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The night is dark, the snow is bright white, and the lights are all lit up at Santa's Workshop at the North Pole. The Village of Lights happens on select weekends throughout the month of December each year. This year one of them happens to fall on the same weekend as the neighboring town of Lake Placid's, Lake Placid's Holiday Village Stroll. This makes it even more special, because you can dress as Santa during the day at Whiteface Mountain, and get a free lift ticket. Then head up to Santa's Workshop when the sun goes down. The spirit of the holiday is alive in Wilmington and this is a great time to experience it. 

There is just something more special about visiting Santa's Workshop after the sun goes down. What is it? Maybe it is the chance to witness magic that cannot be seen in the daylight. Maybe after Santa kicks off his boots and reads his mail from all around the world, you will catch a glimpse of an elf misbehaving, or Mrs. Claus preparing supper. It is different at night, and it is certainly beautiful. This wonderland full of holiday magic will get you in the spirit of Christmas while listening to the carolers and roasting marshmallows by the fire. Walking around just viewing the beautiful colors of the lights and remembering the awe and excitement of childhood at this special time of year makes these nights special. They are a reminder of the carefree days hanging your own stocking and writing your letters in your best penmanship to Santa, asking for that special doll or train you saw in a catalog. 

My family loves the rides at Santa's Workshop at night. We enjoy the crisp air while riding in the sleigh on the Christmas Carousel and watching the lights twinkle from above. The rides are mainly at the top of the big hill so the views are gorgeous. The elves all wish us a "Merry Christmas" as we walk by. Personally, this is my favorite part.

We bundle up because these chilly Adirondack nights get cold. Good thing there is hot chocolate and warm cookies to enjoy in the sweet shop. We head down to get our Santa hats made, putting our names on the white fur and thinking how fun it will be to wear these on Christmas morning. Santa and his elves will help you with this, making sure each hat is just what you are wishing for. Walking along, I cannot help but notice the beautiful chapel. This little chapel has the full history of St. Nicholas and how the tradition of gift giving over the holidays began. The wooden cut outs are all pieces of art, and a nice reminder of the season's best traditions. 

Up on the hill is the Nativity Pageant. We take our seats and are ready for the show. We watch a full play, music, dancing and a beautiful story. The characters are all dressed in costumes rich in tradition and the props appear magical. It is so nice to see this type of family friendly production, all done right in front of your eyes in the natural beauty of the night. After watching the pageant we must see the actual North Pole, this is a real pole you can touch. It sticks out about 5 feet and is frozen in the ground. The kids love to feel how cold it is. 

We cannot leave without feeding the reindeer. They are resting up for the long journey in the weeks ahead, but are still happy to nibble on the greens we hand them from one of Santa's helpers. Their harnesses hang over their posts so you can know which one you are visiting with. This is a great way to warm up before heading back toward the post office, where we can't wait to send some holiday cheer to those far away. Imagine the joy children see when a letter is postmarked from the "North Pole" next to a picture of the Village of Lights. They will know we had a magical evening and will have many stories to share in our letters sent to them.

Excited to experience the North Pole with your family this winter? Start planning your trip today. While in the Whiteface Region make sure to enjoy dinner at one of the cozy restaurants and take in the sight of an Olympic Mountain


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