And the Magical Lantern Festival at Birmingham's Botanic Gardens did just that.
These stunning creations (which can also be seen in London this month, see below for details) were placed around the 15-acre Victorian park, creating a fascinating trail, which promised a surprise around every corner.
Particular favourites for us were the pandas sitting among bamboo and the frogs on their lily pads, sitting on a real pond, which prompted a lot of debate about how the organisers managed to get them there and power them amid all the water!
The festival had a lovely friendly feel, and there were food and drink stands both outside the entrance - perfect for a seasonal hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows or a glass of mulled wine (although at £5.50 a pop I decided to give it a miss).
Inside the grounds were more food and drink stands, including a fancy marshmallow stall - (we have had similar specially flavoured marshamllow in France, very tasty but a tad sickly) which you could buy to be toasted around the corner on a barbecue.
The lantern creations included huge elaborate birds in cages, butterflies and a butterfly princess, festive scenes with Santa and his sleigh, and others too numerous to mention.
Birmingham's specal piece was a recreation of the famous Bullring bronze bull; for London the Houses of Parliament will be captured in light.
It took us an hour to wander around the trail and we got some fabulous pictures, This will definitely go on the list of Christmas holiday traditions for us.
Next up – London
The Magical Lantern festival runs from 19 Jan- 21 Feb 2017 at Chiswick House Gardens. There will also be a 30-metre synthetic ice-rink, 3D lantern photo opportunities, virtual reality gaming experience and a mini funfair and games - extra charges apply for these.
Tickets start at £12 for children and £18 for adults. Find out more at www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/magical-lantern-festival-london-11371885852