Still not sure what to give your kids for the holidays this year? How about the chance to hang out with Santa Claus and throw the switch on 20,000 Christmas lights?
That's the grand prize in Birmingham's Santa contest, which is offering only lucky family the chance to help Kris Kringle light up the city's Christmas tree during the annual tree-lighting ceremony on Nov. 21.
What does the contest involve? Not much at all, according to the Principal Shopping District (PSD), which is hosting the contest. Entrants need only visit www.enjoybirmingham.com and enter your family's names, addresses, ages and phone number.
The winning family will have the opportunity to enjoy hot cocoa, cookies and gifts with Santa at the Townsend Hotel. You and four of your guests will then ride with Santa in a horse-drawn carriage to the tree-lighting ceremony in Shain Park, where you'll help throw the switch and make Shain Park dazzle. the winning family will also receive a gift certificate to a Birmingham restaurant.
This year's tree-lighting ceremony promises to be extra special, PSD Executive Director John Heiney said, as it's the first year for Birmingham's new artificial, 35-foot-tall Christmas tree, approved by the city commission on Sept. 24.
"This year's tree lighting will be more magical than any other, thanks to our brand new holiday tree," said Heiney. "We look forward to offering our popular Santa Contest again and making the holiday season more special for one lucky family."
Birmingham's tree-lighting ceremony is the traditional start of the holiday season in Birmingham, with student carolers, performances from the Birmingham Straw Hat Band, hot drinks and more.
The event also marks the official welcome of Santa to Birmingham, as well as the opening of the Santa House in Shain Park. Young ones can visit Santa everyday at his North Pole outpost through Dec. 24.
The Birmingham tree-lighting ceremony will start at 6 p.m. Nov. 21 in Shain Park. The tree will be located in the currently-empty fountain. Families have through Nov. 15 to enter.