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Parent Atlanta’s No. 1 Parenting Magazine

atlanta / December 2013

Behind the Scenes at Popular Holiday Traditions Because They’ve Been Nice!

2013 Toy Guide

Why The Arts Matter How Music, Dance, Theater and Visual Arts Benefit Kids


4 Atlanta Parent    December 2013


Vol. 30 / Number 12





The Arts Matter

Find out why the experts say exposure to the arts – music, dance, visual art and theater – is as essential to a child’s development as good nutrition.

10 News You Can Use 12 The Frugal Family Flash Sale Sites

74 Essay

On the first day of Christmas …

Preparing Your Child for Adulthood

From big hugs to 5 a.m. wake-up calls, a child keeps giving all year, not just on the 12 Days of Christmas.


Behind the Scenes for the Holidays

Holiday events in metro Atlanta magically seem to come together but really are the result of planning and hard work. Discover what it takes to make them happen.


8 Editor’s Note

Family Fun Guide 49

Not-to-Miss Events


Eating Out: Tin Drum Asia Café Ice Skating


Free Fun: Hands-On Holiday Crafts


Try It!: Cirque Freaks




December Calendar


New Year’s Eve Events


Holiday Calendar

Bye-Bye to the Crib

A little planning eases the transition when a toddler leaves his crib behind for a “big kid” bed. Follow these tips for a drama-free move.

28 Our Top Toys

Atlanta Parent’s favorite new toys won approval from our toughest kid and parent testers. You’ll find gifts to please children from infants to tweens.

Magazine Association of the Southeast

2013 Award Winner

Moneyville at The Children’s Museum of Atlanta

On the Cover: Cover Kid Megan Chang, 5 of Stone Mountain. Photo by Kristie Andraschko, Turning Leaf Photography.

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Give Your Child the Gift of Reading this Christmas

Atlanta’s Award-Winning Parenting Publication PUBLISHER Liz White



use coupon code ATLANTA15 ASSOCIATE Laura Powell PUBLISHER


Jennifer Fogel SPECIAL EVENTS & Jordan Lisvosky DIGITAL SALES COORDINATOR ASSOCIATE Dalia Faupel EDITOR Does your child have Asthma???






Sign Up For Our e-Newsletter at

Consider volunteering for a clinical research study conducted at Emory University. This clinical trial is for children 1- 5 years of age, who suffer from wheezing. We are trying to see which asthma medication works best for preschool children. You may be asked to participate for as long as 12 months in this study. The study will also determine the best pain reliever/fever reducer for preschool children with asthma symptoms.

Qualified participants will receive at no charge:

• Asthma medications • Pulmonary Evaluation • Physical Exam • Compensation for time and travel Contact Emory AsthmaNet Study Coordinators for more information:

Jennifer Dodds 404-727-5176 • Denise Whitlock 404-712-1773 • 6 Atlanta Parent    December 2013


Atlanta Parent magazine is published monthly by Atlanta Parent, Inc., 2346 Perimeter Park Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30341. Telephone 770-454-7599, Fax 770-454-7699. Atlanta Parent magazine is available free of charge at more than 1,000 locations throughout the metro Atlanta area. First class subscription only $30 per year. Subscription orders must include check or money order made out to Atlanta Parent magazine. Atlanta Parent magazine welcomes letters, articles, artwork and photographs from its readers and the community. Atlanta Parent magazine is not responsible for the return of unsolicited materials. All rights reserved. Any reproduction in whole or in part, is prohibited without written permission.

© Atlanta Parent, Inc. 2013

Dear Santa, I can’t believe another year has gone by. Is it just me or are the years passing faster? I think I have been a pretty good mom this year. I have driven my kids to every social event, practice and friend’s house. My wallet has been an endless fountain of money for movies, frozen yogurt and senseless mall trips. I have clocked countless hours at soccer fields, basketball courts, softball diamonds and music auditoriums. With a little help from our friend, Google, I continue to help with homework in subjects I have long forgotten. Sure, I might have lost it a few times, but I live with teenagers, Santa. They are God’s version of the Elf on the Shelf – sent down to keep us in check, but if left without supervision, they get into mischief. I know you are busy, so I will be brief. To start, I need a few things for the bathroom – a sink that repels toothpaste, a splash free mirror and a never ending roll of toilet paper. Changing the roll is just too complicated for my family. I’d like a copy of The Busy Mom’s ExerciseFree Weight Loss Plan. I heard it is hard to find, but hey, you are Santa. As a backup, I would be happy with a copy of The Wine Diet instead. Unlike other programs, I think I could really stick to this one. Remember those electric bug zappers from years ago? If they make one for dog hair, I will take two! I am having a hard time passing off the dust bunnies as our dog’s puppies. If you have a time machine in storage at the North Pole, I would love the ability to send a letter to my younger self. I could save her hours of unnecessary worry about career choices, raising children and neighborhood drama. I think that is what caused these “blond” highlights I keep finding in my hair.

s ’ m o M A Letter tota San

ar by Pam Moln

If it isn’t too much trouble, I would like to have a whole week free of arguments about who rides in the front seat, who drank the last Gatorade and whose turn it is to do the dishes. This is the season of miracles, right? Lastly, I would be thrilled to serve a meal that no one complains about. I’ve given up asking for a meal that everyone eats together before 9 p.m. Our crazy schedule is something even Santa can’t fix. Well Santa, I can hear my daughter beeping the car horn in the driveway. I have to start round two of my carpool. Travel safe. I’m sorry if the cookies are gone when you get here. The dogs eat anything left on the coffee table. Since I made them, it’s probably better that the dogs ate them anyway.

Love, Mom P.S. All I really want for Christmas is to see the magic of Christmas morning in my teenagers’ eyes.

Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and the mother of two teens and a tween. This is the actual letter she sent to Santa this year.

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 7

Editor’s Note Holiday Memories Last a Lifetime The holidays were wondrous when I was a child. My family would take in the light show in Clarkston where the whole neighborhood seemed aglow and Santa greeted all the kids. I rode on the Pink Pig when it was still at now-closed Rich’s Department Store downtown. My Girl Scout troop would make ornaments for the Festival of Trees, an annual event many of us still remember fondly. As a family, we took in at least a few performances of Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker. I loved seeing the floats and waiting for Santa at the Christmas parade downtown. And tree-hunting with my parents was also a highlight of the season. With so many happy memories, I am looking forward to creating special holiday moments with my own young children. Elliot, who is 2 now, is discovering the magic of the Christmas season. He loves holiday decorations, and was excited to see them sparkling when we visited the mall in early November. Last year, he wasn’t so happy during his encounter with Santa, but this year he smiled when Santa waved to him and said hello. He’s been on Daddy’s computer doing his Christmas shopping at zaminon, the website the rest of us know as Amazon. This year, we’re planning to see the Center for Puppetry Arts’ production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a show Elliot’s sure to love, and maybe we’ll find a spot along the Christmas parade route. The Nutcracker will need to wait until both children are a little older. Still, it was fun to read this month’s story about behind-the-scenes planning for some of Atlanta’s holiday traditions and to think about the memories we’ll make as a family in the years to come. For now, I can’t wait to put those antlers on 9-month-old Eleanor, and pose her for a photo, so she can say, “Oh, Mom, how could you!” in her teen years.

How to Reach us: Telephone 770.454.7599


Fax 770.454.7699


Snail Mail 2346 Perimeter Park Drive Atlanta, Georgia 30341

We welcome your views and comments. Letters that appear in the magazine may be edited for content and space.

8 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

ItFigures by Cynthia Washam

Holiday Hodgepodge $46

Average amount pet owners spend on Christmas gifts for their four-legged friends


Percent who have their dog’s or cat’s photo taken with Santa Claus

More than 800

Number of homes Santa would have to visit per second Christmas Eve to hit every one in the world


Cost of a deluxe hen house from Neiman Marcus, complete with a flock of “heritage-breed” chickens


Year the U.S. Postal Service issued its first Christmas stamp


Year the U.S. Postal Service issued its first Hanukkah stamp

1 million

Number of Jewish-Christian interfaith couples in the U.S.


Percent of interfaith families who exchange Christmas presents


Number of Barbie dolls sold worldwide every minute


Number of trees that decorated the White House for Christmas 2011


Weight in pounds of the White House’s custom-made, gingerbread White House, decorated with white chocolate and marzipan


Cost of the most lavishly decorated Christmas tree, displayed at the Emirates Palace in the United Arab Emirates in 2010 Sources: MSN,, WWD, Randomhistory. com, Capper’s, USA Today,,,

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 9

News You Can Use

by Kelli Richardson

Modern Parenthood 13.5 hours

Average amount of time mothers spend a week on child-related care.

7.3 hours

Average amount of time fathers spend. Fathers also get three more hours a week of leisure time than mothers. Source: Pew Research Center

A Better Little Red Wagon?

When it comes to ride-on toys, Radio Flyer’s wagons, tricycles and scooters are iconic, part of American childhoods since 1917. The next company product could be your idea. The company, in partnership with Edison Nation, is looking for new concepts for ride-ons that will inspire kids to enjoy active outdoor play. The best ideas may be selected for development, and the inventor will receive an advance on future royalties and will work with the Radio Flyer team to develop the product. Entries, due by Jan. 6, require a $25 submission fee; patents and prototypes are not necessary. More information at

Make TV with Laughing Pizza Laughing Pizza, a family band based in Atlanta has performed everywhere from New York’s Central Park to the White House. Now they are working on a whole new adventure of making TV shows for families to enjoy together. The band is raising money to fund their new TV show and really needs their fans’ support in the next three weeks. For more information, visit Laughing Pizza is also hosting two events in December. A book reading and performance at Cumberland Mall on Dec. 12, from 4-6 p.m. and a concert at Atlantic Station on Dec. 15, from 1-3 p.m. This is your chance to meet the band in-person. Bring the whole family to rock live with Laughing Pizza.

Rein In Holiday Spending Use technology to keep you, and Santa, out of the red this year: n is great for comparing prices n for iPhone or

for Android help track expenses. n helps you learn about


An App for Curious Kids

n and

offer financial advice.

If your child loves to ask questions like “Why do birds fly away for the winter?,” download The Handy Answer Book for Kids app. The app is easy to use and covers topics from Outer Space to All About My Body in separate sections so that your child knows where to look for answers. The app is available for iPhone and Android for $1.99. Download it from Google Play or the App Store. 10 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

The Spirit of Giving

The holidays are the perfect time to help those less fortunate while teaching your kids to be good citizens. Find volunteer opportunities with PebbleTossers, an organization that matches families based on their interests, at If you become a member of PebbleTossers, you’ll be alerted each month to possible service projects in your area. In November, for instance, the organization organized volunteers to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and assist with Thanksgiving dinners for needy families, by packing boxes with food or serving meals. Here are some other ideas to get your family in the spirit of giving:

n  Salvation Army Angel Tree: Help make the holidays special for children by volunteering at local malls and helping shoppers adopt and find gifts for angels in need. For more information, visit n  Toys for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta: Cheer up a sick child with a toy donation to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Gifts are accepted 7 a.m.-7 p.m. until Dec. 19 at the information desk in the main lobbies of Egleston, Hughes Spalding and Scottish Rite hospitals. If you complete a donation card, the child will send a thank you for the gift. Find a list of suggested gifts and more information at c






Church Joyous Toy Store: Volunteer at the Joyous Toy Store. This event, Dec. 9-13, allows impoverished families the chance to shop for toys for their children. Volunteers will help parents shop and wrap gifts. The church also is collecting new, unwrapped toys. For more information, visit


n  Peachtree Presbyterian


n  Clark’s 23rd Annual Christmas Kids: WSB’s consumer talk show host Clark Howard will be collecting toys for children in need at Walmart stores throughout the Atlanta area. For locations and more information, visit





Learn about YMCA Camp Thunderbird and win a FREE week of camp!

Heritage Sandy Springs | 6110 Blue Stone Road, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 December 10, 2013 | 7:00 PM Located just four hours from Atlanta, Camp Thunderbird’s 1.7-mile shoreline provides the ideal backdrop for life-changing experiences. For more than seventy five years, Thunderbird’s pristine 100-acre campus on the shores of Lake Wylie has welcomed campers wanting to escape the buzz of city life. Coed, Ages 7 to 16 | one and two-week sessions YMCA Mission: To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 11


frugalfamily by Dalia Faupel

Flash SALE ��� Sites

Save money on designer labels and holiday gifts (and those always-needed birthday presents!) using private sale websites. Membership is required, but signup is free for all. When shopping, check estimated shipping and delivery dates to ensure packages arrive in time for the holidays. Here are some of Atlanta Parent’s faves:

n Design is the focus here, and you’ll find uniquely crafted items for

the home, women and men, and a “fun” section that caters to kids and kids-at-heart with quirky gifts, toys, accessories and games. The site also offers free shipping on orders of $49 or more and free returns.

n In addition to getting up to 70 percent off designer labels for women,

men, kids and home, Gilt developed the “Your Personal Sale” feature earlier this year, giving each member a daily sale curated with their favorite brands. Sales generally last up to two days, and you can preview upcoming items to get ready to pounce on a coveted piece.

n This Nordstrom-owned site launches new sale events

daily, offering up to 75% off kids’ clothing and toys, home décor and women’s and men’s fashion and accessories. All sales last 48 hours and start at 8 a.m. Pacific Time.

n (formerly Totsy) is a fashion retail website for

men, women and kids, offering limited time sales on hand-picked designer items. You can save up to 85 percent on clothing, jewelry, handbags and home goods. Sales last up to three days, so you have time to sleep on it before you buy.

n Gorgeously curated boutiques featuring brand name merchandise

grouped by categories (women, men, kids, home and even travel) stay open for a few hours or a few days. Pay $9.95 for an order to ship, and everything else you order for the next 30 days ships free. Set text or email reminders to be alerted when your favorite brands come to the site so you don’t miss out.

n Sweet deals – at an average of 50 percent off retail – on kids’ clothing,

toys, games, home décor and women’s apparel and accessories, are introduced daily. Sales last 72 hours, with dozens running at a time, and “New Today” notifications on just-stocked items. If you invite a friend to join, you get $15 credit when the friend places a first order. 12 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

All In

Give the gift of All Better. Nobody’s more all in than kids. Especially our kids. This holiday season, you can go all in with them by making a donation. We depend on your generosity to provide Givespecialized the gift pediatric of All Better care to children. Let’s all go all in. For care that doesn’t quit. And for kids who give it their all. Are you all in? Visit to give. Follow us on:

The “arts” can refer to visual art or performance arts like dance, music, and theater, and each has its own distinct benefits.


the Arts


by Kate Sherrill


ith increasing demands put upon children to perform academically, it may be tempting for parents to cut the arts out of their child’s schedule. But studies reveal that the arts are as vital to a young person’s development as good nutrition. “Creativity, innovation, and self confidence are key qualities our kids need to meet the challenges we face today and ultimately to become successful as adults. Arts education is an investment in our future,” says Virginia Shearer, Eleanor McDonald Storza Director of Education at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Barbara O’Brien, M.Ed., Director of Education for Young Audiences, Woodruff Arts Center in Atlanta, agrees, and believes involvement in the arts goes far beyond academic achievement. She says that, while the arts help kids perform better in school, art is about the whole person. “You want to provide things that stretch them in fun and exciting ways, offering a new way of looking at things – the well-rounded development of a young person. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a child from a home with many resources or very few, you want them to have the opportunity of growing in into their abilities,” she says. She points out that it is not necessary for a child to possess talent in order to benefit from art involvement; however, engagement in the arts may reveal a gift that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. “It’s exciting to see a child engage in the arts. It may uncover such a skill and passion to where it becomes a career. But there are advantages of just being engaged in the arts. It’s important that children get to see the familiar cast in a different light or learn something new. It gets them thinking differently or encourages them to use their imagination as a departure,” says O’Brien. “How do you know you’re really good at something until you’ve tried it? Until you’ve tried them all, how do you know you have a favorite? We’re talking about process. You have to learn something about [the arts], they have to be engaged in and explored. If we just hang it on talent, that eliminates most of us.” 14 Atlanta Parent    December 2013



Music may be the first art a child is exposed to  –  sometimes in utero. Mothers have been singing lullabies to their babies from time immemorial. Children’s songs dating back to the 1800’s are still passed down from one generation to the next. Most children enjoy singing until they develop an awareness of judgment from others. And what child doesn’t experience jubilation upon discovering how to make music with a first instrument such as a xylophone or bells? According to experts, these musical joys can and should be encouraged beyond the preschool years. The enjoyment of singing and music can be experienced through attending a performance at the symphony, at church, or a school production. To reap the most benefits, however, participation is crucial. “Without a doubt, active participation is one of the keys to learning,” says Rob Sayer, founder and director of The Music Class in Atlanta. “Children raised in an enriched musical environment find it easier and more pleasurable to learn to play an instrument. They also have greater understanding of music and can derive more pleasure from music for the rest of their lives.”

Dance takes art from the cerebral to the physical. Whether an artist is performing ballet or ballroom, tap, jazz or interpretive, the art form becomes a visual manifestation of melody and rhythm. Lee Harper, founder and director of Lee Harper & Dancers, has been dancing and choreographing for 34 years. She believes that dance offers great benefits for everyone – regardless of age, gender, or level of ability. The arts aren’t just for the gifted. “If you can walk, you can dance. You may not be a ballerina, but I believe in inclusiveness. Everybody can dance if you have the mind and the discipline to work at it. Most of my students are not going to be [professional] dancers but they can learn an appreciation for it. It helps [children] find their souls and what’s very unique and special to them,” says Harper. Harper says she begins each day with dance, and credits the stretching and movement with giving her energy for the entire day. “I think [dance] is one of the best things you can participate in. Physically, it’s one of the best things you can do for your body. I’m over 65, and I dance every day. It gets your brain warmed up, makes you more alert for learning.” Dance is not only a great physical outlet for kids, it can also be a good teacher and confidence booster, as children work on mastering new skills and discover they are capable of more than they thought possible. Harper points out that the discipline required by dancing translates into other areas of life. “It’s ten percent talent; the rest is passion and drive. That’s true about anything. You can apply that discipline to anything you want to do. My sister majored in ballet, but ended up going to law school. She said she could never get through law school without the discipline she developed in dance. That discipline she learned early on helped her get through cancer and everything else she has had to deal with,” Harper says.

Research shows that learning to play an instrument such as the violin or piano provides many other advantages for kids. Learning an instrument can teach discipline, relieve stress, and even raise IQ. It’s no coincidence, then, that so many highly successful people trained in music during their formative years: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (concert piano), co-founder of Google Larry Page (saxophone), and movie mogul Steven Spielberg (clarinet), just to name a few. Each went on to pursue excellence in their profession thanks, in part, to the skills and discipline gained from the study of music.

According to experts, these musical joys can and should be encouraged beyond the preschool years.

Cont’d on page 16

“If you can walk, you can dance. You may not be a ballerina, but I believe in inclusiveness. Everybody can dance if you have the mind and the discipline to work at it.” Lee Harper, founder and director of Lee Harper & Dancers

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 15

Why the Arts Matter

The Alliance Theater

Theater call 770-454-7599 to place Your ad in atlanta parent.

Theater is unique among the arts in that it blends visual art with the performing arts of music, dance and singing. Drama therefore offers something for everyone; ham or introvert, any child can find a place in the theatrical arts. The American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) reports that taking part in drama improves a child’s reading comprehension, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and even boosts SAT scores. Participation in drama builds selfassurance as well.


Founded by Internationally Renowned Vocal Instructor Tricia Grey, MM

• Singing Lessons, Vocal Coaching & Songwriting Instruction • Learn to write your own songs, play piano & keyboard • Broadway & Musical Theater classes • Learn to sing in ANY style! Call us at 678-986-6683 365 Brady Place, Alpharetta, GA 30009 320 High Meadow Drive, Marietta, GA 30068

16 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

“In addition to building social and communication skills overall, involvement in drama courses and performance has been shown to improve students’ self-esteem as well as their confidence in their academic abilities. The act of performing can help students and youth recognize their potential for success and improve their confidence,” reports AATE. While most agree that kids gain the most by being active participants in art, exposure to the arts is also important. Attending a play, touring a museum, and spending the afternoon at the symphony are all ways to enhance a child’s life and help them develop a deeper appreciation for the arts, as well as spark a personal interest. “We are so fortunate in Atlanta to have a world-class art museum, the High Museum of Art; a Grammy-winning symphony orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; a Tony Award-winning theater, the Alliance Theatre; the Atlanta Ballet, the Atlanta Opera; in addition to many smaller, wonderful arts organizations,” says High Museum’s Shearer. “The arts are essential to understanding the human experience, and they bring a special magic into our world. The arts invite us to stop, to wonder, to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Whether it’s through the visual arts, dance, music or drama, children benefit from exposure to other points of view, to other cultures, to universal themes that unite us all.” Cont’d on page 18

Spotlight: Fine Arts Creative Studios of Atlanta

DANCE THEATRE At Sandy Springs

ctors train/work professionally with Ken Feinberg and CSA. Ken Feinberg has been directing, writing, producing and acting in awardwinning films, hit television series and major theater projects for over 25 years. He was honored with the 2013 outstanding achievement award for his contribution to the Georgia film industry. An accomplished actor, he has worked on hit shows such as Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed and the District. Upon his return from LA, Feinberg founded Creative Studios of Atlanta, a facility and acting company dedicated to preparing actors to work in film/ TV. Feinberg selects actors to mentor from hundreds who apply. An Atlanta native, Feinberg graduated from UGA and Westminster Schools. Feinberg’s magic has rubbed off on his young actors who have booked starring and speaking roles in: Hunger Games: Catching Fire, 12 Years a Slave, The Blindside, Lawless, Odd Life of Timothy Green, Dumb and Dumber To, Prisoners, SpongeBob 2, The Campaign, The Young and the Restless, The Walking Dead, HBO’s Eastbound and Down, How I Met Your Mother, CSI, Jane by Design, Vampire Diaries, Homeland, Army Wives, Teen Wolf, Revolution, Drop Dead Diva, Footloose, Reckless, The Middle and many more including Broadway. To learn more about Ken and CSA, visit

ance Theatre at Sandy Springs is proud to continue it’s second year, building a tradition of excellence in dance education. They have already become an integral part of the Sandy Springs community. Dance Theatre is known for building beautiful, safe, clean facilities, hiring the best teachers in the business and treating each child as if they were their very own. Dance Theatre offers a truly comprehensive program where dancers ages 3-Teen, beginner through advanced, can take classes in every discipline including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, acrobatics and cheer, as well as specialty classes like Boys Hip Hop & Breakdancing. They even offer adult classes. For those interested in joining the Dance Theatre family, call 678-705-8421 for more information, or just stop by the studio Monday –Friday from 3:00 PM-9:00 PM (Fall hours). It’s located in the Fountain Oaks Kroger shopping center at 4920 Roswell Rd in Sandy Springs. Students may also register for classes at any time by visiting their web site, viewing the Schedule, and filling out the simple registration form.



England Piano


he “Music and the Brain” study by University of California Irvine revealed children who take piano lessons develop higher levels of brain functions than those who don’t. Other studies have shown children with piano lessons average over 100 points higher on SAT scores. “Our Family has been helping Atlanta families for 40 years with their piano needs”, says Carder England. England Piano is nationally recognized as Atlanta’s Oldest Family Owned Piano Company. England Piano is known as a “one stop piano source” for all your piano needs from arranging lessons for your child, selection of the proper piano, and complete servicing thereafter. Named to the US Top 200 Music Retailers year after year, their focus has always been on your family’s musical needs. Many families select their teacher endorsed “Peace of Mind Plan” which allows you to choose any new or remanufactured piano and have 12 months use in your home, while you and your family discover the benefits and enjoyment of music. All money applies to the purchase. England piano is the choice of school systems including Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton, Dekalb, Forsyth, and over 15 more counties. Visit their website at, or simply call to discuss your needs at (770)451-1725.

arents, did you know that exposure to Arts and Crafts is positively correlated to producing patentable inventions AND founding new companies1? Whether your child is a beginner or a DIY guru, playLUXE is a pop-up play date that offers an EXCITING and convenient way to bring arts and crafts directly to you! PlayLUXE coaches are equipped to lead groups of all ages. Through customized crafting lessons, coaches spark creativity and imagination while developing valuable skills that are not only FUN but can also translate to future success!  Allow playLUXE to answer the question, “What are the kids going to do?” for your next birthday party, wedding reception, tailgate, playdate or holiday event. With popular lesson themes like RAINBOW LOOM, Superhero, Princess and Early Learner Crafts, there is something to please even the most discerning children and parents. PlayLUXE coaches work with you to design the perfect project to keep your child learning, growing, and creating for hours! Request a playLUXE coach for your next event: 404.788.0604 or info@ [1] LaMore et al. “Arts and Crafts: Critical to Economic Innovation.” Economic Development Quarterly 27.3 (2013): 221-29. Print.



[ Education Guide ] Special Advertising Section

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 17

Photo by Kristi Odom

Why the Arts Matter

High Museum of Art

VININGS SCHOOL OF ART All 1 hr. classes for

@Draw, Paint, Sculpt age 2-14 are @Dramatic Art/Acting $10-$15 per class @Spanish (6 levels) Saturday drop-in classes are available year round

Morning + full/extended day camps include 1 hr. daily fitness, drawing, canvas painting, piñatas, clay sculpture


18 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Visual Art Experts agree that, regardless of ability, the act of creating visual art is beneficial for not only self expression, but for expanded thinking and reasoning skills as well. “The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution. Studies show that learning in the arts and learning about other subjects through the arts improves student achievement and keeps kids in school. We know that students with access to quality arts programming are more excited about school, are more motivated, and more confident,” says Shearer. While she encourages parents to visit art museums with their children, Shearer

believes that, in order for kids to benefit most from visual art, they should be engaged in hands-on creation. “I think it is critically important for children to experience art firsthand as well as to make art. The act of making is very powerful and, from my experience, fundamental. It is our job as parents and teachers to foster creative exploration in our children and to give them lots of opportunities to experiment with materials, to get messy, and to learn through the process of making art.” c

In order for kids to benefit most from visual art, they should be engaged in hands-on creation.

Spotlight: Fine Arts Music & Arts

Vinings School of Art

or more than 60 years, Music & Arts has been committed to offering products and services necessary to make music. They work to provide the best possible in store musical experience and customer service as well as closely collaborate with music educators to customize their product and service offerings to address the unique needs of students and schools. As the largest music lessons provider in the nation, Music & Arts is committed to helping musicians of all skills develop musically by providing the best tools and resources available. Everyone has different goals in music, and lessons at Music & Arts reflects that philosophy. Lessons are customized to the individual interests and abilities of each student. Students will gain the skills needed to perform, showcasing their individual progress at hosted in-store open mics, jam sessions, and more. With more than 120 locations across the country and nine metro Atlanta stores, you can find your neighborhood location today at

he Vinings School of Art opened in April 2006 offering high quality valuepriced programs in the arts for children ages 2-14 years, teens & adults. All of the 1 hour classes (with 3-10 students per class) are $15 per hour or less, and all art instructors have completed a degree at Savannah College of Art & Design. The school is inside the high-end IVY WALK plaza just off I-285 at Paces Ferry/ South Atlanta Road. There is a student sign-in desk, so while students are in class, parents can enjoy the restaurants, gift shops and nail salon in the shopping center!  The most popular offering is for students to take a class in Fine Arts and a class in Spanish (Language Arts).  There are 6 different levels of Spanish study. The Spanish teacher is from Puerto Rico where she was a certified full time instructor.  If students take these two classes, the fee is calculated at $85 for 4 consecutive weeks (skipping holidays) of Spanish + 4 weeks of Art which comes out to $10.62 per hour of class ... this is the best deal in town! To try out a class, you need to call the front desk at 678-213-4278. The single session 1 time 1 hour drop-in rate for Fine Arts, Dramatic Arts, or Spanish is $15, siblings $12.



Fine Arts Directory Academy of Ballet NEW Studio, NEW Classes beginning for the NEW Year. Ballet, Tap, Musical Theater, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Lyrical. Ages 2.5 years-Adults. 770-242-6379. The Bush Center for Ballet Pre-ballet, classical ballet, contemporary jazz, pre-pointe and pointe. Ages3 to Adult. Register now. New social dancing class. Grades 6-8 and 9-12. 404-256-5542. CSA Film Academy CSA Film Academy is the premier school for actors and their families who want to hone their talents and business skills for working in Film/TV. Candidates are accepted by audition/interview. 2 locations. Atlantic Station and downtown Alpharetta. 404-355-4588. Dance Theater Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical, Acrobatics and Cheer. New Boys Hip-Hop and Break Dance. Actively enrolling. 678-705.8421.

England Piano England Piano is known as a “one stop piano source” for all your piano needs from arranging lessons for your child, selection of the proper piano, and complete servicing thereafter. 3740 Dekalb Tech. Pkwy. Atlanta. 770-451-1725.

playLUXE PlayLUXE provides craft lessons for children of all ages! Custom designed themes include Princess tea, superhero, early learner and holiday crafts! Book a playLUXE coach for your next event! Inquiries and pricing 404-788-0604. Info@

European School of Music & Chess Our method of teaching piano, violin, drums, voice, language, math, chess etc. significantly develops musical and intellectual abilities, focus, memory, attention – all of which help students to reach their full academic potential. 404-2558382.

Ragamuffin Music Hall Ragamuffin Music Hall is a premier music school featuring lessons in piano, voice, guitar, performance, violin, banjo and ukulele located on Historic Roswell Square! Lessons are $35 for 30 min of instruction. 585 Atlanta St, Roswell. 770744-3814.

Music & Arts Looking for the perfect Holiday gift? We have it! Visit any of our 9 Georgia locations for all your musical needs. Learn more by visiting Othels Art Gallery & School of Art Monthly art lessons less than $20 a lesson for children grades K-12! Taught by certified, professional and experienced art teachers in a fun and exciting true art gallery. For more information or to enroll please call 404-9555521 or visit our website

[ Education Guide ] Special Advertising Section

Sing Like a Star Sing Like a Star Studios is your premier source for voice, piano and songwriting instruction where you will learn to Sing Higher, Sing Stronger, and Sing Like A Star – in the style of music you love. Musical Theatre, R & B, Gospel, Country or Classical. Vinings School of Art Fine Arts, Dramatic Arts and Spanish Language Arts all $15 per hour or less. Parties for 10 children $195. Age 2 and up.1675 Cumberland Parkway #102 in IVY WALK, Smyrna. 678-213-4278.

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 19


by Karen Deerwester

The Twelve Days of Christmas My Children Gave to Me

Here’s a new twist on The Twelve Days of Christmas, not gifts for the 12 days after Christmas, but 12 gifts that parents receive from their children through the trials and tribulations of parenting all year long. This season, instead of being overwhelmed with long to-do lists and the stress of buying too many presents, let’s imagine a season celebrating all that children add to our lives. And the best gift of all – a love as true as true can be! On the 12th day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 12 months of growing. Just look at all the things your child has learned this past year. Sure, there’ve been ups and downs, maybe a few regressions and a load of uncertainty but your child has mastered new skills, grown in understanding and accomplished thousands of successes.

On the 11th day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 11 friends with birthdays You probably spent a small fortune and precious time attending countless birthday parties this past year. As your child discovered the joys and challenges of childhood friendships, you found a few incredible parents who share your view on parenting (and a few others who do not). You became much clearer about what kind of parent you want to be. The observations and choices you make are powerful tools to define your uniquely spectacular family. 20 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

On the 10th day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 10 sticky fingers Remember that neat and organized life you used to have? Now, there are fingerprints on every wall and window, and the sticky evidence of every meal and art project your child touched. Try to capture the urgency of your child’s life as she rushes to the next great thing … forgetting to wash hands or to put away toys. Life is messy.

On the 9th day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 9 ear infections Doctor bills and sick days are stressful! All that love and attention slowed you down to be exactly where you needed to be. Your home became a healing place for a sick child but also for world weary parents.

On the 8th day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 8 early mornings Awake at 5 a.m. again? It’s amazing how much you can accomplish even though you’re sleep deprived and delirious. The rest of the world bows to your endurance.

On the 7th day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 7 potty crises You’ve been up to your ears in diapers for years only to be rewarded with unexpected poop and pee catastrophes – diaper blow-outs on airplane runways, puddles in Publix aisle 6. You have acquired a fearless resourcefulness when everyone else succumbs to social taboos and polite conventions.

On the 6th day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 6 belly laughs No matter what else happened in a day, a week, a month, your child made your laugh. Kids make life fun. As your little one grows, you’ll want to savor the silly, the immature and the playful moments even more.

On the 5th day of Christmas, my child gave to me … a full night’s sleep A full night’s’ sleep is the crown jewel of parenthood. You are blessed with each and every one.

On the 4th day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 4 bumps-n-bruises Some parents can’t even count the scrapes and cuts let alone the stitches and broken bones. Children fall down a million times and get back up to try again. Every minor accident made you stronger, too.

On the 3rd day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 3 screaming nights Dream piercing night terrors and nightmares shake quiet cozy homes into a twilight zone where panic replaces all reason. You comforted a fearful child, and you are the calm and the peace in a child’s uncertain world.

On the 2nd day of Christmas, my child gave to me … 2 hugs-n-kisses The hugs and kisses are infinite, always in multiples of one more. They are hugs of thanks and for no-reason-at-all. They are kisses that forestall bedtime and ones that hold you through a long day at work.

On the 1st day of Christmas, my child gave to me … a love as true as true can be Being a parent definitely isn’t easy but it’s a love unlike any other. Only a parent knows exactly what it feels like to love a child and to be loved by a child. This year was filled with joy and maybe a little heartache. You were teacher, nurse, super-hero and most of all a parent. In return, you receive the best gift of all – your child’s love. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! c

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 21

CHRISTMAS Behind the Scenes by Mary Beth Bishop

Department store shelves and radio playlists aren’t the only places where the holidays come early across metro Atlanta. Atlanta Parent talked with some of the city’s chief keepers of Christmas to get a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the metro area’s popular holiday traditions.

Photo by Charlie McCullers. Courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

 A Magical Tale

at the Atlanta Ballet The work behind the scenes at Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker is as carefully choreographed as the dancing mice and flowers who bring the tale to life. “For everything that could happen, we have a safety net,” says Sharon Story, dean of the Ballet’s Centre for Dance Education. A physical therapist, she says, is always on hand. And while it’s rare that a major player isn’t able to perform, someone is ready to go on in case of illness or even unexpected traffic. The show has four different casts, and some dancers are trained in multiple roles. It’s hectic backstage but organized. While dancers are swirling on stage, the atmosphere behind the scenes, Story says, “is fun. There’s lots of positive energy. Everyone is rooting for everyone else.” September means auditions for the students at the Centre. They must be at least 8-years-old with several years of classical training to try out for a part in the holiday ballet. Sometimes a child dancer will grow up to dance a major role. Christian Clark played a party boy in the 1995 Nutcracker; now he dances the role of the Prince. This year the set will come out of the warehouse and onto the stage of the Fox Theatre on Dec. 2. “They put it together and it’s beautiful,” Story says. Dancers rehearse four days at the Fox before opening, but have been hard at work before that in the Ballet’s rehearsal space. This year the show is infused with extra magic courtesy of illusionist Drew Thomas. For the first two weeks of the show, Thomas will also be featured in the

22 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

role of Drosselmeyer, the mysterious party guest who comes bearing the Nutcracker as a gift. Thomas, who was a finalist on the reality show America’s Got Talent in 2009, says the pairing of dance and illusion works well because dancers are wonderfully equipped to maintain their poise without being distracted by the magic going on around them. With a background in dance himself, he also created illusions for last year’s

Nutcracker. This year he expands his role by taking to the stage as well. He says that audiences at a ballet are already immersed in a fictional world and thus more open to the idea of magical happenings. “They want to believe,” he says. “We’ll take them further down the rabbit hole.” More information at and

Photo Courtesy of the Center for Puppetry Arts

 That Famous Red Nose at the Center for Puppetry Arts

It’s hard to tell who’s busier these days at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Is it a famous adventure-prone reindeer with the world’s shiniest red nose? Or is it the cast backstage who scoot around on wheeled carts to keep up with the fast-paced show? They all play more than one part, and they must grab props at exactly the right time. “It’s like an aerobic workout while singing songs,” says Jason von Hinezmeyer , puppet designer for Rudolph the RedNosed Reindeer, now in its fourth year. Work begins as early as January to find cast members with the dramatic chops and the physical endurance that the show requires. Not only must they sing and dance but in most cases they must do it while holding puppets over their heads. Some days they do three shows. “There’s so much to remember from second to second,” says director Jon Ludwig, who loved the story as a kid. He says the message of “fitting in” still resonates today. A challenge of creating puppets for this show, von Hinezmeyer says, was staying true to the characters from the beloved TV version on which the show is based. He watched the 1964 classic over and over, creating binders of screen captures for the puppets he planned to build. We asked the puppet designer for the secrets to some of the Christmas magic. He says the giant Snow Monster suit has a tiny video camera on the outside of the costume. Inside, a small TV screen lets the actor see what’s going on. Rehearsals begin in October when most people are thinking of pumpkins instead of flying reindeer. Information and performance times at

Puppet Designer Jason von Hinezmeyer gets reindeer ready for the show at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

 We Love Children's Christmas Parade

With Christmas 2013’s bows and tinsel newly packed away, planners will meet in January to talk about the 2014 Children’s Christmas Parade. That’s partly to secure those giant balloons everyone waits to see. “Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of helium balloon providers so we reserve them early every year,” parade coordinator Abby Marcinko says. This year’s new additions are two Angry Birds balloons and Clifford, the red dog from the classic children’s books. The balloon companies also provide handlers who stay with the giant pieces throughout the parade. They “educate volunteers on how to dodge tree branches and what to do if there’s a large gust of wind,” Marcinko says. Each year the balloons are kept in one spot while the marching bands and others are grouped in their own designated spaces. Dispatchers signal participants when it’s time to go. Volunteers scurry to make sure that costumed characters are paired off with their drivers and to handle other tasks. This year, the Dec. 7 event moves to Midtown with a brand new route because of ongoing construction for the Atlanta Streetcar project. As the largest Christmas parade in the Southeast, it attracts more than 300,000 spectators. Proceeds help fund programs and equipment at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Recruiting begins in March for bands and organizations to make up the colorful lineup. Parades slots are usually full by sometime in the summer.

What’s the hardest part of coordinating a parade with more than a thousand participants and 400 hundred-plus volunteers? “Just organizing everything,” Marcinko says. “You’re working with a lot of people in the hospital and down the parade route … everyone in the community needs to be aware that Peachtree will be closed on one of the busiest weekends in Atlanta.” An important part of the plans is choosing

a CHOA patient for the parade. This year the spotlight will fall on 5-year-old Luci Newton of Suwanee. After she was injured in a fire as a baby in her native China, Luci was adopted by a family that can understand her pain. Luci’s adoptive mother had also been injured in a fire. Luci has her own way of adding a bit of cheer to a hospital visit. She always wears a tutu! More information at Cont'd on page 24

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 23


Behind the Scenes

Every December thousands of guests make their way to a field in Peachtree Corners where Bethlehem seems to have sprung up overnight, complete with animals, shops, Roman guards and, of course, a manger. Now in its 22nd year, the Walk Through Bethlehem is “a well-oiled machine,” says Lora King, who helps lead the magic makers from Simpsonwood United Methodist Church. Still, there’s always room for a surprise or two. A cow escaped during one of the early years, leading handlers on a merry chase through nearby streets. One year a container of formula appeared among the trinkets left for Baby Jesus. A child apparently reached into a sibling’s diaper bag to find something age appropriate for a baby in a manger. Church members armed with tools make their way to the site the first weekend in December to put up the shops. Then there are clothes to be hung and straw to be put down along with other chores before opening night on Dec. 13. More than 300 congregation members make it come together. In addition to playing shopkeepers or figures at the manger, church members handle traffic control and lighting more than a thousand luminaries to welcome guests to Bethlehem. Visitors are treated as if they’ve come to market, with shops up and down the street. Kids can watch grape stompers and get a grape-juice treat, or sing a little song to get a money changer’s “coin.” The idea was born when a congregation member was traveling and happened upon a similar event. Along the way to building a beloved tradition, organizers found themselves with questions most people

Photo by Brian Morgan

 Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem

never face – like where to find a camel. Pettit Creek Farms in Cartersville provides the four-legged creatures needed to bring Bethlehem to life. Some nights call for hand warmers or extra layers. Because of chilly temps, Mary cradles a doll and never a bundled-up infant. Except in cases of ice or hard rain, the show will always go on. More information at c

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by Pam Molnar

The holiday season gives us plenty of opportunities to kick off a new tradition. By doing something that creates and rekindles memories year after year, you are building a family custom. Looking to try something new this year? Consider these ideas to freshen up the holidays in your family.



1.  Build a Gingerbread house – from

6.  Attend a holiday service at a different

scratch or from a kit.

place of worship.

2.  Create a homemade gift for someone

7.  Research holiday traditions from your

each year.

3.  Design a Christmas time capsule to be put away in your holiday boxes.

4.  Make an outdoor Christmas tree for

the birds by stringing popcorn, dried fruit and bread or add bird seed ornaments made with seed, nuts and gelatin.

5.  Bake cookies, make candy or put

together Gifts in a Jar to share with your neighbors.

Sign up for 1,2,3 or all 4 days! 1 Day: $65 3 Days: $175 2 Days: $125 4 Days: $225 Register at Or email Or call 404-727-7240

ethnic background and add one to your current day celebration.

8.  Read a different holiday story each night – find a mix of old favorites and new reads.

9.  Sit down with the family to discuss their New Year’s Resolutions.

10.  Try a traditional holiday recipe from a different country every year.

Cont’d on page 26

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 25


HOLIDAY TRADITIONS TO START THIS YEAR! BE OF SERVICE: 11.  Play board games with residents at the senior center

12.  Prepare a meal for the families at Ronald McDonald House

13.  Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child

14.  Stock shelves at the local food pantry 15.  Make a double batch of tonight’s dinner and share it with a friend.

16.  Prepare bagged lunches at the homeless shelter

17.  Make no-sew blankets for hospitals or nursing homes.

18.  Start a book drive in your area and donate the books to local shelters and children’s hospitals

19.  Make an Advent calendar that

includes a random act of kindness to carry out each day.

20.  Go caroling with friends and take up a collection for your favorite charity.

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21.  Host an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

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22.  Purchase an Elf on a Shelf and set him

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up in different situations each night.

23.  Plan a couple of evenings to watch

holiday movies together. Add it to the calendar so everyone can look forward to it.

24.  Leave out shoes for St. Nicholas Day 25.  Play holiday decoration bingo as you

drive around and mark off things like a blow up snowman, a house with all red lights or a menorah in the window.

26.  Re-gift the same gift over and over and see who ends up with it this year.

27.  Have a Christmas Carol Karaoke Night

28.  Host a cookie exchange 29.  Host a holiday-themed Favorite Things Party

30. Play holiday versions of games like

Scattergories, Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary or Minute to Win It.

HOLIDAY PURCHASES: 31.  Purchase a new ornament each year for each child representing something about him that year or buy an ornament from each vacation spot and add that to your collection.

32.  Give your family the gift of pajamas to be opened on Christmas Eve.

33.  Buy a new board game to add to your arsenal for family game night.

34.  Start a collection of holiday

decorations like snowmen, snow globes or illuminated houses and add to it each year.

35.  Get a new holiday DVD every year and watch your collection grow.

TAKE A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE: 36.  Start a holiday journal. Encourage everyone to write down their holiday memories from this year and add new pages next year.

37.  Call the friends on your holiday card list with whom you have lost touch.

38.  Watch home movies of past holiday celebrations.

39.  Take a family picture in the same spot

every year and add the picture to an album that you display during the holidays.

40.  Buy a white table cloth that you can

write on. Write messages or draw pictures each year to create a wonderful keepsake. c

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 27

2013 Y A HOLID

e d i u G y o T Baby and Toddler

Atlanta Parent tested many new toys this fall to make sure Santa finds just the right ones to put under the tree. Here are our kid-pleasing favorites.

H Top Pick

n  Playmobil 1.2.3

Take Along Fire Station is perfect for kids pretending they’re first-responders. Goes anywhere with its handy carrying case, or store it when not in use. Ages 18 months and older. At and major retailers. $49.99 Franky the Hanky Whale from Lamaze is a plush toy with an activity young children never tire of – putting tissues in the whale’s mouth and pulling them out the top spout. It’s much better than our baby tester pulling wipes out of the diaper wipes container. Four bright cloth tissues teach colors, and fins are crinkly for texture and sound. Ages 6 months and older. At Babies ‘R’ Us. $24.99 n  Babies can sing along with more than 75 songs

and phrases as they turn the key, shift gears, honk the horn and twist the steering wheel of the Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car from Fisher-Price. The colorful plastic “car” doesn’t move, but baby will be too engaged to notice. Ages 6 months-3 years. At major retailers. $69.99

n  New Sprouts’ Ring It Up! My Very

Own Cash Register from Learning Resources is just right for small hands. Push the buttons to spin the display and count what appears, or twist the knob to see coins go down the slide and into the cash register. Ages 2 and older. At $29.99

Thanks to our toy testers and their kids: Felicia Barman, Dalia Faupel, Jennifer Haslam, Jordan Lisvosky, Laura Powell, Julia Sparks and Amy Smith. Shop early and check with stores on availabilty. Prices listed are MSRP.

28 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

n  HABA’s Clutching

Toy Ringi is a colorful toy with a two-tone base ring attached to movable disks and a wooden ball. Perfect for chewing. Made from maple and beechwood. At Ages infant and older. $12.99

n  Rattle, stick and pop! PipSquigz

from Fat Brain Toy Co. is a set of three toys including a textured silicone rattle, a suction toy and an attention getter. Stick it to a highchair or bathtub, and watch your child reach for it, bat it, squeeze it or attach it to another PipSquigz. BPA-Free and dishwasher safe. Ages 6 months and older. At BeanHead Toys, Kazoo Toys, Learning Express and MOMO toys. $19.95

n  Our testers, a 9-month-old

n  Mooshka Tots from Zaph Creations are adorable, machine-washable plush dolls. They were

transformed from paper dolls to huggable dolls through the power of friendship. Each 9.5-inch doll comes with a finger puppet and paper doll chain. Ages 2-8. At major retailers. $12.99


and a 2-year-old, squealed with delight when Playskool’s Poppin Park Elefun Busy Ball Popper shot a ball from his trunk. The sturdy toy plays 10 fun tunes as it shoots out balls for children to chase. Parents can change the angle of the trunk so balls roll down or keep popping. The baby quickly learned how to touch the button to play the music and make the balls move, but the music and fan volume is a bit loud. Ages 9 months and older. At major retailers. $29.99

Top Pick

n  Toddlers feel all grown up with Vtech’s 2-in-1 Shop & Cook Playset. They load up the

shopping cart while listening to music, phrases and sound-effects, and learn about food, colors and numbers. The shopping car transforms into a kitchen, with sink, oven, stove burner and cutting board. Our testers liked hearing the pot on the stove heat up as it glowed and switching between cooking and shopping. Ages 2-5. At most major retailers. $49.99

Cont’d on page 30

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 29

Baby and Toddler

2013 Y A HOLID

e Preschool d i u G y To n  If you’re looking for a good low-tech n  The Musical Gator from Alex Toys is a whimsical

wooden toy that’s four instruments in one – a xylophone, cymbal, drum pad and washboard. It comes with two mallets to make just the right sound. Ages 18 months and older. At BeanHead Toys. $36.00

game, look no further than Keekee the Rocking Monkey from Blue Orange Games. Kids work together to help Keekee juggle all 24 balls while he balances on a giant banana – this is easier said than done! The suspense builds with the addition of each ball. Great for developing motor skills. Ages 3 and older. At $24.99

n  Kids will have fun finding the right outfit for

their critter in the Raccoon Rumpus game from Educational Insights. Roll the dice and find the outfit that matches, like a costume with a blue top (there are color and clothing dice). Roll an underpants and loose all your costumes. Also doubles as a memory game. For 2-4 players. Ages 3 and older. At $14.99

n  Shake or twist these five colorful Musical Eggs from

HABA and you hear rattling, clattering, jingling and more, just the thing to keep the beat with music. Made of beechwood. Ages 2 and older. At $29.99.

n  Babies won’t be able to

keep their hands off the Rolling Busy Bus from Alex Jr. They’ll play with the curvy bead maze, open peek-a-boo windows and turn gears and wheels. Ages 10 months and older. At Bean Head Toys. $44.00

H Top Pick

n  Children’s digital cameras have come a long way,

n  When preschoolers

hug Big Hugs Elmo from Hasbro, Elmo hugs back and utters one of his phrases, such as “Elmo loves getting hugs from you.” Our toddler tester was a big fan of his lullaby song and putting him to bed. He also snores in sleep mode. Ages 18 months and older. At major retailers. $59.99

30 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

as proven with the Playskool Show Cam. This user-friendly 2-in-1 digital camera and projector provides plenty of giggles as young photographers take snapshots before adding fun animations to the images. It’s easy to switch to projection mode to present a slideshow. No software is required to upload photos to a computer. Ages 3-7. At major retailers. $59.99

n  Young fans of the Disney Movie “Planes”

will adore the interactive Disney Planes Wing Control Dusty Crophopper Radio Control Plane. Although this is not a flying toy, it’s entertaining in wide open spaces on hard floors. By tilting the left and right hand-held transmitters, a child easily controls Dusty’s every move. Dusty calls out many phrases like “Bank Left!” or “Bank Right!” Ages 3 and older. At major retailers. $39.99

n  Easily assemble the

n  The possibilities are endless with

B. Teepee from B. Toys, and your child will have a magically lit retreat with stars projected all around. Two or three kids can fit comfortably inside the space, or use it for quiet reading. An included lantern provides a light show. Ages 3-8. At Target. $35

the Smartmax Lighthouse Magnetic Discovery set. This 27-piece set includes varying chunky plastic pieces with built-in magnets, balls, and two light-up pieces. It allows children to collaborate to build all kinds of 3-D structures. Ages 1 and older. At $59.99

n  Imagine I Can’s

Roll & Bowl Anywhere from Manhattan Toy is a compact, take-withyou game pack that includes wooden mini-bowling pins and ball and a marbles with an obstacle course. Parents may need to help younger kids with the bowling pins. Ages 3 and older. At $20

n  Children can use the 170 stickers and

paper shapes – mustaches, beards, hats, crowns, scuba gear and more – in Silly Me Photo Booth from Alex Toys to create alternate personas or just goofy faces. Pose for a close-up in a photo booth or in front of Mom’s camera. Ages 4 and older. At Toys ‘R’ Us. $14.30 Cont’d on page 32

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 31

Adjustable and light-

2013 Y A O H LID

e d i u G Toy

Ages 5-8

n  Micro Chargers Hyper Dome by Moose is

fast-paced fun. Kids charge the mini car (batteries required) and then launch it into the dome, where it whips around the interior. It’s fun to watch, and the car works on flat surfaces as well (it made big circles at top speed!) To have a battle, you need to purchase an additional car, which we would recommend to get the most out of this toy. Ages 6 and older. At major retailers. $29.99

weight, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Combat Shell is a good fit for fans of the TMNT. It’s got spots to hold any combat weapons, and can transform into a shield with its interior grip. For pretend play, it helps kids find their inner Leonardo; a great addition to the dress-up bin. Ages 4 and older. At Toys ‘R’ Us. $14.99

n  Put together a

n  Boom Boom Balloon Game

by Spin Master will keep you in silly suspense. Roll the die and watch this funny faced balloon change shape with each new click. Don’t be the one to pop the balloon or you’ll lose. Once you run out of balloons, regular balloons can be substituted. Ages 8 and older. At most retailers. $19.99

108 pieces to create Quercetti’s Migoga Marble Run Double Spiral, race your marbles, then put the tracks together in a different way to create another race course. Ages 6 and older. At $49.99

n  Create Your Own Scratch ‘n

Sniff Storybook from Creativity for Kids has everything kids need to write a story – a hardcover book, markers, scratch ‘n sniff stickers in scents such as chocolate and popcorn, plus instructions and ideas. Ages 5 and older. At local craft stores. $19.99

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ZOESKITCHEN.COM 32 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

n  Make Lolly Crayons by

sprinklling crayon crumbles in the molding tray in any creative pattern you wish. Add the sticks, then let Dad (or Mom) bake your creation. Our tester had a lot of fun making and drawing with these uniquely designed crayons. The small molds made the crayons just the right size for small hands too. Ages 5 and older. At $15.40

n  Our family giggled our way

through Blue Orange Game’s new card game Ooga Booga. Players take turns adding to a chain of cards with cave man words (Kana, Yonka, Zee!) or actions (bang your fist, clap your hands), and reciting the whole chain from memory. Ages 7 and older. At $12.99

n  Hasbro’s B-DAMAN Crossfire Break Bomber

Battlefield Arena is a fun interactive battle game for two players. Shoot marbles with your B-DAMAN action figure knocking yellow and red blocks into your opponent’s territory. Kid testers found it easy to assemble and fun to play. Ages 6 and older. At major retailers. $29.99

n  Design beads and pendants using ice

water and hot water with Color Splasherz Ice Station. String the pendants and beads to make a bracelet and up to three necklaces. Our tester felt quite creative. Ages 5 and older. At major retailers. $19.99


n  Young artists will have everything

they need to draw on the go with the Faber-Castell Do Art Travel Easel. The 37-piece set has beeswax crayons, markers, chalk, white board marker, colored pencils and pencil sharpener, sponge and drawing pad. All the materials fit inside when not in use. Ages 4 and older. At $34.99

Top Pick

n  Fans of Thinkfun’s Rush Hour

n  With the Crayola Photo Mix & Mash,

kids can make silly faces with the stamper, distort photos with the morphing tool, or create different borders and add backdrops to original photos. It requires a tablet and a free downloadable app. Kids will be captivated by the designs, the sound effects and the ability to print their masterpieces. Parents will want to put a screen protector on the tablet since the tools sometimes require the user to press hard on the screen. Ages 3-15. At Toys ‘R’ Us. $19.99

game will love LaserMaze, a science-based single-player logic game that uses light and mirrors to direct a laser beam through a series of mazes. Beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert challenge cards invite a player to figure out how to get the laser light to hit the target to win (solutions provided). This game made our testers think, and learn how to redirect and split light beams! Ages 8 and older. At $29.99

n  Playmobil’s City Action Cargo and Passenger

Aircraft has 134 pieces to spark imagination, including the plane and air traffic control tower. Load cargo in the front of the aircraft or take off the removable roof to seat passengers; set includes five figures, cargo container and accessories. Ages 4-10. At Toys ‘R’ Us. $109.99 Cont’d on page 34

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 33

2013 Y A HOLID

e d i u G y To Ages 5-8

n  The Hot Wheels Car Maker

by Mattel was a hit with kid testers. The kit includes wax to create ten Hot Wheels. Kids loved mixing wax colors and customizing the cars. Patience is a must with this toy – it takes 5-7 minutes to heat the wax and then another 8-10 minutes for it to cool. Adult supervision is necessary. Refills available. Ages 8 and older. At major retailers. $49.99

n  The Angry Birds

Playground game is easy to learn, but difficult to master. Players choose one of 48 challenges, then take the four playing pieces and cover up all the pigs that are not in your challenge. Our 7-yearold tester liked this strategic thinking game because it was challenging – she feels like it makes you smart. Ages 5 and older. At and $17.99 n  Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope

n  Kids can mix and match colors when

n  If Barbie seems a bit too much, Lottie

dolls from Arklu are a wholesome alternative. Developed by British academics, Lottie dolls have childlike bodies and don’t wear makeup or high heels. They’re all about girl power, with the slogan: Be Bold, Be Brave, Be You. Ages 3-9. At BeanHead Toys and MOMO Toys. $19.95

34 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

making their own markers with the Crayola Marker Maker kit. The actual marker maker unit doubles as a storage unit for all the pieces. This kit comes with a color mixing guide but kids can also create their own colors. Ages 8 and older. At major retailers. $24.99

& Activity Journal from Educational Insights lets kids examine anything they want to study, from leaves to bugs to fabric with a 30x-100x-400x magnification scope. The scope works two ways with a top and bottom viewing light, so you can view the inside and outside of any specimen. The scope impressed our young scientists with its strong magnification and it sparked their interest in a closer examination of nature. Ages 8 and older. At Toys ‘R’ Us. $39.99

2013 Y A HOLID

n  Divoom’s Bluetune Solo speaker lets you take big sound along in a very small package. The sturdy little speaker can withstand backpack travel and the battery lasts about eight hours. It can also connect to other speakers for maximum sound and has wireless operation to go wherever you want to take it. The design reminds us of a mini soda can – cute, but it packs a punch! Ages 10 and older. At $39.95

e d i u G Toy



n  Wipeout Dry Erase Helmet

lets kids personalize their bicycle or skateboarding gear and create a custom helmet. Helmets come in a variety of colors, in three sizes, and each kit has five dry erase non-toxic markers in neon and stencils. Helmets certified for ages 3-11. At major retailers. $24.99-$36.

Top Pick

n  Headbanz Act Up! from SpinMaster

is a fast-paced acting game – no verbal cues allowed. This game gets your family thinking creatively and puts your communication skills to the test. You have 20 seconds to guess the card on your head, or by “acting up” to help another player guess their card. 2-6 players. Ages 8-14. At $19.99 n  The perfect gift for the kid that

likes to continue playtime well after dinner – the NightZone football by Toysmith. This football is battery operated and lights up. Our testers enjoyed playing at dusk where you could really see the glow and still see where you are running. Ages 6 and older. At local specialty toy stores. $14.99

n  Spot it! Party by Blue Orange takes

the I Spy-style card game to a new level with a series of six mini-games in one box. Illustrated cards show a mix of objects, like pumpkins, shoes or paper clips. There is one, and only one, matching symbol between any two cards, and you’ve got to be the fastest group to find it (up to 8 players). Ages 10 and older. At $19.99

are covered in small flexible spikes with just enough texture to feel wonderful in your hand or on your wrist. At and major retailers. Pens, $8.99; journals, $14.99; bracelets, $2.50

n  The Pillow Text Kit by Alex Toys lets

your child stitch and knot a cute fleece throw pillow with text talk embroidered sayings. Even a novice to stitching or sewing can follow the pre-punched holes to make a colorful mini-masterpiece for their bedroom. Ages 8 and older. At Bean Head Toys Atlanta. $14.30

n  Get ready to feel like

Katniss with the NERF Rebelle Guardian Crossbow from Hasbro. One of the (few or first) NERF toys with the nontraditional colors, this is sure to be a hit for the active girl. Our tester loved that her favorite color was incorporated into the design. Having the extra dart refill is a must for this launcher. Ages 8 and older. At major retailers. $24.99

n  Spikeletz products from Optari

n  Careful or Mom

will snag this super cool gift from under the tree! Satechi’s Touch USB LED Lamp is a sure way to bring some light to your desk, computer or work space in a really neat way. Turns any glass bottle into a great light source. No power cord needed – just a USB port! At $24.99

Cont’d on page 36

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 35

n  Show your team spirit with College

2013 Y A O H LID

e d i u G Toy

Stocking Stuffers

Team Trains, wooden trains in team colors with team logos. The trains are compatible with Thomas and Brio. Buy Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators trains and stage a wreck! Ages 3 and older. At BeanHead Toys, Cutie Pies, Hobbytown (Kennesaw), Kazoo Toys, Learning Express and Shenanigans. $17.99

n  Erector Micro Kit Helicopter, n  Bouncy and fun, Y’all Balls from Joint

Merchant are colorful, soft and durable, plus the surface is washable. Sizes range from 6-inches to 40-inches. Ages 3 and older. At BeanHead Toys, Kazoo Toys and Learning Express. 6-inch ball, $6.99

Bi-Plane and F1 are made for the boy or girl who loves putting things together. Each kit has 30plus parts, tools and instructions. Ages 8-15. At BeanHead Toys, Kazoo Toys and Learning Express. $6.99

n  Learn a little science with this

fun activity, the Floating Ball Game from Schylling. Blow into the wooden tube and see how long you can make the Styrofoam ball float. Ages 3 and older. At $3.95

n  Puppet-on-a-Pen by

Motivation USA is the perfect silliness to ease the tension in a homework assignment. Pull down a lever to make their mouths move and say what comes to mind, “Ma, can I do this later?” Set of three. Ages 8 and older. At $15

n  Young children will have a starry

night and comforting presence with Pillow Pets Dream Lites Minis from OnTel. Squeeze the light, disguised as a critter, for instant starlight. Ages 3 and older. At major retailers. $12.99

n  Play-Doh Color Sticks from

Hasbro are the perfect size for small hands and small sculptures. Best of all they come in lots of cool colors in 1 oz. packs. Ages 2 and older. At major retailers. Grab n Go Brights Pack with six sticks, $1.99; Box o Color set of 16 sticks, $4.99; Rainbow Pack with 33 sticks, $9.99

n  The new Optari Mini Loom is an

ideal take-along craft that’s easy to do everywhere! All materials are included to make up to six colorful rubber band bracelets to share or keep. Our tween testers were expertly weaving in no time and showing off their handmade accessories. Ages 8 and older. At local specialty toys stores. $5.99

n  Radz candy

dispensers from Radz Brands come with in all sorts of fun characters and they open their mouths, stick out their tongues and offer candy pellets. Plus they come with an online game code. Ages 4 and older. At BeanHead Toys, Kazoo Toys and Learning Express. $4.99-$6.99; refills, $1.50

36 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

n  Every stocking needs a

lump of coal – who hasn’t been a bad little girl or boy at least once in the past year? Marbles are extra fun with this Lump of Coal marble game from Fabricas Selectas USA. Ages 3 and older. At Richard’s Variety Stores. $3.49 c




by Malia Jacobson


oddlers – and their milestones – move at the speed of light. Before you know it, your child is speaking in sentences, learning to run and jump, and building teetering block towers (only to knock them down again). One of the biggest milestones is also the most worrisome: the transition from a crib to a “big kid” bed. Parents worry that their toddler, freed from the confines of a crib, will wander the house at night or bounce out of bed at the crack of dawn. “We were worried about lots of up-anddown traffic at night and in the morning,” confesses Cheryl Oliver, mom to 14-year-old Rianne and 5-year-old Gabriella. But the transition doesn’t have to be terrible. In fact, it can be downright fun. “When Jack was 2, we transitioned him to his own ‘big boy’ bed, and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” says Lindsay Fisher, mom to 4-year-old Jack and 1-year-old Will. “He slept through the night and was so proud of himself in the morning.” Smooth the way for a great toddler-bed transition with these tips:

When parents are anxious about the transition to a toddler bed, they can unwittingly pass on their anxiety to their child, says psychologist and mom Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, author of A Happy You: Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness. “Children are like sponges, and they pick up on our fears and anxieties,” she says. Do your best not to transmit your nerves to your tot – talk about the new bed as an exciting new step, not a worrisome obligation.

TIMING CLUES Climbing out of the crib, potty training, and becoming interested in toddler beds are signs that your child may be ready. And while you don’t want to ditch the crib prematurely, you also don’t want to wait too long, or you may find yourself in a stressful situation where you need to get your child out of the crib in a hurry (because a new sibling needs it, for example). When a new baby will need the crib, Lombardo recommends making the switch at least a month before the birth, to give the older child time to adjust to the change. Cont’d on page 38

atlanta baby

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 37



Toddlers are notoriously hungry for more independence and personal power, so give them some control over the transition. Allow tots to pick out their new bedding or choose which toys get to come to the new bed. “We asked Jack to be a part of setting up his new big boy room. He picked out his bedding – Thomas the Tank Engine, of course – and he got to pick out special pajamas for his first night,” says Fisher.

At naptime, opportunistic toddlers may capitalize on their newfound freedom by refusing to stay in bed. “Often, kids do fine with their new bed at bedtime – naps present a bigger issue,” says Lombardo. But most 2-year-olds still need a daily siesta. Enforce your tot’s naptime by creating a solid, consistent ritual and keeping the bedroom very dark and quiet during naptime.

CALENDAR COUNTDOWN Help your child prepare for the transition by creating a “big kid bed” countdown. One to two weeks before making the switch, tell your child that he’ll be moving to a special new bed. Then, cross off the days on the calendar and talk excitedly about the big day with your child. But don’t set the date too far in advance; a buildup of several weeks could make your child anxious instead of eager.

ROOM SERVICE If your child leaves his new bed in the middle of the night – or if you’re worried that he will – install a baby gate at his bedroom door. When you hear him get up, return him to his bed promptly, every time. Once

38 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Enforce your tot’s nap time by creating a solid, consistent naptime ritual and keeping the bedroom very dark and quiet during naptime. he realizes that he won’t be rewarded with parental interaction or be able to get out of his room, he’ll be more likely to stay in his bed all night long.

WINNING WAYS To help your child maintain positive associations with his new bed, never use the bed as a place for punishment or time out. It’s better and more effective to reward positive behavior, says Lombardo. Sticker charts, special outings, or a visit to the child’s favorite restaurant are good options. “When Jack slept all night in his new bed, we made him a special breakfast the next day to acknowledge his accomplishment!” says Fisher.

atlanta baby

CLOCK EXTRA MINUTES Kids in toddler beds may be more inclined to get up with the roosters. Keep your early bird in bed with a special clock that tells her when it’s time to start the day. “We bought a special alarm clock with nature sounds just before we converted to a toddler bed,” says Oliver. “She loved waiting for her alarm in the morning and getting up to press the reset button – no troubles with getting out of bed too early!” Whatever you do, “don’t give in and allow your child to go back to the crib,” says Lombardo. Make this transition an exciting milestone for your little one, and the crib will soon be a thing of the past. On to the next adventure! c Malia Jacobson is a nationally published sleep journalist, columnist and mom. She blogs about sleep and parenting at

We provide customized solutions that fit your family’s individual needs. Every Nanny is put through a rigorous background check and all are CPR trained. And we’re always there when you need us, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At Nanny Poppinz we understand, because we’re moms too.

Suds Up! Baby’s First Bath by Laura Powell

Baby’s first bath is a special moment that then becomes an almost daily ritual. Tubs, towels, accessories … what do you really need? This mom finds that you may need less with baby No. 2.

The Tub

The Temperature

l  First

l  First

Child: Four different bathtubs (soft foam bear, Puj tub, Fisher Price tub and munchkin inflatable duck tub) and two bathmats (one extra long for full tub coverage).   l  Second Child: The foam is nice to lay them on for a sponge bath and for drying them off when they are so little and new. Then I dusted off the old Fisher Price tub because it fit nicely into the kitchen sink. Once they are sitting up, just stick them in the tub. This time we used a normal-sized small bathmat. We did try one of those inflatable bath rings (to help while having two in the tub) and it was hard to get the baby to sit up well and to pull her out. When filling the tub, recommends you fill the tub with only 2 to 4 inches of water for babies.

Puj tub

Child: Duck Thermometer. l  Second Child: Hmm… feels fine to me. She likes it warm. recommends making the water comfortably warm for baby and testing the temperature with the inside of your wrist to make sure it is not too hot. Most babies prefer the water cooler than adults do.  

Stadium Childcare Providers for the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks

elax during the R holiday season. Take

time for yourself during the shopping frenzy or gift a $59 one-hour massage special! Offer expires 12/31/13. (Cannot be combined with other specials.)

The Towels l  First

Child: Bathrobe, fancy hooded towels and a large collection of washcloths. l  Second Child: I don’t think I ever used the bathrobe with my first. I still like large, nice hooded towels. Now that I have a toddler, the infant hooded towels seem not as nice when the baby now uses them. I recommend a large hooded towel like Kushies plush hooded towels ($33.99 at You can never have too many wash cloths. Cont’d on page 40

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Pregnancy Massage • Postpartum Massage Infant Massage Instruction Maternity Must Haves


1300 Upper Hembree Rd., Roswell December 2013    Atlanta Parent 39

Baby’s First Bath The Suds l  First

Child: About 20 different types of soap, wash and bubble bath.    l  Second Child: I’m still trying to determine a favorite among the soaps. For now, we are using Mommy’s Bliss Sweet Slumber Baby Wash ($7.99 at Walgreens) and the Live Clean Baby Soap Bars ($6.99 at Walgreens).

Beyond the Bubbles l  Storage

It’s nice to have toy storage. We like the Boon Frog holder ($34.99 at buybuy BABY). It’s easy to install, keeps toys off the bottom of the tub and has holes to let them dry out. l  Toys – these are our favorites … Baby Bath Ball from Munchkin ($5.99 at Babies ‘R’ Us) Dunck Stacking duck toy from Skip Hop ($10 at

How do children learn? We’d like to find out – and you and your child can help!

♥ Infant through PreK ♥ Full day Christian based educational program

Monday – Friday 7AM – 6PM

DULE A TOUR TODA Y SCHE 404-843-8375 550 Mt. Paran Rd., Sandy Springs 40 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Currently seeking families with babies to school-age children to participate in fun, game-like studies. Each study is usually a brief, one-time visit and you are with your child at all times. We study language, learning, memory and how children understand space and numbers. Children receive a small gift as thanks for participating.

l  Wish

I… I wish I purchased the Skip Hop Mob Bath Kneeler and bathtub elbow rest ($15 each at Babies ‘R’ Us). I’ve slipped and sat uncomfortable bathing both kids and it got really hard to give baths when pregnant with baby No. 2. This would have helped! c

For more information, call 404-727-7432 or visit: www.psychology.emory. edu/childstudycenter

atlanta baby

Spotlight on

Baby Resources Northside Pediatrics


aking the time now to choose the right pediatric practice is one of the most important decisions you can make for you and your baby. Selecting the doctor to take care of your most precious gift – your new baby – is a difficult decision. Take the time to interview, understand and select a pediatric practice that best fits you and your family’s needs because this practice likely will be part of your family for the next 18 years or so. During your baby’s first year, you will visit your pediatrician’s office many times for check-ups, shots, and other unanticipated baby events. Being comfortable with the practice and how they treat you and your baby during this new and exciting time is extremely important to your wellbeing. Many new parents don’t realize that your baby’s pediatrician is also your “go-to” when there are middle of the night fevers, terrible two tantrums or emotional outbursts at age 15. At Northside Pediatrics, we focus on total wellness of children from birth through age 21. We call our comprehensive care philosophy 360Care™. That means

we spend more time with each child because some things that can impact your child’s long-term health can’t be determined quickly. And, as children grow to adolescence, we create an environment that’s safe for them to talk to their physician about sensitive issues and begin to learn how to manage their own health as they grow to adulthood. We believe in teambased care. With Northside Pediatrics, you have access to our full team of expertly trained, compassionate physicians; nurse practitioners; nurses; medical assistants; lab technicians; and office staff. When it comes to your children, we will not compromise on quality.  We follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines. We adhere to the vaccination schedule because it’s better for your children. It’s a higher standard, and many families in Atlanta are looking for that.  To schedule an appointment at Northside Pediatrics call 404-256-2688 (Sandy Springs) or 770-928-0016 (Woodstock). For more information, visit

Special Advertising Section

Emory University Child Study Center

St. John Children’s Center

ow do children learn and grow? How do they think and remember? How do they change as they grow older? These are some of the questions that Emory University Child Study Center is constantly asking...and you and your child can be part of uncovering new answers! The center invites Atlanta area families to participate in studies focused on language, learning, memory. It also investigates the role that brain development plays. Emory faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students conduct research studies on each of these fascinating areas. The Child Study Center studies how children learn and develop by watching and interacting with them and their parents. Each study is carefully planned to be fun and interesting. It usually involves one or two sessions, and typically takes place at the Emory University campus in a comfortable setting. Parents with newborns through schoolage children are encouraged to participate. Parents may stay during the session and play with their children and observe the study sessions. Parking is free and convenient. If you are interested in participating please, visit www. or contact the center at or 404-727-7432. The center will contact you when an appropriate study becomes available.

t. John Children’s Center is a full day Christian Preschool located at St. John United Methodist Church in the neighborhoods near Chastain Park. Bright classrooms, community spaces and outdoor play areas provide multiple venues for learning while playing in a loving environment. With an empowered faculty, children are encouraged daily through reading, music, science, art projects, outdoor time, and movement. The creative curriculum provides age appropriate projects and the low child to teacher ratio allows individualized attention for each child’s developmental needs. As each student prepares for their future success, St. John accepts the responsibility of creating lifelong learners and seeks to inspire all of God’s children with the wisdom and understanding of the world around them. Enrichment programs include chapel, story time, music, ballet, computer and gymnastics. A strong emphasis is placed on each child’s educational needs and social development. Teachers nurture students as they grow spiritually, physically, socially and emotionally while learning through play, mindful that the time they have with your child shapes the success they will experience throughout their life. Please visit or call 404-843-8375 and schedule a tour today!



Special Advertising Section

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 41

Board Games

Zingo (Ages 3 and older)

This early learning game is a sturdy version of a bingo card and can be played at two levels of difficulty. Pre-readers learn to match pictures and place them on their card while early readers identify sight words and play until they can yell, Zingo! Games can be played competitively or as a group until all players are winners.

Sneak in Math, Strategy, Social Graces and More

The Ladybug Game

by Jan Pierce

Most of us grew up on such board game classics as Monopoly and Clue. We enjoyed being with family members or friends as we built our real estate empires or found out “who done it.” Playing board games is not only fun, but studies show that many of them are educational as well, according to Dr. Gwen Dewar, an anthropologist who specializes in studying the ways children learn. Board games help children learn skills such as following rules, predicting outcomes, detecting patterns, making appropriate choices and solving problems logically, along with social skills such as waiting for a turn, paying attention, and practicing good sportsmanship. Some games are better than others, Dewar says. A game relying solely on luck is not as valuable to learning as a game that requires both strategy and a degree of luck. Here are some board game and the skills these games introduce and reinforce.

(Ages 3-7) Kids love being one of the four color-coded characters and will learn numbers, counting, colors and even some words. They’ll also pick up facts about gardens and gardening.

African Adventure Puzzle and Game (Ages 4 and older)

African Adventure by Talicor blends game and puzzle. Join two characters who are bilingual (English and Spanish) on their journey through the jungle. Players will learn critical thinking, improve memory skills and learn jungle animal facts. This game won the Creative Child Magazine Award in 2010.

Bug Trails

(Ages 6-9) This game comes with six-legged colorful dominoes. Players learn to match colors strategically depending on whether they make a one, two or three-legged match. Great for color recognition, pattern recognition and simple game strategy.

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Now enrolling children ages 15 months – 12 years • 42 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Pirates vs. Pirates

(Ages 8 and older) This swashbuckling game of swords and rewards requires players to go for the gold coins while at the same time protecting their pirate. It’s a great beginning game of strategy with practice in calculated risk-taking.

Ticket to Ride

(Ages 8-12) This train-themed game is set in the early 1900s and its goal is to build a railroad track to connect major American cities. Players learn names of cities and gain map skills. They also get a sense of American geography. This game requires strategic moves, decision-making skills and long-range planning. The game comes in alternate versions: Europe, Marklin (Germany), Asia, India, Nordic Countries and the Heart of Africa.

Forbidden Island

(Ages 10-12) This game won the Mensa Favorite Brainy Game Award for 2010. It is a game requiring cooperation and collaboration. The goal is to capture four sacred treasures before the island sinks. A complex game for older players.

The Big Fat Tomato Game

(Ages 10-15) Tomato farmers gear up to compete for the biggest tomato harvest. Farmers work hard to grow their crop while fighting off varmints, weeds and even a dastardly Tomato Zombie. The game reinforces basic math skills.

Sounds Like a Plan

(Ages 10-15) Players match advice to a given activity. Score points if your advice is taken. Players report having a lot of fun with giving the worst advice or Grandma’s advice. Great for developing the ability to think in another’s point of view.

Cont’d on page 44

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 43

Board Games Agricola

(Ages 12-16) Agricola is Latin for farmer. In this strategic game you begin in a one-room shack and endeavor to build your farm from scratch. You may take two actions at each turn with regular turns for harvesting. What will you do first, collect stone or build fences?


(Ages 12-15) Trajan is a sophisticated development game set in ancient Rome. Players try to increase their influence and power in the realms of politics, trading of goods and military domination. This game won the 2012 International Gamers Award for strategy. Dewar’s study, Board Games for Kids: Do the They Make Kids Smarter?, can be found at c


Come See What Other Families Have Discovered

Parents’ Choice, established in 1978 as a nonprofit guide to quality in children’s toys and games, gave awards to these games: n  Mummy’s Treasure by HABA, ages 3

and older n  Shelby’s Snack Shack Game by

Educational Insights, ages 4 and older


n  Cat in the Hat I Can Do That by Wonder Forge, ages 4-8

Wed. December 11, 9:30 am-10:30 am Sat. January 25, 12:00 pm-2:00 pm

We strive to help children reach their highest potential, while developing a life-long love of learning in a warm and nurturing environment where students matter most.

• Private non-parochial Preschool, Elementary & Middle Grades • Challenging Hands On Academics • SACS, GAC and NAEYC accredited • 5380 Faircroft Drive, Alpharetta, GA 30005 • 770-664-7764

n  A Snail’s Pace Race by Ravensburger,

ages 3-5 n  Gopher It! by Playroom Entertainment,

ages 5 and older n  The Secret Door by Family Pastimes,

ages 5-7 n  Rivers, Roads and Rails by

Ravensburger, ages 5-12

OL Your SCHO ur o belongs in ing award-winn t n re Atlanta Pa ucation January Ed issue

day, Expo on Satur

January 26

Parent Don’t Miss

Atlanta’s No.

Our Camp

1 Parenting Magazine

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The Formula for Success in School Our Annual Education Issue

44 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Are You Tuned In? Take our Quiz


n  Sumoku by Gamewright, ages 10 and

older n  Map It! by Foxmind, ages 10 and older n  DaVinci’s Challenge by Briar Patch for

ages 9 and up n  10 Days in the USA by Out of the Box,

ages 10 and older n  Qwirkle, Mindware’s best-selling game

of all time, ages 6 and older

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Our foreign language instruction, community partnerships, dedicated STEAM teachers, and commitment to 21st century learning provide an exceptional foundation for our bright young learners to succeed in school and in life.

Midtown International School 500 Amsterdam Ave NE | Atlanta, GA 30306 | (404) 542-7003

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 45


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Ways to Put Reading in the Holidays

Parents have a built-in advantage during the holidays to get their kids hooked on books. “This time of year is so thrilling for kids that giving them a book now … makes that book seem more exciting and special,” educator Donalyn Miller says. “The holidays elevate the status of the book, and by association, reading itself.” Miller is co-author of Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Keys to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habits. Here are some ideas to consider before you start looking for a gift of books: n  Books

The Bedford School accepts students in grades one through nine. Students receive proper academic remediation in a small class setting, as well as specific help with physical skills, peer interaction and self-esteem. The Bedford School also offers Squirrel Hollow Camp, a remedial summer camp program. For Children With Learning Differences

770-774-8001 5665 Milam Rd. Fairburn, Georgia 30213

Open Houses Sunday, January 26th 2-4pm Sunday, February 23rd 2-4pm Wednesday, March 19th 9am

The Bedford School maintains a non-discriminatory policy concerning admissions, scholarships, use of facilities and employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or creed.

or E-Books? Don’t assume your child would prefer a paper-and-ink book or a digital book. Ask. If an e-reader is the answer and your child can be easily distracted, select one without extras. n  Match

interest to ability. Finding a book your child will enjoy is more difficult if your child reads below grade level. If the books that he can easily read are “boring” or “stupid,” talk with his teacher for suggestions that match his interests and reading level. n  Offer

the option to listen along.

Maybe you’re concerned that your child just won’t be able to settle down with a book long enough to become interested. “Consider giving your child an audio and text version of the same book,” Miller says. “Being able to listen along will help developing readers to ‘read up’ and focus on comprehension, and it will help to lengthen all children’s attention spans. Listening to audio books also teaches children to love stories.”

Are you Overwhelmed & Confused in finding the best solutions for your child with special needs?

KISS CAN HELP! Specializing in:

 In-home behavioral strategies  Advocacy within the school system  Functional life skills  Assistive technology/ communication  Therapeutic services across settings Becky Borak  404-932-4140

KISS Keeping It Specially Simple

46 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Choose a

Montessori Education

for Your Child

Find a school near you from the largest Montessori community in the U.S.

n  Leave

your child hanging. New children’s or young adults’ books often become a series of adventures with the same characters (Harry Potter is a prime example). Buy just the first book in a series and if your child gets hooked, take him to the bookstore to browse for more and explore other authors. n  Make

a book budget. If your children normally receive money for Christmas, Hanukkah or birthdays, ask them to earmark a percentage of it for books, then take them to the bookstore for a fun outing. n  Give

books all around. Don’t leave

the bookstore with a gift for your child only. Consider exchanging books with your spouse, your parents and family friends. n  “Book”

a later bedtime. While your kids are out for winter break, consider allowing them to stay up later than usual, if they use that time to read. Link that thrill of staying up late to reading, and it might lead to illicit reading under the covers with a flashlight. n  Enjoy

this gift together. Give

your child at least one book that you can read together. You might choose a book that you enjoyed growing up or a nonfiction book about a topic in which you’re both interested. c

Barrow Old Peachtree Montessori .....................770-963-3052 ...............

Bibb Montessori of Macon ............................478-757-8927 ............... St. Andrews Montessori ........................478-474-4465 ............... (under renovation)

Cobb Casa dei Bambini...................................770-973-2731 ............... Riverstone Montessori Academy ..........770-422-9194 ............... Noble World Montessori .......................770-509-1775 ............... Coweta Carolyn Barron Montessori School ......770-253-2135 ............... DeKalb Arbor Montessori School ......................404-321-9304 ............... Atlanta Montessori Int’l School ............404-325-6777 ............... Decatur Montessori School ...................404-370-0620 ............... Montessori School at Emory .................404-634-5777 ............... Montessori School of Dunwoody .........770-804-1444 ............... Northwoods Montessori School ............770-457-7261 ............... Fayette Counterpane Montessori .......................770-461-2304 ............... Fayette Montessori School ....................770-460-6790 ............... Forsyth Ivy League Montessori ..........................770-781-5586 ............... Montessori Academy at Sharon Springs ...770-205-6277 ............... Montessori School of Cumming ...........770-205-6773 ............... Fulton Carlisle Montessori School ...................404-949-0053 ............... Children Today Montessori ...................770-817-8200 ............... The Children’s House at Serenbe ..........770-317-4310 ............... Crabapple Montessori School ...............770-569-5200 ............... Cross of Life Christian Montessori .......770-475-3812 ............... Discovery Montessori Academy ...........404-767-5005 ............... Springmont ............................................404 252 3910 ................ Montessori In Town ...............................404-784-1038 ............... Montessori School of Alpharetta...........770-667-1277 ............... Renaissance Montessori School ............404-755-1915 ............... The Suzuki School.................................404-869-1042 ............... Village Montessori School ....................770-552-0834 ............... Gwinnett CountrySide Montessori School ...........770-277-3950 ............... The Duluth Montessori School .............770-476-9307 ............... Four Seasons Montessori School ..........404-444-1995 ............... Meadowbrook Montessori School......... Oak Meadow Montessori School ..........770-963-8303 ............... Old Peachtree Montessori School .........770-963-3052 ...............

Education for children infant through middle school. Visit for more information.

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 47


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Saturday, 11 am - 4 pm North Point Mall Alpharetta

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Saturday, 11 am - 4 pm Perimeter Mall Atlanta

To exhibit or for info call Jordan Lisvosky at 678-222-1911

or •

Family Fun Guide * Eating Out


Free Fun


Tr y-It





Not-to-miss events for December

y Holida r da Calen 9 5 Page


Children’s Christmas Parade Midtown Atlanta Dec. 7, 10:30 a.m. The annual Christmas Parade benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the largest holiday parade in the Southeast. The procession down Peachtree Street includes decorated floats, marching bands, giant helium balloons, and festive music. The parade route starts at 16th Street and ends at 5th Street. Free; bleacher seats for $18 can be reserved at


Disney Junior Live on Tour! Pirate & Princess Adventure Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Dec. 14-15. Sat, 7 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sofia the First and Jake and the Never Land Pirates take the stage for a musical adventure that flies from Sofia’s castle to Never Land with new songs, special effects and audience interaction. A Doc McStuffins preshow takes place ten minutes before curtain. 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., Atlanta. 800-745-3000. $20-$80.

Family Fun Guide


Disney Junior Live on Tour

Shen Yun

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Dec. 27-29. Fri., 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. A stage performance featuring classical Chinese dance, live music, elaborate costumes and animated backdrops illustrates 5,000 years of Chinese civilization. Traditional Chinese instruments blend with a Western orchestra and dancers depict myths, legends and moments in history. 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., Atlanta. 678-681-1868. $55-$205.

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 49

Family Fun Guide Tin Drum Asia Café 10 metro locations. Open for lunch and dinner. Hours vary.

My family of four headed to the Dunwoody location of Tin Drum Asia Café for a weeknight dinner, and a taste of a different culture. Tin Drum is inspired by street food in Asia, and we noticed that theme everywhere, from the music to the soda machine (the Coca-Cola sign on the fountain is written in Japanese!) The décor at Tin Drum includes cement floors, silver ‘tin’ tables and various pictures in an Asian theme. We found ourselves transported, both by our surroundings and by our meal. n  What’s on the menu: The menu is easy to follow and features traditional Asian flavors. Dishes like mango stir fry, Panang curry, Pho, and several varieties of street noodles make it nearly impossible to not find something for


your palate. The kitchen also customizes the spice level so it’s easy to modify the ‘heat’ of a certain dish for children’s taste buds. Food prices are reasonable, with appetizers priced $3-$5, and entrees $7-$9. n  Why parents like it: After ordering, the food came out quickly. Customer service was impeccable and the staff made sure we enjoyed our meal. We were pleased to find plenty of high chairs and booster seats, even at the dinner hour. My husband loved his mango stir fry with thin noodles, and I enjoyed the chop chop salad with chicken. There were several other dishes that looked interesting, so we know there will be variety for us when we return. n  Why kids like it: My boys had a great time playing with chopsticks, and eventually eating with

them! My son enjoyed his chicken nuggets, typically served with sweet and sour sauce. All locations offer a kids’ menu with choices like Pad Thai, Lo Men and stir fry, all with chicken, priced at $4.99, including a fountain drink. Before leaving, my five-year-old munched on a tasty dessert: a chocolate chip cookie the size of my one-year-old’s head! –  Kim Curnutt

IT’SNICEONTHE ICE! Lace up those skates and take a whirl on the ice. Glide over to one of these outdoor rinks for some great wintertime fun.

Atlantic Station. New this year. 10,000 square foot open air rink. Through-Feb. 14. For daily times, visit 1380 Atlantic Dr., Atlanta. 404-4104010. Adults, $13 includes skate rental; $10 ages 4 and younger. The Pavilion in Olde Town. Indoor/outdoor rink in a botanical setting. ThroughJan. 5. Visit for times. 949 S. Main St., Conyers. 770-554-7506. $7 skate fee; $2 skate rental. Centennial Olympic Park. Sessions run 90 minutes. ThroughJan. 20. Visit for hours. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404-223-4412. $10/person including skate rental. Lake Lanier Island Resort. New location at Sunset Cove offers enclosed area and dining. Through Dec. 31. Visit for hours. 7000 Lanier Islands Pkwy., Buford. 770-945-8787. $12/person including skate rental.

The Pavilion in Olde Town

Astor Holiday Rink at St. Regis Atlanta. Twinkling lights, holiday melodies, hot cocoa and s’mores. Through-Jan. 5. 12-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat. and Sun. 88 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-563-7797. Adults, $30/hr.; ages 16 and younger, $18/hr. Reservations recommended.

Park Tavern

50 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

The Southwest Rink at Park Tavern. Heated tent, state-of-the-art sound system and rink-side dining. Through-Feb. 17. 4:30 p.m.-midnight. Mon.-Fri. Sat. and Sun. 10:30 a.m.-midnight. (Adult skate nightly 8:30 p.m.-midnight.) 500 10th St. NE, Atlanta. 404-249-0001. $15-$20/All day skate.

Family Fun Guide


Hands-On Holiday Crafts This month bring the kids to a creative spot for hands-on holiday crafting (and keep your kitchen table clear of glitter and glue!) Lakeshore Learning Store 4287 Roswell Road, Marietta. 770-578-3100 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free n  Festive Frame Ornament Dec. 14. Make a picture-perfect photo frame. n  Snowy Bear Puppet Dec. 21. Collage friendly polar bear puppets with soft, cottony faces. n  New Year’s Party Hat Dec. 28. Make a sparkly New Year’s hat.

Bass Pro Shops 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville. 678-847-5500 Mon.-Fri., 5 -7 p.m.; Sat. –Sun. noon-5 p.m. Free n  Stuffed Santa Ornament Dec. 2-8. Create a mini Santa face to hang from the tree. n  Candy Cane Owl Ornament Dec. 9-15. Craft a tree ornament from felt and yarn. n  Reindeer Gift Bag Dec. 16-22. Make a happy reindeer bag to deliver a holiday gift. n  Cookie Decorating Dec. 23-24. Decorate your very own cookies.

Bass Pro Shops

The School Box All locations; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free n  Reindeer Hats Dec. 14. Craft a cheerful antlered chapeau for the holidays. n  Mr. Penguin Dec. 28. Piece together cut-out shapes to create a chilly wintertime friend.

Michaels (almost free) All locations; 10 a.m.-noon. $2/child for 30-minute workshop n  Melted Snowman Ornament Dec. 7. Make a humorous holiday ornament for the tree, or to give as a gift. n  Crayola Wintery Work of Art Dec. 14. Create winter-inspired works of art with oil pastels.

Family Fun Guide

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 51




hen I asked my two children, Nicolas (9) and Camille (7 ½), if they were interested in trying a class where they could experiment with aerial silks and swing on a trapeze, they instantly screamed “YES!” They did those things and more during our visit to Cirque Freaks, a movement and aerial arts studio in Alpharetta. Spencer Maxwell, co-founder and instructor, warmly welcomed my kids into the large, open, warehouse space, and began their hour-long class with warm-up stretching on the mats. Getting limber led to a quick, but thorough, conversation about the basics of hoisting oneself up onto one of two sets of aerial silks suspended from the ceiling. Then, up they went! The classes tend to be small (groups of 10 or fewer) so time is spent being active, not waiting for your next turn. Spencer patiently and clearly explained the mechanics of maintaining proper foot position and the importance of s-l-o-w-l-y inching down the silks to get both feet back on the ground, If You Go then guided them through Cirque Freaks several beginner’s moves as 5910 Gateway Dr., Alpharetta they got comfortable with 678-365-1111, the apparatus. They learned to do a foot lock, the simplest n  Drop in class: $10/person trick to do on the silks. Both n  Ages: 6 and older my kids said they felt excited n  Hours: Check website for but nervous about climbing class schedules up high without the instructor holding on, but once they got going, both of my children were shouting with excitement from the top of the silks. “I don’t want to leave; I’m having too much fun!” Camille announced. Cirque Freaks caters to a wide range of ages and ability levels, and offers several Cirque-style classes, including static trapeze, Spanish web, and Cyr wheel. The studio has couches for parents, clean restrooms, and even a basket of toys for younger siblings. Special events, like workshops, birthday parties and even a moms’ night out are scheduled in the coming months. Drop-ins to try a class are welcome; just call ahead and check the class descriptions to pick the right class for your children’s ages. We can’t wait to go back! –  Mary Block

Child Models We’ve booked kids for $2,000 per day and more, others at $50 - $60 per hour.

Could your baby, toddler or kid be one?

Terms & Conditions – This offer is valid for one (1) adult ticket at the price of a child’s $15 ticket plus tax. Coupon must be surrendered at admissions when purchasing tickets. This discount is not valid with other discounts, coupons or offers and cannot be used with online or pre-booked tickets. Duplication, photocopying or sale of this offer is prohibited. No cash value. Not redeemable for cash or credit. Valid until 2/28/2014 (Code: 1003) Atlanta, New York, LA


LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Brick and Knob Configuration, the Minifigure and LEGOLAND are trademarks of the LEGO Group. ©2013 The LEGO Group. 52 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Family Fun Guide


Show Us the Money!


ha-ching! A recent visit to The Children’s Museum of Atlanta was well worth the investment of time – Moneyville is the best special exhibit we’ve ever experienced at the museum! There are so many hands-on elements to experience that both my boys (ages 2 and 8) were captivated for hours. They both spent lots of time at the Lemonade Stand, where a younger child can pretend he’s selling drinks behind the counter, while an older child can work on the computer to determine how much material he needs to meet demand, and select a price point that would make a profit. Who knew how much decision-making goes into something as simple as a lemonade stand? My 2-year-old’s favorite station was the Bank, where he organized coins and pretended to make transactions through the window. Two kids can be tellers at the same time, and interact with each other and the customers for a real world scenario. My youngest also loved the station where he could create his own money, using colored pencils, crayons and textured rubbing patterns.

If You Go Moneyville Exhibit The Children’s Museum of Atlanta 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr., Atlanta 404-659-5437, n  Hours: Mon.-Tues. & Thurs-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Through Jan. 12. Closed Wednesdays. n  Admission: $12.75, younger than 1, free.

My 8-year-old and I visited the Stock Exchange area, where we bought and sold pretend stocks by watching the ticker and a screen that showed news of the day and gave tidbits to encourage buying or selling stock in a particular segment. For example, when the weather’s getting colder, people are purchasing more warm weather clothes. We looked for companies that make sweaters and coats and bought quickly to get in on that “tip”! In the Anti-Counterfeiting Lab, we examined a $20 dollar bill under a microscope to see the intricate details that make it authentic, and learned why counterfeit money is bad for the economy. It was interesting to us all to know the detail that goes into creating U.S. currency. We were fascinated by a display that shows how raw materials that come from other countries, like cotton from China or dye from India, are purchased by manufacturers to help build familiar products we buy in the U.S., like a baseball or a pair of jeans. It really helped illustrate the reasons we buy from and trade with other countries. This exhibit captured the attention of children of all ages and answered so many questions about how people make money, spend it, and save it. – Sharie Bassett

Family Fun Guide

Is parenting harder than you expected? Are you embarrassed at how your children behave? Are your children running the house? Family Support Specialist Jen Angier offers the Back on Track in-home program, as well as Youth, Parent & Family Coaching sessions. Contact us today to begin making the positive changes your family needs!

404-432-1522 •

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 53


December S M T W TH F S


Visit our Calendar at for calendar updates and ongoing events and attractions in Atlanta.


Events may be canceled or changed after our deadline.


Submit your Family-Friendly Calendar Event at least 8 weeks prior to the event by visiting


Please call the event beforehand to confirm dates and times.


classes Basic Archery. Panola Mountain State Park. Take aim! Join a certified instructor to learn archery basics and take aim at the bull’s eye. Basic equipment is provided. Dec. 7, 14 and 15. Times vary; pre-registration required. 2600 Highway 155 SW, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. Adults and ages 9 and older, $10. Parking $5.

Fernbank Science Center DEC. 7, 14 and 21 NOON AND 2 P.M. A planetarium program for families invites exploration of colors, geometric shapes and seasonal changes to the sky. As the calendar counts down to the new year, the search is on for snowflake puzzle pieces that can complete the seasons. 156 Heaton Park Dr., Atlanta. 678-874-7102. Adults, $7; ages 3-18, $5; 2 and younger, free.

Home Depot Kids’ Workshop. All locations. Learn tool safety while building a craft and receive a kid-sized orange apron. First Saturday of each month. Dec. 7. 9 a.m.-noon. Visit for locations. Ages 5-12. Free. Mommy and Me Preschool Program. Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. Dec. 5, 12 and 19. 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-427-2117. Ages 3-5. Free with admission. Adults, $7.50; ages 4-12, $5.50; 3 and younger, free. Magic Mondays. Atlanta History Center. Storytime, sing-a-longs and crafts. Dec. 9. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 130 W. Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404814-4110. Adults, $6.50; ages 5 and younger, $5.50. Second Thursday Program. Southeastern Railway Museum. Parents and tots program includes circle time, an activity and craft. Ages 1-4. Dec. 12. 10:30 a.m.-noon. 3595 Buford Hwy, Duluth. 770-495-0253. $7 per child, one adult free, additional adult, $8. Build and Grow Clinics. Lowes. Clinics teach kids to build wooden crafts. Free apron, goggles and merit patch. Visit for times and locations. 800-4456937. Pre-register. Free. INK Craft Weeks. Interactive Neighborhood for Kids. Christmas Card craft, Dec. 2-6; Christmas Ornament craft, Dec. 9-13; Christmas Stocking craft, Dec. 16-20; New Year’s craft, Dec. 23, 26-27; New Year’s craft, Dec. 30-31, Jan. 2-3. $1 with admission. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., 1-5 p.m. 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville. 770-536-1900. Adults, $8; children, $6. Lil’ Bean Heads Crafts. Bean Head Toys. Create an art project twice a month. All ages welcome, but smaller children may need assistance. First and third Wednesday of every month. 3-4 p.m. 220 Johnson Ferry Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-851-2980. Free. Art Workshops. Vinings School of Art. Take a drawing, painting or pottery class. Supplies included. Ages 2 1/2-13. Saturdays, 10 and 11 a.m. Through Dec. 14. 1675 Cumberland Pkwy., Smyrna. 678-213-4278. Pre-register. $15 for one-hour workshop. Crafts for Kids. Lakeshore Learning Store. Make a different craft each week. Saturdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 4287 Roswell Rd., Marietta. 770-578-3100. 3 and older. Free.

54 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Toddler Thursdays. High Museum of Art. Create masterpieces to compliment the museum’s current exhibits. Ages 2-4. Thursdays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404733-4400. Free with admission. Adults, $19.50; ages 6-17, $12; 5 and younger, free.

exhibits Centennial Olympic Games Exhibit. Atlanta History Center. Learn about the exciting 1996 Olympic Games that were held in Atlanta. Permanent exhibit. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sun, noon-5:30 p.m. 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-814-4000. Adults, $16.50; ages 4-12, $11; 3 and younger, free. Dairies in DeKalb. DeKalb History Center. This exhibit focuses on the history of dairy farming in DeKalb County in the 20th century. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 101 East Court Sq., Decatur. 404-373-1088. Free.

Marco Polo: Man & Myth. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Experience the story of the ultimate adventure traveler, Marco Polo. Follow Polo’s adventures and view a collection of more than 80 objects representing an epic journey that spanned 24 years and thousands of miles. Through Jan. 5. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun., noon-5 p.m. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. Adults, $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; 2 and younger, free. Moneyville. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Explore the history, science, math, and economics behind the fascinating subject of money. Through Jan. 12. Museum closed Wednesdays. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat.Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW, Atlanta. 404-659-5437. Adults and ages 1 and older, $12.75; younger than 1, free. Target Free Second Tuesday the second Tuesday of every month (free admission starting at 1 p.m.)

Dolphin Tales. Georgia Aquarium. The live show incorporates dolphins, actors, dramatic costuming, and special effects. Multiple shows per day, times vary. Reservations recommended. Sun.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 225 Baker St., Atlanta. 404-581-4000. Adults, $29.95-34.95; ages 3-12, $23.95-$28.95.

Sea Monsters Revealed: Aquatic Bodies. Georgia Aquarium. Features the world’s largest plastinated sea creatures including a 6-foot-wide devil ray, a 15-foot-long mako shark and an 18-foot-long, 3,000 pound whale shark. Sun.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. 225 Baker St., Atlanta. 404581-4000. Adults, $29.95-34.95; ages 3-12, $23.95-$28.95.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Phipps Plaza. Come play, build and look at a variety of LEGO exhibits. Sun.-Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat.,10 a.m.-9 p.m. (Last admission 2 hrs. before closing.) 3500 Peachtree Rd., Atlanta. 404-848-9252. Adult, $19; ages 3-12, $15, 2 and younger, free.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibit. Atlantic Station. Travel back in time and experience the wonder and tragedy of this ill-fated ship. Mon.-Thurs. 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri.- Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Last ticket sold 1 hour before closing. 265 18th St. (second floor), Atlanta. 404-496-4274. Adults, $24; ages 3-11, $16.

Family Fun Guide

Ring in the New Year! Chick-fil-A Bowl Parade and Fan Fest. Downtown Atlanta.

Catch the football frenzy as the parade starts at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Baker Street and concludes at the entrance of Fan Fest in the Georgia World Congress Center. Floats, classic cars, cheerleaders, mascots, marching bands, dance groups and more. Dec. 31. Parade, 1-2:30 p.m. Fanfest, 2:30-6:30 p.m. 285 Andrew Young Blvd., Atlanta. 404-586-8500. Parade, free. Fanfest, $17. 5 and under, free.

Lawrenceville Rings. Historic Courthouse Lawn. Ring in the annual

celebration, including concerts by The Neons and The Breakfast Club, dancing, inflatables, and fireworks at midnight. Dec. 31. Festivities start at 7:30 p.m. 185 Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-2639. Free.

2014 Peach Drop.

Underground Atlanta. The Southeast’s largest annual New Year’s Eve event. Inflatables, face painting, carnival rides and music during the day. Dec. 31. 11 a.m. 50 Upper Alabama St., Atlanta. 404-523-2311. Free. Arcades and rides extra.

New Year’s Eve. Smyrna Community Center. Radio Disney presents a

children’s dance party, games, contests, and prizes. Balloon drop at noon. Dec. 31. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 200 Village Green Cir., Smyrna. 770-434-6600. Free.

New Year’s Eve Celebration.

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids. Welcome the New Year with fun activities and crafts. Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 999 Chestnut St., Gainesville. 770-536-1900. Free with museum admission. $8.

Peach Drop

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Family Fun Guide

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 55


Enter to win prizes from all our Holly Jolly Fun advertisers ! Visit by Dec. 9 to enter.

Turtle Tours. Heritage Sandy Springs Museum. Through stories, hands-on exhibits and crafts, museum mascots Sandy the chipmunk and Spring the turtle introduce the youngest visitors to history. Second Saturday of each month. 11 a.m. 6075 Sandy Springs Circle, Sandy Springs. 404-851-9111. Donations encouraged. Turtle Travels. Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center. Find out first hand what it’s like to be a turtle. Watch a swimming loggerhead sea turtle, explore turtle anatomy and get nose to beak with turtles in a crawl-under aquatic tank. Through Jan. 3. Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 2020 Clean Water Dr., Buford. 770-904-3500. Adults, $10.50; ages 3-12, $6.50; 2 and younger, free. Today’s West! Booth Western Art Museum. An exhibit displaying contemporary art from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. Through April 13. Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun., 1-5 p.m. and Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m. 501 Museum Dr., Cartersville. 770-387-1300. Adults, $10; ages 12 and younger, free. Wit in Wood. Heritage Sandy Springs Museum. See the whittle work of Moses Robinson, from animals to dancing couples. Through April. Open Wed. and Sat., 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 6075 Sandy Springs Cir., Sandy Springs. 404851-9111. Adults, $3; ages 6-12, $1; 5 and younger, free.

Full Moon Night Hike. Panola Mountain State Park. Wildlife is seen often as you hike as the sun sets and the moon begins to rise. Bring a flashlight and hiking boots. Dec. 14. 5 p.m. 2600 Hwy. 155 SW, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. Pre-register. $7/ person; parking, $5. Friday Feeding Time. Autrey Mill Nature Preserve & Heritage Center. Come watch turtles chow down on worms and snake eat ... snake food. Then feed the ducks. Fri., Dec. 13. 4-5 p.m. Ages 3-12. 9770 Autrey Mill Rd., Johns Creek. 678366-3511. $7 (parent and sibling younger than 3 can attend for free). Registration not required, but suggested online registration 24 hours in advance. Trail Hikes. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Journey through the CNC trails using biofacts and activities to spark your curiosity. Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Adults, $10; ages 3-12, $6; 2 and younger, free. Atlanta Audobon Society Bird Walk. Panola Mountain State Park. Bring your binoculars for a gentle hike through the park’s Power of Flight area. Wear long pants and sleeves. All ages. Dec.15. 8-11 a.m. 2600 Hwy. 155 SW, Stockbridge. 770-389-7801. Pre-register. Donations of birdseed appreciated. Parking, $5.

special events movies Hidden Universe. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Take a tour of deep space through images captured by Hubble and the world’s most powerful telescopes. Through Jan. 2. See for show times. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. IMAX tickets: adults, $13; ages 3-12, $11; 2 and younger, free.

Teen Arts Night. City Center. Teens can bring instruments, poetry, artwork and short stories to share. Includes a slice of pizza and a soda. Dec. 6. 6-8 p.m. 8534 Main St., Woodstock. 678-494-4251. $5.


Penguins. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Follow a brave king penguin on the journey of a lifetime. Through Jan. 23. See for show times. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. IMAX tickets: adults, $13; ages 3-12, $11; 2 and younger, free.

nature Snowflake Puzzle. Fernbank Science Center. It’s almost time for the calendar to change to a new year, but pieces of the seasons are missing. Join fearless detectives as they search for the lost snowflake puzzle pieces. Explore colors, geometric shapes, and how the sky changes with the seasons. Dec. 7, 14 and 21. Noon and 2 p.m. 156 Heaton Park Dr., Atlanta. 678-874-7102. Adults, $7; ages 3-18, $5; 2 and younger, free. Candlelight Hike to the Mill. Sweetwater Creek State Park. A mile-long night hike leads to the ruins of the Civil-War era New Manchester textile mill. Candle lanterns will be provided and wear close-toed shoes. Ages 6 and older. Dec. 14. 7-9 p.m. 1750 Mt. Vernon Rd., Lithia Springs. 770-732-5871. Pre-register. $5/ person; parking, $5.

56 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Family Fun Guide

MJCCA at Zaban Park DEC. 25, 11 A.M.-3 P.M. A day of family fun and entertainment includes a sing-along, family-friendly movie screenings in the theatre, inflatables, ride-on toys, hands-on activities, and indoor games of basketball, table tennis and more. Food is available for purchase. 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. 678-812-4161. Free.

Calendar Fulton County Free Saturday. High Museum of Art. Admission is free for Fulton County residents with I.D. on the first Saturday of each month until 1 p.m. Dec. 7. Regular hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000. Free.

HOLIDAYS AT THE HIGH High Museum of Art DEC. 26-30, 1-4 P.M. The High’s five days of holidays features something new every day, including art-making activities for families, interactive theatrical performances by The Object Group and storytelling by Mama Koku. Mon., Dec. 30 is pay what you wish day. 1280 Peachtree St., NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4400. Included with admission. Adults, $19.50; ages 6-17, $12.

Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate & Princess Adventure. Cobb Energy Centre. Features favorite characters from the Disney Junior hit series Sofia the First and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. Dec. 14-15. Sat., 7 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., Atlanta. 1-800-754-3000. $20-$80. Shen Yun. This production captures the spirit of traditional Chinese culture and its beliefs and bridges past and present in uplifting and inspiring performances. Ages 4 and older. Dec. 27-29. Fri., 7:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy., Atlanta. 678-6811868. $55-$205. History Tours. Piedmont Park. Learn about Piedmont Park’s history and the city of Atlanta. Saturdays through Dec. 11 a.m. Meet at the Green Market Info booth near 12th St. park entrance. Piedmont Park. 404-875-7275. Free.


Storytime with Miss Cynthia. Perimeter Barnes & Noble. Join Miss Cynthia every Wednesday for some wacky fun and crafts with a new story each week. 10 a.m. 120 Perimeter Center West, Atlanta. 770-396-1200. Free.

Next Chapter JV Book Club. FoxTale Book Shoppe. This book club is for ages 6-12 and includes a snack, discussion and an activity. Second Friday of every month. 4:30 p.m. 105 East Main St., #138, Woodstock. 770-516-9989. Free.

Storytime at Little Shop. Little Shop of Stories. Storytelling three times a week; Thursday nights, milk and cookies provided and kids can come in pajamas. Sundays, 3 p.m.; Tuesdays, 11 a.m.; Thursdays, 7 p.m. 133A East Court Sq., Decatur. 404-373-6300. Free.

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Story Time by the River. Chattahoochee Nature Center. Join the librarian as she uses books, puppets and songs to share stories about nature. Dec. 4. 10:30 a.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Adults, $10; ages 3-12, $6; 2 and younger, free.

Children’s Story Time. FoxTale Book Shoppe. Age-appropriate stories followed by dance and song. Mondays and Saturdays. 11 a.m. 105 East Main St., #138, Woodstock. 770-516-9989. Free.


Field Trips Petting Zoo Milk a Goat Pony Rides

Birthday Party Packages starting at just $195

770-339-3065 (Gwinnett county) Available for Weddings, Reunions and Team Banquets.

y Open Thanksgiving Da through December 30th

Over 1 Mile of Lights Display

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• Live reindeer • Santa visits • Petting zoo • Live nativity • Hay rides • Trees for sale


Family Fun Guide

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 57

Enter to win prizes from all our Holly Jolly Fun advertisers!

Calendar Tales for Toddlers. Bean Head Toys. Stories read in the indoor tree house, then kids make a craft to take home. Every Thursday. 10:30 a.m. 220 Johnson Ferry Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-8512980. Free. Tales for Tots by Once and Again Books. Marietta Whole Foods. Enjoy a storytelling session every Tuesday at 10 a.m. 1311 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta. 770-726-9170. Free. Wren’s Nest Storytelling. The Wren’s Nest. Wren’s Nest Ramblers host storytelling sessions every Saturday. 1 p.m. 1050 Ralph D. Abernathy Blvd., Atlanta. 404-753-7735. Adults, $8; children $5, 4 and younger, free.

theater Madeline and the Gypsies. Cherokee Arts Center. Schoolgirl Madeline and her fellow classmates enjoy an amazing day at the circus, but the gypsies take Madeline away with them. Watch daring circus acts and enjoy sweet songs in this production suitable for all ages. Dec. 7-8. Sat., 7 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. 94 North St., Canton. 770-704-6244. Adults, $12; children, $10. Seussical Jr. The Musical. Onstage Atlanta. Join the narrator, The Cat in the Hat, as he tells the story of Horton, the elephant and how the powers of friendship, loyalty, family, and community are challenged and emerge triumphant. Dec. 14, 21. Noon and 2 p.m. 2969 E. Ponce De Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-897-1802. Tickets, $7 in advance; $10 at the door.



Little Raindrop Songs. Alliance Theatre. This production is designed for young audiences as they are led through a fully interactive world made completely of brightly colored paper with transforms dramatically into multiple settings. Ages 18 mos.-5 years. Dec. 27-29, Jan. 3-4, Jan. 6-11, Jan. 18. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-5000. $10.

beyond atlanta Augusta Market at the River. Augusta Riverwalk. Browse local produce, baked goods, art and more on the banks of the Savannah River. Saturdays through December. 8 a.m.-2 p.m. 8th St. Plaza, Augusta. 800-726-0243. Free. Who Gives a Hoot? Owl Show. Amicalola Falls State Park and Lodge. Join your favorite Amicalola Falls feathered friends for a fun and educational time in the Lodge Lobby. Dec. 14, 28. 1 p.m. 418 Amicalola Falls Lodge Rd., Dawsonville. 706-344-1500. Parking, $5.


Historic Trolley Tour. Downtown Augusta. Take the Lady Libby Trolley for a kid-friendly ride to see some of Augusta’s most famous homes and the Augusta Canal. Saturdays. 1:30 p.m. 560 Reynolds St., Augusta. 706-724-4067. Preregister. $12 per person, includes admission to the museum.

Visit to enter for your chance to win A FAMILY FOUR PACK OF TICKETS to THE LION KING

River Giants Exhibit. Tennessee Aquarium. A collection of freshwater fish at legendary sizes, the “goliaths” of freshwater. Open daily 10 a.m.6 p.m. One Broad St., Chattanooga, Tenn. 800262-0695. Adults, $24.95; ages 3-12 $14.95. c


APRIL 10 – 27

58 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Family Fun Guide ATLANTA / C M Y K 2.313”w X 4.625”h


Christmas concerts to ballet, tree lightings to cookie decorating, story times to visiting with the man in red  –  there is fun for everyone this December. Perhaps “More Time To Do It All” should top the holiday wish list this year!

HOLIDAY CALENDAR Holly Jolly Events A Toy for a Tour. Atlanta Braves Museum. Children 13 years and younger who donate a new and unwrapped toy receive a complimentary tour of Turner Field. Walk-up tours only. Dec. 1-21. Mon.-Sat. 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. 755 Hank Aaron Drive, Atlanta. 404-5227630. Adults, $17; 13 and younger, free with toy donation. Free parking in Turner Field Gold Lot. Holly Jolly Holidays. LEGOLAND Discovery Center. Santa takeover of MINILAND, holiday ornament builds and more. Dec. 1-31. Times vary. 3500 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-848-9252. Included with admission. Adults, $19; ages 3-12, $15; 2 and younger, free. WinterFest. Tanglewood Farm. Photos taken aboard a miniature sleigh hooked-up to a miniature reindeer cow. Carols, decorated trees, miniature farm animals, hot cider and hot chocolate. Dec. 1- 29. Wed.-Fri. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays and Christmas Day. 171 Tanglewood Dr., Canton. 770-667-6464. $10; 11 months and younger, free. Coming Home for the Holidays. Smyrna Village Green. Activities for children, parade, concerts and visit with Santa. Tree lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Dec. 3. 5-9 p.m. 200 Village Green Cir., Smyrna. 770-431-2842. Free.

Holiday Markets

Elf Party. Bean Head Toys. Photos with real-life elves, cookie decorating and crafts. Dec. 3. 3-5 pm. 220 Johnson Ferry Rd. NE, Sandy Springs. 404-8512980. Free. Shimmer and Shine Snowflake Celebration. American Girl North Point Mall. Create a snowflake craft and dine together at American Girl. Includes a meal, memory book and an American Girl quiz book. Ages 8 and older. Dec. 6, 13 and 20. Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. 1202 North Point Cir., Alpharetta. 877-247-5223. Reservations required. $38/person. Sl’Hay Ride. East Roswell Recreation Center. A family hayride around the park, with cookie decorating and hot chocolate. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Dec. 6. 6:308:30 p.m. 9000 Fouts Rd., Roswell. 770-594-6134. Reservations required. $18. 11 months and younger, free. Polar Express Party. Mansell Crossings Barnes and Noble. Storytime, hot cocoa, treats and giveaways. Pajamas encouraged. Dec. 6. 7 p.m. 7660 North Point Pkwy., Ste. 200, Alpharetta. 770993-8340. Free.

n  Swedish

n  German

Dorothy Benson Center. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Children’s Lucia, noon; Traditional Lucia, 2 p.m. Swedish market featuring musical performances, cultural displays, traditional handcrafts, and Swedish processionals known as a Lucia. Dec. 14. 6500 Vernon Woods Dr., Sandy Springs. Adults, $1; younger than 18, Free.

Atlanta International School. Noon-6 p.m. Craft activities for children, beeswax candle dipping, photos with Christkindl and St. Nikolaus, entertainment, German snacks, and handmade gifts. Dec. 7. 2980 North Fulton Dr., Atlanta. 404-841-3840. Free admission; Market items cost vary.

Christmas Market

Christmas Market

Dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy. Bogan Park Recreation Center. Learn ballet, ornament craft, snacks and more. Parents join the party for the last 10 minutes for a short performance. Dec. 7 and 21. Ages 3-5, 1-2:30 p.m. Ages 6-10, 2:30-4:30 p.m. 2723 North Bogan Rd., Buford. 678-277-0850. Pre-register by Dec. 2. Ages 3-5, $10; Ages 6-10, $15. Polar Express Adventure. Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. Meet the train conductor, watch elves make toys, write a letter to Santa and meet the jolly fellow himself. Hot chocolate and refreshments included. Space is limited. Dec. 7. 6-10 p.m. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-427-2117. Adults, $5; ages 4-12, $3; 3 and younger, free. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas Story Time. Little Shop of Stories. Dr. Seuss’s holiday classic. Dec. 7. 3 p.m. 133 E. Court St., Decatur. 404-373-6300. Free. Holiday Celebration on the Square. Roswell. Carolers from schools, lighting of the Historic Town Square, a reading of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and a visit from Santa Claus. Dec. 7. 5 p.m. Intersection of Hwy. 9 and Hwy. 120, Roswell. 770-641-3950. Free. Joy of Giving Christmas Festival. Shallowford Presbyterian Church. Photos with Santa, the Secret Santa Shop, bake sale, crafts, face painting and more. Dec. 7. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 2375 Shallowford Rd., Atlanta. 404-321-1844. Free. Reindog Parade. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Holiday dog parade and dress-up competition, plus Doggie Expo. Dec. 7. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-876-5859. Garden admission, Adults, $18.95; ages 3-12, $12.95; 2 and younger, free. Snow on the Square. Downtown Alpharetta. Snowballs, snowmen, hot chocolate and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the gazebo. Bring a camera for photos. Dec. 7. 1 p.m. 2 South Main St., Alpharetta. 678-297-6000. Free. Meet the Holidays: Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Mexican holiday celebration with a reading of The Lady of Guadalupe and a special craft. Ages 8 and younger. Dec. 7. noon and 3 p.m.; Dec. 8. 3 p.m. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW, Atlanta. 404-659-5437. Included with museum admission. $12.75; 11 months and younger, free. Cont’d on page 60

Family Fun Guide

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 59

HOLIDAY CALENDAR Elf on the Shelf Author Appearance. Barnes and Noble, Peachtree Corners. Story time and book signing with Chandra Bell, plus coloring and games. Dec. 8. 2 p.m. 5141 Peachtree Pkwy., Peachtree Corners. 770-978-5154. Free. Teddy Bear Tea. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Bring a special teddy bear for a festive children’s tea and hot chocolate, sandwiches, pastries, live entertainment and Santa. Don’t forget a camera for photos. Only 4 children per adult please. Ages 4 and older. Dec. 8 and 15. 3-4:30 p.m. 980 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-872-5338. Pre-register. $25.

Hanukkah Fun n Hanukkah Story Time. Little Shop of Stories. Listen to stories about the Festival of Lights, menorahs, latkes, dreidels and gelt, plus dreidel games. Dec. 1. 3 p.m. 133 E. Court St., Decatur. 404-373-6300. Free. n Grand Menorah Lighting. Chabad Intown. Grand Menorah lighting and Chanukah celebrations featuring donut decorating, latkes, Judah the Macabee photos, raffles and more. Dec. 1. 4:30 p.m. Yeah Burger. 1017 N. Highland Blvd., Atlanta. Dec 2. 6 p.m. Decatur Square. Church St., Decatur. (Chabad Intown, 404-898-0434). Donations appreciated.

Cocoa and Caroling. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Celebrate the season with Christmas carols and hot cocoa on the Callanwolde front lawn. Dec. 11. 5:30-7 p.m. 980 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-872-5338. Free.

n Hanukkah Hootenanny Family Celebration. Marcus JCC Atlanta-Zaban Park. Menorah lighting, songs and a special performance of “Milton the Menorah” by The Bible Players. Dec. 2. 5:15-7 p.m. 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody. 678-8124161. Free.

Holiday Bonfire and Marshmallow Roast. Decatur Square. Visit Santa at the bandstand and roast marshmallows on the square. Dec. 12. 7-8 p.m. Downtown Decatur. 404-371-8386. Free.

n Menorah Lighting. Fountains of Olde Town Shopping Center. Atlanta’s tallest menorah is lighted, presented by Chabad of Cobb. Dec. 3. 6:30 p.m. 736 Johnson Ferry Rd., Marietta. 770-565-4412. Free.

Christmas in Cumming. City of Cumming Fairgrounds. Free photos with Santa, plus light show, hayride, live music, marshmallow roasting and arts and crafts show. Dec. 13. 4-9 p.m.; Dec. 14. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 235 Castleberry Rd., Cumming. 770-423-1330. Adults, $1; 12 and younger, free.

n Community Hanukkah Celebration. Temple Kol Emeth. Celebrate the last night of Hanukkah with lighting of the menorah, crafts, storytelling and more. Attendees are encouraged to bring gently used or new shoes for local children and adults, as well as a gently used costume for Purim. Dec. 4. 6:45 p.m. 1415 Old Canton Rd., Marietta. 770973-3533. Free. RSVPs appreciated.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

n Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. Marcus JCC Atlanta-Zaban Park. Family musical production about brave Hershel, who rescues Hanukkah from a bank of goblins. Presented by Company J, and recommended for children 3 and older. Dec. 5-8. Show times vary. 5342 Tilly Mill Rd., Dunwoody. 678-812-4002. Adults, $10-15; Children, $10-12. n Meet the Holidays: Hanukkah. The Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Reading of The Runaway Dreidel and a Dreidel game craft. Dec. 14. 12 and 3 p.m.; Dec. 15. 3 p.m. 275 Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW, Atlanta. 404-659-5437. Included with museum admission. $12.75; ages 11 months and younger, free.

Cont’d on page 63



Dec 27-29, 2013

Cobb Energy Centre 800.745.3000 FIND OUT MORE AT Hotline 678.681.1868

“Elegant—very athletic and very skilled!” —John McColgan, Riverdance producer

60 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Family Fun Guide

Hi-Lo Holidays

Whether your budget for holiday entertainment is small or the sky’s the limit, metro Atlanta is a winter wonderland, sure to offer an experience to suit your family’s celebration style this December.



Astor Holiday Rink at St. Regis Atlanta


88 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta; 404-563-7797 l  Cost: Adults, $30 per hour; ages 15 and younger, $18 per hour. Reservations are strongly recommended. l  Hours: Mon.-Fri., noon-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. l  Dates: Through Jan. 5. l  The Experience: An old-fashioned rink sits stop the outdoor pool on the sixth-floor terrace of the St. Regis. Holiday music sets the mood, and hot cocoa, s’mores, and other refreshments are available for purchase.

Astor Holiday Rink at St. Regis Atlanta

Celtic Christmas

Rialto Center for the Arts show.asp, Georgia State University l  Cost: $32-$63 l  Dates: Sat., Dec. 21, 8 p.m. Sun., Dec. 22, 3 p.m. l  The Experience: Fiddlers, harpers, pipers, singers, dancers and poets of the Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Appalachian traditions present a dynamic program of holiday music and movement.

949 Main St. Conyers, 770-554-7506; l  Cost: $7 per person; skate rental, $2. Some Thursdays are free skate rental days. l  Hours: Times vary check website calendar. l  Dates: Through Jan. 5. l  The Experience: The only indoor/outdoor skating rink in the Southeast offers a botanical setting.

LO Larry, Carols & Mo

Fox Theatre 660 Peachtree St., Atlanta; 855-285-8499; l  Cost: Free, but tickets are required for everyone, including infants. l  Dates: Mon., Dec. 9. Doors open 6 p.m.; sing-a-long 7 p.m. l  The Experience: Snow falls inside the Fox Theatre and Santa visits as organist in residence Larry Embury leads a holiday sing-a-long on the famous Mighty Mo organ and Gwinnett Young Singers and Variety Stars of Tomorrow perform. Following the concert, stay for a 30th anniversary screening of “A Christmas Story.”

Larry, Carols & Mo





The Pavilion in Olde Town

Magical Nights of Lights

Lights of Life

LO Lights of Life

Lake Lanier Islands 7000 Holiday Rd., Lake Lanier l  Cost: $60/car l  Dates: Nightly, 5- 10 p.m. Through Dec. 31 l  The Experience: Drive through miles of must-see light attractions to the sounds of seasonal music. A Holiday Village at the end offers a bonfire for roasting marshmallows, holiday treats, pony and amusement rides, holiday shopping and much more.

Family Fun Guide

Life University 1269 Barclay Circle, Marietta; 678-331-4334 l  Cost: $10/car Fri.-Sun. and holidays; $5/car Mon.-Thurs. Through Dec. 31 l  Dates: Sun.-Thurs., 6-10 p.m.; Fri.Sat. 6-10:30 p.m. l  The Experience: More than one million LED bulbs create a spectacular 1.5 mile drive-through display of light attractions, including a 65-foot-tall Santa and his sleigh. Weekends bring live music and visits from Santa. A goat petting zoo is free; pony and train rides require additional fees.

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 61

Christmas Cheer at Stone Mountain Park


y family kicked off the holiday season with our first visit to Stone Mountain Park Christmas, arriving at dusk to get the full effect of the lights. Our daughter Micah was wowed by seeing her favorite holiday character as soon as we walked through the gate - Rudolph, was there, red shining nose and all! On the Singalong Christmas Train ride, we spent the loop around the mountain singing to holiday music with the elves, and hearing the story of the first Christmas. The lights were Micah’s favorite part. After our train ride we staked out the perfect spot to see the evening parade. If You Go Christmas music played as the procession Stone Mountain Park started with drum majors, clowns and Christmas dancers, continued with Bumble the 1000 Robert E. Lee Blvd., Abominable Snow Monster and the Stone Mountain beautiful Snow Angel, and closed with a 770-498-5690; jolly Santa. It was a magical scene. We also got to see “Forever Christmas,” an upbeat n  Hours: Select dates show that bounced through different eras of through Jan. 1; see website for details holiday music. We then followed the snowflake , n  Cost: Adults, $28; archways to see the arrival of the Snow ages 3-11, $22, parking $10 Angel.When she appeared, trumpeters led her down a beautiful staircase to her throne. All the girls in the room were enthralled, and lined up to speak with her and pose for photos. We got to decorate a cookie in the Snow Angel’s palace (we used pink and green frosting and lots of candy!) and share the sweet treat to top off a fun evening of holiday entertainment and cheer. –  Caren Davis Lightfoot

62 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Family Fun Guide

Insider Tip: Plan to be here for several hours

to get the most out of your visit, and use the park map with schedules of shows and activities. Note that some live showtimes overlap, so prioritize and arrive before start times as seating fills up quickly. The parade takes place (on select dates) at 6 p.m., so plan mealtimes before or after it.



Debbie’s Dance Concert. Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center. Holiday music comes to life through live performances by Pinckneyville’s Ballet Dancers and local vocal artists. Light refreshments. Photos at an additional cost. Dec. 13. 6:30 p.m. 4758 S. Old Peachtree Rd., Norcross. 678-277-0920. Preregister by Dec. 7. $5/person. Holiday Lights. East Cobb Park. Children’s choir, live music, Santa and Rudolph, plus the lighting of the great tree. Dec. 1. 5 p.m. 3322 Roswell Rd., Marietta. 770-591-3160. Free. Christmas Tree Lighting. Vinings Jubilee. Holiday music, treats, train and pony rides, face painting, balloon twisting and pictures with Santa Claus at the tree lighting. Dec. 5. 6-8 p.m. 4300 Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta. 770-438-8080. Free. Decatur Christmas Tree Lighting. Annual lighting of the tree. Dec. 5. 7 p.m. East Court Square, Decatur. 678-615-0915. Free. Christmas Tree Lighting. Historic Downtown Alpharetta. Annual lighting of 45 foot live spruce tree, plus slide rides, photos in the giant snow globe, music and activities. Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus at 5 p.m. in the gazebo. Dec. 6. 5-8 p.m. Milton Square City Park, Alpharetta. Free. Tree Lighting and Community Celebration. Northside Hospital-Forsyth in Cumming. Annual tree lighting with live entertainment, children’s activities and photos with Santa. Dec. 6. 6-8 p.m.1200 Northside Forsyth Dr., Cumming. 770844-3200. Free. Elf on a Shelf Dinner. Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. Elves serve dinner in the Superior Court Ballroom, with the Big Elf himself available for photos. Includes photo, hot cocoa bar, crafts, story time and sing-a-long songs. Dec. 13. 6 p.m. 185 West Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 770822-5450. Pre-registration required. $12. ages 12 months and younger, free with paid adult. Horse-drawn Sleigh Rides. Vinings Jubilee. Horse-drawn sleigh rides. Dec. 13 and 20. 5 -8 p.m. 4300 Paces Ferry Rd. NW, Atlanta. 404-438-8080. Free. Christmas for Kids. Bulloch Hall. Yule log and candy cane hunt, snacks, craft, storytelling and a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Ages 5-11. Dec. 14. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell. 770-992-1731. Reservations required. $10. Candy Cane Hunt. East Roswell Recreation Center. Pizza dinner, followed by a candy cane hunt. Bring a flashlight and basket. Dec. 14. 5:30-7 p.m. 770-594-6134. 9000 Fouts Rd., Roswell. Registration required. $18. Night at the Polar Express. East Roswell Recreation Center. Family movie night with popcorn, hot chocolate and goodies. Dec. 14. 6:30-10 p.m. 9000 Fouts Rd., Roswell. 770594-6134. Reservations required. Parents free. Pre-register children. $12. Jingle Bell Ride. Riverside Park. A gentle pace bike ride on Riverside/Azalea Multi-Use Trail, followed by hot chocolate and cookies. Open to all riders and their families. Riders must supply their own bicycles and helmets. Dec. 14. 3 p.m. 575 Riverside Rd., Roswell. 770-643-8010. Free.

Global Winter Wonderland Downtown Atlanta n  When: Through Jan 5; 5-11 p.m. Daily including Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day n  What: Winter wonderland of activities including a Global Village featuring some of the world’s most famous sights, including the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, and Leaning Tower of Pisa, brightly lit with millions of lights. Walk through an intricate maze of larger than life sized dinosaurs. Family amusement rides. International Food Bazaar. Universoul Circus and various musical performances. n  Where: Turner Field Parking Lots. Hank Aaron Drive, Atlanta. 1-855-739-4687. n  Cost: Adults, $24.99; ages 5-12, $16.99; younger than 5, free; parking, $10.

Snow on Square Downtown Alpharetta n  When: Dec. 7; 1-3 p.m. n  What: Guaranteed day of snow in Downtown Alpharetta. Enjoy snow, snowballs, making snowmen, hot chocolate and visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus. n  Where: Milton Square City Park. 2 South Main St., Alpharetta. 678-297-6000. Cost: Free.

Candlelight Tour McDaniel Farm n  When: Dec. 7-8, 12, 14, 20-22; 6-7:30 p.m. n  What: Tour the 1930s McDaniel Family Farm with costumed guide, followed by hot chocolate or apple cider and a holiday craft. n  Where: 3251 McDaniel Rd., Duluth. 770-904-3500. n  Cost: $5

Cont’d on page 64

Family Fun Guide

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 63

HolidayTopPicks Spivey Hall Children’s Choir Spivey Hall n  When: Dec. 13; 7 p.m. Dec 14-15; 3 p.m. n  What: A fusion of classic favorites and new selections showcase the talents of the 170-member Children’s Choir Program singers. n  Where: Clayton State University, 2000 Clayton State Blvd., Morrow. 678-466-4200. n  Cost: Adult $25; ages 18 and younger, $12.50.

Polar Express Story Time with Santa. Little Shop of Stories. Christmas classic with Santa. Dec. 14. 1 and 4 p.m. 133 E. Court St., Decatur. 404-373-6300. $5. Reservations required. Polar Express Party. Rhodes Jordan Park Community Recreation Center. Hot chocolate bar, story time, crafts, games, a movie and more plus Santa. For ages 3-13. Dec. 14. 10 a.m. 100 East Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 678277-0890. Pre-registration required. $6/child. (Parents must attend with child.) Santa’s Magical Playhouse. Bill Johnson Community Activity Building. Parents run holiday errands while children ages 5-10 enjoy a morning of games, cookie decorating, crafts and a special visitor. Dec. 14. 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 10495 Woodstock Rd., Roswell. 770-641-3760. $22.

The Holiday Spirit The Atlanta History Center n  When: Dec. 14; 10:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. n  What: Annual historical holiday program featuring crafts, music, theatrical performances, and visit with Saint Nicholas. Tour the Smith Family Farm and Swan House to see holiday gatherings typical of the 1860s and 1930s. n  Where: 130 West Paces Ferry Rd., Atlanta. 404-814-4000 n  Cost: Adults, $16.50; ages 4-12, $11; younger than 4, free.

Reindeer Day Chattahoochee Nature Center n  When: Dec 15; 1-4 p.m. n  What: Real reindeer visit the Chattahoochee Nature Center. The day also includes woodland crafts, a visit from Santa Turtle, Nature Exchange Exploration Table, and campfire treats. Miss Julia’s story time at 1 p.m. Picnics are welcome. n  Where: Chattahoochee Nature Center. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. n  Cost: Adults, $10; ages 3-12, $6; younger than 3, free.

64 Atlanta Parent    December 2013


Family Fun Guide

Reindeer Day. The Chattahoochee Nature Center. Meet live reindeer, plus reindeer crafts and campfire treats. Dec. 15. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055. Adults, $10; 13-18, $7; 3-12, $6; 2 and under, free. The Polar Express Mommy & Me Program. Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History. Take an imaginary trip to the North Pole. Dec. 19. 10 and 11:30 a.m. 2829 Cherokee St., Kennesaw. 770-427-2117. Adults, $7.50 adults; Children, free. Gingerbread Story Time. Little Shop of Stories. Popular holiday event. Dec. 21. 2 p.m. 133 E. Court St., Decatur. 404-373-6300. $5/child. Reservations required. The Night Before the Night Before Christmas Story Time. Little Shop of Stories. Children follow along at this read-aloud story time. Dec. 23. 6 p.m. 133 E. Court St., Decatur. 404-3736300. Free. Polar Express Experience. Southeastern Railway Museum. Board a vintage railroad car for movie-viewing, with live conductor and porters, cookies, cocoa and Santa. Children can dress in pajamas for the movie. Saturdays in Dec. through Christmas. 3:30 and 6 p.m. 3595 Buford Hwy., Duluth. 770-476-2013. Reservations required. Polar Express, $20. 1 and younger, free. Stone Mountain Christmas. Stone Mountain Park. Holiday light displays, holiday shows, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and, new this year, meet Rudolph and Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster. Through Jan. 1. Visit for event dates and times. U.S. Hwy. 78, Stone Mountain. 770-498-5690. Adults, $28; ages 3-11, $22; parking, $10. Sustainable Gingerbread House Display. Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center. Through Jan. 3. Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun. 1-5 p.m. Closed Dec. 23-25 and Jan. 1. 2020 Clean Water Dr., Buford. 770-904-3500. Included with admission. Adults, $7.50-10.50; ages 3-12, $3.50-6.50; 2 and younger, free. Holiday Model Train Garden. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Six tracks of G-scale choo choos. Through Jan. 4. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and evenings during Garden Lights. Closed Mondays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-876-5859. Included with admission. Adults, $18.95; ages 3-12, $12.95; 2 and younger, free.

Global Winter Wonderland. Turner Field. Larger-than-life lantern designs of landmarks from countries all over the globe. Theme nights throughout the month. See globalwonderland. com. Through Jan. 5. Nightly 5-11 p.m. 755 Hank Aaron Drive, Atlanta. 770-723-3862. Tickets include rides and live entertainment. Adult, $24.99; ages 5-12, $16.99; 4 and younger, free. Macy’s Pink Pig. Lenox Square Mall. Atlanta’s famous pig train takes families through a life-sized storybook ride. Through Jan. 5. Dec. hours: Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Dec. 24, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Dec. 26, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Dec. 31, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Closed Christmas Day. Upper Level Parking Deck, 3393 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta. macys. com/pinkpig. $3/ride. Season of Magic. Piedmont Park. Horse-drawn carriage rides through the park, plus carousel rides for children. Through Jan 5. Thurs.-Sun., 4-10:30 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Rd., NE, Atlanta. 404-875-7275. Carriage rides: Adults, $25; under 12, $20. Carousel rides: $3. Winter Wonderland. Fernbank Museum of Natural History. Exhibition of decorated trees and artifacts from around the world. Through Jan. 5. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun., noon-5 p.m. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. Included with museum admission. Adults, $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; 2 and younger, free. Let it Snow. Atlantic Station. Winter wonderland with daily realistic snowfall. Through Feb. 14. Visit for times. 17th St., Atlanta. 404-410-4010. Free.

TRAVEL THE WORLD IN ONE DAY Nov. 21 - Jan. 05 Host at Turner Field

Royal Tea and Grand Yuletide Ball. The Earl Smith Strand Theatre. High tea with Prince Goodtidings and Princess Joy includes the juice or tea and a plate of sweets, followed by royal dance lesson. Includes goodie bag and autograph book. Children encouraged to dress for the special occasion. Dec. 7, 14 and 21. 12:30-2:30 p.m. 117 N. Park Sq., Marietta. 770-293-0080. Limited space available. $15. Hometown Holiday. City Hall Plaza. Children’s Village tent, concessions, music, Santa and lighting of the Christmas tree. Dec. 7. 5-9 p.m. 151 Willowbend Rd., Peachtree City. 770-6312525. Free. It’s a Wonderful Life Movie Marathon. The Earl Smith Strand Theatre. The 1946 holiday classic starring Jimmy Stewart, with holiday sing-along preshow. Dec. 23. noon, 3, 6 or 9 p.m. 117 N. Park Sq., Marietta. 770-293-0080. $8. Christmas Parade. Coweta County Justice Center. Winter wonderland-themed holiday parade. Dec. 8. 3 p.m. 72 Greenville St., Newnan. 770-253-8283. Free.

Nativity Nativity Tour. Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. More than 250 Nativity scenes from around the world. Dec. 1; Dec. 4-8. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Fri. 7-9 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 2-4 p.m. 2089 Ponce de Leon Ave., Atlanta. 404-373-8338. Adults, $5; ages 11 and younger, free. Evening in Bethlehem. Roswell United Methodist Church. Indoor, dramatic re-enactment of the first Christmas with live characters and real stable animals. Dec. 7. Tours at 5, 6 and 7 p.m. 814 Mimosa Blvd., Roswell. 770-9936218. Pre-register at Free. Donations appreciated.

Spectacular Lantern Festival Lighting Up the Night Visit

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Family Fun Guide

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 65

HOLIDAY CALENDAR Bethlehem: A Christmas Story. St. John United Methodist Church. Live nativity tour guided by shepherds, with light refreshments served. Dec. 7-8. 6-8 p.m. 550 Mount Paran Rd., Atlanta. 404-255-1384. Free. Children’s Choir Nativity. Alpharetta United Methodist Church. Live nativity scene with angels, shepherds and wooly lambs. Dec. 8. 4 p.m. 69 N. Main St., Alpharetta. 770-475-5576. Free.

Adapted and Directed by Jon Ludwig Based on the classic television special

A faithful adaptation of the wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us!

Walk Through Bethlehem. Simpsonwood United Methodist Church. Walk through the candlelight outdoor nativity scene, complete with Roman guards, shopkeepers and live animals. Hot chocolate and cookies served. Dec. 13-15. Fri.-Sat., 7-9 p.m.; Sun., 6-8 p.m. 4500 Jones Bridge Cir., Peachtree Corners. 770-441-2181. Free. Please bring a canned good to donate. Drive-thru Living Nativity. Clairmont Hills Baptist Church. 25th anniversary of drive-thru scenes from the nativity. Dec. 13-15. Fri.-Sat., 7-9 p.m.; Sun., 6-9 p.m. 1995 Clairmont Rd., Decatur. 404-634-6231. Free. Live Nativity. Sardis United Methodist Church. Performances run every 30 minutes on the front lawn and feature live animals. After the performance, Christmas carols and refreshments. Dec. 14-15. 6-8 p.m. 3725 Powers Ferry Road NW, Atlanta. 404-237-6060. Free. Donations appreciated.

Clay Walker

Live Nativity. Chamblee First United Methodist Church Gym. Enjoy the live nativity scene. Dec. 22. 7-8 p.m. 4147 Chamblee Dunwoody Rd., Chamblee. 770-457-2525. Free.

NOW - DEC 29 Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and all elements from the 1964 television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer © and ™ under license to Character Arts, LLC.

Bethlehem Walk. Mountain View United Methodist Church. Walk through the town of Bethlehem, depicted as it was at the first Christmas, complete with shopkeepers. Dec. 7-8 and 13-14. 7-9 p.m. 2300 Jamerson Rd., Marietta. 770-928-0050. Free.

Holiday Houses Christmas High Tea. Historic Bulloch Hall. Two course high tea served by ladies in period clothing, plus holiday home tour. Dec. 3, 10, 12 and 17. 4 p.m. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell. 770-992-1731. Registration required. $40

Supported in part by:


404.873.3391 1404 Spring Street NW Atlanta, GA 30309 Limited FREE Parking • MARTA Accessible Advance purchase is highly recommended as many shows sell out quickly. Major funding is provided by: Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council and the City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs.

66 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Christmas at Callanwolde. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Historic mansion dressed for the holidays by Atlanta interior and floral designers. Dec. 6-17. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. 980 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-872-5338. Adults, $20; ages 4-12, $12; 3 and younger, free. Decatur Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes. Downtown Decatur. Pedestrian friendly tour of homes in downtown Decatur. Dec. 6-7. 5:309:30 p.m. See for route. 678-615-0915. Tickets, $20 in advance; $25 at the door. Candlelight Tour. McDaniel Farm. Tour the 1930s McDaniel Family Farm with costumed guide, followed by hot chocolate or apple cider and a holiday craft. Dec. 7-8, 12, 14, 20-22. 6-7:30 p.m. 3251 McDaniel Rd., Duluth. 770-9043500. Register online at $5.

Family Fun Guide

Marietta Pilgrimage. Marietta. Tour six private Marietta historic district homes and several public buildings decorated for the season. Ages 8 and older only. Dec. 7-8. See times at Historic Marietta. 770429-1115. $15-$25. Barrington Hall Home Tour. Barrington Hall. Tour the decorated historic home featuring fully-decorated wreaths for purchase. Wreath purchase profits benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Through Dec. 30. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 1-4 p.m. 535 Barrington Dr., Roswell. 770-640-3855. Open House Dec. 1, 8 and 15, Free. All other dates, $8. Christmas Tours. Bulloch Hall. The antique house is decorated for self-guided tours. Through Dec. 30. Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sun., 1-4 p.m. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell. 770-992-1731. Adults, $8; ages 6-18, $6. Images of Christmas. Archibald Smith Plantation Home. The plantation home is dressed for the season. Through Dec. 30. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 935 Alpharetta St., Roswell. 770-641-3978. Included with admission. Adults, $8; ages 7-18, $6; 6 and younger, free.

Holiday Crafts Gingerbread House. American Girl North Point Mall. Design and decorate a gingerbread house, with all supplies included. Ages 8 and older. Dec. 6. 4:30 p.m. 1202 North Point Cir., Alpharetta. 877-247-5223. Reservations required. $33/person. Make and Take Ornaments. Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Create a special keepsake ornament with guidance from painting faculty member Dawn Kinney Martin. Dec. 7. 2-3 p.m. 980 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-872-5338. $5/ornament. Gingerbread Christmas. Archibald Smith Plantation Home. Half-hour workshops with cookie baking and decorating, plus crafts. For ages 6-11. Dec. 14. 10:30 a.m, 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. 935 Alpharetta St., Roswell. 770-641-3978. Reservations required. $10/child. Kids Cook: Holiday Cookies. Harry’s Whole Foods. Decorate old-fashioned gingerbread cookies and take home your creations. Includes a fruit and cheese snack and hot cocoa. Dec. 14. 9:30-10:30 a.m. for ages 2-3; 11:30 a.m.12:30 p.m. for ages 4-5. 1180 Upper Hembree Rd., Alpharetta. 770-442-3354. $19. Winter Holiday Drop-in Craft. Buckhead Branch, Atlanta Public Library. Ages 4-12 can make a winter holiday craft with parents and caregivers. Dec. 14. Noon-4 p.m. 269 Buckhead Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-814-3500. Free. Cookies with Santa. George Pierce Park. Decorate cookies for Santa, plus hot chocolate and story time. Ages 4 and older. Dec. 21. 2 p.m. 55 Buford Hwy., Suwanee. 678-277-0910. $5/child. Pre-register by Dec. 14. Parents, free. Cookies with Mrs. Claus. Barrington Hall. Write letters to Santa and decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus and her helpers. A special postman picks up children’s letters to Santa. For ages 4 and older. Dec. 21 and Dec. 23. 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. 535 Barrington Dr., Roswell. 770-640-3855. Reservations required. $10/child.

Holiday Music Glass Harp Concert. Spivey Hall. Brien Engel performs holiday music on the glass harp, a set of drinking glasses filled with water, each set to a different pitch. Dec. 3. 9:45 and 11:15 a.m. Clayton State University, Morrow. 678466-4200. $2. Joint Choir Concert. Mashburn Theater, Douglas County High School. The Spivey Children’s Choir joins with the West Atlanta Douglas County Choir for a holiday concert. Ages 6 and older only. Dec. 3. 8 p.m. 8705 Campbellton St., Douglasville. 770-651-6500. $10, at the door. The Forsyth Youth Orchestra Holiday Celebrations Concert. Cumming Playhouse. A quartet and the full orchestra present a selection of holiday classics. Dec. 4. 8 p.m. 101 School St., Cumming. 770-781-9178. $15. Sounds of the Season. Mall of Georgia Food Court. Local school choral and orchestra groups put on holiday performances. Dec. 5-6 and 13. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. 3333 Buford Dr., Buford. Free. Holiday Concert. Rialto Center for the Arts. Annual Georgia State University School of Music gala concert, featuring over 200 student and faculty musicians. Dec. 7-8. 8 p.m. 80 Forsyth St. NW, Atlanta. 404-413-5900. Tickets start at $22. Holiday Pops. Murray Arts Center. Annual holiday show featuring the Georgia Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Dec. 7. 3 and 8 p.m. 2250 Stilesboro Rd. NW, Kennesaw. 770429-7016. Tickets start at $10. Holiday Sing-along. Saks Fifth Avenue, Phipps Plaza. Carols and good cheer, with performances by Trinity School students. Dec. 7. 11 a.m. 3500 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-231-8119. Free. A Classy Brassy Christmas. Roswell United Methodist Church. The 140-voice chorus of The Michael O’Neal Singers and the Atlanta Symphony Brass Quintet present a program of Christmas tunes. Dec. 8. 3 p.m. 814 Mimosa Blvd., Roswell. 770-594-7974. $15-20, advance; $17-22, at the door. An Evening of Instrumental Music. First Baptist Church of Roswell. Christmas music presented by the music ministry of Roswell First Baptist. Dec. 8. 6:45 p.m. 10 Mimosa Blvd., Roswell. 770-587-6980. Free. ASO Gospel Christmas. Atlanta Symphony Hall. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra presents the Atlanta Gospel Singers with modern and traditional songs. Dec. 8. 7 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4900. $20-45. Children’s Christmas Concert. Roswell Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. Children’s Choirs celebrate the season. Dec. 8. 5 p.m. 755 Mimosa Blvd., Roswell. 770-993-6316. Free. Jingle Ball. Philips Arena. Holiday concert featuring some of today’s pop performers. Dec. 11. 7:30 p.m. 1 Philips Dr., Atlanta. 404878-3000. Tickets start at $25 and are available at Glory of Christmas Concert. Roswell Presbyterian Church Sanctuary. Evening of music presented by RPC’s choir and orchestra. Dec. 12-13. 7:30 p.m. 755 Mimosa Blvd., Roswell. 770-993-6316. Free. Cont’d on page 68

Bright Lights, Big Pretty Ever wonder how much goes into those amazing holiday light displays you see in neighborhoods around the metro area every year? Victor Economy can tell you: a lot. A lot of lights, a lot of labor, and a lot of love. For more than 20 years, the Stone Mountain resident has set up a home holiday light display that’s so large, it’s divided into sections. There’s Snowman Village, an area for Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, a gingerbread figure playground, and even a fire truck festooned in lights. He starts out with small light set-up in September, with help from neighbors and family, and is ready to turn on the full light show by Thanksgiving night. Economy won’t reveal how much it costs to light the yard each night because the display is his gift to those who love the lights of Christmas. But he now accepts donations for charity, and last year was able to raise more than $2,000 on behalf of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. NOTE: Large-scale light displays are staged by homeowners all around the metro area. If you know of other great ones in Atlanta, please post them on our Facebook page to share with other AP readers –  Mary Beth Bishop If You Go: Economy Home Holiday Lights Display. 1833 Smokerise Summit, Stone Mountain. Hours: Through Dec. 28, 5:30 p.m.-midnight

Light Displays

p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-876-5859. Adults, $20; ages 3-12, $14.

n Holiday Lights Display. Pettit Creek Farms. Drive-thru or hay ride through Christmas lights display, plus live reindeer and concession stand. Santa at the farm every Thurs.-Sun and live nativity on weekends. Bring camera. Fresh-cut Christmas trees for sale. Through Dec. 30. Mon.-Thurs. 6-9 p.m.; Sat.-Sun. 6-10 p .m. 341 Cassville Rd., Cartersville. 770-386-8688. $15/vehicle or $12/hayrides. 1 and younger, free.

n Gift of Lights. Atlanta Motor Speedway. Millions of twinkling lights, including glowing versions of Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman. Through Jan. 4. Sun.-Thurs., 6-9 p.m.; Fri.Sat., 5:30-10 p.m. 1500 Tara Place, Hampton. 704-637-5363. $15/car, weekdays; $20/car weekends.

n Lights of Life. Life University. Drive-thru 1.5 mile light show. Santa visits on weekends. Pony and train rides, concession stand, goat petting zoo and live music. Nightly through Dec. 31. Sun.-Thurs. Dark-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. Dark-10:30 p.m. 1269 Barclay Cir., Marietta. 678-331-4334. $10/passenger van; $5/car weekdays; $10/car weekends and Dec. 1 and Dec. 20-25. n Magical Nights of Lights. Lake Lanier Islands. Seven mile drive through holiday lights, plus a Holiday Village with carnival rides, pony rides and holiday treats. Event also features live nativity and ice skating rink. Through Dec. 31. 5-10 p.m., including holidays. 7000 Holiday Rd., Lake Lanier Islands. 770-932-7200. $60/car. n Garden Lights, Holiday Nights. Atlanta Botanical Garden. Nearly one million energy-efficient bulbs, including giant snowflakes, bumble bees and a “praying Santa mantis”. Through Jan. 4. 5-10

Family Fun Guide

n Holiday in Lights. Centennial Olympic Park. Thousands of lights adorn Centennial Park. Through first week of Jan. 7 a.m.-11 p.m. 265 Park Ave., Atlanta. 404-223-4412. Free. n Fantasy in Lights. Callaway Gardens. Drive through more than eight million twinkling lights and a garden decorated for the season. Through Dec. 30. Opens at 6 p.m. Hwy. 27, Pine Mountain. 800-225-5292. Adults, $17-28; Children 6-12, $8.50-14; 5 and younger, free. n Country Christmas in Lights. Rock Ranch. Drive through over a mile of Christmas Lights. On select evenings, Truett’s Barn is open serving soups, chili and featuring a children’s craft corner. Dec. 3-Dec. 31. Truett’s Barn: Dec 13-14, 19-20, 21 and 23. 6-10 p.m. 5020 Barnesville Hwy, The Rock, GA 30285. 706-647-6374 Lights Free, donations are accepted at the end of your drive. Dinner and crafts costs vary.

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 67

HOLIDAY CALENDAR Christmas with The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Atlanta Symphony Hall. Over 400 musicians perform favorite Christmas music. Dec. 13. 8 p.m.; Dec. 14. 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4900. $29-62. The Atlanta Pops Orchestra Holiday Concert. The Grand Theatre. Tenth anniversary concert by The Atlanta Pops Orchestra, also featuring The Cartersville Elementary School Children’s Choir and local composer Rick McKee. Dec. 14. 7 p.m. 7 N. Wall St., Cartersville. 770-3867343. $20-25. Spivey Hall Children’s Choir. Spivey Hall. A fusion of classic favorites and new selections showcase the talents of the 170-member Children’s Choir Program singers. Dec. 13. 7 p.m.; Dec. 14-15. 3 p.m. Clayton State University, Morrow. 678-466-4200. Adults, $25; ages 18 and younger, $12.50. Have Yourself a Merry-etta Christmas. Jennie T. Anderson Theater, Cobb County Civic Center. Holiday show presented by the Big Chicken Chorus. Dec. 14. 3 and 7:30 p.m. 528 S. Marietta Pkwy. SE, Marietta. 770-530-2878. Adults, $25; ages 6-21, $10; 5 and younger, free. Sounds of the Season. Phipps Plaza. Local organizations will provide a full day of musical entertainment, featuring the European School of Music at 11 a.m. Dec. 14. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 3500 Peachtree Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-2620992. Free. ASO Kids’ Christmas. Atlanta Symphony Hall. “Pops-style” concert presented by The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, with a Santa Claus finale. Dec. 15. 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4900. $15-22. Atlanta Vocal Project Show. Heritage Hall. An a cappella chorus specializing in barbershop style presents holiday music. Dec. 15. 4:306:30 p.m. 6110 Bluestone Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-851-9111. $5/person.

Atlanta Boy Choir Christmas Concert. World renowned Atlanta Boy Choir and their Alumni Choir perform holiday arrangements. Dec. 12. 7 p.m. Morgan Hall, Kennesaw State University. 1000 Chastain Rd., Kennesaw. Dec 15. 7:30 p.m. St. Thomas More Catholic Church. 636 W Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-378-0064 to purchase tickets. $20. Holiday Recitals. European School of Music Recital Hall. Ages 5-17 perform holiday, classical and popular music for piano, violin, guitar, drums and voice. Dec. 15. 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. 5187 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs. 404-255-8382. On Holiday. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. The Atlanta Wind Symphony presents music inspired by vacations and the holidays. Dec. 15. 3-4 p.m. 950 Forrest St., Roswell. 770-641-3727. Free. Santa’s Favorite Chamber Music. Reception Hall, Michael C. Carlos Museum. Songs for the holidays. Dec. 15. 4 p.m. 571 South Kilgo Cir. NE, Atlanta. 404-727-4282. Free. White Christmas Irving Berlin. Cumming Playhouse. Musical adaptation of the holiday film. Through Dec. 15. Thurs.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m. 101 School St., Cumming. 770-781-9178. Adults, $30; ages 12 and younger, $25. Christmas with Amy Grant and Vince Gill. The Fox Theatre. Two hour holiday concert featuring the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Dec. 16. 7:30 p.m. 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 855-285-8499. Tickets start at $39. Charlie Brown Christmas Tribute. The Earl Smith Strand Theatre. Chad Shivers & The Silent Knights, Jeffrey Bützer and T.T. Mahony present a jazzy musical tribute to Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas, along with a Beach Boys Christmas Tribute. Dec. 17. 8 p.m. 117 N. Park Sq., Marietta. 770-293-0080. $15.

Christmas Classics. Cumming Playhouse. Holiday tunes, accompanied by The Forsyth Youth Orchestra. Dec. 17. 8 p.m. 101 School St., Cumming. 770-781-9178. Adults, $20; 18 and younger, $15. A Very Merry Holiday Pops. Atlanta Symphony Hall. Holiday variety show, featuring The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, a drum line, youth choruses and Santa. Dec. 19-20. 8 p.m.; Dec. 21. 2 and 8 p.m. 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-4900. $22-60. Cumming Playhouse Singers Christmas Concert. Cumming Playhouse. “Winterlight” 60-voice choral celebration. Dec. 20. 8 p.m. 101 School St., Cumming. 770-781-9178. Adults, $20; 18 and younger, $15. Sounds of Sawnee. Cumming Playhouse. The Spirit of Christmas Past features traditional songs. Dec. 21. 8 p.m. 101 School St., Cumming. 770-7819178. Adults, $20; 18 and younger, $15. The North Georgia Chamber Symphony Christmas Concert. Cumming Playhouse. Amateurs, professionals and students join together to present a holiday program. Dec. 22. 3 p.m. 101 School St., Cumming. 770-781-9178. $15.

The Nutcracker The Nutcracker. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Over 300 cast members from the Roswell Dance Theatre present the holiday classic. Dec. 1-8. Visit for show times. 950 Forest St., Roswell. 770-998-0259. $10-60. The Nutcracker. Jennie T. Anderson Theatre, Cobb County Civic Center. Presented by The Georgia Ballet. At noon on Dec. 7, the Nutcracker Wonderland includes holiday crafts, photos with the Sugarplum Fairy and more with admission. Registration is required. Dec. 6. 8 p.m.; Dec. 7. 2 and 8 p.m.; Dec. 8. 1:30 and 5:30 p.m. 528 S. Marietta Pkwy. SE, Marietta. 770-528-0881. $15-38. Cont’d on page 70

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Visit or email 68 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Family Fun Guide

HOLIDAY CALENDAR Fun with Santa n American Girl North Point Mall. Brunch with Santa, including framed 5x7 photo with Kris Kringle. Dec. 1. 9 a.m. 1202 North Point Cir., Alpharetta. 877-247-5223. For children 3 and older. Reservations required. $19/person. n Atlanta Botanical Garden. Bring a camera to meet Saint Nick in his dark green robe and botanical head wreath. Dec. 1, 7-8, 14-15, 21-22. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404876-5859. Included with admission. Adults, $18.95; ages 3-12, $12.95; 2 and younger, free. n North Point Mall. Pajama party with Santa. Children encouraged to bring a new unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. With a $3 donation to Toys for Tots, families will receive a customized email letter from Santa on Christmas Eve. Dec. 3, 10 and 17. 6 p.m. 1000 North Point Cir., Alpharetta. 770-740-9273. Free. n Bill Johnson Community Activity Building. Continental breakfast with Santa, music, games, dancing, face painting and crafts. Dec. 7. 9-11 a.m. 10495 Woodstock Rd., Roswell. 770-641-3760. Registration required. $21. n Booth Western Art Museum. Pictures with Cowboy Santa and Mrs. Claus. Dec. 7. 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Ornament decorating from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. 501 Museum Dr., Cartersville. 770-387-1300. Adults, $10; 12 and younger, free. n Callanwolde Fine Arts Center. Breakfast with Santa from Chick-fil-A. Includes admission to the home. Bring camera for photos with Santa. Dec. 7 and 14. 9-10:30 a.m. 980 Briarcliff Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-872-5338. Pre-register. $20/person. n Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort. Breakfast buffet with Santa, plus free park admission with an all-attractions pass for each person, toy for each child and pictures with Santa and his elves. Benefits Friends of Disabled Adults and Children. Dec. 7. 10 a.m.-noon. 4021 Lakeview Dr., Stone Mountain. 770-491-9014. Adults, $30; ages 5-11, $20; 4 and younger, free. Registration required. n Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. Visit with Santa and make holiday crafts in the Elf Workshop. Bring camera for additional photos. Dec. 7-8; Dec. 14-15; Dec. 19-20. Thurs.-Fri. 4 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.; Sun. 1 p.m. 185 West Crogan St., Lawrenceville. 770-8225450. Santa visit and photo, $5/child or family. Elf Workshop tickets, $1 for two crafts. n Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter. Breakfast with Santa with live entertainement. The U.S. Marine Corps will be on-hand to collect Toys for Tots. Dec. 7. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 111 Perimeter Cir. W, Atlanta. 770-396-6800. Pre-register online: Adults, $15; ages 12 and younger, $10. n Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center. Breakfast and pictures with Santa with crafts. Breakfast served until 10:30 a.m. or while supplies last. Children 3 and older. Dec. 7. 9 a.m. 4651 Britt Rd., Norcross. 678-277-0860. Pre-register by Dec. 2. $5/person. n Mall of Georgia. Breakfast with Santa and holiday crafts. Dec. 7. 8:30-10 a.m. 3333 Buford Dr., Buford. 678-482-8788. $5.

The View from Santa’s Chair Santa’s chair at a shopping mall can be a ringside seat to Christmas wonder at its best. We caught up with the man himself as he prepared to spend some time with children at Alpharetta’s North Point Mall. Even the busiest shoppers have nothing on old Santa when it comes to hours at the mall. He recalls the Saturday that he saw eight hundred kids and parents. The yearly average is somewhere between 20 and 25 thousand family members who stand in Santa’s line at the Alpharetta mall. One boy came armed with a calculator and had some questions for the man in red: How many houses did he visit every Christmas Eve? What time did he leave home and what time did he return? Then the child did the calculations and announced that the famous sleigh ride around the world was a near impossible feat. How could Santa do it with just three seconds for every house? So Santa let him in on a secret. “I told him that for one night every year, I can slow down time.” He has advice as well for parents of younger children who might balk at being handed to a bearded stranger. Before you go to the mall, he says, read them a book about Santa or show them a movie in which Santa has a role. Another idea is to let them get used to a person who has a beard or even a red hat. And, of course, Santa will be stopping by at malls all over town. –  Mary Beth Bishop

n Town Center at Cobb. PJ Party with Santa, cookies and milk with Mrs. Claus, plus story time, prizes, coloring and crafts. Dec. 7. 1-3 p.m. 400 Ernest W. Barrett Pkwy. NW, Kennesaw. 770-424-9486. $5. n Rhodes Hall. Visit with Santa includes entertainment and refreshments. Weekends, Dec. 7-21. Times vary. 1516 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta. 404-885-7812. $38. n Southeastern Railway Museum. Breakfast or lunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus, craft, train ride and photos. Includes admission to the museum. Sat. through Christmas. Breakfast, 8:30 a.m. Lunch, 12 p.m. 3595 Buford Hwy., Duluth. 770-476-2013. Reservations required. Breakfast and Lunch, $16 each. 1 and younger, free.

Family Fun Guide

n Courtyard Marriott Atlanta Downtown Decatur/Emory Conference Center. Santa arrives on a fire truck, after which families breakfast with the man in red. Dec. 14. 8-10 a.m. 130 Clairemont Ave., Decatur. 404-3718386. Adults, $12; ages 11 and younger, $7. n Northlake Mall. Story time with Santa, plus special prizes. Dec. 14. 1-3 p.m. 4800 Briarcliff Rd., Atlanta. 770-938-3564. $5. n Sugarloaf Mills. Cookies with Santa and holiday ornament craft. Dec. 14. 2-4 p.m. 5900 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth. 678-847-5000. $5/child.

December 2013    Atlanta Parent 69

HOLIDAY CALENDAR The Nutcracker. The Grand Theatre. The annual Christmas ballet is presented by Cartersville City Ballet. Dec. 6. 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 7. 2 and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 8. 3 p.m. 7 N. Wall St., Cartersville. 770-386-7343. Adults, $18; ages 18 and younger, $14. The Nutcracker. The Fabulous Fox Theatre. The Atlanta Ballet’s presentation of the holiday classic returns to The Fox. Dec. 6-29. Check website for times at 660 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-881-2100. Tickets start at $23. The Nutcracker. Blessed Trinity Performing Arts Theatre. Presented by Fleetwood Dance. Dec. 13. 8 p.m.; Dec. 14. 11 a.m., 3 and 8 p.m.; Dec. 15. 2:30 p.m. 11320 Woodstock Rd., Roswell. 404-309-7735. $18 in advance; $22 at door. The Nutcracker. Gwinnett Performing Arts Center. Dec. 7. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 8. 2:30 p.m.; Dec. 13 and 20. 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 14 and 21. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 22. 2:30 p.m. 6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy., Duluth. 770237-0046. $16-30. The Children’s Nutcracker. St. Pius X Theatre. Presented by the Academy of Ballet of Norcross. Dec. 14-15. Sat., 11 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m.; Sun., 2 p.m. 2674 Johnson Rd., Atlanta. 770-242-6379. $10-$20. The Nutcracker. Blessed Trinity High School. Join The Metropolitan Ballet Theatre for its annual performance of this family classic. A Nutcracker Tea on Dec. 21 at 12:30 p.m. Dec. 20-22. Fri., 7:30 p.m.; Sat., 2 and 7 p.m.; Sun., 2 and 6 p.m. 11320 Woodstock Rd., Roswell. 678-297-2800. Adults, $30; ages 3-18, $25.

Theater The Gifts of the Magi. Theatrical Outfit. A holiday musical based on Henry O’s tale of a young couple, who are out of work and penniless in New York at Christmas. Nov 29-Dec 23. Check for dates and times. 678528-1500. $25-$40. A Christmas Carol. Aurora Theatre. One-man presentation of the traditional Dickens tale. Dec. 5- 22. Thurs., 8 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m.; Sun., 2:30 p.m. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222. $15. Merry Little Holiday Shorts. OnStage Atlanta Mainstage. Jump through the holiday season with eight holiday-themed one-act plays. Rated PG. Dec. 5-15. Thurs. 8 p.m.; Sat. 5 p.m.; Sun. 7 p.m. 2969 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-897-1802. $12. A Christmas Carol. Bulloch Hall Osage Terrace Room. The seasonal classic story by Charles Dickens. Dec. 7, 14-16, 18-19, 21-23. Sun. 7 p.m.; All other days 8 p.m. Matinees Dec. 21 and 22. 3 p.m. 180 Bulloch Ave., Roswell. 770992-1731. Reservations required. $15/person. Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells. Dancing Goat Theatre. First-grader Junie B. holiday shops for her arch nemesis for her Secret Santa Gift. Dec. 7-23. Sat. 11 a.m.; Sun. 3 p.m.; Mon. 3 p.m. 10700 State Bridge Rd., Johns Creek. 770-772-0762. $12.

70 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

Holly Jolly Film Fest Fernbank Museum of Natural History Movie times: 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.


oliday movies in the theater, holiday crafts, dance party, giveaways and photos with Santa-saurus. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Dec. 7; The Year Without A Santa Claus, Dec. 14; and A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dec. 21. 767 Clifton Rd. NE, Atlanta. 404-929-6300. Included with admission. Adults, $17.50; ages 3-12, $15.50; 2 and younger, free. Madeline’s Christmas. Horizon Theatre Company. A musical holiday adventure with Madeline and friends. Dec. 7-31. For show times, see 1083 Austin Ave., Atlanta. 404-584-7450. Adults, $15; ages 18 and younger, $12. The Santa Games. New Dawn Theatre. A fun adventure with Santa. Dec. 7, 14 and 21. 11 a.m. Dec. 8-9, 15-16 and 22. 7 p.m. 3087 Main St., Duluth. 678-887-5015. $5. Santa’s Missing Mail. Mershon Hall, Atlanta Botanical Garden. All ages puppet show. Dec. 7 and 14. 10:30 a.m. 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta. 404-876-5859. Included with admission. Adults, $18.95; ages 3-12, $12.95; younger than 2, free. Santa’s Missing Mail. Aurora Children’s Playhouse. An All Hands Productions. Dec. 7. 10 and 11:30 a.m. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222. $7. The Little Drummer Boy. City Center Auditorium. endition of the classic song and Christmas story. Dec. 8, 15 and 22. 2 p.m. 834 Main St., Woodstock. 678-4944251. Tickets required for ages 2 and older. $10 advance; $12 at the door.


Babes in Toyland and Nutcracker-Land of Sweets. Roswell Cultural Arts Center. Ballet duo with excerpts from Babes in Toyland and The Nutcracker, presented by the Atlanta Dance Theatre. Dec. 13. 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 14. 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 950 Forrest St., Roswell. 770594-6232. Adults, $23.50; younger than 9, $15.50; Morning matinee, $12.50. Sanders Family Christmas. Family Life Hall, First United Church of Marietta. Atlanta Lyric Theatre presents the story of a family saying goodbye to their only son, who is shipping out during World War II. Dec. 13-15. Dec. 2022. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m. Sun. 2 p.m. 56 Whitlock Ave., Marietta. 404-377-9948. $28-33.

Family Fun Guide

A Christmas Carol. City Center Auditorium. The tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s Christmas journey. Dec. 14. 2 p.m.; Dec. 20-23. 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 24. 2 p.m. 834 Main St., Woodstock. 678-494-4251. Free admission on Dec. 14., but bring can of non-perishable food. Adults, $12-14; ages 13-18, $11-13; ages 3-12, $10-12. ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. Aurora Children’s Playhouse. Presented by Piccadilly Puppets. Dec. 14. 10 and 11:30 a.m. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-2266222. $7. The Nativity Ballet. The Grand Theatre. The Step of Faith Dance Company performs this annual presentation of the Christmas story through dance. Dec. 21. 2 and 7 p.m.; Dec. 22. 3 p.m. 7 N. Wall St., Cartersville. 770-386-7343. $10-18. Trouble in Toyland. Aurora Children’s Playhouse. A fun tale presented by That Puppet Guy. Dec. 21. 10 and 11:30 a.m. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-226-6222. $7. Christmas Canteen. Aurora Theatre. Nostalgic musical revue with Festival of Trees. Through Dec. 22. Wed.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 2:30 p.m. Discount matinees Dec. 11 and 18. 10 a.m. 128 E. Pike St., Lawrenceville. 678-2266222. $30-40. Matinee, $20. Home for Christmas. Alpharetta Presbyterian Church. Celebrate the Spirit of Christmas in this classic tale of a family coming together for the holidays. Through Dec. 22. Fri.-Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. 180 Academy St., Alpharetta. 770-663-8989. Adults, $15; ages 12 and younger, $12. Sanders Family Christmas. OnStage Atlanta Mainstage. Musical set in Dec. 1941, whereby Dennis Sanders of the Sanders Family Singers heads off to war. Through Dec. 22. Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m.; Dec. 19. 8 p.m.; Dec. 22. 7 p.m. 2969 E. Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-897-1802. Adults, $20; younger than 13, $12.

A Christmas Carol. Alliance Theatre. A musical performance of the classic story. Recommended for ages 5 and older. Through Dec. 29. Thurs. 7 p.m.; Fri. 8 p.m.; Sat. 2:30 and 8 p.m.; Sun. 2:30 and 8 p.m. For additional weekly show times, see 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-5000. Tickets start at $25. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Center for Puppetry Arts. Rudolph is back with this faithful adaptation of the holiday story. Through Dec. 29. Show times vary. 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta. 404-873-3391. $20.50.

Beyond Atlanta Holiday Celebration Under the Stars with the Animals. North Georgia Zoo. Animal-filled holiday celebration with a live nativity, starlight tours, marshmallow roast and Christmas carols. Dec. 1. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Starlight tours, 6-8 p.m. 2912 Paradise Valley Rd., Cleveland. 706348-7279. Starlight tours and hayride (general admission included). Adults, $30; ages 2-11, $27; younger than 2, free. North Pole Limited. Tennessee Valley Railroad. A round-trip journey to the “North Pole”, featuring storytelling, light refreshments and an appearance by Santa. Dec. 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-22. 5:45 and 7 p.m. 4119 Cromwell Rd, Chattanooga, Tenn. 423894-8028. 1 and older, $24; Ride in Santa’s private car, $48/person. Buy tickets at Christmas at the Cabin. Red Top Mountain State Park. 1800s-style Christmas with music, cooking, toys and games. Bring a camera for free pictures with Santa. Dec.7. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 50 Lodge Rd. SE, Cartersville. 770-975-0055. Free, $5 parking.

Christmas Candlelight Tour. Lighted pathways, Christmas carols, hot apple cider, refreshments and Christmas cheer. Dec. 7. 6-9:30 p.m. 1211 Chatsworth Hwy. 225 NE, Calhoun. 706-624-1321. $5.50-7.50. A Jarrell Plantation Christmas. Jarrell Plantation Historic Site. A 1900s country Christmas, featuring decorations, spiced apple cider, cookies and fireside stories. Dec. 7. 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. 711 Jarrell Plantation Rd., Juliette. 478-986-5172. $4-6.50. Cherokee Christmas by Candlelight. Chief Vann House Historic Site. Christmas in a preserved Cherokee Indian home, decorated in Moravian style. Dec.13-14. 6-9 p.m. 82 Georgia Hwy. 225 N., Chatsworth. 706-695-2598. $4-6. Christmas Tree Lighting. Vogel State Park. 10th annual lighting of a 35-foot live Blue Spruce, plus caroling, hayrides, Santa Claus visits, bonfires, hot chocolate and cider. Dec. 14. 4-7 p.m. 405 Vogel State Park Rd., Blairsville. 706-745-2628. Free. Reading of the Polar Express. Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site. Train ride and storytelling, plus refreshments and a visit from Santa. Train departs from Memorial Fountain. Dec. 14. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 401 Little White House Rd., Warm Springs. 706-655-5870. $8-12. A Tree of Families. Robert Toombs House Historic Site. Living history performers “Robert Toombs Family and Friends” celebrate post-colonial holiday traditions through the early 1900s. Dec. 14. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 216 E. Robert Toombs Ave., Washington. 706-678-2226. Free. Victorian Christmas. Travelers Rest Historic Site. The Inn is decorated with Victorian-era items. Dec. 14. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 4339 Riverdale Rd., Toccoa. 706886-2256. $3-5; $5 parking.

The Polar Express. Great Smoky Mountains. A 75 minute round-trip train ride with Santa Claus visit. Includes warm cocoa, carols and a treat while reading along to the story. Through Dec. 29. Departure times at 226 Everett St., Bryson City, NC. 800-872-4681. Adults, $4074; ages 2-12, $26-50; 23 months and younger, $10-15. Lights of the South. Hayride through over four million lights, plus a lighted Christmas tree maze, roasted marshmallows, Mrs. Claus’s kitchen and pictures with Santa. Through Dec. 30. 6-10 p.m. 633 Louisville Road, Grovetown. 706-825-6441. Adults, $8; ages 4-17, $5; 3 and younger, free. Holidays Under the Peaks. Tennessee Aquarium. Meet penguins, sharks and jellyfish. Scuba Santa makes appearances weekends through Dec. 22 at 11 a.m. Through Jan. 6. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas day. 201 Chesnut St., Chattanooga, Tenn. 800-2620695. Included with admission. Adults, $24.95; ages 3-12, $14.95. Enchanted Garden of Lights. Rock City. See holiday scenes illuminated by a million lights around the mountain and Enchanted Trail. Dinner with Santa also available on select dates. Though Jan. 4. 6-9 p.m., nightly. Closed Christmas Eve. 1400 Patten Rd., Lookout Mountain. 800-854-0675. Adults, $19.95-$21.95; ages 3-12, $11.95-$12.95; Santa dinner, $37.50. Christmas at Biltmore. Biltmore Estate. Holiday décor of the main house, plus live music, visits with Santa, gingerbread house workshops and evening candlelight tours. Through Jan. 12. Asheville, NC. Exact dates and pricing vary. Visit for details. c



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December 2013    Atlanta Parent 71

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December 2013    Atlanta Parent 73


by Todd Kestin LCSW, Life Skills Mentor        

What’s Needed to Prepare Your Child for the Future? The Answer May Surprise You.


rom the time a baby is born, many parents set up a college savings plan to ensure that they have money to help pay for their child’s college education. After all, that’s what responsible parents do, right? However, some kids don’t make it through college. While they might have the grades to get into school, they didn’t have the life skills to succeed. There’s more to preparing for adulthood than academic education. I started camp as a 10-year-old, and didn’t stop till I was in my 20s. I believe if kids spent their summers in camp, they’d be better prepared for later decisions like whether to go to college, and how to make the best life for who they are. Though many may view this as parents getting rid of kids for the summer, my parents told me it was an investment to set me up to be a more independent, confident person. They were so right. Camp taught me how to grow up. It taught me to take responsibility, and the importance of meaningful relationships in life. I didn’t need to be “cool” at camp. It was the first place I could truly be myself, and was accepted for who I was. My self-esteem was boosted, my confidence increased, and I learned about investing myself in things that matter. An interesting thing happens at camp when kids are taken out of their usual environment. The rules change. Everything changes. Authenticity is rewarded. Responsibility is cool. Maturity adds clout. If it weren’t for camp, I would never have been ready for college, which led to graduate school, and the mentoring career I enjoy now. It was a natural progression that began in camp. As a camp counselor, I learned the importance of putting attention on others. The older I grew, the more I learned to be at camp for the campers, rather than for myself and that was a huge piece of the growing up process for me. For me, camp was a big group of mentors I looked up to, who gave me amazing advice, guided me on my journey, taught me lessons about growing up, showed me the importance of meaningful relationships, and, most important, how to find them. Through my development in the camp experience, I learned how to leave camp and go back to school and find valuable friends. By the time I was in high school I had learned how to surround myself with people who would bring the most value to my life. I wasn’t born with this important skill, I learned it at camp. A moment stands out most in my memory as to the impact it had on my life. In fact, it plays a big part in how I work with teens in my practice today. I was 16 and learning to be a camp counselor. At one point, the assistant director sat with me and asked me how my summer was going. I told him I was having a great time. He then proceeded to ask me several questions that would change the course of my life. 74 Atlanta Parent    December 2013

“How is the summer for your campers?” he asked. “Who’s struggling? Are you able to pay enough attention to notice where you need to focus? Why do you think you continue coming to camp?” Then the last question, which changed me forever: “What is it you want your campers to have at the end of the summer that they don’t have now?” I’d never thought this way before. From that moment, I set out to work with campers in a completely different way. I was determined to help them have the experience they were looking for. I would ask them all, “What is it you want to have at the end of the summer?” One kid told me he always wanted to make it to the top of the climbing wall. So, we worked on it little by little, inch by inch, and the last day of camp he made it and was on top of the world. I have no doubt to this day, when he struggles with something difficult, he looks back on that summer, the work he invested, his determination... and his success. Whether your child has the funds to go to college or not, his future growth and management of life depend on how he’s living today. Sometimes I think parents forget what’s important now. We’re so focused on what is necessary later, we don’t realize the need to set our kids up now to have the skills to live later. So, saving funds for college is important, but saving for camp each year can really change a life. Let’s let our kids decide if college is important to them when the time comes. Let’s give them the tools necessary for them to make the decisions that will catapult them forward. Give them the gift of camp.

December 2013  

Why the Arts Matter, Behind the Scenes in Atlanta Holiday Traditions, 2013 Toy Guide, Holiday Traditions to Start

December 2013  

Why the Arts Matter, Behind the Scenes in Atlanta Holiday Traditions, 2013 Toy Guide, Holiday Traditions to Start