I’d like to start this post with a confession. My name is Mary and I am a holiday junkie. I admit it – the decorations, the food, the music, the movies, and even the wrapping (my addiction to this is so severe that I have been known to offer my gift-wrapping services at no charge to co-workers and virtual strangers) – I love it all. Of course, the holiday season is full of memories and traditions and for me, most of these are rooted in Southwest Ohio.
As a mom, my family and I have enjoyed many trips to the Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Museum Center for their amazing holiday lights and displays. But as I was contemplating writing this blog, the memories that kept flooding back were of time spent in Waynesville and Lebanon.
Being the youngest of eight children, it was sometimes difficult to find one-on-one time with my mom. Since my mom Sarah and I share a love of antiques, we started our own tradition when I went away to college. During my four years of college and the subsequent six years I lived out of the area, the day after Thanksgiving became a mom-and-Mary-only day. And we would spend much of that day strolling the shops of Waynesville. This historic town is truly transported during the holidays with festive décor and a feeling of homey tradition.
It is comforting somehow to know that I can still visit some of those same shops I visited with my mom over 25 years ago, such as the Little Red Shed – a personal favorite for antiques – and I can still enjoy a classic lunch at the Hammel House
just as we did those many years ago. I can still find a unique assortment of Christmas ornaments at the Christmas Peddler. Our day always ended with fudge from Braden & Sons Sweet Shop which is still offering up tasty confections today. As a side note, if your plans call for making quilts or other material arts as holiday gifts, join others from throughout the Midwest who have discovered the amazing assortment of fabrics at the Fabric Shack!
Just a few miles from Waynesville is the equally quaint Lebanon – another family fave. Again, the town is transported back in time for the holidays. In fact, the charming quality of Lebanon has caught the eye of Hollywood more than once! Most recently, the Hallmark Channel filmed a holiday movie here scheduled to premiere in December 2013. How fun would it be to create your own scavenger hunt of sorts, searching for all of the sites featured in the movie? I can give you one hint, the Golden Lamb would be a must-see! And if you are a person who likes to give unique gifts, Lebanon is a shopper’s delight with a wide assortment of antique and unique shops. A highlight of the holiday season is the famous Antique Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade. This is a family tradition that dates back many years for thousands of families throughout the region.
As you can probably tell, I enjoy holiday traditions. I also look forward to discovering new ones. On my bucket list this year? A trip to The Christmas Ranch – a light spectacular featured on HGTV and Good Morning America. I can’t imagine how I have missed out on this all these years, but I can’t wait to add it to our family holiday memories.
For more information on all of the holiday happenings in Warren County, visit http://OhiosLargestPlayground.com.