s just you and your spouse and your cats.

Whatever your situation is, now that you’ve recovered from Thanksgiving dinner — and late-night snacking out of the refrigerator — it’s time to get your giblets off the couch and get the blood flowing in your legs again.

What to do?

You could take everyone shopping with your no-limit American Express card, but that can get expensive — and exhausting — in a hurry.

There are plenty of activities (and fear not, many include shopping opportunities) offering family togetherness and some holiday cheer over this long weekend:

For young children

  • All aboard: Kenosha’s streetcar and trolley rides are free Friday, Nov. 26, from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. during Downtown Kenosha’s annual “Lightin’ Up” celebration. Prefer your streetcar to be free-range? The Lakefront Trolley is also free, operating from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m., taking a special holiday route on Sixth, Seventh and eighth avenues in the Downtown area.
  • Visiting with Santa Claus: The CEO of Christmas — and a world-famous reindeer wrangler — will be at the city of Kenosha’s tree-lighting Friday, Nov. 26, outside the Kenosha Public Museum, starting at 3:45 p.m., and later that evening will visit with people, from 5 to 8 inside the Rhode Center for the Arts, 514 56th St. Also at the Rhode’s Christmas Extravaganza: the Rhode’s tree lighting at 5 p.m., a Christmas bazaar, crafts for kids, concessions and a photo booth. (Mom and dad might appreciate the bar being open.)
  • Santa visit No. 2: If you missed Santa on Friday in Kenosha, head to Racine Saturday. Santa Claus will visit with children from noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays, Nov. 27-Dec. 18, at his chalet on the corner of West Boulevard and Washington Avenue. Letters can also be dropped in his mailbox at the chalet.
  • Writing letters with Mrs. Claus: From 5:15 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, Actor’s Craft, 4900 Seventh Ave., is hosting Letter Writing with Mrs. Claus. All children are welcome to write a letter to Santa to be placed in the North Pole Mailbox.
  • Lights, lights, lights: Head to the Racine Zoo, 2131 N. Main St., for the drive-through 2021 Wonderland of Lights. Visitors drive through the light show after entering the zoo grounds at the 200 Goold Street gate entrance (on the corner of Goold Street and Michigan Boulevard). The "Wonderland" features decorated trees, characters and a whole tunnel of lights. 6 to 9 p.m. daily through Jan. 2 (closed Christmas Day). Admission is $5 per person at the gate (payment is by cash or credit card). There is no charge for children ages 2 and younger. This is a drive-through only experience, with no walking allowed. To learn more, visit
  • More lights, lights, lights: Jellystone Park’s Christmas Carnival of Lights is back in Racine County this year, with the lights shining beginning Saturday and running through Dec. 31. Families drive through the campground, which features more than 1.5 million lights. For hours, pricing and more details, go to (NOte: It is not open on Christmas Day and on Nov. 25-26).
  • At the movies: Your best bet for young children? The animated film “Encanto,” featuring catchy tunes from Lin-Manuel Miranda and colorful animation, and “Clifford the Big Red Dog.” Sure, the CGI canine is a little freaky looking, but who doesn’t love a big red dog?

For teens

If you’ve got teenagers to entertain over this long holiday weekend, you have our sympathy. They’ll probably be happiest shopping, snapping selfies and playing video games. Did we mention shopping? But there are ways to force them to get out of the house (at least for a few hours).

  • At the movies: We’re pretty sure teens aren’t interested in kiddie fare — unless they grew up as fans of the “Clifford” books or really love “Hamilton” and want to hear more Lin-Manuel Miranda music — but if they like horror films, there’s “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City.” It's not our idea of a holiday film, but we scare easily. Very easily.
  • Downtown fun: Teens should have fun Friday at Kenosha's “Lightin’ Up” Festival. The event includes the city's tree-lighting ceremony, but even more fun is the live music, performed by local favorites Candy Eisenhauer and Ivy Ford, starting at 3:45 p.m. After that, teens will find plenty of places to get something to eat, along with special sales, promotions and musical performances around the downtown area. Downtown Kenosha holiday events run from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, with the tree-lighting at 4:30 p.m. The ENTIRE tree-lighting event is OUTSIDE. So bundle up!
  • Theme park fun: This is actually a seasonal event all ages can enjoy. Great America’s Holiday in the Park Lights is back, with the theme park in Gurnee, Ill., decked out for the holiday season. The theme park’s coasters aren’t open, but other rides — including The Dark Knight, Justice League and the park’s signature Carousel — are open. You’ll also find special holiday shows, merchandise and food items. And you can never take too many selfies in front of theme park's huge lighting displays. For hours and more details, go to

Good to see you, grandma!

You’re trying to come up with activities for older relatives? How about visiting places that are decked out for the holidays?

  • Christmas at Kemper: The annual celebration at Kemper Center, 6501 Third Ave. in Kenosha, kicks off Sunday, Nov. 28, with a Holiday Open House, featuring the Durkee Mansion decked out for the holidays and the Gallery of Trees. The Durkee Mansion, decorated in 1860s style with the theme “Starry Woodland Nights,” is open 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. All decorations are either handmade or antique. Admission is free. For more details, see Page C4.
  • Lights, lights, lights: If you like lots of lights — like, say, 2 million lights — then head out to the Grand Geneva Resort, on highways 50 and 12 in Lake Geneva, for its annual Christmas in the Country outdoor lighting display. There are plenty of indoor decorations, too, plus a gingerbread house contest and holiday shows. While you’re there, treat your visiting relatives to a nice meal in a beautifully decorated resort.
  • The art of shopping: Adults might say "I don't need anything for Christmas," but maybe they just haven't been shopping in the right places. The Racine Art Museum, 441 Main St., has a museum store packed with treasures, and it's also the time of year for holiday craft shows and art fairs. Also in Racine, check out the Spectrum Gallery at the DeKoven Center east building, 600 Caron Butler Drive, which is hosting its annual art sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, and through December or until supplies last. In Kenosha, the resident artists at Kemper Center’s Lakefront Art Studios, 6501 Third Ave., are hosting a Holiday Market from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28, during the Holiday Open House at Kemper. The studios are located on the third and fourth floors above the Simmons Auditorium at Kemper. There is an elevator for easy access.

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