Holiday cheer comes to North Dakota in December


Lights are as much a part of the holiday season as “A Christmas Carol,” reindeer games, family meals, presents and Santa Claus. We wrap our houses and trees with them and on Christmas Eve, Santa even zeroes in on those lights to leave gifts.

It’s a tradition with origins deeper than gift-giving and it involves cheering up long, dark winters in Scandinavia, to which many North Dakotans trace their heritage. Some cities there have extensive lighting that lasts months. These traditions continue throughout North Dakota at places such as Chmielewski's Christmas Corner ( in Bismarck or Olson’s Decorations ( in Minot. Get in the holiday spirit in North Dakota.

Regardless of its origin, lighting season in North Dakota kicks off with the public Governor’s lighting of the state Christmas Tree at the State Capitol ( in Bismarck.

Grand Forks lights up Lincoln Park ( and offers ski and snowshoe rentals to adventurous souls. Downtown Fargo is ablaze with lights (, while Oak Park in Minot ( and Spring Lake Park in Williston ( shimmer in reds and greens and whites and blues. In Dickinson, revelers will enjoy an old fashioned Christmas Stroll and lights parade (

If it’s rolling lights you enjoy, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train ( will roll through North Dakota Dec. 14-15 making stops in Hankinson, Enderlin, Carrington, Harvey, Minot and Kenmare. Each stop has musical entertainment by Meghan Patrick, Tanika Charles and Kelly Prescott and lights that you can see coming for miles.

Medora gets into the spirit the western way with Cowboy Christmas (, complete with food, dancing, lights music and… outhouse races? And if you can’t get to Medora, Medora might come to you. Present and past cast members of the Medora Musical are taking holiday cheer on the road ( to cities and towns around the state leading up to Christmas.

And finally, be sure to take a trip back in time to the timeless Dickens Village Festival ( in Garrison. Feast on old-English street food, listen to Christmas music and concerts and finish the night with “A Christmas Carol.”