Maayan Silver

It's a little unusual to hear Christmas caroling underground, especially in a cave that's nearly a million years old. But that's what hundreds of people did in December in southwestern Wisconsin.

For over a decade, the staff at Cave of the Mounds, which is 30 miles west of Madison, have brought a cappella groups, choirs and orchestral quartets to the limestone cave to kick off the Christmas season. 

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Lake Effect has recently featured segments about the latest hobby and family games and books you could consider for your holiday gift list. But if the people on your list prefer to be out and about, we've got you covered there too.

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Playing games might be a year-round hobby for some of us, but buying games is generally a holiday season pastime. Since 2010, writer, editor and games expert James Lowder has joined us during the holiday season to share his Games to Gift List.

While older adults might have learned to games from an experienced player, many of today’s players are turning to online videos according to Lowder.

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Winter is not necessarily the best time to enjoy Milwaukee weather, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. The holiday season has officially started, and throughout the Milwaukee-area there are celebrations to get you in the holiday spirit. 

Laura Marshall, a local writer of The Sticky Life, and Lori Fredrich, a food-writer of OnMilwaukee, bring us some of the best and most festive things to do in Milwaukee for the holidays:

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If there are readers on your holiday shopping list — or you’re looking for suggestions for what you might want to read — Boswell Book Company’s Daniel Goldin has some suggestions for readers of all ages.

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The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, predicts Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport will see a sizable increase in travelers over the next few days. The agency also expects the current holiday travel period to be the busiest on record, with more than 25 million passengers passing through security checkpoints nationwide during the second half of November — an increase of 5 percent over 2017.

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With the impending December holidays, many of us are preparing for some time off work. An increasing number of people are combining their vacation time with their desire to do good. Andrea Khan discusses the growing trend of volunteering while on vacation with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich. Khan is the chief travel officer for The Family Backpack

Maayan Silver

Christmas. It’s a time of sugarplum fairies, reindeers, and stockings by the fireplace.

It’s also a day for sharing food with family and friends. And on that day, it’s even common for chefs at restaurants to hang up their aprons and go home to cook and share a holiday meal with family.

We wanted to find out about some culinary traditions among Milwaukee chefs and learn what goes on in their kitchens on Christmas:

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Gift-giving is a central theme of the holidays. But there are options other than cell phones, game consoles,  jewelry or even those cars with the big bow on in commercials. We're talking about giving a gift that involves spending time with family or friends.

Bath Fitter

On Friday, around 200 immigrants will be sworn in as naturalized citizens in Milwaukee. Their new status as Americans comes as the country continues to debate the topic of immigration and who has the right to enter and stay in this country legally.

The ceremony also comes in the midst of an annual event that a Wisconsin organization has organized for almost three-quarters of a century: the weekend-long Holiday Folk Fair at the Wisconsin State Fair Park.

Rachel Morello


For some families, Thanksgiving means turkey or football. For others, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without Black Friday shopping.

Amelia Frankum falls into the latter camp. The Whitefish Bay resident makes a pilgrimage to the stores every year -- but it’s not a solo mission.

“My daughter and I have been Black Friday shopping together since she was about 4 years old, and she is 18 this year,” Frankum says. “It’s kind of our thing! Nobody else can come, just she and I every year.”

Rachel Morello

Fall marks a season of uniquely American traditions – football, hay rides, Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Schools often observe of few of the customs.

At the Hmong American Peace Academy, the mission is to immerse kids in both their Hmong and American heritages. This time of year, the school celebrates some American traditions with its annual “Fall Family Festival.”

It’s a Saturday, and about 50 kids are in the cafeteria, circled around a DJ.

“Who knows how to do the Hokey Pokey?” the DJ asks, to squeals and cheers from the crowd around him.  

LaToya Dennis

Its Black Friday - the official start of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, there’s been talk that the growing number of online sales would signal the death of traditional suburban American malls. The prediction hasn’t really panned out. Experts say that while shopping malls have had to adapt, they’re now seeing some of their best numbers since the late 1980s.

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Certain businesses across Wisconsin are preparing for an uptick in customers. AAA projects this will be the busiest year-end holiday travel season on record.