The lights are twinkling, the shopping has begun and the classic carols are serenading us back to the joys of childhood. It's the holiday season and whether you're having trouble getting in the mood or you are the type to revel in everything remotely festive this time of year, these ten recommendations are sure to tickle your mistletoe. 

1. Shop 'Til You Drop

A weekly holiday celebration, Festive Fridays take place throughout December; bringing together a number of retailers and venues to provide mega-merry fun. From live music to Christmas cookies, discounts to delectables, each location is offering something different to accentuate your holiday shopping experience! If you happen to be here any other day of the week, the shops throughout town feature special inventory this time of year, so get your gifting on! 

2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Cocktail

After a chilly day of adventuring or shopping downtown, warm up with a hot cup of your favorite winter drink or a festive cocktail. Whether a hot Never Summer Old Fashioned with locally-distilled Elkins Whisky or a Cranberry Spice from Dancing Pines Distillery, there are plenty of options to choose from. Grab a bottle to take with you and check out our 'Estes on the Rocks' series for some great local recipes! 

3. Visit A Christmas Tree (In it's Natural Habitat)

The traditional Christmas tree scent abounds in the Rocky Mountains! Estes is surrounded by scenic woods in the national park or national forest that will awake your senses. Explore on foot with snowshoes or cross-country skis. Climb aboard a fat bike or saddle up on horseback. However you choose to get into the wild, don't forget to take deep breaths.

4. Take Comfort in Food

Replenish those burned calories with a hot meal by the crackling fire. Many of Estes Park's restaurants feature fireplaces, intimate atmosphere and great eats to feed your stomach and your soul. Try a seasonal soup and top it off with a classic elk tenderloin. Or get more creative with green Nepalese curry or red Italian meat sauce. Whatever your flavor, the restaurants in Estes Park will warm you up from the inside out. 

5. Gear Up for Some Festive Follies

This year's Tinsel Tavern Tour (Dec. 10th) is a retro theme - retro ski gear, that is! Hunt down your uncle's old neon one-piece ski suit and get to Estes Park for a shuttled tour of the local pubs. A kick-off party features a costume contest, live music, and merriment before the shuttled crawl sets off. Then, at each stop, you'll find trivia, retro games, and signature cocktails. Tickets are limited, so get yours ASAP! If you can't make the event, you can always plan your own crawl with transportation from the local taxis

6. Enjoy Some Joyful Jingles

Estes Park hosts a plethora of holiday music concerts - from traditional to modern. Take in the Oratorio Society's annual Christmas concert (Dec. 2 & 3). Hear the bells ring with the Handbell Ensemble (Dec. 9). Enjoy multiple performers of rock, folk and other styles at Christmas in the Rocky (Dec. 10). Find even more festive music events on our calendar

7. The Fine Art of Giving

Whether you browse the galleries downtown or attend one of the art sales this season, you are sure to find that perfect one-of-a-kind piece for that special someone. From handmade jewelry to breathtaking Rocky Mountain photography, the artists of Estes Park find a myriad of ways to express themselves and this scenic location. Cruise the First Friday Art Groove on Dec. 2nd (also a Festive Friday - see #1). Shop art for a cause at the Cultural Arts Council's Crossroads Christmas sale (Dec. 6) or the Heart of Expression event (Dec. 16) at Elkins Whisky. 

8. Find Your Heavenly Peace

Release the stress of the season and avoid becoming a Grinch by relaxing with a rich massage or spa treatment. Estes Park's specialists offer a wide variety of services, many with a nod to the noel, like adding Riverspointe Spa's Cranberry Fig Scrub to your body treatment or experience Element of Touch's Hot Chocolate on the Rocks stone massage. While you're there, pick up a gift of R&R - like campfire-scented candles, aromatherapy bath bombs, and Hanukkah-blue nail polish. Or give the gift of peace - a spa gift card! 

9. Have a Cup of Cheer

The weather isn't typically 'frightful' in Estes Park this time of year, but it does get a bit chilly out there, so warm up with your favorite hot drink from one of Estes's unique coffee houses. Try an Eggnog Latte from Inkwell & Brew (made with NoCo's own Morning Fresh eggnog) or an Organic Apple Cider Chai from Via Bicycle Cafe. Whatever your flavor, find a cozy corner or a scenic view to savor your joyful java. 

10. Total Rocky Mountain Holiday Immersion

Who says you have to choose one or two ways to feel the holiday spirit? Do it all with an affordable holiday getaway! Book a special package with Christmas trees or turkeys included, or just get a great deal on winter lodging in Estes Park. Explore all of Estes Park's coupons and special offers to plan your perfect retreat from the every day. 

So many ways to experience the holidays in Estes Park! This year, take the time to enjoy the sights, the smells, the tastes - and, of course, the people around you. Revel in the magic of the season! Happy Holidays from Estes Park, Colorado!