In winter it can be hard to find colorful blooms out in nature, but in Austin there's a great alternative -- the Zilker Holiday Tree. When I think of Austin traditions, this one tops the list. Towering at 155-feet tall, people have been spinning under its spiraling rainbows since 1967.
Just staying still underneath, one can stay mesmerized by the lights above.
And while that's quite pleasant, you've just got to do more. It's all about the spin, baby, the spin. And it's a chance for even the grown-ups to be kids again.
And then the colors come alive...
And if you get dizzy and fall down, that's bonus. The goal, actually.
This year, people handed out free rainbow glasses, and the fun turned psychedelic!
With single glasses...
And double glasses....
It's possible the same effect could be achieved with enough of the proper egg nog.
The Zilker Holiday Tree has long been combined with another Austin tradition, the mile-long Trail of Lights. However, in search of less costly and greener options, the city's new more eco-conscious 1/2-mile Festival of Lights to me is a happy improvement.
It combines the best of the best of the Trail of Lights displays with a shorter walk and a mildly hilly, woody, and quite attractive setting for the lights.
I admit to missing some of the light-effects and one of my favorite displays, the ice statues (which have been used instead for stage decorations this year), but all in all, I much prefer the new trail, and that it's more energy-wise makes for a feel-good feeling. The dinosaur family is still there, yay -- my other favorite.
The classics were all there, including the armadillos, Space Santa, Winnie the Pooh, Hey Diddle Diddle, and more. And by the 12 Days of Christmas display, walkers-by could be heard singing the song as they went along. Ooh, I made a rhyme.
And on a chilly night, the yule log makes one toasty warm. Kettle corn, hot cocoa, funnel cakes, and more. Fun and yum.
Happy holidays, everyone. Safe travels to those on the move and groove!