Christmas candle

By Molly Butler

There’s a lot I love about Christmas, but there is one moment that never fails to move me.

Every year on Christmas Eve, we get dressed up and head to the service. Everyone’s a little extra cheerful, the room more crowded than any other time of year and the music is always gorgeous. But, the best part of the service is right at the closing. Everyone reaches for their candle. The lights go out. Flame appears at the end of the aisle. One by one, the people pass their flame on to the next person, until the room is full of candlelight. The piano begins. Deep breath. Silent Night. I always weep.

Christmas means something different to everyone. Santa Claus and Hallmark movies. A crowded, messy, clinking kitchen. Candlelight and sparkling trees. Peppermint and chocolate. Not being able to see the floor through all that wrapping paper, ripped away by little hands. Jingling bells and the click of reindeer hooves. The comfort and comradery of tradition. Music and generosity and smiling faces.

I hope you’re like that little flame passed from candle to candle, losing nothing when you share your warmth and light.

Sometimes, the season’s not so merry and bright. Maybe, Christmas is the stress and hassle of travel or hosting. Maybe, it’s uncomfortable conversations. Anxiety. Loneliness. Sometimes, Christmas means the ache of an empty chair at the table. Sometimes, Christmas is spent just waiting for it to be over with already.

Christmas is complicated.

I hope you receive what you really need. Generosity in your heart when your table is overflowing. Patience when stress is high. Grace, luck and radical gratitude when resources are short. I hope you’re like that little flame passed from candle to candle, losing nothing when you share your warmth and light.

Wishing you and yours a cheerful, restful, delicious, weird, memorable, magical weekend.


Merry Christmas Eve! Hopefully, you have plans with family and friends this weekend, as there isn’t much on the calendar over the holidays. The weather should be lovely, so I hope you’ll get a chance to step outside and enjoy a hike or some ice fishing or maybe some skiing and snowshoeing!

The Kiwanis Holiday Lights will be illuminated at Sibley Park in Mankato from 5-10 p.m. Walk the path or drive through and enjoy the beautiful lights! You can also head to Schell’s Brewery in New Ulm for Luminaries from 6-9 p.m.


Christmas Day, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights will be open from 5-10 p.m. There will be folks at Spring Lake playing some Christmas Pick Up Hockey, hanging out from 5-10 p.m. if you and your friends or family want to get outside to play! Schell’s Brewery Christmas Luminaries will be open 6-11 p.m.


Tired of cooking? Curiosi-Tea House will host another Sunday Dinner! This week, they’re cooking up lasagna, garlic bread and a side salad, all for just $12!

Catch the Kiwanis Holiday Lights from 5-9 p.m., or head to Downtown New Ulm for their Parade of Lights, from 6-7 p.m.!

Added Value: Calmer Christmas

If you’re feeling swept up in the Christmas Chaos, here’s a list of Mindfulness Tips for a Calmer Christmas, including turning to music and some good old walking in nature. If you’re feeling burnt out from traveling, check out Adriene’s Yoga for Travel. Finally, don’t forget to unplug from social media, unwind with some alone time and unload some non-vital tasks from your to-do list (that’s next year’s problem!) Happy holidays!


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.