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Holiday magic: Ending the season at Cambria Christmas Market

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It was the eve before Christmas Eve, and guys, I was not feeling it.

Due to an unseasonably busy December, I hadn't gotten around to putting up many festive ornaments, never mind an entire tree. In the days past, I had managed to be quarrelsome with loved ones. In the days ahead, Santa would bring me the phlegmiest cough with limited breathing for Christmas, and my mom, perhaps in a fit of seasonal affective disorder, would forbid all cooking and order sushi (that last part ended up being rad). Ho, ho, ho, indeed.

MERRY AND BRIGHT The tunnel of lights at the V.C. Cambria Christmas Market is a popular spot for photos and is the inspiration for many a festive Instagram post. - PHOTO BY RYAH COOLEY
  • Photo By Ryah Cooley
  • MERRY AND BRIGHT The tunnel of lights at the V.C. Cambria Christmas Market is a popular spot for photos and is the inspiration for many a festive Instagram post.

Still, on the night of Dec. 23, my boyfriend and I went to the Cambria Christmas Market, because damn it, those tickets are non-refundable and cost $22 a pop after online processing fees.

Last year, I'd gone earlier in the month and was kind of bummed I'd waited so long to make it happen this go round, but I was hopeful that the twinkling splendor would work its magic and reignite the Christmas spirit in my soul.

We parked at Coast Union High School and waited literally two seconds before hopping on the shuttle that took us to the Cambria Pines Lodge-turned-winter wonderland.

The market is made up of three components: the beautiful light installations, the garden shop, and of course the German style Christmas Market complete with food and craft vendors.

WONDER LAND This neon elephant joins the Snow Queen, Golden Gate Bridge, and more glowing creations at the Cambria Christmas Market. - PHOTO BY RYAH COOLEY
  • Photo By Ryah Cooley
  • WONDER LAND This neon elephant joins the Snow Queen, Golden Gate Bridge, and more glowing creations at the Cambria Christmas Market.

Tummies rumbling, we made our way to the market where we happily ordered brats with sauer kraut, German style potato salad, coffee, and gluhwein—or hot mulled wine. Things were already looking up.

Hot beverages in hand, we made our way over to the lights, starting with the rainbow colored tunnel, which is the gateway to the rest of the twinkling and a popular spot for all those #tistheseason and #blessed posts people are so fond of putting on Instagram at this time of year. As we passed by wonder after brightly shining wonder—the Snow Queen, a giant orange elephant, the Golden Gate Bridge, icicles, a roaring outdoor fire pit, and even just a toddler who was happily trying to eat some dirt against his mother's wishes—I began walking with a little bounce in my step. Maybe it was the love for all mankind, maybe it was the luminous beauty all around me, or maybe it was just my second cup of gluhwein starting to kick in, but it was finally starting to feel like Christmas. Δ

Arts Editor Ryah Cooley is lit up like a Christmas tree at rcooley@newtimesslo.com.

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