Downtown merchants as well as those at Stoneridge Shopping Center and neighborhood malls fill their windows with colorful exhibits; they are designed to entice buyers inside but window shoppers can enjoy them, too.
When out and about, plan time with your little ones to stop and look in the windows and talk about what you see. Different things may catch their eye, and the sharing will be fun. Many stores have fantastic ornaments for sale. You can start a new tradition of buying a special one each year to add to your tree.
Christmas tree lots have displays to delight everyone. Whether you are in the market for a tree or not, it might be fun to stop by, and perhaps you will decide to purchase a wreath or mistletoe.
December's long, dark evenings are perfect for a drive around town to enjoy the decorated homes. Some displays are too intricate to be enjoyed from the car; again, allow time to get out and explore, especially at Bob's World, 2612 Calle Reynoso. LightsoftheValley.com will help you find others.
When you return home, sit in front of the fire to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, talk about everything you've seen, and maybe brainstorm about the perfect holiday front yard. Or you may want to pull out paper and crayons for the newly inspired youngsters to create Christmas Art 2013.
Your children will long remember the fun of peeking in gaily decorated shop windows and enjoying other Christmas displays with you. It's all part of the magic.
--Dolores Fox Ciardelli