FROM THE ED­I­TOR:

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - News - El­iza Gaines Ex­ec­u­tive ed­i­tor

Can you be­lieve 2014 is al­most here? 2013 was a year of firsts for me. I cel­e­brated my first wed­ding an­niver­sary, bought my first house, and will spend my first Christ­mas away from home. This year I will make the trek to my in-laws’ house in North Carolina, as I think last year’s freak Christ­mas snow­storm scared them from ever com­ing back to Arkansas for the hol­i­days. While I love my hus­band’s fam­ily dearly, I will miss my friends and fam­ily in the Nat­u­ral State. Be­fore I make my way east, I in­tend to soak up Christ­mas in Arkansas as much as I can. There’s some­thing mag­i­cal about see­ing down­town Hot Springs trimmed in gar­lands and bows and Gar­van Wood­land Gar­dens il­lu­mi­nated with mil­lions — yes, mil­lions — of lights. In this is­sue, we’ve rounded up some of the best Christ­mas dis­plays in cen­tral Arkansas, many of which you can view from the com­fort of your (hope­fully) heated car, per­haps with some hot co­coa or cider in hand. It’s also time to start think­ing about plans for Dec. 31. For those who pre­fer to ring in the New Year in style, rather than watch­ing the ball drop from the couch in their pa­ja­mas, the Ar­ling­ton is of­fer­ing not one, but two par­ties to toast the new year. If you’re one of those who is more ex­cited for the rac­ing sea­son than the up­com­ing hol­i­days, Oak­lawn’s open­ing day will be here be­fore you know it. Oak­lawn has some fun new things in store for rac­ing en­thu­si­asts in 2014, in­clud­ing a craft beer gar­den and new in­field ac­tiv­i­ties. It’s go­ing to be a good year, read­ers. Happy hol­i­days from us to you.

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