The official start of the holidays is just around the corner, so let's take a look at the five best things about celebrating in Tuscaloosa. 

1. Taking a stroll down the Tinsel Trail

The Tinsel Trail is my favorite festive tradition. I love taking my daughter to see the beautifully decorated trees along the River Walk outside of the Tuscaloosa River Market and the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. It's totally free--and if I am being 100% honest here, just driving past the trees when I am on Jack Warner Parkway puts me in a better mood.

2. Going ice skating at Holidays on the River

I grew up watching all these classic holiday flicks like Home Alone where people get to ice skate outdoors and always felt very bummed that I'd never get the opportunity to do so here in Alabama. Thanks to today's technology--and a little Christmas music--it's possible now at Holidays on the River, and it is SO. MUCH. FUN.

3. Watching the West Alabama Christmas Parade

It's not Christmas until PARA's annual West Alabama Christmas Parade. There's something so special about seeing all the floats, cars and trucks decorated for the parade--and it's awesome to see the looks of wonder on the faces of kids lined up along Greensboro Avenue and University Boulevard.

4. Getting into the holiday spirit at University Mall

Taking the kids to see Santa at Center Court is a time-honored tradition, and it's also a great idea to take the family to check out the Salvation Army's Angel Tree and "adopt" a child in need. I love taking those shopping lists and buying all I can to help make a kid's Christmas wishes come true.

5. Adding more sparkle Coach Saban's Trophy Case

We should be bringing home another trophy after the SEC championship in ATL in December, and by January I'm hoping to see another shiny golden natty trophy in that case!