Tag Archives: christmas lights

Celebrating Christmas with a Tree, Durham Museum, Omaha, NE

29 Dec
Christmas tree at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Every Christmas most every home goes out to find a Christmas tree here in Siouxland. It’s not 100% but probably close. I personally sometimes get a tree, and other times not. Over the years even my cats have enjoyed having something “new” in the house they can play with as it suits them. Occasionally at night I will here something rolling about the floor and then scampering. Sometimes I will call out, and other times I just roll over and hope that I will find only one ornament displaced and not broken.

So visiting places like the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE is pleasant, and I can experience a giant of a Christmas tree that sits inside a former Union Station, a hub of activity during the early railroad days and up through the second world war when massive troop deployment cycled through the station. Now it houses a local museum and Christmas every year displays a grand tree. One of these days I would like to make it down for the evening tree lighting when pandemic life returns to some kind of safe environment and normalcy, whatever that may be.

Christmas tree at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas tree at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the museum gets lots of visitors who do the same as I. I couldn’t imagine the amount of pine needles that is cleaned up afterwards. My trees are generally small, but somehow leave behind an inordinate amount of needles to clean up. But a small price to pay to enjoy a special time of year the meanings and joy this symbol gives.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas tree at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas tree at the Durham Museum in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Merry and Bright in Siouxland, Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, NE

25 Dec
Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During the holiday seasons I try to visit various places because of the displays that one can see at them and the work that goes into making visitors appreciate and enjoy such displays. I must say I am never disappointed with what I have seen at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE. I can only guess that planning must start one to two years out as to what supplies, plants and other accoutrements are necessary for these delightful visions to take life.

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The indoors gardens this year became a visual light play and can only be really appreciated as the sun sets and the lights seen in a darkened environment. And the fascination someone has with train sets as each year the trains that might be running out of doors at a display do shorter runs indoors the during Christmas season.

And I find it a marvel what is done with plants to create various scenes holiday or not and give visitors a chance to walk through and enjoy a small world away from the white noise that seems to be everywhere these days, if only for an hour or two. A brief respite in time to be a child again.

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And sometimes I think the staff of the gardens can not possible out do what was done the year before and then am pleasantly surprised to enjoy a new experience and see how creatively plants can be used.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating with Christmas lighting at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, December 17, 2021. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Capturing Christmas Lights in Siouxland, Sioux City

15 Dec
Christmas lights decorate the front lawn of the Sioux City Public Museum with the Ho Chunk Centre in the background as the sun sets Saturday, Dec. 04, 2021 in downtown Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

During the holiday season around Christmas it’s always a challenge to capture images of Christmas lights and decorations hoping to show them at their best and not in total darkness. Like taking photographs of people during the golden hour, the same somewhat applies to photographing the holiday decorations. And then one hopes that nature works in your favor and you get a nice sunset to help set off the holiday lights. Being prepared and ready to always good. But in these cases, being lucky isn’t a bad thing.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A lit Christmas tree stands on the front lawn of the Sioux City Public Museum with the Ho Chunk Centre in the background Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lit Christmas tree stands on the front lawn of the Sioux City Public Museum with the Ho Chunk Centre in the background Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A lit Christmas tree stands on the front lawn of the Sioux City Public Museum with the Ho Chunk Centre in the background Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Lighting up the Holidays in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

18 Dec
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

On a chilly evening when I would prefer to be at home having coffee in a warm house, the lure and allure of seeing Christmas lights in Siouxland is always a strong pull for me to get outside, bundle up and enjoy.

This year because of the coronavirus pandemic the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve put up Christmas lights on walking paths instead of hosting its annual event where historical buildings on the property are opened up and children can visit Santa in its welcome center. And I always try my hand at capturing the lights. But sometimes it’s also fun to play with the light and just see shapes and designs.

Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I tried making a couple of exposures, one focused and the other slightly out handholding and guesstimating as best as I could my camera position. Basically making one exposure then racking the focus and making the second exposure. While maybe not totally successful, it was fun to see the results. Which I achieved through post processing by layering the two images and then blending them. Nothing ventured…..

Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I will be going out again to Adams Homestead to “hang out” with some fellow camera club photographers and will look to see what else I might find to experiment with and what kind of twist I can make on photographing these lights. One constant is that I go out 30-40 minutes earlier than my last trip as the sun keeps setting earlier which in my mind makes it easier to “brave the cold” while still enjoying the Christmas holiday.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Thursday evening, Dec. 10, 2020 in North Sioux City, South Dakota. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Holly, Jolly Christmas in Siouxland, Adams Homestead, North Sioux City, SD

6 Dec
A snowman greets visitors checking out the lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
The sun has already set as a lighted Christmas display comes on at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas celebrations in Siouxland as elsewhere takes on a different atmosphere this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Normally the Homestead would open its buildings up and upwards of a few thousand folk would pass through to visit and see Santa in the welcome center.

But Ranger Jody Moats this year decided it might be too risky for some folk and so with the help of volunteers strung a lot lights around the grounds allowing people to visit, outdoors and enjoy a Christmas light show.

Park Ranger Jody Moats poses by an angel as she becomes turning on Christmas light displays at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Well, Ranger Moats and the volunteers put up a lot of lights and it makes for a festive walk through which will change once a little snow settles onto the ground casting back some reflective white surfaces for the lights to shine above. The walk will be a destination for people wanting to enjoy the Christmas spirit and a chance to forget about current affairs as they cautiously enjoy the lighted scenes at Adams Homestead.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa


The schoolhouse is lit for a Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
A lighted Christmas display will greet visitors to the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve in North Sioux City, SD Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Strolling Through the Lights in Siouxland, Pioneer Village in Le Mars

4 Jan

I always enjoy strolling through the Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County fairgrounds during the Christmas holidays. It looks so much different than when seen during the county fair in the summer. Christmas lights and families walking about, even on cold or chilly nights looking at Christmas displays and visiting Santa before the big day.

Christmas lights light up Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Christmas lights light up Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Near the village is a round barn that is set up to display Christmas scenes and gives the chance for children of all ages to enjoy a remembrance from childhood or to make memories that will will carry into adulthood. Even when it is cold it’s hard not to linger and enjoy.

The entrance to the round barn near the Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Christmas villages on display at the Pioneer Village on the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Santa finds his way in the dark in a display at the round barn at the Pioneer Village on the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Near the village is another building with donated decorated Christmas trees where people can enjoy someone’s handiwork in creating such a delight which one can put in a silent auction bid while music plays in the background and local 4-H clubs pass out cookies and hot chocolate or coffee. Sugar rushes are always a nice side benefit to enjoying someone’s decorating attempts and the chance to savor the Christmas holiday for another day or so until next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas trees on display near the Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Christmas trees on display the Pioneer Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Seeing the Sparkle in Siouxland, Old Market, Omaha, NE

29 Dec

Christmas lights can be seen shining in the distance in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy seeing Christmas lights shining at night during the winter holiday season finding it makes life a little bit cheerier on those too early dark nights. Even with freezing or below freezing temperatures I force myself out to take a look.

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the Old Market in Omaha, NE the streets are lined with lights on trees, store fronts and even carriages that will take customers meandering through the brick streets and with eyes closed harken back to an earlier era.

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the recent above normal temperatures it was much more enjoyable to get out and stroll, enjoy the lights and dinner without sloshing through slush or snow while doing so. The lights and festive feel in the air will most likely be short-lived, which is sad, because the feeling of joy should last throughout the year giving people hope and faith that the world is a much better place than what so many people try to prove otherwise.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

The Festival of Trees in Siouxland, Sioux City

13 Dec

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The holiday season in Siouxland and other places provide a time to take stock of one’s place in life and current events and give some thanks for a good year and any kinds of blessings that occur. Most communities have various fund raisers taking place for various reasons throughout the year. During the Christmas holiday season organizations ask folk to decorate trees which are then auctioned and the proceeds go to one or more deserving, although all are, organizations locally which benefit from people bidding and those folk get a nicely decorated tree to see them through the holiday.

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Locally one such event occurs after a Lighted Parade and people can then go inside, warm up and see the creative decorations individuals and groups have used in decorating a tree. All the while a local dance company’s young “stars” perform and it makes a delightful evening of sharing and hopefully getting people into that Christmas spirit and again, giving one pause and a time to reflect and be grateful for all favors, large and small.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A Lighted Parade in Siouxland, Sioux City

7 Dec

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The Christmas holiday festivities have begun with many Siouxland communities. Lighted Parades, decorations and a feeling of Christmas cheer. While Christmas certainly is a commercial venture anymore, it’s pleasant to enjoy festivities as they are, coming together to celebrate a time of year for a promise that exceeds all worldly cares and dreams and a chance to once again be a child oneself. And to see children excited with anticipation and maybe a hope for a better time ahead.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

a the Sioux City Lighted Parade and events in Ho Chunk Center Monday evening, in downtown Sioux City, IowaNov. 25, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Enjoying a Lingering Siouxland Christmas, Sioux City

17 Feb

While out for a walk recently during a snow fall I saw a neighbor still had some Christmas lights up. People in Siouxland like their holidays. Many decorate their homes around a holiday theme with some already putting up red stringed lights for Valentines Day. But I was glad to see these Christmas lights as I neared home. Reminding me of the season and the phrase of “leaving a light on in the window” so as to guide a traveler to a destination. And to add a little light to a somewhat dreary day.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Even though it’s after Christmas, some neighbors have left a few outdoor lights up and it adds a nice ambience while walking around the neighborhood in Sioux City, Iowa Sunday, Jan. 22, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

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