Wichita Adventures: Holiday Edition

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It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since we’ve lived in Kansas. Before this year, every Thanksgiving we would make the ten hour drive up Interstate 35 from Texas. It was such a treat this year to celebrate Thanksgiving with family without being totally exhausted from that drive!

One of our favorite holiday traditions is walking from our Aunt and Uncle’s house over to the Bradley Fair Shopping Center. Located at Rock Road and 21st, they have a great big Christmas tree right next to Bradley Fair Lake. Every year they do a tree lighting in mid-November complete with caroling, Santa on hand for pictures, and to flip the big switch. The tree lighting also kicks off their free horse-drawn carriage rides, which are available every Sunday afternoon until Christmas. Tip: after taking in the tree and a carriage ride, I highly suggest grabbing something sweet from Cocoa Dulce!

Botanica’s Illuminations

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A new adventure for us this year was attending the botanical gardens premier light display event, Illuminations. Did you know they use over two million lights?! We found the whole occasion simply spectacular but some of our favorite parts were the main light show, the tunnels, the photo ops, and the children’s musical garden. It was actually our first time at the gardens and we can’t wait to go back. To all the sponsors, thank you from my family to yours!

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen House

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Known as “America’s architect,” Frank Lloyd Wright believed in “organic architecture,” which is the philosophy of designing structures in harmony with nature. His “prairie houses” are known for their horizontal lines and earth tones. The last of these famous prairie houses happens to be located right here in Wichita in the historic College Hill neighborhood. Now through December 28th, the Allen House (named after its first owners) is beautifully decorated for Christmas and they are giving special holiday tours. If you have an open morning or afternoon, I highly suggest grabbing a girlfriend and taking a tour. To see some of my favorite details, check out my Instagram!

Thanks to Debbie Haukap of Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate, I recently got to attend an open house of the Allen House. If you are needing any real estate help in the new year, I cannot speak highly enough of Debbie. She trekked all over rural Wichita with us and made our real estate dreams come true. Debbie, from the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Bonus: Holiday Season Survival Tips

Last but not least, I want to give some tips on how to navigate the holidays. As we get older and our families grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to fit it all in. So, here are some ways we simplify the holiday season:

  • Split holidays – rather than rushing through as many visits as possible, we give all of Thanksgiving to my husband’s family and all of Christmas to my family. It definitely helps the calendar slow down some and gives us more quality time with our extended family.
  • Moved holidays –  one of my favorite things in recent years has been simply moving the holidays rather than forcing a schedule on every one. Is there a three day weekend close to the holidays that would be physically and financially easier for your relatives to gather over? Then go ahead and move that holiday.
  • Activities over gifts – whether it be baking, watching movies, or playing games, I promise if you prioritize activities over gifts you will have a lighter, happier heart this season.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

XO – Olivia

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