December 2012 Take time to smell the hot chocolate We look forward to the approach of the winter solstice and longer days, but meanwhile a quiet has settled over the north woods. A full moon casts shadows across the snow, inspiring a peaceful walk or restful view. For some, a trip up north has become a tradition, a way to celebrate the holidays away from the stresses of the daily routine, as important in winter as it is in summer. At the beginning of December, there is only a dusting of snow, but we can expect more so snowmobilers, cross-country skiers and other outdoor enthusiasts will have the Christmas gift they want most. Smaller lakes already have enough ice to attract anglers. It is a busy, but joyous time of the year. Most of us whittle away at our to do lists and fill our calendars with activities that make the season bright from decorating the tree to gathering with friends. For those who shop here, the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Jingle Bells Sweepstakes offers 10 $500 prizes and one $5,000 grand prize. This year’s sweepstakes promises better odds and more winners than in the past. Participating businesses are giving customers a ticket for each $10 spent in their stores up to 10 tickets per purchase. The lucky winners will be announced at a Gala Celebration Dec. 13 at Century School. Hundreds of people gather at this annual community evening of food, music, fun and door prizes. Doors open at 5pm! A weekend or a week here to embrace the joys of the season, experience nature and take life at a different pace may be the best gift to you and yours for the holidays. Some may want to hit the trails. Others would prefer a concert or find church ladies selling homemade lefse. Visitors are always welcome to share the culture of those who live here and enjoy the area’s natural beauty. All season, Park Rapids’ giant tree brightens Main Street on winter nights and stands as a symbol of small town cheer and good will, lighting the way to a New Year. Take time in December to smell the hot chocolate or celebrate the arrival of a New Year. If you need help planning a memorable and affordable visit or if you have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more.