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An evening visit to the North Pole

Santa’s Workshop at The North Pole Carousel is open during the annual Village of Lights. (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

I love winter, the winter solstice and the Christmas holiday. I love it when the decorations are finally on our tree and the house smells more like a winter walk than a golden retriever. I could keep that balsam up all year if it didn’t become a fire hazard. We’ve finally stored the bins and even wrapped some gifts, but the one gift I look forward to the most is my yearly movie watching tradition with a friend and her children.

This is the first year we watched the classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” What was so jarring to me as I watched my friend’s daughter was her questions about the island of Misfit Toys. She kept interrupting to ask her mother if she belonged on that island because she was different. (With the permission I’ve been granted to share, she has mobility issues.) We both spoke at the same time explaining that everyone is different, that everyone is a misfit. It’s just that sometimes you can’t see on the outside how some people don’t fit in. The girl curled back up on the couch and happily watched the rest of the movie. It was a lesson my friend relives often, to find ways to explain away any hurt and to try to look at everyone with fresh eyes.

The spirit of Christmas is never over and one way we try to keep our childlike wonder alive is a visit to the Village of Lights at Santa’s Workshop at North Pole, NY. The buildings are covered in twinkle lights while holiday music surrounds the tiny village. So after the gifts are unwrapped and the Christmas traditions celebrated, we can still walk around a little Christmas village and see a little bit of a misfit in each and every one of us.

This will be the last weekend for The Village of Lights, December 26-30 from 4:30- 8 pm, with the last entrance at 7:30 pm. Admission is $16.95 and free for children under two years of age. The outdoor Nativity Pageant is performed under the stars so make sure to wear layers. A visit to the North Pole involves moving in and out between each separate building.

The Christmas Carousel is the only ride open during the Village of Lights. The 20-handcrafted reindeer are available for the smaller guests (under 48 inches and under 75 pounds.) while two sleighs fit those of us no longer weighing 75 lbs. It adds to the magic to be riding the reindeer under a nighttime sky.

There may be caroling around the fire pit, roasting marshmallows or feeding Santa’s reindeer. See if Tannenbaum the Talking Christmas Tree is awake. The shops are open for a quick snack or gift. Look for the large frozen “North” pole located in the center of Santa’s Village with Santa’s cottage nearby.

From Lake Placid take Rt. 86 for about 12 miles to Wilmington. At the Rt. 86/ 431 junction, turn left onto Rt. 431 (Whiteface Memorial Highway) and drive for 1.5 miles. Santa’s Workshop will be on the right. For more information go to NorthPoleNY.com. Enjoy!

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Time guidebook series. For more family-friendly activities please go to www.AdirondackFamilyTime.com.

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