By Molly Butler

Hopefully, by the time you’re reading this, I will be in post-feast nap mode, curled up on a couch with my honey or my dog or one of my god kids, football on the TV, a glass of wine just within reach.

This year more than ever, I am thankful for my resilient, amazing, growing family.

Normally, we celebrate Thanksgiving around my parent’s dining room table. We dig out the nice plates and the fancy table settings, and in the crowded kitchen, everyone makes a dish. But the holidays will look a little different this year. Those fancy plates and table settings were taken in the fire, we’re all feeling a little too exhausted to cook, and the house, still under construction, will sit empty this year. It was all temporary anyway.

We do not celebrate despite grief: we celebrate because we have so many precious people and moments and memories worth grieving for.

We’ll celebrate differently, in a new place, with new loss and grief in our hearts. We will gather with new faces around the table, with new hopes, greater appreciation. We will celebrate. There is a Zimbabwean proverb: “If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.” Gloria Steinem says, “Hope is a very unruly emotion.” We do not celebrate despite grief: we celebrate because we have so many precious people and moments and memories worth grieving for.

Be unruly with your hope and abundant with your gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday

In case you didn’t get quite enough family time this weekend, it’s Family Weekend at the Museum! The Nicollet County Historical Society – Treaty Site History Center will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with FREE children’s admission, family-friendly activities and a chance to walk off the turkey on their beautiful trail system. The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota will host a Make It & Take It Workshop with small wood kits to create, build and explore! Kits are available 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., then 1-2:30 p.m., and the museum is open until 4 p.m.!

Light up the holiday season! The Kiwanis Holiday Lights are BACK! Drive through and explore from 5-10 p.m. this Friday and Saturday. The experience is FREE, but cash donations and donations of nonperishable food items are accepted and appreciated. Concessions are available to keep you and yours warm and toasty! Or, head to New Ulm for The Grand Kabaret’s Parade of Lights Viewing Party! $25 gets you a bird’s eye view of the parade from 6-7 p.m. Then, State Street Theater Co. will present “The Velveteen Rabbit: A Christmas Musical” beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are available here.

Saturday

Dive into Christmas! The Back Forty in Janesville invites you to Christmas Tree Weekend! Hunt and cut down your own Christmas tree, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring Canaan & Frasier Firs, Scotch Pine and beautiful wreaths available! The Courtland Community Center will host its Christmas Craft and Vendor Fair. Pond Road Market in Mankato will have their Small Business Saturday SALE from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Indian Island Winery will host Santa’s Sip and Shop! From noon to 4 p.m., you can shop vendors and stick around to enjoy the winery, open until 9 p.m.! Enjoy door prizes, local small businesses, wine and gifts, plus Santa and the Mrs. will be there from 1-4 p.m., so bring kiddos and cameras! Admission will be FREE! Then stop by the Mankato Brewery to catch Jack Swagger, performing 5-9 p.m. The Kato Ballroom will host Evento De Kato Ballroom Latino Nights, starting at 7:30 p.m. Catch incredible fashion, great music and a great holiday party!

Sunday

Stock up for the season! Christmas Tree Weekend continues at The Back Forty in Janesville, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with fresh Christmas trees and wreaths available! The Arts Center of St. Peter Holiday Market will be open this Sunday from 1-5 p.m., and the Wine Café in Old Town will host another Art Pop-up on the Patio from 4-7 p.m. with music, cocktails and new featured artists!

The Kiwanis Holiday Lights will be available for viewing from 5-9 p.m., with their walking path and driving loop, as well as concessions available for purchase. Admission is FREE, but cash donations and donations of nonperishable food items are always welcome and appreciated!

Added Value: Thanks for Giving

I’ve always had a bit of an allergic reaction to Black Friday. Why don’t we flip it on its head? If you’re free this Friday or this weekend and want to spread the spirit of giving, check out sites like VolunteerMatch to find volunteer opportunities in your area. Thanks for giving!

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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.

Author


  • is a writer, gardener, and animal lover. She returned to the Mankato area after completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University.