How to enjoy holiday light displays with the kids.


It is that time of year when the holiday light displays are in full swing!  Traveling to get to them is part of the journey.  When I say journey, I am talking about not only packing the kids up in the car to get to the display but keeping them occupied while waiting in line.  Whether it is a drive through light display or walk through display the lines can be long.  Little kids just don’t have the patience or the attention span to wait.  So how do you keep the occupied and interested?

On the way to the display or exhibit, put some good Christmas or holiday music on in the car.  There are so many radio stations currently playing Christmas or holiday music.  If you can’t find one, then stream holiday music through your phone.  The kids loving singing holiday songs.  You can also play a fun game of “I spy with my little eye…”  Each person in the car picks a holiday display item.  You count the number of times you see it displayed on people’s lawn, i.e. reindeer in the yard or a blow-up Santa.  I also like to get the holiday window clings in the dollar bins.  It is a fun activity for the kids to put on their windows on the way to the display.

If you are driving through a holiday light display like the Christmas Light Up Celebration in Clinton, PA, bring some hot chocolate in a thermos and some cookies.  It is fun to listen to the Christmas or holiday music on the radio while see lights and enjoying some holiday food.  Turn the heat up in the car, and roll down the windows to really enjoy the lights.  Sometimes the displays even make sounds or sing songs.  Having the windows down helps with hearing those displays and seeing the lights better. 



If you are planning to walk through a holiday light display like at Kennywood or Phipps Conservatory, you want to make sure that you bring your warmest clothes.  Forgetting hats and gloves can really turn a fun time into a meltdown quickly.  One thing that I like to do for my family is to make sure that we balance the amount of time we spend outdoors with indoors.  At both Kennywood and Phipps, there are both outdoor and indoor displays.  Once the kids start to get cold, switch to an activity that is indoors to help warm them up or get some hot coco and cookies. 


If you family is like mine, knowing where bathrooms are always a must.  Even if everyone has gone to the bathroom before we left, someone seems to have to go.  When driving through a light display, there does tend to be bathrooms, but they are usually port-o-potty style.  Sitting in a port-o-potty in cold winter temperatures is not fun! Also there may not be anywhere to wash hands, so make sure to bring some hand sanitizer.  If the drive through does not have bathrooms, make sure to know where the nearest gas station or fast food restaurant is located. 

When planning to see any holiday light display, I highly recommend calling the venue in advance and finding out when they typically have peak or high times.  Avoid going during peak times or days really helps you to balance the amount of indoor and outdoor time.  When the crowds are too much, you may be outdoors more than your family can handle.  The best part of seeing holiday light displays during the holiday season is to spend time with your family. 

No matter which light display you see you see this holiday season just remember, Life is Better Traveling

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Mary Yohannan lives in the Baldwin-Whitehall area of Pittsburgh. She moved to Pittsburgh over 2 years ago with her husband and 2 beautiful children. Mary owns her own travel agency Life is Better Traveling™, LLC which has helped hundreds of families take amazing vacations to Disney®, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Alaska, and all over Europe. She is also the founder of the Travel Agent School Supporting Learning and Education™ or T.A.S.S.L.E, which has the How to Become a SUCCESSFUL Travel Agent program™, a one-stop, all-inclusive program for someone who wants to become a Successful Travel Agent. Mary earned the distinguished honor of the Certified Travel Associate (CTA) through the Travel Institute in 2016, and has several other travel and tourism certifications. Mary has traveled to over 20 countries on 3 continents, but it wasn’t until she had children did she learn that traveling with little ones is a completely different, and sometimes challenging, traveling experience. Mary’s authentic passion for travel and traveling with her children has given her extensive knowledge on the best tips, tricks, and hacks to keep kids calm, entertained, and well-behaved while traveling. She posts a variety of travel tips and tricks on her highly coveted, High Content Life is Better Traveling website, but she has a lot of great advice on traveling with kids that she can’t wait to share with all those amazing Pittsburgh Moms.