Crystal Mountain, one of the Heartland's favorite family resorts, is getting ready to celebrate the holidays with lots of activities and holiday lodging specials.

You get a fourth night free, if you stay three nights over Christmas. Spend four nights through New Year's Day and receive a fifth night free. The holidays are often a time when families can spend an extra night, and it's on Crystal Mountain.

The holiday period gets started Saturday, Dec. 18. Join Santa for the tree lighting parade from 5-6 p.m. and, on Sunday, the jolly old dude is going to lead Santa NASTAR. You may need Donner and Blitzen to beat him. An elaborate buffet will be served both Christmas Eve and Day. Horse drawn surrey rides will be available for $10 per person all week long. Children eight and under are free with a paid adult.

New Year's Eve will be celebrated with a variety of activities. The Wizard Wonderland, compete with broom races, takes place from 4-8 p.m.; Check out the magic potions class and meet live owls with Wings of Wonder from 5-6 p.m. It's all about family fun for ages 4-12. There's a $10 charge per child and parent supervision is required.

There's a Pajama Party for children 12 and under from 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. The evening includes fun activities and snacks. Children should be dressed for sleep. The cost is $49 per child and reservations are required. Parents are not required to be present at this function.

A chaperoned teen DJ dance party takes place from 9-12 p.m. in the Crystal Center. The cost is $10 per teen. The Vista Party, for ages 21+, takes place in The Lounge on the third floor, and you can enjoy great views of the Torchlight Parade at 11:45 p.m. and fireworks over the mountain immediately following.

Crystal was recently named one of the top 10 family winter resorts in the nation by Parents magazine. It offers 45 slopes with 27 lit for night skiing seven days a week, nine lifts including a high-speed quad and carpet tows for beginners, two terrain parks including a halfpipe, and over 40 kilometers of groomed cross-country trails with three kilometers lit for night skiing. There's something for all family members.

More information  Holiday Packages Holiday Schedule