While it wouldn't feel like the holidays without Cincinnati favorites like the Ballet's Nutcracker and the Zoo's Festival of Lights, it might help to create new family traditions this year.
So, bundle up the kids and hit the road for some fun off the beaten path.
Head east to Maysville on Dec. 3, and you'll be greeted with spectacular floats, marching bands and, of course, Santa. Maysville's Twilight Christmas Parade begins at 6 p.m. on East Second at Bridge Street and is certain to entertain the whole family. Downtown Maysville, Ky. (606) 564-9419 or www.cityofmaysville.com.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
From Maysville, turn the car onto old U.S. 68 and lose yourself in the 1780s pioneer village of historic Washington, Ky. About an hour and 15 minutes away, "Old Washington" offers a Christmas festival unlike any other. With candle-lit windows, costumed carolers, holidays tunes played on dulcimers, banjos and fiddles, the 43rd Annual Frontier Christmas Festival on Dec. 4-5 will make you nostalgic for the days of yore. Washington, Ky. (606) 759-7411 or www.washingtonky.com.
Over the River and Through the Woods
For beautifully crafted, handmade gifts, head two hours west to Nashville, Ind. From Nov. 13 until Jan. 3, the village transforms into a one-stop shop for holiday fun.
Take part in a chocolate walk Nov. 13, a gingerbread competition Nov. 21-28, or a winter art and craft fair Nov. 26-27. Then, Dec. 3, it's time for the Santa train and Christmas story time. And, in Nashville, every day is a shopping day. Browse the 150 shops and galleries that line downtown, then grab coffee or hot chocolate from one of the cafés. Nashville, Ind. (800) 753-3255 or www.christmasinbrowncounty.com.
Home Away from Home
If it's a night's getaway you're looking for, try the charming accommodations provided by the Grinnell Mill Bed & Breakfast just east of Dayton in Yellow Springs. The restored mill provides a scenic respite from the holiday craziness and a home-cooked breakfast every morning. 3536 Bryan Park Road, Yellow Springs. (937) 767-9108 or www.grinnellmill.com
For something closer to home, check out Winterfair at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center Nov. 26-28. Produced by the nonprofit guild Ohio Designer Craftsmen and featuring works by more than 200 artists, the show covers a variety of mediums. Visitors can also shop for natural soaps and lotions, or packaged foods, such as salsas, roasted almonds, hams, soup mixes and dips. Northern Kentucky Convention Center, One W. RiverCenter Blvd., Covington. (859) 261-1500 or www.nkycc.com