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Memories in the Making

Make some very special holiday memories this year at the Glen Eyrie Conference Center

Make some very special holiday memories this year at the Glen Eyrie Conference Center

When our children were small, it was our tradition to go to Mass Christmas Eve and come home for a light supper,” says Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers of time spent with wife Janet and daughters Alison and Kate. “We would get in our pajamas, sit together on the sofa in front of the fireplace and the Christmas tree and Janet would read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ to our daughters. 

“They loved it and so did we.”

Whether you look forward to watching A Charlie Brown Christmas while you decorate the tree or huddling with friends as the Parade of Lights floats by, there’s always room for making new traditions. Here’s Colorado Springs Style magazine’s short list of memory makers. Eight tiny reindeer are optional.

MADRIGAL BANQUET

Step back in time as men and women in 16th-century costumes course through the great hall of a sprawling castle. A joyous Christmas feast unfolds there, complete with wild boar, chorale singers and the sonorous honk of bagpipes.

Only on this evening, you’re the king or queen.

Launched in 1989 with only two performances, this festive evening for the ages is now a popular fixture of Glen Eyrie’s winter calendar. At its heart is a four-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Jon Patineau. This year’s menu features a Steaming Bowl (a savory sweet potato, apple and red lentil soup) and Boar’s Head (pork roulades with andouille corn bread stuffing, sage jus and mango chutney). Vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free options are also available.

Many families come back year after year for the performances, the cuisine and the unforgettable, handcrafted Colorado experience, says Program Director Karen Eaglin. “But ultimately they come to draw closer to what matters: each other.”

For perhaps a more intimate holiday experience, try one of Glen Eyrie’s Yule Teas, an Acoustic Eidolon concert or “Lesson and Carols,” which blends scripture readings, familiar carols and the profoundly beautiful music of the 16th and 17th century performed by Colorado Springs’ Early Music Ensemble. (Check the website for times, tickets prices.)

Details: 6-10 p.m. Dec. 4-5, 10-12, 17-19, 21-22, with valet parking at 5 p.m., Glen Eyrie Conference Center, 3820 N. 30th St.; $114-$124 with overnight packages (including ticket) $278-$418, (719) 634-0808, gleneyrie.org 

SKATE IN THE PARK

Like a Victorian Christmas card, drowsy snow falls on the park. The skaters, bundled up in hats and scarves, are too busy to notice Santa Claus as he wanders by, trailed by children reaching for the furry hem of his red coat. On the pristine rink, they circle slow and fast, making fat Os in the ice.

It’s Colorado, so the snow isn’t guaranteed. But the Acacia Park ice skating rink, which, in its third year, is planned to exceed 4,500 square-feet, offers the perfect setting for some special holiday moments – regardless of the temperature. 

“There are skaters in their ‘70s who skated on frozen ponds when they were younger, and skaters of every age who are putting on ice skates for the very first time,” says Laurel Prud’homme, director of communications at the Downtown Partnership. “It doesn’t matter if they are clinging to the wall or trying a spin in the middle of the rink, everyone has a smile on their face.”

Details: Times vary, Nov. 13-Jan. 10, Acacia Park, 115 E. Platte Ave., $10 (skate rental included), children under 5 free with paying adult, (719) 385-6521, DowntownCS.com/skate

"THE NUTCRACKER"

Clara and her prince. The Mouse King and gingerbread soldiers. The Land of Sweets. 

Again this year, the Colorado Springs Philharmonic creates some sugar plum memories with four performances of Tchaikovsky’s beloved work. 

It’s endured almost 123 years, says Philharmonic CEO Nathan Newbrough, because “it combines music and dance with a story line that’s on one hand quite simple and on the other hand mystifying in its creativity. These three – music, dance, and story – make it a timeless holiday tradition for families around the world.”

And for the second year, the Oklahoma City Ballet performs, bringing 50 years of experience with the work and more than $500,000 in production values, including new sets, costumes, choreography and special effects.

Other heartwarming December theater: Born Yesterday (Dec. 3-24, TheatreWorks, theatreworkscs.org); Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (Dec. 10-Jan. 3, Fine Arts Center, csfineartscenter.org); A Tuna Christmas (Dec. 10-27, Millibo Art Theatre, themat.org); The Fantasticks (Dec. 20-Jan. 2, Mezzanine, themezzcos.com).

Details: 7 p.m. Nov. 27, 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 28, 2 p.m. Nov. 29, Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave., starting at $29 adults, $13 students (719) 520-7469, csphilharmonic.org