Take your mind off the tundra:

By Julia Quanrud

Spending all or part of winter break in St. Paul and Minneapolis can be a terrifying venture, especially with a longer than usual break. Weeks of snow and ice in an eerily empty college campus is not something many relish, but there’s no need to despair. The key to surviving, or perhaps even enjoying the break at Macalester, is finding a warm coat and staying active. Engaging the Community

A number of Macalester students volunteer each semester, but for others it can be difficult to manage internships, classes, jobs and volunteering. J-Term offers many students the time they need to engage in the greater community, while ensuring that community organizations continue to thrive without their regular Macalester volunteers. By taking the time to commit just a few hours of the break, students, faculty and staff as well, can help Twin Cities nonprofits continue their important programming.

To learn about how to volunteer during the break, contact Macalester’s Civic Engagement Center at [email protected] or x6040. You can also stop in from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday on the first floor of Kagin.

The Winter Carnival

It’s no Rio de Janeiro, but St. Paul has its very own (winter) carnival. Highlights include the Grand Parade, the Frozen Marathon, the Cabaret and the Torchlight Parade. St. Paul also hosts a snow and an ice sculpture contest, and depending on the weather, you may want to hurry to see the sculptures before they melt.

To learn more about Winter Carnival, visit http://www.winter-carnival.com/

The Target Holidazzle Parade

This “fairy tale”?of a parade includes a myriad of fantastical floats and holiday cheer, runs along Nicollet Mall, between 4th St. and 12th St. in downtown Minneapolis.

The festivities begin Nov. 28 and the parade will run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 6.30 p.m., until Dec. 21. It is free of charge, unless you want $9 grand stand seats.

To learn more about the Holidazzle Parade, visit http://www.holidazzle.com/

The James J. Hill Legacy

Overlooking downtown St. Paul is the James J. Hill mansion, a monument to the barons of St. Paul’s past. This Summit Avenue monstrosity hosts several exciting events during the winter months, many of which are related to Christmas, such as a reenactment of Christmas preparations at the Hill House during the Gilded Age, Victorian Christmas storytelling, and Christmas musical revues. In January, however, the mansion hosts gaslight tours as well as Winter on the Hill events, allowing guests to explore one of the most decadent buildings on Summit Hill.

To learn more about the James J. Hill House, visit http://www.mnhs.org/places/sites/jjhh. in the