If seeing Christmas lights on department store shelves in September wasn't enough to get you thinking about the holidays, then the Winter Lights Parade and Children's Winterland Festival should fill you to the brim with cheer. The celebration takes place on Main Street in Meridian and is packed with festive eats and a ton of participating businesses, vendors and Christmas floats. Claim your spot on the curb early and burn a couple Yule logs for warmth because this parade starts after sunset and ends with the lighting of the Meridian Christmas Tree in Generations Plaza. If the march down Main doesn't smooth the jagged pre-Christmas malaise, perhaps the smiling faces of Santa-believing youth will. The Children's Winterland Festival on Saturday, Dec. 7, will hopefully avert any overzealous kiddos from searching the house for presents. Finally, there's an event that lets us live out the childhood fantasy of working in Santa's workshop as benefits-bereft, no-wage elves. The reason for the season is as much about a joyful mood as it is about helping those with less. The volunteers at the festival will be collecting numerous items for the Meridian Food Bank, so keep that in mind as Saint Nick checks his list more than twice. There will be numerous activities and edibles for children and adults, along with pictures with the jolly old dude and some of his magical reindeer.