That's why I make it a point to take at least one stroll each year through Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens, which switched on over the weekend for its abbreviated moment in the darkness. In this short-day season of SAD, it's the best cure I know for the holiday dumps. And they have HoloSpex.
The DBG's million lights are spectacular and fetching, enhancing the organic shapes of the winter trees, grasses and gardens in wholesomely unnatural ways. The chill in the air makes you walk a little faster and a shot of hot chocolate makes it pretty near perfect, whether or not you choose to smooch someone in the discreet kissing spots provided under mistletoed archways. All at once, it's beautiful, spooky and a holiday safe-haven for the little kid within every one of us, and the season just wouldn't be right without it. Turn off all reason and sense, and get out there while you can.
Blossoms of Light is open nightly from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., including Christmas and New Year's Eve, through New Year's Day. For a slightly more rustic experience, there's also Trail of Lights out at the DBG at Chatfield, which is also open through January 1, but open Wednesdays through Sundays only. Prices at both venues range from $4.50 to $9.50; find more details at www.botanicgardens.org.
Dec. 2-Jan. 1, 5:30-9:30 p.m., 2011