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Charles Stewart
Erin Stewart's children take in the millions of light at Christmas in Color.

For all you good girls and boys who waited patiently for that last piece of pumpkin pie to be eaten before cranking up the Christmas carols, your time has come. So bust out the garland and the 10 boxes of Christmas décor in the basement and get ready to squeeze every last drop of jolly out of the month of December.

I love everything about the Christmas season, from the carols to the gifts to the fact that it looks like Santa threw holiday cheer across my living room. Most of all, I love the traditions we have as a family of going to see lights, shows and nativities leading up to Dec. 25.

Here are some of our favorite local Utah attractions that have become part of our family’s December traditions:

• Christmas lights: I am a sucker for Christmas lights and music. This year we’ve already kicked-off the season at the Christmas in Color drive-through light show in South Jordan. My kids squealed as we drove under the mile-long show’s several tunnels made of lights. The timing to the music on the accompanying radio station was spot-on, and the light-diffracting glasses made the lights even that much more exciting. Visit christmasincolor.net for more information about the show, which runs until Dec. 30 in South Jordan and Provo. (If you go, get 15 percent off by using code just4momsincolor). Check out the many other light shows in the area in "30+ places to see Christmas lights in Utah" at deseretnews.com.

Luminaria: My family and I attended the inaugural year of this walk-through light show last year and loved it. Walking through the twinkling lights and seeing live reindeer was fun, but the best part was the “Light of the World” statue garden where large bronzed figures depict scenes from Jesus Christ’s life. Although there is no manger scene, the quiet of the garden with lantern lights lining the path through His life was a welcome moment of reflection in the busy Christmas season.

Temple Square: Whether you’re a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not, Temple Square is a great way to mix the beauty of Christmas light displays with the spiritual side of Christmas. Walk through the lights, and then stop inside the visitor’s center to learn more about the babe born in the manger.

• "The Nutcracker": Each year, I take my kids to see a version of the Nutcracker. We’ve seen puppet shows, professional ballets and community dance troupes. This year, we’ll be watching the holiday classic at the Covey Center for the Arts, and last year we enjoyed the show put on by the Utah Artists School of Ballet. I always invite my children to be my dates for the evening by giving them a nutcracker of their own in the form of an ornament, a book or an actual wooden nutcracker.

Each December, my girls take their special nutcrackers out of the box and remember the year they got each one and the time we spent together. I think that’s why I can hardly wait to begin the holiday traditions each year because no matter if we’re driving under light tunnels, watching the Sugar Plum Fairy, or just hanging ornaments on the tree, each act is wrapped up in memories of years, Christmases and loved ones gone by.

What local holiday events have become part of your family's Christmas traditions?

Erin Stewart is a regular blogger for Deseret News. From stretch marks to the latest news for moms, she discusses it all while her daughters dive-bomb off the couch behind her and her young son wins hearts with his dimples.