Close to Home: Get the holiday spirit indoors, a hostess guide, Stillwater's Twinkle Parade

  • Updated: December 13, 2013 - 3:07 PM

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is decorated for the season.

Holiday spirit

If it’s too cold to stroll the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum grounds, head inside to gawk at the 20-foot-tall tree constructed of more than 500 poinsettias in the Oswald Visitor Center. At “Making Spirits Bright” events, continuing through Jan. 5, you can listen to live music in the Great Hall, have a book signed by local authors, nosh at a holiday tea, or bring the kids for storytime and photo with Santa. A decorating demonstration on crafting natural ornaments is also at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.

Admission is $12 for ages 13 and up; free for members and ages 12 and under. 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska. For a schedule, visit or call 952-443-1400.


Twinkle time

Take a break from holiday shopping to watch Stillwater’s Twinkle Parade from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 15. The free family event starts at the Dock Cafe, 425 Nelson St., and ends at the Lowell Park Gazebo. Children will receive twinkle lights, and there will be free cocoa, cookies and coffee. Santa will arrive on a fire truck and help light the Stillwater Christmas tree, followed by a fireworks show. For information, go to



Happy hostessing

Some people just seem born to entertain. The rest of us need a little guidance.

Susan Spungen is here to help with “What’s a Hostess to Do? 313 Ideas and Inspirations for Effortless Entertaining.”

Spungen is a former food editor at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and a culinary consultant and food stylist on the films “Julie & Julia,” “It’s Complicated” and “Eat, Pray, Love.” Her book takes readers through all the steps involved in throwing a successful party, from sending out the invitations to setting up a bar and gracefully breaking away from a conversation. The book even covers such post-party issues as using up leftovers and cleaning silver.

The book provide tips and ideas for a variety of types of parties — cocktail gatherings, sit-down dinners, holiday feasts and more. Recipes for 121 party foods are included.

“What’s a Hostess to Do?” is published by Artisan Books and sells for $17.95 in paperback.


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