1. Scuba SantaThe reining mascot of campy Santa-centric events has to be Scuba Santa. The concept is simple: Santa dons a red-and-white wet suit, dives in with the fish (and turtles, and whatever else might be hanging around), and reads ‘Twas the Night before Christmas. There are also some underwater shenanigans with reindeer and an elf, and kids can take their letters to Santa’s Post Office. newportaquarium.com
2. Light up the LeveeThis time of year, the Levee Riverwalk is a Clark Griswold-style wall of light. Event organizers clocked 1,000 man-hours to hang more than a million bulbs (some perspective: that’s about half what the entire zoo puts up for the Festival of Lights) onto a 30-foot tree, a six-foot-tall Star of Bethlehem tree topper, and multiple teenager-sized snowflakes. Then they synchronized the whole display to a soundtrack of Christmas tunes. Overkill? Maybe. But it’s also a bit of free fun. newportonthelevee.com/events/details.aspx?id=7843. Cincinnati SantaconAs in Santaconvention. As in a gathering of like-minded Santaphiles, all of whom are dressed the part. But the gimmick is this: On the morning of the event, participants will receive a text with a location, upon which they will then descend en masse to cheer and amuse unsuspecting bystanders. December 8, myfountainsquare.com/2012-santacon-eat-drink-be-santa/4. Rappeling SantaDuring Macy’s Downtown Dazzle, visitors to Fountain Square will see a truly unique sight: Santa Claus himself will rappel down the 525 Vine Building to the Macy’s rooftop, where he will be welcomed (hopefully without incident) by a fireworks show. December 8 on Fountain Square, http://myfountainsquare.com/event/macys-downtown-dazzle-2/2012-12-08/5. Shillito’s ElvesNothing says Christmas cheer like animatronic elves. Adults of a certain age will fondly remember the original department store window elves; children will delight in the colorful winter wonderland. And an old tradition will become new again. Newport on the Levee, shillitoselves.com/
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