The holidays are a cheerful, exciting time spent with close loved ones you don't get to see as often as you'd like. But somewhere between the sixth repeat of A Christmas Story and your third plate of "seconds" (who's counting?), you may find yourself wanting to strangle someone. Maybe all the gifts are unwrapped and you find yourself depressed in an endless sea of crumpled paper and ribbon. Perhaps you polish off that last glass of egg nog (or, in the Kern family, Lambrusco punch) and realize that's the bottom of the barrel. Or Grandpa starts talking about how next year, Obama won't even let us have a Christmas.
Whatever the situation, it's nice to get out of the house during the holiday weekend. And this year, there are plenty of excuses to do so.
Holiday in Lights
Hours: 6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday through Jan. 1, including holidays.
Enjoy an incredible mile-long holiday spectacle from the comfort of your car in Sharon Woods. Make your way through the park and check out beautifully decorated trees, light tunnels and more than 120 stationary and moving light displays. Studies have shown that looking at pretty lights can aid in the digestion of the 4,000 calories worth of Christmas ham you just consumed. $12/car. Sharon Woods, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, www.holidayinlights.com.
The Lions Rampant and Leopard Messiah at Mainstay Rock Bar
Show starts at 9 p.m. Dec. 25.
Head downtown to Mainstay Rock Bar and catch two of Cincinnati’s best Rock crews, both coming off years worth celebrating. The Lions Rampant were everywhere this year and most recently scored Album of the Year for It's Fun to Do Bad Things at the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. They'll be playing with one of the most promising new Rock & Roll bands in town: Leopard Messiah. Their first performance was in October opening The Greenhornes’ much-anticipated new album release show and they were also a highlight of the BRINK New Music Showcase. Get tipsy and enjoy some killer Garage Pop. Mainstay Rock Bar, 301 W. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-721-ROCK, www.mainstayrockbar.com.
U.S. Bank Ice Rink on Fountain Square
Regular Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday through Jan. 2 (shorter hours continue through Feb. 20).
Holiday Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Christmas Eve, 2-10 p.m. Christmas Day.
Ice skating is a holiday tradition that never gets old, and you can enjoy it all winter long amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown. Skate rentals, lockers, benches and a heated tent with concessions are all available. Get your Johnny on! Sequined leotard optional. $3 admission, $3 skate rental. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine Sts., Downtown, www.myfountainsquare.com/icerink.
Holiday Lights on the Hill
Hours: 6-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 6-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday through Jan. 2, including holidays.
This spectacle has been a must see at the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park for 12 years running. Hundreds of light displays are pulled from storage every year to make this winter wonderland. Peruse around 75 pieces of monumental sculpture on 265 acres of rolling hills in one of the few outdoor sculpture museums in the United States. Again, pretty light. $10-$20 for most carloads. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road, Hamilton, 513-887-9514, www.pyramidhill.org.
The Tigerlilies at MOTR Pub
Bar opens at 8 p.m., show starts at 11 p.m. Dec. 25.
The new OTR bar that boasts live music every night makes no exception for Christmas Day. Cincinnati's legendary Rock foursome The Tigerlilies will serve up their hyper-melodic Rock & Roll for all the good girls and boys this holiday. Enjoy a few beers and some late night grub from MOTR's amazing menu. Merry Rockmas! No cover. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-MOTR, www.motrpub.com.
9 p.m.-2 a.m. Dec. 25.
Mix and mingle without the jingle. The Young Adult Division of the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati are hosting a happy hour Christmas night, a perfect opportunity drink and be merry with new and old friends. Bring "gelt" for the cash bar and raffle. The event is sponsored by YAD and Access. Bring a non-perishable food item for admission. The Avenue, 411 Madison Ave., Covington, 513-985-1527, 513-373-0300, http://www.jewishcincinnati.org/page.aspx?id=233611.
Holiday Train Display
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 31. Open Christmas Eve, closed Christmas Day.
Chug into the Duke Energy Headquarters for its 65th season of holiday train displays in the lobby. This free event showcases over 300 miniature train cars and engines. With over 1,000 feet of track, it’s one of the world’s largest model train layouts. Free. Duke Energy Office, 139 E. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-287-1500.