Kicking Off The Holiday Season with Christmas in Springboro

Christmas in Historic Springboro

Full disclosure: I’ve got the holiday fever. I know it’s still only mid-November. There’s still green leaves on the trees in my yard for heaven’s sake.

But I live in a household where my wife shares a tradition with her mom and aunt that they start listening to Christmas music on Columbus Day. If you’re not a calendar expert, that’s in early October.

That’s still a bit early for me, but I’ll admit it though, I am ready to blast the Mele Kalikimaka and fire up the Home Alone.

Our family has started another tradition the last couple years, and that’s kicking off the holiday season with a trip to Christmas in Springboro.

Another full disclosure: Springboro is a suburb south of Dayton. Stating the obvious here, but that’s not in Columbus. In fact, it’s every bit of 90 minutes to get there. Again stating the obvious, but CBUS Dads is focused on Columbus (hence the clever name).

Christmas in Springboro is a blast though. Think Christmas-themed street fair with the atypical fare for such an occasion. It’s sensational for kids, with an entire tent dedicated to activities for the little ones, including face painting (see below). Throughout the weekend, there’s entertainment and music. We prioritize the parade at noon on Saturday, as my brother-in-law is the band director for the high school, so it’s an opportunity to see them perform.

So if you’ve got the fever and nothing to do Saturday, join us in Springboro! The entire community seems to rally around it, and every time we go, I can’t help but wish that something similar happened in central Ohio. For anyone reading this, if there is, and I don’t know about it, please share. If there’s not, maybe that’s an open invitation for one of our Columbus neighborhoods or suburban communities to answer the call?

By Steven Michalovich, Contributor

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Places We Love: COSI

CBUS Dads blogger Steven Michalovich is reliving his childhood with his kids at COSI in 2017, specifically the Kidspace.

In the much-appreciated spirit of gifting experiences rather than stuff, my amazing brother-in-law gave us a year membership to COSI for Christmas. If somehow you’re not familiar with COSI, Parent Magazine ranked it as the number one science center in America in 2008.

Parenthood gets even more fun when you can get reacquainted with activities that you enjoyed as a youth. COSI is a prime example. I have fond memories of going into the city to spend a day at the Broad Street location.

Now I get to do the same with my children, albeit to a new downtown location.

We went for the first time since my youth on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On a holiday for most schools, COSI was pretty packed, but we expected this, softening the blow.

With a two-and-a-half-year old, our time was 100 percent spent in the little kidspace. The vast amount of activities for young kids to do is remarkable. Everything, and I mean everything, promotes activity, creativity, interaction, and most importantly fun.

I’ll let the photos illustrate how COSI is one of the best, if not the best, place in town to take young children and let them explore. And we just scratched the surface. COSI has so much more for our family to explore as my kids get older.

Cheers to a new generation of memories.

By Steven Michalovich, Contributor

CBUS Dads’ Holidays Activities and Traditions

CBUS Dads blogger Mike Liddy checked out the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival with his kids

We’re in the home stretch before the holidays. You may be off work, and the kids may be home from school. Regardless, you may also be looking for some activities that don’t include going to the mall to best maximize this special time of the year.

We polled our CBUS Dads for some of their holiday traditions and go-to activities that may be a little less mainstream than the ones that are typically top of mind:

The Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival is a unique holiday experience. The Ohio Expo Center & State Fairgrounds are decked out with almost 40 displays of traditional (and some non-traditional) Chinese lantern displays all lit up. There are tons of fun things for the kids: a Finding Nemo display, a Christmas display, huge dragons, and tons of pandas. But, the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival also has flowers, fruits and a long walk through the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Don’t miss the performances, the shopping and the food either. The paths can be a little difficult to navigate with a stroller, but they’ve placed hard plastic matting over the grassy areas to make it a little easier to traverse. The Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival goes until January 2, so there’s plenty of time to experience it, even if you can’t squeeze it in before the big one.
-Mike Liddy, Contributor

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The older I get, the more I can relate to Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation. It’s easy to get caught up in the holidays, putting a ton of pressure on ourselves to make the holidays super special for our kids. I can’t be the only that’s been here, right? Each year, Erika and I dig for the holiday event that our kids will remember forever. However, there’s one simple tradition that we look forward to every year. On Christmas Eve morning, we go out for breakfast, just the four of us. In the midst of rushing and endless family gatherings, there’s something awesome about just having a simple breakfast together. The location is flexible, but the last two years (and probably this year) we hit up DK Diner in Grandview. The diner atmosphere allows for sweatpants and they always have fresh donuts. Sure, the big Christmas events are awesome, but I encourage you to find a few simple Christmas traditions as well.
-Billy Fischer, Contributor

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Every year, the Farkas family takes an afternoon to make Christmas cookies. I’ve done this for 40 years; the only exception was when I was two months old, and I think that seems like a fair excuse. Making cookie with the kids is pure chaos. Aprons don’t help. Eggs end up broken in wrong places. Often, the weight of the frosting on top of the cookie far eclipses the weight of the actual cookie. The end product won’t end up on the Food Network, but I appreciate it more than any Bobby Flay product.
-Dan Farkas, Contributor

My family and I are reserving December 23 for a Christmas day spent downtown. Every year we try to stroll through State Auto’s Christmas Corner that includes a historic life-sized Nativity display. We are also going to stop by the brand spanking new Main Library for the Huntington Holiday Train, which we’ve never checked out before. Both activities should captivate our energetic two-year-old. From there, we’ll grab a bite, aiming for somewhere with that warm, hearty fare that seems appropriate on a cold day. Maybe Press Grill or Jack’s Diner.
-Steve Michalovich, Contributor

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For the past several years my family have grabbed dinner at Milestone 229 or Columbus Brewing Company a few days before Christmas and then walked our fullness off through Bicentennial Park to see and enjoy the holiday lights at the forefront of our wonderful city skyline. This pleasant hike has recently expanded to include Columbus Commons since that area is also a “can’t miss” now in terms of a beautiful downtown holiday spectacle. To add to the mystique and nostalgia of the holidays here in Columbus, I then take my family on a stroll through the State Auto nativity display to enjoy their reaction to this wonderful scene as I used to experience when I was a child.
-Steve Swift, Contributor

 

 

 

We also caught wind of a Christmas Cave a couple hours south of town. Has anyone been there and would recommend?

Places We Love: Timbuk Farms

CBUS Dads blogger Steve Michalovich has been to Timbuk Farms the last two years with his family for the full holiday experience.

This time of year, my wife loads our calendar with as many holiday activities as our schedule will allow. To say she loves Christmas would be an understatement. And I’m totally fine with it, because I dig the season too.

And being able to experience the holidays through the eyes of your kids makes this time of year that much more special.

Last weekend we ventured out to Granville for the second December in a row to visit Timbuk Farms.

For a little history, Timbuk Farms has been open since 1952, making it one of central Ohio’s oldest and largest Christmas tree farms. Granville is certainly a healthy drive from I-270 (close to 30 minutes), but the ability to distance yourself from the city is what makes it an appealing destination and worth the driving time. In fact, this lengthy distance from Columbus is how Timbuk Farms got its name (people compared it to a trip to Timbukto).

On this Saturday, Timbuk Farms was hopping. This isn’t shocking as three weeks before Christmas is prime time for live Christmas tree chopping.

Timbuk Farms feels like a farm in every sense. Sitting on 300 acres, it evokes all of the holiday feels. Included in the main barn are some crafts for purchase and a counter you can order hot chocolate and sandwiches (which were delicious I might add). If you’re like us, you avoid the malls for your kid’s annual visit to Santa Claus. Timbuk Farms has their very own Santa and Mrs. Claus on the premises eagerly awaiting your child to tell them what they want for Christmas and to pose for pictures.

Sadly, we are currently on hiatus for cutting down live trees for our holiday needs. In the past, we’ve gotten a little overzealous with the size of our trees, causing some damage to our house when it came time to dispose of the tree.

Despite this, it didn’t stop us from hopping on the bus (literally an old school bus) and trekking out to the fields. Because my daughter loves buses, there was absolutely no way we were going to leave there without riding the bus. So we took the ride – minus the saw – to stroll through the tree farm.

Their whole operation is superior to other Christmas tree farms I’ve been to. Each bus has a trailer, where you place your cut tree, and they take care of hauling and wrapping.

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Since we were just there for the experience, my daughter enjoyed collecting loose branches and smelling them. Doubt any other children will find this as exciting as she did, but a possible option for some amusement.

We had as much fun as we would’ve actually selecting and cutting down a tree, but after a second straight year to Timbuk Farms, we were probably inspired enough to end our hiatus in 2017. Whether or not you have your tree already, Timbuk Farms is a great weekend destination. Bonus to Granville for being an amazing, quaint town with enough shops and restaurants to make a whole day of it.

By Steven Michalovich, Contributor