Holidays at Home

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Teddy Bear Tea

If your idea of an elegant afternoon involves munching on dainty finger foods and sipping a cup of tea with your favorite teddy bear, you’re in luck. Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village hosts a Teddy Bear Tea for children of all ages. The event is part of the Festival of Trees and proceeds will benefit the Toys for Tots and the Verde Valley Habitat for Humanity. Come for the morning session at 11 a.m. or the afternoon session at 2 p.m., and enjoy delectable delights catered by Heartline Café. The treats include scrumptious hot cocoa, tea-size PB and Js, and fresh gingerbread. Both tea parties will take place in the Tlaquepaque ballroom, which will be adorned with holiday decorations and plenty of extra teddy bears. Children are encouraged to bring their favorite bear and will receive a special holiday gift at the event. Additionally, Mrs. Claus will be joining the party for storytelling and singing. Whether you are young or young at heart, this event will be a memorable addition to your holiday season. Space is limited, and reservations are required.– Kristina Remy

Teddy Bear Tea at Tlaquepaque, Dec. 4, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. $25 for adults and $20 for children. Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, 336 SR 179 (928-282-4838)

Pinecone Drop

If you’ve never been to the Hotel Weatherford’s annual Pinecone Drop, you’ve really been missing a good time – seriously. The first drop took place New Year’s Eve 1999; that year, the “pinecone” was made from a garbage can filled with sand and decorated with Ponderosa pinecones. The modern contraption is 6 feet tall, 70 pounds and consists of a wire frame, aluminum petals and lots of lights. It takes only about 10 seconds for the pinecone to be lowered from the roof of the hotel to the ground three stories below, and then the crowd goes wild. Throngs of college students and families cheer, spray Silly String, blow horns and shake noisemakers. The streets around the Hotel Weatherford are closed to cars the entire night, and bands begin playing live music at 8 p.m. It’s one giant block party. Maybe it’s not Times Square, but it also won’t take you hours to get home at the end of the night. The one similarity between New York’s and Flagstaff’s festivities: the temperatures. Vendors sell hot cocoa, and downtown is filled with bars anxious to provide warm libations, but you’re still going to want to bring those hats and mittens. For those with kids, or those who don’t revel in the idea of midnight anymore, there are two drops: one at 10 p.m. and one at midnight. A better time isn’t likely to be found in northern Arizona on New Year’s Eve. – Erika Ayn Finch

Pinecone Drop, Dec. 31, 10 p.m. and midnight. Free. Hotel Weatherford, 23 N. Leroux Street in downtown Flagstaff (928-779-1919)

Red Rock Fantasy

In case you haven’t heard by now, despite all of the recent changes at Los Abrigados Resort & Spa, Red Rock Fantasy is still a go. The power switch was flipped on Nov. 18, and one million lights covering 23 displays lit up the resort. This year marks the holiday tradition’s 20th anniversary, and organizers (Diamond Resorts International) say the displays will be better than ever. Each year, families from around the Southwest, local businesses and nonprofit organizations create whimsical displays using no more than 12,000 lights each, lots of plywood and paint, and even more imagination. Displays run the gamut from cartoon and movie themes to those inspired by wildlife and the red rocks. These creative minds are competing for a grand prize as well as first, second and third prizes in a competition where you are the judge: Red Rock Fantasy attendees are given ballots where they choose their five favorite displays. As you wander through the displays, stop for hot chocolate and apple cider to really get in the holiday spirit. Plan on spending about one hour walking the route and enjoying the lights. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Jan. 8. – Erika Ayn Finch

Red Rock Fantasy. Now through Jan. 1, 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (weather permitting). $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $2 for children 12 and younger. Los Abrigados Resort and Spa, 160 Portal Lane (877-444-8044)

Sedona Railroaders Exhibit

Is there anything more nostalgic than model trains around the Christmas tree? Thanks to the Sedona Railroaders club, which has been in existence since 1977, those of us who don’t own a train can still delight the child within during the club’s holiday train exhibit. In the past, the club has set up shop in the Sedona Village Shopping Center near Bashas’ and, most recently, the Oak Creek Factory Outlets in the Village of Oak Creek. Guy Forsythe, the club’s vice president, says the exhibit’s location isn’t determined until after Thanksgiving (and thus after press time), but look for signs detailing the location toward the middle of the month or call the number below. The exhibit features seven or eight trains, including the club president’s Lionel O gauge train and miniature village from the 1950s. Club members are on hand to talk about the trains (the 20-person club is also looking for new members). In addition, the Railroaders host a raffle during the exhibit that features train sets and Verde Canyon Railroad tickets. About 150 people per day visit the display. “When I was a kid, the most exciting thing at Christmas was the train set at the department store downtown,” says Guy. “There’s a connection between Christmas and train sets, and I hope we don’t lose that.” – Erika Ayn Finch

Sedona Railroaders Exhibit. Approximately Dec. 17-31, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Free. Location yet to be determined – watch for signs in shopping centers around Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek (928-282-2412)

MORE SEDONA HOLIDAYS: Tlaquepaque luminarias, happy holidays, Sedona style, Southwestern holiday decorating, Sedona holidays at home, a Sedona Halloween, holiday shopping in Sedona, Sedona holiday happenings, romantic Sedona Valentine’s Day

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