A Queen City winter tradition is visiting the annual Holiday Show at Krohn Conservatory. Decorated with over 3,500 species of plants, each year the conservatory creates a theme unique to our city. This year's feature is A Cincinnati Scenic Railway, which we had the pleasure of visiting thanks to tickets from my friend Nedra of Adventure Mom.

Krohn Conservatory

The show features many iconic Cincinnati landmarks such as Union Terminal, Moerlein Lager House, P&G Headquarters, Great American Tower and the Tyler Davidson Fountain as well as a riverboat with real smokestacks. All of the structures are made from pine cones, nuts, bark, sticks and moss. Surrounding the buildings are colorful seasonal flowers, such as red poinsettias, amaryllis, white edged spider plants, purple persian shield, and spicy rosemary. 

Tyler Davidson Fountain
P&G Headquarters
Moerlein Lager House

Great American Tower

Island Queen Riverboat
Cincinnati Museum Center

Ault Park Pavilion and Cincinnati Observatory

In addition to the flora, visitors can enjoy the Nativity Scene in the courtyard of the conservatory. In its 75th year, one can view live sheep, a cow, and a mule inside the barn. To note, unless, the sheep wander up to the fence, this is not a petting zoo Nativity Scene. The cow and mule are fenced off far from the walkway, and the sheep tend to be grazing out in the yard. Fun to see, but if you have a hankering to pet some livestock, I suggest checking out the Over-The-Rhine petting zoo for some hand-to-wool contact.

A river runs through the exhibit, as well as train tracks that cross over a Roebling Suspension Bridge that spans the entire room. See if you can spot the streetcar zipping along the tracks near the entrance, as well as a recreation of the Mount Adams Incline. A Cincinnati Scenic Railway highlights the history of our city's seven hills and all of the culture, food, architecture, and parks that can be found within.

Krohn Conservatory's Holiday Show runs through January 5.
Open daily from 10:00AM-5:00PM.
Admission is $7.00 for adults, $4.00 for children, and free for children under age 4.
Download a coupon for $1.00 off admission.


The Shop Local movement was strong this year, as I was gifted with more from small businesses than any year prior. Here's what was in my haul:

1.) Letterpress Notebooks and Cincinnati Stamps

One of my favorite gifts this year was from my friend Maureen, who stealthily read my post about Crafty Supermarket, noting that I admired a few items from Steam Whistle Letterpress. Off to the shop she went to secure the goods, including a set of CincyWhimsy notebooks emblazoned with the #WhimsyWorthy hashtag. She even had them made in my favorite color: purple.

2.) Bouquet of Christmas Flowers

Nothing is more delightful than being surprised by the boyfriend with a bright bouquet from the local florist. An added touch came with the Cincinnati-themed greeting card and heartfelt message inside.

3.) Handmade Knitwear

Of course, it doesn't get anymore locally-sourced than when a friend sends you something she knitted herself. Jess made a pair of cozy fingerless gloves and wrapped them in a knit bag that she also crafted, all which made the long journey from Boston.

4.) From The Amish

Even my parents shopped local - at the nearby Amish market. Homemade apple butter, cashew brittle, and handwoven brillowpads.

5.) Laundry Quarters

If your loved one uses a communal laundry room, a small box of "jingle bells" is a creative way to help keep their clothes fresh and clean long after the holidays.

6.) Bedazzling Necklace

All the giver indulged on this one was that it came from "one of those boutiques in Hyde Park." Jewelry that twinkles is always a good choice for a lady, especially when its in her favorite color.

7.) Aglamesis Chocolates

Since I was a wee Paige, Christmas tradition included getting a sack of nonpareils as a stocking stuffer. This year, the sweet from Aglamesis came wrapped in a chocolate basket too.

8.) Gifts of Unknown Origins

Some of the adorable, softest gifts of the season may or may not be from local retailers. When you're like Mom, and go Christmas shopping in August (or in some cases, March), specific stores slip your memory. Regardless of their origin, I couldn't be happier with a new dishtowel set and socks from winter, Halloween, and St. Patrick's Day.


Laying out the loot for the holiday season, CincyWhimsy has compiled a list of favorite things discovered this winter perfect for gift giving or for treating yourself.

1.) The Tucker's Tee

For the foodie on your list, a Cincinnati dining institution is now serving up signature tee shirts. Since the 1940s, Tucker's Restaurant has been cooking up burgers and breakfast with a smile. The Tucker's Tee (modeled by our favorite server, Dave) features founders Mom and Pop Tucker on the front, and a sketch of their restaurant on the back. Available in blue, black and orange at their eatery on 1637 Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine.

2.) METRO Stored Value Card

For the frequent or aspiring transit rider, stock their stuffing with a METRO stored value card. Available in $10, $20, or $30 prepaid cards, this bus pass is a convenient replacement for cash and can be purchased online or at the Mercantile Building arcade at 5th and Walnut Street.

3.) Bacon Lady Marmalade

For the hostess, give a gift that is both festive and feastable. Butcher Betties, a group of meat-centric pin-up models creating jams, sauces, spices, and rubs concocted Bacon Lady Marmalade: a sweet marmalade blended with savory smoked bacon. Perfect on crackers for an impressive and easy-to-make appetizer, or as a tasty mixer for breakfast foods, Bacon Lady Marmalade will delight the tastebuds of all the guests. Sold at Avril Bleh Meat Market located at 33 Court Street in Downtown.

4.) Rex Commuter Boots

Fashionable and practical, these waterproof boots keep feet cozy and have a treaded sole to provide sturdy traction without looking like Napoleon Dynamite. Another perk: they are lined with super soft faux fur. It should be noted that the only thing Shop Local about these boots is that they came from the Payless Shoe Store within walking distance from my home, but they earned an honorable mention on my favorites list for their diligent performance during our first snowstorm. You can also save a few bucks with these coupons.

5.) Cuddl Duds

Another must for the urban commuter wardrobe are Cuddl Duds: fleece leggings that are fitted to be worn under other leggings. When its too cold for your favorite jeggings or nylons, slip on a pair of Cuddl Duds as a bottom layer and stay toasty all season long. At just the right thickness, they keep the cold air from nipping at your legs outside, without leaving you overheated indoors. Cuddl Duds come in a variety of colors and are available for women, men, and children online. Or you can get them at Kohl's for half price.

6.) Cincinnati Museum Center Membership

Get two gifts in one with a Buy One, Get One 50% off annual membership to Cincinnati Museum Center. Starting at $55, members not only get free, unlimited access to all four museums in Union Terminal and free parking, they also get:
- 2 free passes for friends
- $2.00 off on OMNIMAX tickets
- $5.00 off on all Heritage Programs tours
- Priority notification of Heritage Programs tours (such as the annual Cincinnati Subway tour)
- 10% discount on food and the gift shops
- Free admission to affiliate museums nationwide
- Free admission to other U.S. History Museums

7.) FUSIAN Gift Card

It's the stocking stuffer that keeps on giving...sushi!  Purchase a FUSIAN gift card for $30 or more, then bring in your receipt on your next visit to get a free sushi roll for yourself!

8.) Customized Letterpress Notebook

Hot off the press from Steam Whistle Letterpress in Over the Rhine, these custom foil notebooks are a witty stocking stuffer for your favorite scribe or doodler.

9.) Christian Moerlein Beer Steins

Fill this mug with your favorite local beer. Each stein, created by Rookwood Pottery, is themed after different Moerlein brews and their labels, such as Northern Liberties or Barbarossa. With one for every flavor, get one or collect the entire set.

10.) Anker Astro Phone Charger

It's cold outside and your cell phone battery is draining faster than the feeling in your fingers. Keep connected with Anker Astro; a lipstick-sized portable phone charger. Complete with adapters for both iPhones and non-iPhones, this rechargeable battery slips discreetly into pockets and purses providing up to two full recharges from 0-100%.

11.) Cincinnati Christmas Book

A collection of stories, traditions, and recipes dating back to 1788 when Cincinnati was first settled, Cincinnati Christmas is essential for presents for faraway friends or an out-of-town hostess. Available at Booksellers Fountain Square and Roebling Point Bookstore.

12.)  Eureka Vacuum

If you're looking for the suckiest gift to give this season, I highly recommend the Eureka Airspeed Gold vacuum. No, it's not locally made, but after spending way too much time researching a competent model, I wanted to share the good word. If you need a replacement, Eureka Airspeed Gold is powerful, easy-to-maneuver, and inexpensive.  (Tip: If you plan on gifting this for a woman, to avoid her getting angry, get her a little something in addition to the vacuum, like a hidden bottle of wine in the canister.)

13.) Matcha Green Tea

 The tea drinker's hot chocolate, Matcha Tea is a creamy, frothy blend of  all-natural goodness that also provides a boost of energy. Pick it up at any Asian market, such as Saigon Market in Findlay Market.

14.) Humbugs

Give the Christmas kermudgin a hint of cheerfulness with a bag of Humbugs: a mint candy with toffee center imported from England. No surprise here, you can purchase this at Jungle Jim's.

15.) Chocolate Christmas Lights

Small-batch chocolatier, Chocolats Latour, concocts delicious handmade confections in the shape of Christmas decorations, each flavored with a unique twist. Order a batch, or pick one up at Coffee Emporium locations.

16.) Family Doodle Portrait

An easier memory than the dreaded family holiday photo, Buck & Libby turn any image of your loved ones into a custom doodle. Sent as a digital file, the sketch can be printed as a portrait or be used to decorate other things such as notebooks, post-its, or cell phone covers.

17.) Cincinnati Neighborhood Ornaments

Created by Sarah Horn Ceramics, these decorations paid homage to numerous towns across the tri-state, including Bellevue, Covington, Clifton, Northside, OTR, as well as Sarah's home in Dayton, Kentucky.

18.) Whiskey & Wood Lotion

As I've been told, "Scented lotions are great where they belong -- on women." Unfortunately, this mindset leads to a winter season of men with dry, chapped hands and awkward hand-holding for those fantastically-fragrant ladies. That's why Orangefuzz has created a line of lotions for men, such as Whiskey & Wood. Stay smooth, gentlemen, without having to set foot inside a Bath & Body Works.

19.) Christmas Pickle

A German tradition dating back to the Civil War, Barvarian-born Private John C. Lower was captured during battle. On Christmas Eve, he begged for a pickle while starving. The guard provided the pickle, which Lower later credited for saving his life. After returning to his family, he began a ritual of hiding a pickle on their Christmas tree each year. Nowadays, if you find the glass pickle ornament on your tree, the receiver will have good luck for the next year. Find your Christmas Pickle at the Krohn Conservatory gift shop!

20.) Ruth Lyons Documentary

Celebrate the First Lady of Television with this 90 minute DVD movie about Ruth Lyons. A daytime talkshow icon of the 1950s, Lyons revolutionized the entertainment industry by "doing it her way" right here in her hometown of Cincinnati.


In 1938, a new assistant surgeon, Paul Hoxworth, came up with the idea for a community blood center to supply citizens of Cincinnati with transfusions while they were in the hospital. Along side his wife and three staff members, Hoxworth collected 3,400 blood donations in their first year. Seventy-five years later, the nation's second blood center employs over 289 people and provides 300,000 blood components to patients at more than 30 hospitals in three states.

In celebration of this milestone birthday, Hoxworth Blood Center hosted a party for the public to attend on Fountain Square. Hot chocolate, KIND snacks, games and prizes, the festivities highlighted the landmark occasion. One game included tossing a ball through a cut out hole marked with your blood type. I made it on the first try and won an adorable Hoxworth bear!


In the season of giving, consider making one of the following donations to Hoxworth:

Blood: takes 10 minutes, can give again every 8 weeks
Platelets: takes 2 hours, can give again every 2 weeks
Platelets and Plasma: takes 2 hours and is collected simultaneously, can give again every 2 weeks