Holidays at Home

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Christmas in the Park

What could be more Sedona than a tumbleweed snowman? That’s what will greet visitors at the Sedona Heritage Museum’s annual Christmas in the Park open house. You’ll also enjoy free museum admission, hot apple cider, cookies and a holiday concert in the historic fruit-packing shed (1:30 p.m.). Residents who have lived in Sedona for many years as well as descendants of local pioneer families will set up shop in the exhibit rooms, telling stories about Sedona’s past. Try your hand at creating a cornhusk-doll tree ornament, sit by the fire in the native stone fireplace in the old Jordan house or take a ride in a horse-drawn buggy. Local authors Janeen Trevillyan and Lisa Schnebly Heidinger will be on hand to sign copies of their book, Images of Sedona. The museum will be decked out in vintage Christmas décor and the gift shop, which features items made by local artists and craftsmen, will host its annual sale for those of you with shopping on the brain. – Erika Ayn Finch

Christmas in the Park, Dec. 11, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free. Sedona Heritage Museum, 735 Jordan Road at Jordan Historical Park (928-282-7038)

Kessel Cornville Christmas

A friend told us about the Kessel Cornville Christmas last year, and after one performance, we were hooked. For the fifth year in a row, Dave Kessel, the general manager of Yavapai Broadcasting, has covered his house and front yard with lights that are meticulously choreographed to Christmas music. Unbelievably, Dave spends six to 10 hours in front of his computer for every one minute of music; the first year he used 64 circuits to run the show and this year he’s up to more than 400 circuits. Dave begins working on the program in February, and he starts putting up the Christmas lights in October. Everyone is invited to sit in chairs Dave arranges in his front yard (or you can pull your car up on his lawn and listen to the music on 99.7 FM if the weather is too cold) and watch the 45-minute show for free. Our advice: Dress warm and bring along a Thermos of hot chocolate.

“I started just decorating the house, and it turned into a competition with my neighbor,” says Dave. “I knew the only way I would win the competition would be to set the display to music and choreograph the lights. I did that, and [my neighbor] moved away, so I consider that a victory!” Dave says he doesn’t keep track of the number of lights in the display (because he doesn’t want his wife to find out), and he personally watches each performance, answering questions and greeting guests. A donation box is set up for voluntary cash contributions for the Old Town Mission in Cottonwood during each performance. So why does Dave continue to do this every year? “I really like giving people the opportunity to do something that’s good for the whole family,” he says. “When I see someone in the audience smile or laugh, I hold that in my heart and it bolsters me.” – Erika Ayn Finch

Kessel Cornville Christmas. Now through Dec. 31, 6 and 7 p.m. daily. Free. 555 S. Gloria Lane in Cornville (928-634-5369)

17th Annual Old Town Chocolate Lover’s Walk

On Dec. 4, Old Town Cottonwood merchants extend their hours to meet the needs of sweet-toothed visitors during the 17th Annual Old Town Chocolate Lover’s Walk. Carolers flood the air with sounds of Christmas joy while chocolate enthusiasts roam the streets of Old Town, filling handmade attachés with homemade Christmas confections. A trolley cruises the circuit of twinkling-light-lined streets, the Cottonwood Christmas tree comes to life with light and chocolatiers compete in a chocolate contest during this popular holiday event (tickets sell out early every year). The Chocolate Lover’s Walk in Cottonwood, with its Dickensian charm, is a must for all. Not only will tummies be sated and taste buds delighted, but for the $20 ticket, each individual will reap the benefits that chocolate has offered the world from the time of its discovery: relaxation, a rise in good cholesterol, an increase in antioxidant levels and good old-fashioned warm fuzzies. All proceeds benefit the Old Town Association of Cottonwood. After noshing, peruse ye olde shoppes for some timely Christmas finds. – John D. Ruane

17th Annual Old Town Chocolate Lover’s Walk, Dec. 4, 4-8 p.m. $20 (attending the tree lighting is free). Main St. in Old Town Cottonwood (877-928-4682)

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