We strolled through Christmas past, present and future yesterday on a post-Packer game trip to see Bruce the Spruce and the Green Bay Botanical Garden.
Do you remember Bruce the Spruce? I do. For me he is the ghost of Christmas past, a large, somewhat terrifying tree that stood at the entrance of the children’s floor at Prange’s Department store and carried on actual conversations with kids braver than I.
Seeing Bruce the Spruce brought back all kinds of memories of Christmas in Appleton back in the ’70s when the Gimbels Department Store anchored one end of the Avenue of Angels, Pranges anchored the other with Kresge’s five and dime in the middle.
My sister Kathy and I enjoyed reminiscing about those days when a kid could hop a bus with her friends and head downtown to shop and eat french fries at the drugstore counter.
We left the Neville nostalgia and headed west to the Green Bay Botanical Gardens and, let me tell you, Christmas future did not disappoint.
You can choose to view the lights via horse-drawn carriage or on your own two feet but we were already deep into our maiden hike through the garden of lights before we even realized we had that option.
Walking was better for us anyway because we like to move at a pretty good clip and one of us has an annoying habit of stopping randomly to take photos.
Still, we loved our quick visit and we highly recommend either the walk or the carriage ride. Hot chocolate and a cool bon fire await both trekkers and riders.
If you do plan to go to the Green Bay Botanical Garden to see their glorious light show, we have a tip for you. Go early. They open the doors before the advertised 5 p.m. start, so if you arrive a little early you can score a spot in the main lot and get to the exhibit ahead of the crowds. You can also save time by purchasing your tickets ahead of time online.
Our spontaneous trip through Christmas past and future made us even more excited to celebrate Christmas present.