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1 >> What draws 2,000 people each weekend to Reynolds Farm Equipment (12501 Reynolds Dr., Fishers, 849-0810), home of the area’s most elaborate holiday lights display? Chugging among the angels, the manger, and the ark are John Deeres, in all their yellow-and-green splendor, their tires festooned with flashing lights that make them appear to spin.
2 >> With ice sculptures and candlelit pathways, the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (4000 Michigan Rd., 923-1331) become a winter wonderland during the evening Winter Solstice festival, Dec. 22 this year.
3 >> Tom Santelli of Zionsville (firstname.lastname@example.org, 630-258-7122) is known to honor requests for a horse-drawn sleigh ride—once there’s a snowfall, of course, and the Zionsville resident brings out his handsomely restored 1890 Albany Cutter with brass bells.
4 >> The holiday traditions of the L.S. Ayres department store live on at the Indiana State Museum (650 W. Washington St., 232-1637), where elaborate window displays continue to charm generations of Indy kids.
5 >> Seasonal beer at Rock Bottom Brewery (2801 Lake Circle Dr., 471-8840; 10 W. Washington St., 681-8180). Now on tap: Winter Wheat, spiced with cinnamon, mace, coriander, and orange peel.
6 >> Tuba and euphonium players gather at the Indianapolis Artsgarden (110 W. Washington St., 624-2563) for a free concert of carols specifically arranged for the deep, rich tones of the tuba. Merry TubaChristmas takes place on December 4, and it’s free.
7 >> Juergen Jungbauer of Heidelberg Haus (7625 Pendleton Pike, 547-1230) pulls his antique molds off the shelf for just a few weeks each year to bake springerle, German Christmas cookies flavored with anise oil and rolled into fanciful shapes, such as ducks and fruit.
8 >> Come for the tap-dancing Santas, and arrive a little early to pet one of the live reindeer that greet visitors outside of Hilbert Circle Theatre (45 Monument Circle, 639-4300) on days of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Yuletide Celebration show.
9 >> You might think The South Bend Chocolate Company (20 N. Meridian St., 951-4816) is a go-to spot because the cafe looks upon the Circle’s holiday lights, or because the hot chocolate menu runs deep with a cinnamony Mexican version. But it’s really just because South Bend uses real-deal chocolate.
10 >> You’ll have your sights set on the wrapping-paper section at The Container Store (4120 E. 82nd St., 348-2225), but look around and you’ll notice that the new megamart is packed with fun stocking stuffers, like erasers in the shape of diamond rings, see-through piggy banks, Lego-head water bottles, ninja flash drives, stick-on neckties for kids, and labels that make CDs look like little LPs.
Museum photograph by Tony Valainis. Sleigh ride photograph courtesy of Tom Santelli.
This article originally appeared in the December 2011 issue.