A beautiful kitchen decorated for holidays.
A beautiful kitchen decorated for holidays.

By Molly Butler

“Remind me to bring earbuds next time I go shopping,” Noah texted me.

That’s when I knew it was officially Christmas season. He might not enjoy the inescapable holiday music already playing in every store, but I’m ready to deck the halls, start construction on a gingerbread house, and I think “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is, as the kids say, a banger.

If you’ve seen literally any Christmas movie, you know it’s not about the gifts and jingle bells and whistles. It’s about the spirit. And the spirit looks a little different for everyone. Maybe it’s a warm drink by an open fire, or a table full of holiday crafts, or volunteering for a local shelter, or baking, or singing. This entire year feels like it was stolen by the Grinch, but we can take a lesson from those Whos down in Whoville and be very merry anyway.

Whether you’re ready or not, the Christmas season is here. I hope my readers aren’t bah humbugs, because this weekend is all about getting into the holiday spirit!

If you’ve seen literally any Christmas movie, you know it’s not about the gifts and jingle bells and whistles. It’s about the spirit.


The Living Earth Center is hosting yet another virtual open mic, this time it’s their Christmas Variety Show! Tune in at 5:30pm by using the Zoom link in their event page and enjoy performances from music to belly dancing!

The North Mankato Taylor Library is hosting their Winter Wonderland Party! Kids aged 1-10 and one supervising adult are invited to stop by the library at 6 pm for stories, crafts, and more. Check out their event and register in advance.

The 4th annual Medallion Hunt is underway. Have you been searching? Business on Belgrade and the Taylor Library will continue posting clues online daily at 4pm until the medallion is found.


Tune in to a Virtual St. Nikolaus Storytime with the New Ulm Public Library. Stop by the library in advance to pick up goodie bags donated by Domeier’s German Store, then enjoy them at home while you tune in as Ms. Kathryn shares stories and songs starting at 9:30am.

The Greater Mankato Area United Way is making their signature event virtual this year. The Fire & Ice Ball will be online this year with virtual event packages, online auction, and more. This is the perfect way to bring the holiday spirit home. Tickets are available here.


Like I said, it’s not too early for Christmas music, and I know where you can find some of the best music around. Bethany Lutheran College presents Christmas at Bethany. This tradition will be released digitally so you can enjoy the Christmas message and celebration from home. Included are performances by the Concert Choir, Concert Band, Mary Martha Singers, Chamber Orchestra, and Hand Bell Choir.

Keep that holiday spirit all week! The Bellissimo Tree Farm Tree Hunt is underway until December 20th so stay tuned to their Facebook page for hints.

Bonus: Random Acts of Holiday Spirit

According to Buddy the Elf, “The best way to spread holiday cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” I’m not saying he’s wrong, but I don’t think anyone wants to listen to my singing. Luckily there are lots of ways to share the holiday spirit. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make sure everyone can have a merry Christmas this year. Drop off gift cards for the Holiday Sharing Tree by December 13 or donate online, and check out Toys for Tots for details on their numerous drop off locations.
  • Love baking? Share those extras with neighbors or join a cookie exchange.
  • Extra precautions are being taken to protect senior citizens this year, but you can still share your holiday spirit with them. Go online to be a Santa for a Senior to buy items from a directory to be delivered safely to senior citizens.
  • Be the light and see the lights! If you’re able, get creative and decorate your house, then enjoy driving around looking at the decorations. Know someone who is unable to decorate their home? Lend a hand and help hang the lights.
  • Shovel the neighbor’s sidewalk or help someone stuck in the snow.
  • You can volunteer or donate to local shelters like Connections or the Salvation Army.
  • Refill the Blessings Box outside of Bethlehem Lutheran Church with pantry and personal care items.
  • Leave an extra tip for your delivery drivers, wait staff or mail carrier.
  • Send an anonymous care package to someone who could use it.
  • It’s as easy as hitting “share.” Positive posts are shown to create more positivity on social platforms, so by choosing to share good news, you can help others see the bright side as well.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.