Springfield offers several options for celebrating the holiday season

Photo credit https://www.brightnights.org/about/

Photo credit https://www.brightnights.org/about/

Esterina O’Donnell, Staff Writer

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As the rushing holiday season approaches, many cultures across the world celebrate in different ways. Springfield, Massachusetts celebrates the holiday season with many different events.

Throughout the whole month of December, the city sparkles. Lights across the city mark the beauty of the holidays. Many different events have the community gather to reflect upon the beauty of the holiday season.

Sophomore, Chiarina Sarno, explained how being with family and close friends during the holiday season brings her joy and cheer. “I love baking Christmas cookies with my cousins,” Sarno said.

Sarno also listed some of her favorite holiday traditions, which include “going ice skating, watching cheesy Hallmark movies with my mom and sister, getting my tree, making a traditional Italian Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes, and obviously can’t leave out the holiday drinks at Starbucks.”

The most famous event in Springfield is a drive-thru holiday light display, Bright Nights, which offers a variety of spectacular and over-the-top lighting displays.

Sarno attends all the events Springfield hosts every year. She explained that Bright Nights is a must-see. “It’s such a fun and festive activity,” Sarno said. “I definitely recommend anyone of any age to check it out, as it is in the top ten of the best holiday light shows in the United States.”

In a matter of 25 years, 5.4 million visitors have driven through Forest Park to witness one of top 100 attractions in North America, according to the American Bus Association.

The last light exhibit before leaving Bright Nights.

To kick off the holiday season, Tower Square hosts the Parade of the Big Balloons every year on the day following Thanksgiving. Families gather outside while sipping hot chocolate to watch their favorite characters fly by. After the parade, Tower Square is open for guests to meet with Santa and to do some holiday shopping at local stores.

Junior hockey player Stefano Durante is happy to be traveling home to Canada this holiday season to spend time with his family. Durante celebrates the holidays every year by “watching Christmas movies, making gingerbread houses, going to church to celebrate the birth of Jesus with my community, and heading down to the Christmas market in Downtown Toronto.”

Durante attends many different events in Springfield during the holidays, including the MGM Christmas celebration. He loves to ice skate on the quad, and notes that there are “so many great things that keep the spirits high” during the holiday season.

Springfield’s newest attraction, the MGM Casino, offers a variety of shows and concerts as well as ice skating in the plaza. The casino is decked out for the holidays with colors and bright lights.

With over a hundred decorated and donated Christmas trees, the Festival of Trees is something to experience. Trees are donated by local organizations and businesses to help fund the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield. Attendees are able to purchase raffle tickets to try their luck with winning one of the stunning decorated trees.

The West Springfield Tour of Homes also features community members welcoming others into their homes to show their wonderful holiday decoration displays. The ticket proceeds go to the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club.

Beatriz Correia, a junior at AIC, spends her holiday seasons back home in Lisbon, Portugal. She is most excited to go home this year to see her family. “This year, everyone is coming to my house,” Correia said, “my cousins, my grandparents, my aunts, my uncles, even my uncle and cousin that live in the Azores Islands.”

As this year is Correia’s first year in Springfield, she remarked that she “would love to attend a Christmas event before my departure to my home country.”

These attractions bring cheer to everyone in the community. To learn more information about the holiday events and ceremonies held in Springfield, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/d/ma–springfield/holiday–events/