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Family, friends and a dash of glühwein. Isn't that what the holiday season is really all about?

Image: Town of Vail

There’s a lot going on this time of year, from powder days to Christmas shopping duties to après ski and eggnog parties. It’s enough to bring out the Grinch in all of us as schedules get hectic, the lift lines start to build with the holiday rush, and free time is at a premium.

But there’s hope. The hectic season only lasts so long and actually, if you can manage to slow down for a moment or two, it’s possible to remember that there are some redeeming elements to this time of year. So to help you tighten up your schedule and to get into the holiday spirit, we’re suggesting – no telling – you that you need to grab your significant other or some good friends and go to one of these fantastic and festive events – all of which are free – as a reminder that this time of year is really about celebrating the things in life that matter the most: friends, family and time spent with the people you love.

Christmas Classics: Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas

You can’t go wrong with these great family and friends movie nights on Dec. 17 & 18, featuring two of the best classic holiday films ever produced: Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s an easy way to jump-start your holiday spirit. Free. 7 p.m., Lionshead Information Center.

Vail Christmas Tree Lighting

Vail’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for the evening of Dec. 18, and is a sparkly, fun way to kick off the festive season. Savvy revelers will stash a thermos of glühwein or hot chocolate in their coat to ward off the chill as they take in the spectacle. Free.  5 p.m., Slifer Square, Vail Village.

Vail Paper Lantern Project & Winter Solstice Lantern Walk

This phenomenal event on the evening of Dec. 21 brings family, friends and community together to share holiday spirit and goodwill during this magical time of year. Join in the fun by building your own paper lantern so you can join the Winter Solstice Lantern Walk in Vail Village as a participant rather than a spectator. The procession is led by non other than Santa, accompanied by the world’s tallest elf and the festive Dickens Carolers. At the end of the walk, savor some hot cocoa at the end and take in the grand opening of the Vail Winterfest Ice Theater on the Gore Creek Promenade. Free. Paper Lantern Making Workshop with Helen Hiebert 1:30 - 4:30 p.m. at the Vail Public Library (RSVP, indicating the number in your party, to meppard@vailgov.com or call 970-479-2344). Walk begins at 5 p.m. from the Covered Bridge and ends at the Gore Creek Promenade at 5:15 p.m.

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