Here we are, the last few days before Christmas and everyone's getting into the spirit of the season.

Well, most of us are getting into the spirit of Christmas.

If you've spent a little too much time waiting at red lights, searching for parking spaces and dealing with crowds of people all trying to buy the same Christmas gift you are and your enthusiasm for the holidays could use a jump start here are a couple of ideas to put you - and everyone with you - in the proper mood.

Both are outside, so you get to feel the chill of the air on your face, both are unique to Wichita Falls and both are perfect family outing or even an interesting date.

The MSU - Burns Fantasy of Lights on the Midwestern State University campus and ElectriCritters at River Bend Nature Center are two of my favorite seasonal activities.

I had the chance to scope out the MSU - Burns Fantasy of Lights Sunday evening and there were plenty of people there.

Maybe it was because the evening was so mild, but there seemed to be a lot more people walking through than driving through, and that’s the best way to experience the display. There are so many units that move, play music, or even tell Christmas stories that you can’t fully appreciate the display from your car. The Fantasy of Lights is free, but toss a buck or two into the donation box while you’re there, these displays require quite a bit of maintenance and upkeep from year to year. The display is open from 6:00 to 10:00pm Monday through Thursday evenings and 6:00 to 11:00pm Friday through Sunday evenings through January 1st, 2012.

The ElectriCritters display at River Bend Nature Center is another great Christmas activity for the whole family. Unlike the Fantasy of Lights, ElectriCritters is only open on weekends during the holiday season and the final two evenings are this week Thursday and Friday night, they will not be open on Christmas Eve.

It does cost $5 to tour the display ($4 if you buy your tickets in advance), but your kids will LOVE it! There are dozens of Electric light Critters (ElectriCritters, get it?) positioned along the paved walking trail, you can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, sip on a cup of hot cider or cocoa, and there are even story tellers in the covered wagon. Lonestar’s Joshua David and I will be there reading Christmas stories from around the world this Friday night so come on out and listen to a tale or two while you enjoy the display.

If you’ve got relatives coming into Wichita Falls from other places, either of these would be great things to do to show off some of the unique aspects of our fair city.

Whatever your holiday traditions are, we hope your Christmas will be merry and your New Year will be bright.

Dave D.