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Editorial: Start the holidays right (here)

Red Wing again invites all people, no matter where they call home, to embrace the Christmas season starting right here. Friday marks the 15th Holiday Stroll.

This hometown celebration quickly evolved into a tradition that brings people by the thousands to downtown Red Wing. People smile and laugh. They sing. They greet one another. They sip hot cocoa. They revel in the lights. Envisioned as a gift to the community, Holiday Stroll has become a gift to anyone seeking a heart-warming start — as opposed to a mad Black Friday rush — to the season.

One of the new "old-fashioned" touches this year is a letterpress where people can make holiday postcards to take home. Rather than an ice bar, there will be onsite carving of ice sculptures. The Festival of Trees has become the Festival of Wreaths. Need to get revved up? Head to the vintage snowmobiles on display at Gernentz Auto.

This year Red Wing launches Yuletide Villagefest to complement Holiday Stroll. The organizers said they hope quaint holiday huts, activities and specialty vendors will entice locals and visitors to shop locally through the weekend and well into the gift-giving season.

So stroll into the holidays and stay awhile. Welcome, Christmas, here at last.