The holiday season comes and goes too fast each year. In between stressful shopping trips and high-calorie parties, stopping to enjoy the festivities of the season is a must. In Minnesota, holiday festivals and celebrations are a chance to appreciate the traditional and memorable events that surround the holidays. Start a tradition this year by attending Minnesota’s best holiday parties.

(credit: CBS)

The Minneapolis Holidazzle Parade
Nicollet Mall between 12th St. and 4th St.
Minneapolis, MN 55402
(612) 376-7669

Dates: Nov. 23 through Dec. 23, 2012

A celebrated tradition in downtown Minneapolis, the Holidazzle Parade has been an ongoing event since 1992. This year the parade will be enjoying its 20th year and featuring more guests and entertainment than in years past. Each night of the parade introduces a different grand marshall leading the parade of various Minnesota favorites. Check out the parade more than once from the streets, skyways or numerous reservable “hot seats.” The parade travels down the beautifully lit Nicollet Mall from 12th Street to 4th Street and runs Thursdays through Sundays starting at 6:30 p.m.

(credit: CBS)

Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy
The Cowles Center
528 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
(612) 206-3636

Dates: Dec. 14-24, 2012

The Nutcracker ballet has been performed all over the world and is a fantastic holiday event for lovers of dance, music and theatre. Danced to the classic music of Tchaikovsky, the Nutcracker ballet can be seen at the Minnesota Dance Institute this year throughout the month of December. Enjoy the adventures of Marie and her beloved Nutcracker as they travel to the Kingdom of the Sugar Plum Fairy. “Loyce Houlton’s Nutcracker Fantasy” has been performed in Minnesota for the past 40 years and continues to be a favorite tradition for all ages.

Related: Best Places To See Ballet In Minnesota

(photo credit: Thinkstock)

Holiday Music Festival at Mall of America
Mall of America
8100 24th Ave. S.
Bloomington, MN 55425
(952) 883-8800

Dates: Nov. 26 through Dec. 23, 2012

The Mall of America is welcoming musical talent to the Sears Court side to entertain holiday shoppers throughout the season. Orchestras, bands and choirs will perform daily in front of beautiful trees and festive decor. Let the holiday music get you in the mood for some shopping or stop and see Santa Claus at the entrance to Nickelodeon Universe after enjoying the free concert. The schedule of performances varies daily so stop back often for a variety of entertainment.

(credit: Guthrie Theater)

A Christmas Carol
Guthrie Theater
818 S. 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 377-2224

Dates: Nov. 13 through Dec. 29, 2012

Enjoy watching Ebeneezer Scrooge discover the true meaning of Christmas in this classic performance of Charles Dickens’ novel. The Guthrie Theater is performing an updated version of “A Christmas Carol” this year that is sure to be a hit. The Guthrie venue is known for its beautiful location and architecture as well as its highly acclaimed performances and professional staff. Most of the audiences who see a play here for the first time make it a point to return.

Related2012 Minnesota Holiday Theater Preview

Macy’s 8th Floor Holiday Display
Macy’s Minneapolis
700 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Dates: Nov. 17- Dec. 24, 2012 during store hours

Macy’s in downtown Minneapolis created a Christmas tradition over 50 years ago with its annual holiday display in the 8th-floor auditorium. Each holiday season, Macy’s creates an animated Santaland for visitors to tour throughout the holidays. There have been many themes over the years, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Wizard of Oz and the Velveteen Rabbit. This year “A Day in the Life of the Elf” prevails and shoppers can visit Santa’s workshop and Mrs. Claus’s kitchen. Santa himself is at the end of the display to visit with children and families.

Andrea Wodele is a freelance writer who has lived in the Twin Cities for eight years. She loves covering all things Minnesota and her work can be found on