Derryberry: Make time before finals to enjoy the holiday season in Lawrence

Whether they know it or not, I am in a seasonal war with the hipsters and sorority girls of this town. We all have different reasons for taking part in this battle, but despite their supposed needs, they need to back off and quit taking all the ugly Christmas sweaters. It happens every year, and although it may be caused by my poor planning, I can’t find any ‘80s knit sweaters featuring snowmen, reindeer or Santa. How else am I to stay warm this winter, attend Ugly Xmas parties and take awkward family photos? These itchy, steamy, smelly fashion statements have become a hot commodity in college towns, gathering quite the following of moustached hipsters, theme-party-planning socialites and at least one weekend column writer. So for all of us who missed out, we’ll just have to live through others’ ironic joy. Luckily, even though the holidays are a few weeks away and I’m sweater-less, Lawrence is abuzz with Christmas spirit this weekend and there’s plenty to bring out the good cheer in us all.

Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like awkward family photos, ugly sweaters and fake Christmas trees. Lawrence offers a unique mix of traditional holiday festivities and ironic fun, so be on the lookout this weekend for an early celebration of winter.

Saturday is a busy day for the holly jolly residents of Lawrence. Starting at 2 p.m., the town is hosting the Ugly Sweater Run, a 5k for those who like to run or just like to wear the sought-after sweaters. The starting line has snow machines and your favorite Christmas tunes blasting, and once runners are done, those of age can enjoy Sam Adams Winter Lager, a sponsor of the race. Same-day sign-up is a bit pricey at $40, but if nothing else, you can go watch and cheer on the joyous joggers as they make their way around town. The race starts at Watson Park at 7th and Tennessee, so come celebrate the holidays and ugly sweaters.

If you’re like me and running has always seemed more like punishment than pleasure, don’t worry: There are still plenty of non-exercise-related activities. This Saturday also marks the 20th annual Lawrence Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade. Featuring horse-drawn carriages, cowboys and, of course, Santa Claus, this unique spin on Christmas parades should be a lot of fun. The Eldridge is also offering a breakfast before the parade, so if you can manage to pull yourself out of bed between 7 and 11 a.m., stop by for a tasty start to the day. The parade begins strolling down Massachusetts Street at 11 a.m., so get there early for a good spot and be sure to bring something warm to drink.

Christmas time goes hand in hand with gift buying, so be sure to check out all of the unique sales going on, too. Sure, your siblings may want some new video game, and your parents could go for a nice bottle of wine, but take a different route this year and give them a unique handmade gift from a local artist or seller. The Lawrence Arts Center and Douglas County Fairgrounds are both having fairs this weekend, so check in to see if something fills a spot on your gift list.

The winter holidays always offer fun times, but trust Lawrence to offer unique twists on more seasonal traditions as the month goes on. We’re nearing the end of the semester, so fun times are coming few and far between. However, don’t forget to make some time to enjoy the holidays before you head off for break. Whether it’s walking down Massachusetts Street and enjoying the lights or drinking too much eggnog in a garishly pink Christmas sweater, make sure your holiday is a happy one.

  • Updated Nov. 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm
  • Edited by Megan Hinman