Making Spirits Bright
Happy Holidays 2015: The Fifth Season of the Arboretum

Poinsettia TreePoinsettia Tree, Land of Gingerbread Display, Visits/Photos with Santa & More!

'Tis the season for celebrating the serenity of winter beauty, the gifts of family and friends ... and childlike wonder.

The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum presents "Making Spirits Bright," a season of Gingerbread, visits with Santa, a 20-ft. Poinsettia Tree, live music, outdoor lights on the buildings and trees and live evergreen trees decorated in natural ornaments. Making Spirits Bright runs Nov. 27-Jan. 3. (Need another reason to visit?  The Arboretum offers free gate admission every Thursday, November through March.)  
Here are details of this special season:

Land of Gingerbread: See whimsical Gingerbread Houses created especially for the Arboretum by local bakeries. Plus, replicas of Arboretum buildings such as the Berens Cabin and the AppleHouse made by Arboretum staff. Find flocks of Gingerbread Turkeys on the loose throughout the Visitor Center. You can even enroll in a Traditional Gingerbread House Workshop

Live Poinsettia Tree:  Feast your eyes on this stunning "tree" that has become a holiday tradition - comprised of hundreds of live red poinsettias with white "ribbon" accents - soaring to the ceiling timbers of the Oswald Visitor Center's Great Hall with glass-art snowflake sculpture created by artist Craig Mitchell Smith above. 

Great Hall of Trees Tradition Expanded: As always, visitors can enjoy several live evergreen trees decorated with Gingerbread and natural ornaments in the Great Hall. Adding to that tradition will be a fully-lighted tree in the center island outside the Visitor Center; a Snyder Building tree, and a "Please Decorate Me Tree" in the Cafe, that guests can either bring an ornament to decorate, or make one on site during our Photos With Santa sessions.

Trees generously provided by Jan's Sand Country Trees. Thank you!

Holiday Live Music: To celebrate the season, talented local musical groups will perform traditional favorites and new tunes in the Oswald Visitor Center. All performances are free with gate admission.  Most weekends feature live holiday music including:

  • Saturday, Nov. 28, Minnesota Chorale, 11-11:30 a.m. and Noon-12:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Nov. 29, Celebration Brass, 1:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 12: Minnetonka Chamber Choir, 11 -11:30 a.m. and Noon-12:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 12: Annual 'Messiah' Sing-Along with the Minnetonka Association of Music, 2-4 p.m. (in MacMillan Auditorium).  All voices welcome!
  • Sunday, Dec. 13: Jazz on the Prairie share holiday classics, 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 19, Arbor Bells bell choir, 11 a.m., Great Hall
  • Saturday, Dec. 19, F Sharp, 1 p.m., Great Hall

Live music sponsored by Ovation Orthodontics
Smiles by Hoxie, Waki & Lee

Santa at the ArbVisits and Photos with Santa: Youngsters can visit with Santa Claus and have photos taken!

Santa's Schedule for Kids:

Saturday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Visitor Ctr.
Saturday, Dec. 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Balcony, Visitor Ctr.
Saturday, Dec. 19, 1-4 p.m., Balcony, Visitor Ctr.

Saturday, Dec. 19, Breakfast with Santa, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for those registered guests. More Information

Sunday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Visitor Ctr., Main Floor (also offering Pet Photos with Santa)

Santa's Special Pet Edition:

Sunday, Dec. 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Visitor Ctr., Main Floor (also offering Kids Photos with Santa)

Various sizes and format options available starting at $5, including keepsakes such as magnets and ornaments. No reservations, simply come when it suits your schedule! Photography provided by Little Saints Photography.

The Arboretum thanks these generous sponsors:

Ovation Orthodontics
Smiles by Hoxie, Waki & Lee

Tailwind Pediatric Dentistry

Holiday StoryTimes at the Trees: Bring the family to hear some of the favorite stories of the holidays read by Arboretum staff and volunteers at the base of the trees in the Great Hall. on Saturdays, Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12, 19 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Holiday Teas: Enjoy a delightful tea with friends and family...and start (or continue) a holiday tradition. Menu includes freshly baked scones, sweets and savories and a delicious trifle. Tea with lemon and cream served throughout. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Dec. 1-22, 2:30-4 p.m. Snyder Building Tea Room. (Also: traditional tea on Nov. 11 and Jan. 13). Register.


Holiday Sale Weekend: Three popular holiday sales take place Dec. 5-6 at the Arboretum (with the Auxiliary sale starting early on Dec. 4).  

  • Auxiliary Holiday Sale, Friday-Sunday, Dec. 4-6, in Snyder Bldg. Auditorium. Shop for handmade treasures –holiday wreaths to textile arts & more. Proceeds benefit the Arboretum. Friday & Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. More Information
  • 'Artistry of Nature' Art Sale. Dec. 5-6. Shop for handcrafted greeting cards, artwork, photography and more –created by members of the Arboretum Photographers Society and Arboretum adult art students. Sat. 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Visitor Center. More Information
  • Minnesota Herb Society Winter Sale.  Dec. 5-6. Shop for handmade herbal gifts created by the MN Herb Society. Saturday, Dec. 5, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 6, 10 a.m-4 p.m. Visitor Center.
  • Plus, Members' Double Discount Days runs Nov. 27-Dec. 6 at the Arboretum Gift Store. (Members receive 20 percent off all regularly priced items.) Visitor Center.

Holiday Bright! Give a gift from the Arboretum. Special holiday gifts for your gift list ranging from WILD (bird feeders and more) to WHIMSY (home decor) to YUMMY (delicious treats).

Child's Play in the Cafe:  Watch for a special kid-friendly space, where they can play pretend "Cafe" or do holiday coloring pages...under the watchful eye of parents and grandparents.

Plant-Maker Studio: Every Saturday & Sunday, Noon-4 p.m. (drop-in basis), Learning Center. December theme: "Evergreen Wonders." Keep your spirits bright with evergreen and cone crafts! Free with gate. More Information.

Art at the Arboretum: 

  • "Minnesota Masters," featuring four local master painters, through Dec. 31, Reedy Gallery.  PLUS!! Meet the Artist/Demo Series Nov. 27 (Catherine Hearding) and Dec. 12 (Bruce Miller), 1-3 p.m. More Information.
  • "Center of Gravity III" now through Jan. 1, Cafe Gallery. PLUS!! Artist demos with rock-balancing master Peter Juhl, Saturdays, Nov. 28 (Visitor Center balcony), Dec. 5 (Teaching Classroom), Dec. 19 (balcony), 10 a.m.-Noon. More Information.

Sunday Supper: Enjoy classic comfort foods – served family style – at Sunday Supper in the Arboretum Restaurant. Offered Nov. 15, Dec. 20 and Jan. 17, from 4 to 6 p.m.  $19.99; children 8 & under eat free! Includes gate fee if only visiting for Supper. Reservations strongly suggested, call ahead at 612-626-3951. More Information.

Gingerbread HouseTraditional Gingerbread House Workshop: Celebrate the Arboretum's "Land of Gingerbread" holiday theme by creating a traditional gingerbread house! Single participants or duo pairs will be encouraged to play with their food using fresh-baked gingerbread (no cardboard-boxed kits) in this fun workshop that includes sampling, assembly and wow-worthy decorating. Saturday, Dec. 19, 12:30-3:30 p.m. More Information.

Floral Arranging Classes: Make a Thanksgiving Centerpiece class, Nov. 21, 9:30 a.m.-Noon. Or Create a Holiday Wreath class, Dec. 5, 9:30-Noon. Or Make-and-Take Holiday Mantlepiece Design and Garland Construction, Dec. 12, 9:30 a.m.-Noon. More Information.

Arboretum Outdoors! with Hoigaard's:  Guided snowshoe tours with Arboretum staff and Hoigaard's, who will provide complimentary use of equipment. Friday, Dec. 18, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.  Visitor Center. Free with gate admission. More Information.

Walks with Matt: The Arboretum on Ice: Saturday, Dec. 19, with naturalist Matt Schuth. 10 a.m.-noon. Naturalist Matt Schuth will begin with a show-and-tell about winter flora and fauna, then lead guests outdoors to see them in their winter form. More Information.

Ar-BRR-etum: Thursday, Dec. 31. Free gate admission for skiers and snowshoers all day.  Snowshoes also are available for rental at the Visitor Center info desk. Cross-country skiers please bring your own equipment. Self-guided tours. Hot chocolate and holiday treats available in the Cafe.

Make the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum your holiday destination!  For more details on any of the above events, check the website at or call 952-443-1400.

Arboretum Gift Card

The perfect holiday gift for the person on your list who has most everything … Arboretum Gift Cards, in your choice of denominations starting from $10, $25, $50, $100 or more. Order online or by phone at 612-301-7619 and have gift cards shipped OR pick up at the Gift & Garden Store. 

Arboretum Gift Cards can be redeemed at the Gift & Garden Store, Arboretum Cafe ...and also used towards admission, memberships, children's and adult classes. Plus, they never expire and can be used all year-long.

Holiday Bonus! For every $100 in Gift Cards purchased, receive a complimentary $25 Gift Card.

Note: a portion of gift store purchases support the Arboretum.