LIGHT UP THE SEASON
Load the kids in the car and take a magical nighttime drive through Bright Nights at Forest Park in Springfield. New England’s holiday lighting extravaganza, set along a three-mile driving route through the historic park, features numerous exhibits such as Seuss Land (honoring Springfield native Theodor Seuss Geisel), Jurassic World, Toy Land, and more. (Through Jan. 5, $18-$21 per auto; online coupon offers $3 discount.) Additional activities include photos with Santa, horse-drawn wagon and carriage rides, suppers with Santa, and dinner with Dickens featuring Victorian-era carolers and a reading of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” (Various dates through Dec. 24; $8-$54.)
BOSTON HARBOR HOLIDAY CRUISES
Celebrate the holidays on one of Entertainment Cruises Boston’s specialty harbor voyages. The Odyssey, Spirit of Boston, and Seaport Elite II offer festive experiences for every age, group, and budget. Enjoy a yuletide lunch, dinner, or cocktail cruise with co-workers or your family while taking in the sights of Boston’s dynamic skyline. Kid-friendly and adult-only themed cruises feature everything from sitting on Santa’s lap to sipping sangria to donning your ugliest holiday sweater (and winning a prize). Available at various dates and times throughout December, $26.90-$165. 866-836-3463, www.entertainmentcruises.com/city/Boston/home
WILDERNESS NEW YEAR’S EVE
Ring in the New Year in wilderness style at one of four eco-lodges managed by Maine Huts & Trails, a nonprofit organization overseeing more than 50 miles of trails in western Maine. All four huts will serve champagne to overnight guests. In addi-tion, Stratton Brook Hut will host an organic holiday meal including soups, salads, beef bourguignon, dessert, and a variety of side dishes, along with beer, wine, and champagne (Jan. 31,
6 p.m.). Pack light to hike or ski from the trailhead to your accommodations. All huts feature hot showers, toilets, heated bunkrooms, plus dinner and breakfast. New Year’s Eve rates: Adults $109/bed, 12 and under $64/bed; private room $329. 207-265-2400, www.mainehuts.org
ROCK WITH RONNIE IN NEW YORK
Don your “ringa-linga-linga-ding-dong-ding” bells and a Santa hat, and shake it up at Ronnie Spector’s “Best Christmas Party Ever” at B. B. King’s Blues Club & Grill (8 p.m., Dec. 22). Spector, the former lead singer of the 1960s hit-making girl group The Ronettes brings her signature Christmas party to New York for a 13th year. Rock along to renditions of “Frosty the Snowman,” “Sleigh Ride,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” and more. Limited seating offered on a first-come basis. Full dinner menu available. All ages welcome. Tickets $43 in advance, $47 day of show.
Calling all adventure travelers: Europetoo is launching a new seven-day tour of the Lapland region of northern Finland. Witness the aurora borealis, guide your own team of sled dogs on a husky safari, and cruise the northern Gulf of Bothnia aboard an ice-breaking vessel where you’ll have the opportunity to jump in the sea and float — wearing a warm survival suit. The itinerary also includes a King Crab Safari, a visit to Santa Claus Village, five nights’ accommodations in first-class hotels, one night’s accommodations in a glass igloo in Kakslauttanen, and more. $2,699 per person, double occupancy. Departures: Jan. 12-18, Feb. 16-22, and March 9-15, and 23-29.
Gary Bembridge, a self-confessed cruise addict, has written a definitive guide for those considering their first sea-bound voyage. “The Cruise Traveler’s Handbook” addresses common myths and misconceptions, and provides advice and tips on how to explore the world from the water, including ocean, river, and canal cruising. Topics include how to choose the right type of cruise, cruise line, and cabin; when cruising is better than land-based vacations; main destinations you can cruise to, and whom they are best for; how to get the most out of your time on board; and more. Kindle $9.99, paperback $16.99. http://amzn.to/1a0zMmH
RUGGED CELLPHONE CASES
Do you worry about damaging your smartphone while you’re biking, bungee jumping, deep sea diving, or simply racing for your flight? Protect your
i-Phone 5 with Ballistic’s new Hydra series case. Crafted to meet military specs, Hydra offers rugged high-impact protection against falls up to eight feet. Easy-access port covers and waterproof meshes provide protection from dust, dirt, and sand. Phone can be submerged in water up to seven feet deep for up to 30 minutes. $79.99. Sturdy cases for other brands and
devices available. 954-832-3502, www.goballisticcase.com