Looking up into the sky

Hey Look! Is that Santa?

Since everyone else is talking about the holidays, I guess I will too.

I will NOT, however, put up my Christmas trees (yes that’s plural) until after Thanksgiving. I WILL leave at least one tree up until after January though. Then I’ll change the decorations to purple, gold and green for Mardi Gras. The tree will come down on Ash Wednesday.

As for the great light debate? Straight. That’s what color they should be!

If you’re going to bother hanging them, please take the time to make sure they’re straight. Even icicle lights should be straight across the top. Your messy, crooked Christmas lights suck the life from my Merry and Bright.

And speaking of bright…Over the next few weeks, displayers will be turning on their lights and creating an explosion of holiday color and cheer from coast to coast. It’s the perfect time to take a stroll and enjoy the season so we dug up a few festivals we thought you might want to put on your nice list.

From Virginia to Chicago, here are five dog-friendly displays that I think are worth a visit.

Huntsville, AL
Galaxy of Lights

Many botanical gardens have light displays this time of the year but unfortunately a lot of them, even the ones who usually allow dogs, ixnay the pooches from these festivities.

That’s why we LOVE Huntsville Botanical Garden and their Dog Walking nights!

Scheduled for November 16th and 23rd from 5:30-8:00 p.m., dog admission is $1.00 plus humans. Member and non-member prices are available.

If you miss the walking nights, you can drive anytime from Thanksgiving through January 2, 2016.

Also check out Beaks & Barks, January 16, 2016- February 29, 2016 for off-leash play and leashed roaming on the ‘pet paths’. A $10 Paw Pass covers you for the winter season.

Chicago, IL

Not so much a light display as a unique Christmas experience, this open-air market celebrates the holiday traditions of Germany with food, music and vendor booths for shopping. You can brush up on your German and have your pup’s photo taken with the Christkind as she roams the market greeting visitors, telling stories and spreading cheer.

It should be noted that dogs are not allowed in any of the walk-in constructions at the market. Additionally, the market becomes VERY crowded on the weekends so we suggest you plan your visit for a weekday. The market is open daily Sunday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Alexandria, VA
Regardless of when you decide to visit Alexandria, VA you’ll find dog-friendly yuletide spirit in ample supply. From the lighting of the tree in Market Square  on Friday, November 27th to the 16th annual boat parade on December 5th, Old Town is brimming with holiday cheer and decor.

Additionally, you can find bowls of water for your bestest furry friend outside many of the local shops (where your dog is welcome) and a weekly Yappy Hour at the Hotel Monaco.

Natchitoches, LA
Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights

In Louisiana’s oldest city, you’ll find what Yahoo ranked 3rd in “Best Holiday Light Shows”. That was behind Rockefeller Center and Walt Disney World!

Beginning Novemember 21st at dusk, over 300,000 lights and 100 plus riverbank set pieces will light up the Landmark Historic District along Cane River Lake. Shops and restaurants are open late and activities abound.

Please note that two nights (November 21st and December 5th) will feature a fireworks display. Dogs hate these. Plan accordingly.

Lexington, KY
Southern Lights

You can enjoy this 22 year old Kentucky family tradition at the Kentucky Horse Park from Friday, November 20th until Thursday, December 31st. The park is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and the Southern Lights driving route is open nightly from 5:30- 10:00 p.m.

Well behaved leashed dogs are welcome to accompany their people on the park grounds and invited to join their families for the Holiday Festival featuring holiday craft merchants and seasonal entertainment. Restrictions may apply as dogs are not allowed in the museum, gift shop or restaurant, and some outdoor vendor attractions.

If visiting with your pooch, arrive during daylight hours to enjoy the grounds. Then at 5:00 p.m. hop in your car and line up for the driving tour. Go on a weekday.

There are tons of light displays and holiday happenings around the country. If we missed your favorite, leave us a comment.