Page 1

December 2013 • Free




202 REASONS to

Love December

10 TOP Tech Toys for Kids Plus ...


Stop Sibling Squabbles This Season special advertising sections

hooray for the holidays & preschool guide

Getting Schooled by ADHD?

Dr. R. Derek Brugman, DO L. Jade Wright, PA-C


309 S. Sharon Amity Road, Suite 204 Charlotte, NC 28211



Stay in Boone and enjoy FOUR WINTER RESORTS featuring SKIING, SNOWBOARDING, ICE SKATING, TUBING and WINTER ZIP LINING. Visit us online to plan your next trip to SKI AND STAY IN BOONE! | DECEMBER 2013





d e c e m b e r 2 0 13 24



Holiday Gift Guide: Part II

Our top picks for digital toys and devices, plus DVDs for all ages


12 Days of Holiday Happenings Must-do family-friendly events


Handling Holiday Sibling Rivalry Stop the sibling gift squabbles this year


Big City Lights Where to find the brightest neighborhood drive-by displays


4 9 13 14 17 19 21 23 37 38 50 52


in every issue

from the publisher family fyi doc says chalk talk on the sidelines food for thought mother of style growing up getting out daily calendar a good sport carolina smiles


24 46

30 | DECEMBER 2013




Trade Your Holiday Stress for Joy


othing is more precious to me than seeing the eyes of a child light up on Christmas morning at the sight of gifts under the tree. Whatever your family celebrates this season, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas, I hope you have the joy of seeing your children smile and laugh as they receive your gifts of love. When we are so busy hurrying to check things off our list and worrying we won’t get it all done in December, it’s important to remember to pause and appreciate those child-like moments, and grant our children the chance to be playful. It would do us some good to pause and reflect as the year ends, also, and tap into our inner child, filled with wonder and joy. So, if you’re still running around looking for the perfect gift, frantically decorating your home or planning the menu for a family get-together and feeling stressed out, breathe deeply and exhale! Your children will love you, even if you burn dinner, buy a Charlie Brown tree or give up on the decorations in the front yard. They would prefer to spend time with you, so use the resources we have to offer to help make some things easier and family-focused this December. In this issue, we have a list of 12 Days of Holiday Traditions (Page 28) in and around the Charlotte area. These family-friendly events are a great way to spend time together and enjoy a sense of community. Even if you’ve done them before, pick a few and make a plan to go together with the kids as a family outing. Who knows? It might become an annual tradition. For holiday shoppers, you’ll find part two of our Holiday Gift Guide, on Page 24, with tech toys, music and books for all ages. And if you missed part one, highlighting our editors’ top picks for toys, dolls and games, go to to find it right there at your fingertips. In the following pages, you’ll also find some advice on stopping the sibling rivalry over gifts. Blessings to you and yours, and many thanks for reading Charlotte Parent in 2013. We hope you find something in these pages that makes your holidays a little less stressful and more joyful.




ART DIRECTOR Melissa Stutts








CONTACT US Phone: 704-344-1980 Fax: 704-344-1983 214 W. Tremont Ave., Suite 302 Charlotte, NC 28203 Circulation 109,000. Distribution of this magazine does not constitute an endorsement of information, products or services. Charlotte Parent reserves the right to reject any advertisement or listing that is not in keeping with the publication's standards. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Published by Carolina Parenting Inc.

CORRECTION: ZABRA creator Paul Adkison’s last name was misspelled in the story “Growing Up: Helping Children Manage Risks” in the November issue.




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Find the perfect preschool match to start your child’s early education ventures.




Studies show that learning a second language benefits students overall. Learn more from Charlotte experts.



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The popular LEGO® KidsFest tour returns with an exciting, interactive experience — packed with activities & creative fun for the entire family! Attend again, or come for the first time — there will be lots of oofs May Not Represent Actual Size. Ads designed by Charlotte Parent are the property of Carolina Parenting Inc. and do! new things to see


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Raising Kids Who Care

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FAMILY The newly cast Team Broadway members pose with co-directors Lori Anne Sword (far left) and Linda Booth (far right), as well as musical director Bill Congdon (behind Booth).


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First Night KIDS

Toys for Tots Shopping Spree


f you are looking for a way to give back this season, consider a trip to Toys and Co. Dec. 14. The local toy retailer is joining with Toys for Tots to help put a new toy in the hands of some less fortunate children in the Charlotte area. On Dec. 14, from 11am2pm, toys can be purchased and donated at Toys and Co. at Cotswold Shopping Center for Toys for Tots. Toys and Co. is offering a 15 percent discount that day to anyone purchasing a toy for Toys for Tots. U.S. Marines will be present at the event to collect donations and help

shop for gifts, particularly for ages 10-15. The mission of Toys for Tots is simple: to provide a means of happiness for children throughout the country who otherwise might not have gifts to open on Christmas. The week following the event, toys will be donated to Thompson Child and Family Focus that provides housing, therapy and treatment for children who are struggle with behavioral and emotional problems due to childhood abuse; and Hope Haven Inc., which works to provide life skills and residential recovery services

for homeless families in Charlotte. If you’re unable to make the Dec. 14 event, check for information on other dropoff locations.

Charlotte Parent will be at the Dec. 14 event at Toys and Co. helping collect gifts and offering suggestions for great toys for all ages. Stop by and say hi.

Children can ring in 2014 with activities at the Romare Bearden Park uptown beginning at noon until 5pm, with a kids countdown at 4pm, Dec. 31. Expect a festive atmosphere with magicians, artists, dancers and music. And it’s all free!

58% of Americans think that the perfect age to have a child is 25. Source: | DECEMBER 2013




good deed: Elissa Hayes

get real with

Hough High senior Elissa Hayes heads up a charity called Adoption Days that helps to connect animal lovers with rescue and shelter groups that have unwanted pets. She held an event in October at Jetton Park in Cornelius where rescue groups displayed more than 40 animals. Ten animals from the event are in the process of being adopted. She is currently planning a spring event. Elissa’s concern for the plight of shelter animals grew after her family rescued its Basset hound, Rusty, from the Carolina Basset Hound Rescue Group. She plans to pursue a career in veterinary medicine or pediatric medicine at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Marvin McNutt Quick stats: age 24, wide receiver for Carolina Panthers … Family tree: Lives with wife Brittney McNutt, daughters Paris, 11, and Sophia, 9 … Favorite indulgence: Cinnamon rolls and Brittney’s mac-and-cheese and sweet potato casserole … Favorite outing: going to Capital Grille with Brittney for a romantic dinner; bowling or to the movie theater as a family … Favorite local eats: Capital Grille, love the Delmonico Steak … iPod: All genres of music from J Cole to gospel to John Mayer … Latest read: “I Declare” by Joel Osteen … DVR: “Big Bang Theory,” “Scandal,” and “Parenthood” … In your bag: iPad and football tips … Can’t live without: My wife and kids … Stress buster: Paris and Sophia’s laughter. 

Forecast: Snow! Snow showers are expected each day at the Epicentre uptown this holiday season. Head to Studio Movie Grill to see an afternoon showing of “Frozen” or bowl at StrikeCity, then stick around for the Magical Snowfall by the Snowflake Tree, 5:15 p.m., daily through Dec. 24.




Elissa Hayes is the founder of Adoption Days, a charity that helps shelter dogs find homes.

Help! I’m Flying With a Toddler Traveling with a toddler can be challenging. Try these tips to keep them entertained in the air, offered up by local moms via the Charlotte Parent Facebook page.

“Snacks, lots of snacks.” — Keena Eyster-Terrill “Music tames the beast. A favorite CD of children songs/Disney movie themes saved us more than once. Lots of little books they have never seen before, Color Wonder markers and paper. And their own seat!“ — Robin Brown Castro

“Lots of little toys, even old ones, wrapped like little presents. Give them one every 30 minutes.” — Melanie Perlman Baron “New toys and their own seat.” — Kathy Stellerine




Nan and Byron’s: The Hot Spot for Family Food BY EVE WHITE

The latest hot spot for families is located in Charlotte’s Southend neighborhood. It may sound a little strange, pairing the term “hot spot” with a family eatery, but that is exactly the goal of Nan and Byron’s culinary team Jamie Lynch, executive chef (also at 5Church) and Marc Jacksina, chef de cuisine (formerly of Halcyon). These two are dishing up traditional American food in a contemporary way, and it works. The restaurant, named after people in the famous painting “American Gothic” occupies the space of the former oyster bar, Vinnie’s. The interiors have been transformed with tin ceilings, rich woods and exposed brick creating a casual and comfortable space. There’s nothing fussy here, which means parents won’t be afraid to bring the kids, who are known to fling a little mac-n-cheese around, but will be pleased to find great service and a hint of upscale, not common at most family-focused restaurants. The kids’ menu features beanie-weenies, burgers and grilled cheese. Adults have choices ranging from meatloaf with Sriracha sauce to spicy Peruvian chicken and an array of sides. I sampled both dishes the first week and they were delicious. The menu also features a full list of craft cocktails, which a tired mom and dad can appreciate. I enthusiastically recommend the Nightshade Martini. With the buzz on social media and central location, it looks like Nan and Byron’s will be a go-to spot for families who need a break from the kitchen. Rest assured you’ll eat well and so will your kids.

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Stuttering Blocks What’s normal speech development, what’s not


ost children go through periods of disfluency, or stuttering, while they are learning to speak. Disfluency refers to a hesitation, interruption or disruption in DOC SAYS speech, which can be a normal BY ERIN STUBBS, MD developmental stage or a sign of a more significant problem. The key for parents and their medical providers is to distinguish between normal disfluency and a more significant stuttering problem that requires speech therapy. Stuttering usually starts during periods of rapid language development; for instance, when a child is progressing from two-word phrases to speaking in sentences. This usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 5, but can happen as early as 18 months. Children may repeat sounds or words especially at the beginning of sentences, such as “I-I-I can’t.” When a child is tired, excited, upset or being rushed to speak, the problem is more noticeable. You may notice a child’s stuttering for several days or weeks, then not at all for a while, only to return again. A child is often unaware of his or her disfluency, although parents may be distressed by their child’s speech. Remain calm and accept that this is likely a normal developmental stage that passes. Some children can have a persistent stuttering problem that can range from mild to severe. Those at risk for an ongoing stuttering may have a parent or family member who stutters. A child who stutters for longer than 6-12 months, has an onset of disfluency after age 3-and-one-half years, or has a speech delay may be at risk for disfluency. Males are also at higher risk than females. Children with mild stuttering may have similar repetitions as those with normal disfluencies, but can have a higher number of repetitions overall and more repetitions per sentence, such as “Ca-ca-ca-ca-can I ha-ha-ha-have that?” They may also prolong sounds, such as “MMMMMMMommy, that’s mmmmmmmine.” Children with mild stuttering may be frustrated or embarrassed by their speech. Try not to have a significant reaction or comment on your child’s speech because this can make the child even more upset. It is best to stay relaxed and patiently listen. If the problem shows no signs of improvement after six to eight weeks, then speech therapy may be needed. Children with mild stuttering that is not improving or those with severe stuttering should be referred to a speech-language pathologist for an evaluation. Treatment can include helping the child overcome the fear of stuttering and teaching the child to speak in a slower, more relaxed manner. In some instances, a speech-language pathologist can train parents to provide some therapy at home. For more information visit Dr. Erin Stubbs is a board-certified pediatrician at CMC Myers Park Pediatrics



The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised its media policy statement and emphasized the need for parents to create a healthy “media diet” for children. Make a media use plan, including mealtime and bedtime curfews for devices, and no more than two hours of screen time for children above age 2, and none for children under 2.

Families that eat together without the television on and stay seated until everyone’s finished, weigh less, according to the results of a recent Cornell University study. Strong, positive socialization skills during dinners seem to overcome urges to overeat, researchers explain. Children, especially young boys, whose parents talk with them about their day during dinner also have lower body mass indexes.

A study shows that teens get sick more often when they suddenly have less sleep or if they have consistently shorter sleep. Busy schedules, activities with friends and preferred evening activities influence teen's sleep habits and patterns, but teens should consistently get 8-10 hours of sleep a night. | DECEMBER 2013



School News Lansdowne Elementary was recently awarded a $50,000 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Champions grant to help integrate outdoor education into existing curriculum. The granat will fund technology and infrastructure in outdoor classrooms, including the addition of a WeatherBug station.

Reducing Math Anxiety App Alert: Have You Heard Peko the Bird tells a story about Farmer Jack to another animal who tells it to another. Once the story gets back to Jack, the story has changed! Children identify the misadventure and learn lessons about listening. iOS devices, $2.59.

Tip Using your bodies, form letters of the alphabet. Have a stack of ABC flash cards nearby as visual learning tools.





tanford University researchers have confirmed biological



evidence of the existence of math anxiety by studying brain activity patterns of secondand third-graders who were stressed about math. While working math problems, brain activity of children who struggle with math showed patterns similar to ones of people with other phobias. The brains of the panicky children had increased activity in the regions associated with fear, and decreased activity in the regions involved in problem-solving.

During the research study, children with high math anxiety were less accurate and significantly slower at solving math problems than children with low math anxiety. This is important information, as children with math anxiety tend to avoid taking higher level math courses — lessening their opportunity to enter many careers. Adults with life-long math anxiety may find it difficult to understand such things as mortgage rates and credit-card interest. Knowing that math anxiety is a real phobia gives hope that it may be treatable as other phobias. One way to help children avoid getting anxiety about math is to make sure that

they have a firm understanding of math processes. Other things that can help reduce your child's math anxiety include: making sure that she has a strong background in basic skills, having her solve easy math problems to gain confidence in her abilities and helping her learn stress-reduction techniques. The more comfortable a child becomes with numbers, the less stress she will encounter when dealing with math. Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 publications to their credit.




Build Math Skills Early


Beginning as young as 1 year old, children can explore number concepts. Try these five math activities, suggested by Kiddie Academy of CharlotteBlakeney, as you go through your daily routine.

12345 Count the members of your family, the number of houses on your street, plates on the dinner table. As your child’s number confidence grows, increase the number of things counted.

12345 Play simple addition and subtraction games. What happens when you have two shoes and you take one away? What if you take your fingers from your left hand and add them to the fingers on your right hand?

12345 2345


Point out numbers you see in your world. From road signs to cereal boxes, numbers are everywhere. Use objects such as crayons or building blocks to demonstrate number concepts. Visual items that can be held help kids to make the connection of adding and subtracting. Cooking together is a great way to illustrate fractions. Measuring ingredients provides a visual example of fractions at work.

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A Healthy Sport Environment


e know positive benefits come from sport participation — the development of an active and healthy lifestyle being the most important and long-lasting. Many adults involved in youth sports — both parents and coaches — can, ON THE SIDELINES BY NYAKA NIILAMPTI however, become singularly focused on one aspect of sport for their children. Some become consumed with the idea of developing superstar athletes, often to the detriment of any enjoyment of sport; or find themselves fearful that a balanced approach may negatively affect their child, ruining any chance of success because of missed opportunities. Some parents struggle to find a healthy place for a child to develop those positive skills of leadership, cooperation and rebounding from failure that we know

sports can teach. Here are some signs of a healthy youth sports culture: Team attitude. Some teams emphasize winning over sportsmanship, team goals and even true skill development. These can be teams where only the “best” youth play, despite work ethic or level of engagement of the others. Some teams with this emphasis may fail to teach proper skills, which can contribute to early injuries. Research indicates that for young children in particular, motivation and opportunity to practice plays a larger role than ability and talent. Find teams that are motivating and teach the game, including best practices and sportsmanship. Open communication. Particularly with young children just beginning their sports interaction, there should be an opportunity to ask questions — for the youth as well as parents. Coaches who

Nyaka NiiLampti is a psychologist at Southeast Psych and teaches at Queens University.

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are transparent about their coaching style and expectations, listen and encourage communication from parents typically create relatively healthy sports environments. Communication also includes teaching and developing healthy ways of managing conflict. Early specialization is not forced. Some leagues encourage early specialization, where young people begin playing year-round as early as 7 or 8. Research suggests that those who specialize early run the risk of injury and burnout at a higher level than those who specialize later. Youth sports participation is an experience with tremendous value, but in an unhealthy environment it can have the opposite impact.

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Parenting Toolbox: Taking Holiday Photos Use these tips to capture the best DIY family holiday pictures yet. 1. Choose your location. Before everyone gets dressed, before the session begins, before the kids start to get goofy, know where, when and how you are going to take your family photos. And pick two locations — one that you really, really want to use, and one as a back up. 2. Be aware of light. Visit your location at the same time of day you plan to take the pictures. Avoid bright sun that creates shadows under the eyes or causes people to squint. If you are indoors, use the light from a window or open doorway. 3. Choose your outfits. Try to avoid really bright colors, conflicting patterns or anything that matches. This is a great time to get the kids involved — let them pick out their favorite outfits and have them help with what you wear. The more the kids are involved in the planning, the more interested they will be in the entire session. 4. Test your camera. Before getting the family together for the session, make sure your camera is working. Check the battery, the CF/SD cards, and take a few test shots to ensure nothing is wrong.

The Design Aglow: Posing Guide for Family Portrait Photography by Lena Hyde (Amphoto Books, $21.99) presents 100 portrait poses for babies, children, siblings and families. Why should the pros have all the fun? Use this book as a guideline for taking your own beautiful family photos. All ages; hardcover.

5. Let the kids direct the shoot. One way to keep the kids engaged is to let them direct what is happening. If they need a little help taking charge, and staying interested in having their picture made, let them have a tickle fight, make silly faces at each other or have a staring contest. Provided by Jenn Bebb at


An Otis Christmas by Loren Long (Philomel Books, $17.99) features Otis the tractor who plays an important role on the farm, where a horse is expecting a foal. When something goes wrong on Christmas Eve, Otis comes to the foal’s rescue. Ages 3-5; hardcover. $17.99.




“The Christmas Cats Chase Christmas Rats” by Constance Cocoran Wilson. A Seuss-ical tale in which the Christmas Cats learn that rats should be viewed as individuals too. The story builds upon the idea of keeping an open mind, and learning to appreciate differences. Quad City Press, $14.95. Available at and

“Olivia Helps With Christmas” by Ian Falconer. Christmas is coming, and Olivia is incredibly busy. She has to wait for Santa, make sure Dad sets up the tree, watch Mom make the Christmas dinner, and, of course, open her presents! Whew, being helpful during the holidays is exhausting. Ages 3-8. $7.99.






Worthwhile Chocolate Cake


ne of the best parts of the holidays is the memories that come from preparing your family’s traditional recipes. We all enjoy reliving the times that come with dishes that have been passed down from one generation to another, and recipes that have been passed back and forth by friends. This chocolate cake recipe came to me from a dear college friend, Pamela Worth (now Pamela Harris), and her mom Joan Worth. I call it my “Worth”while chocolate cake. It’s an easy make-and-take recipe any time of the year; and perfect for the holidays decorated with silver and gold dragées, red and green sprinkles or white sugar snowflakes.

FOR THE CAKE: 1 stick butter 1 cup sugar 4 eggs 1 cup all-purpose flour

• • • •


• 1/2 stick butter • 1 cup sugar

• • • •

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 16-ounce can chocolate syrup

• 2 ounces evaporated milk • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the cake:

“I saw it in charlotteparent!”

1. Cream the butter and sugar together until well blended. 2. Add the eggs and beat well. 3. Fold in remaining cake ingredients. 4. Bake in a 9–by-12-by-2-inch baking pan in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. 5. While the cake is baking, mix up the ingredients for the icing and ice while the cake in the pan while the cake is still warm from the oven.

For the icing:

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1. Boil 1/2 stick butter, sugar and evaporated milk in a saucepan for about three minutes until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. 2. Stir in the chocolate chips. 3. When the chocolate is melted, pour the mixture over the cake while the cake is still in the pan. 4. Let cool and then cut into squares.

Heidi Billotto is a culinary expert who hosts cooking classes throughout the Charlotte area. Find her on Twitter @HeidiCooks.

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MOTHER OF STYLE »»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»»» BY WHITLEY ADKINS HAMLIN


Shop your closet and accessorize The holiday season is perhaps the most fun time of year to get dressed up. So, you want to look great but don’t want to go out hunting for something new? Here are a few tips on how to get creative using what you have, then turn to some local jewelry designers for the finishing touches. Holiday jewel tones. Garnet, plum, burgundy and other deep shades of red have been steadily trending the past cold weather seasons. As winter approaches, forest green takes center stage with its rich earthy tone. Paired with or without sparkly jewels, try pairing the two seasonal colors for a more sophisticated spin on holiday red and green. Work party wear. This is the perfect time to reach for the crisp white blouse everyone owns, or should own. Pair it with a simple black pencil skirt or a pair of black tuxedo pants. Keep this classic look understated yet elegant, and if you want to elevate your outfit, throw in a touch of sparkle with accessories. Do this with one or two items only; sparkling earrings, a statement making cuff on your wrist or clutch, or jeweled pumps. Corporate meets tres chic. Cocktail party chic. OK, are you ready for this one? This is the time to break out those bridesmaid dresses you were told you could wear again but have yet to prove. Any outfit is only as good as it fits. Most bridesmaid dresses have potential if only the hem was a little shorter or the sleeves weren’t so puffy or they didn’t have that silly bow around the waist. Take that dress to a good seamstress, have it tailored, throw in some killer accessories and knock everyone’s socks off when they learn you are wearing a bridesmaid dress.

The Leather+Druzy Quartz Cuff by Blydesign. Studio 54 and Tegan Earrings by Erin McDermott Jewelry.

Family gatherings and everything else. Most of us want to be comfortable at those more relaxed gatherings. It’s the holiday season, however, so it’s better to be overdressed than not enough. Enter the little black dress. Embrace the opportunity to put your best foot forward while keeping it easy with comfy accoutrements. Reach for patterned or colored tights, flats or boots, and a plush wrap to keep cozy. Awesome accessories. My favorite part of any outfit is the accessories. This is the way to really make a look your own. Charlotte is home to a plethora of amazing jewelry designers. Currently, I am loving the Leather+Druzy Quartz cuffs by Blydesign and the Studio 54 and Tegan earrings by Erin McDermott Jewelry — all fantastically festive for the holidays. Whitley Adkins Hamlin is a local stylist and mom of two boys under age 5 who lives in Charlotte. Read her Mother of Style blog at | DECEMBER 2013


First Presbyterian Church

Weekday School

Nurturing children in the heart of Charlotte (Ts, 2s, 3s, 4s, TK) daily Half-day program, 9:05-1:00 Very experienced teachers m: Developmental curriculu s, science, Art, music, dramatic play, block

n A special place for childre to learn and grow! First Presbyterian Church | 200 West Trade St, Charlotte, NC 28202 | 704-376-8683 |

Find things to do with the kids.

Mecklenburg Area Catholic Schools

Faith Tradition Academic Excellence

For over 80 years, Catholic Schools have provided a faith based education dedicated to academic excellence to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. Children learn in an environment where the teachings of Jesus are promoted and upheld as core values of both school and life. Visit one of our nine schools and see what a Catholic education can mean to your child. MACS admits students of any race, color, religion or ethnic origin

Admissions: (704) 370-3273

Visit us at: Charlotte Catholic High School Christ the King Catholic High School Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School St. Ann Catholic School St. Gabriel Catholic School St. Patrick Catholic School St. Mark Catholic School St. Matthew Catholic School Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School






Growing Up: Giving With Joy



arenthood gives the term “generosity” a whole new meaning, especially around the holidays. As parents, we enjoy giving to our children, even when it involves building a three-level dollhouse with GROWING UP a working elevator at 12:47 a.m. on BY MALIA JACOBSON Dec. 25. But our children may not always receive gifts with grace or give with a generous spirit. Here’s an age-by-age guide to raising kids who give from the heart.

Malia Jacobson is a nationally published journalist and mom of three. Her latest book is “Sleep Tight, Every Night: Helping Toddlers and Preschoolers Sleep Well Without Tears, Tricks, or Tirades.”

0-5 years


Don’t expect toddlers and preschoolers to enjoy the annual ritual of shopping for and giving gifts to others, says Vicki Hoefle, parent educator, mom of five and author of “Duct Tape Parenting.” With a still-under-construction sense of empathy, young children simply don’t yet understand the joy of giving because they can’t conceptualize others’ feelings. Adults can help tots learn to enjoy giving gifts as much as they enjoy receiving them, though. “If young children watch important adults in their lives give gifts with joy, over time they will begin to model this behavior,” says Hoefle. And don’t reprimand a young child who tries to help you open a gift from him. Including the child in the gift-opening experiencing allows him to experience the joy of giving with an important adult in his life. Eventually, he’ll begin to understand the sincere joy of giving a meaningful gift to someone he cares about.

6-12 years


As school-age kids

become more aware of and interested in material possessions, parents can take steps to prevent an avalanche of “I want!” from burying the entire season. When kids start dreaming up their most-wanted gift list, promote a balanced sense of giveand-take by asking them to write down what they plan to give to others, enlisting siblings in secret missions to uncover a brother or sister’s toy wishes, and asking kids to help plan a homemade gift to give to neighbors and teachers. Holiday gifting can stir up hurt feelings. Who hasn’t experienced the embarrassment of a one-sided gift exchange? If a child gives a gift to a friend but doesn’t receive one in return, embrace the teachable moment, says Auria Chamberlain, a Greensboro parenting coach. “Begin with an open dialogue with the child, and acknowledge feelings of being upset. Help your child remember the joy she gets from the friendship, and remind her that a present isn’t given with an expectation of getting one back.”

GIVING SPIRIT 13-18 years

Teens can and should take responsibility for planning and buying gifts with their own money, says Hoefle. In fact, doing so is central to becoming mature, thoughtful givers. Paying for the gifts teens give others, micromanaging what they buy or simply writing their name on a present they had no part in picking out undermines their investment — and enjoyment — in the holiday season. Volunteering with teens is a fun, meaningful way to shift the holiday spotlight off gifts and onto helping others. A teen can helm an “adopt a family” project at home, school or church, or help bake cookies or sort clothes and toys to donate to a local shelter. Teens can plan a day to prepare holiday cards and care packages for overseas soldiers or less-fortunate members of their community, says Chamberlain. “Giving to charity weaves a deeper meaning into the holidays and helps kids appreciate all they’ve been given, whether the gifts are big or small.” | DECEMBER 2013


Holiday GIFT GUIDE: part



t’s round two of our holiday gift guide. Find digital toys and devices, plus DVDs for all ages. The editors at Charlotte Parent — and sister publications Piedmont Parent and Carolina Parent — picked these items as the best choices for kids. Happy gifting!


Look for the icon for our top tech picks.

AGES 0-4

1 // i-Mat: My Animal World. Let them roll, play and learn on this interactive foam mat that features full-color illustration of animals from around. A simple point with the Voice Pen on the animal word cloud rewards toddlers with an animal sound, a word, music or a foreign-language translation. i-Mat My Alphabet and i-Mat Under The Sea also available. Ages 12 months+. $79.99 for Voice Pen and i-Mat.

2 // Merry Christmas, Splat… and More Winter Stories. This DVD features four favorite characters and stories from Scholastic, including Splat the Cat, and a readalong function, plus a behind-the-scenes look at creating the animation for “Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas.” $14.95. Ages 3+.


3 // Laugh & Learn Apptivity Creation Center. Snap this sturdy case onto your iPad to create a learning center for baby. The protective case comes with four smart shape stamps that interact with two free downloadable apps. Snap on the play panel to use without the iPad for more hands-on play and learning. Ages 12-24 months. $40.

4 // School Zone Little Scholar Tablet. This newly released tablet includes pre-loaded features, including four episodes of a new original children’s video series “Charlie and Company,” 45 educational apps based on core early-learning concepts and skills, 87 fun and upbeat children’s sing-a-long songs and 45 learn-to-read children’s e-books. Ages 3+. $199. 5 // Go! Go! Smart Wheels Airport. Light up their imaginations with this playset featuring SmartPoint locations that are recognized by Go! Go! Smart Wheels vehicle. As a vehicle rolls over a SmartPoint, it flashes and plays greetings, fun sounds, short tunes and sing-along songs. The tracks can be reconfigured or connected to other Go! Go! Smart Wheels playsets. Ages 1-5 years. $24.99.






decals to create an awesome light and sound experience on your child’s wall. Water wave light effects gently fade in and out, illuminating a wall. With real undersea animal sound effects, the synchronized light and sounds bring the scene to life. Shark decal is more than 24 inches long, and the light effect spreads more than 20 square feet. Ages 5+. $29.99.



AGES 5-9

1 // Wild Walls — Shark Encounter. Use the peel ’n’ stick

2 // Crayola DigiTools Paint Pack. Add a new creative dimension to your digital art with this set of painting accessories, ideal for an iPad. Paint colorful, eye-catching designs with the digital paintbrush. Create virtual spray-art effects with the digital airbrush. Add instant animated images with the digital stamper, and lay down fun painted patterns, such as like footprints, grass and geometric shapes, with the digital paint roller. Ages 5+. $39.99. 3 // nabi Jr. Nick Jr. Tablet. With nabi Jr., kids can play, read and watch with their favorite Nick Jr. characters. The tablet has 16GB storage, a 5-inch, high-resolution capacitive touch screen, and rotating front and back camera. Available at Target, Best Buy and Sam’s Club. Ages 5+. $139.99. 4 // Disney Infinity Starter Pack. The all-new game platform unlocks the freedom to create stories and play experiences starring beloved Disney and Pixar characters. Throughout each story-driven experience, called a Play Set, players solve challenging puzzles, battle enemies and explore iconic locations from famous Disney properties. Playable on all of your favorite game consoles. Ages 10+. $59.99-$74.99. The game currently is unrated by the ESRB.


5 // SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s A SpongeBob Christmas! Blu-ray Combo Pack. This special double-length episode finds Bikini Bottom in a festive mood as SpongeBob and friends prepare for Santa's arrival, except Plankton, who is once again expecting a lump of coal. Includes bonus Blu-ray episodes. All ages. $21.99.


6 // Solar Rover. Build a unique solar-motorized module powered completely by the sun, no batteries required. Recycle a soda can and learn how sunlight is converted into energy with a very “green” Solar Rover. Ages 8+. $19.99.

6 5 | DECEMBER 2013


AGES 10+

1 // Spy Net Night Vision Infrared Stealth Binoculars. See up to 50 feet in complete darkness using


night vision technology that features a dual eye display. Ages 8+. $112.99.

2 // 3-D Mirascope. Create a hologram in seconds by placing an object inside and watching as mirrored optics project an image into a 3-D floating position on top. Ages 8+. $6.99.

3 // LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3. A versatile building system that utilizes advanced technology. With touch, color, and infrared sensors, create and command a robot that unleashes creative powers. Ages 10+. $349.99.

4 // Minecraft. Voted one of the 2013’s most popular games for teens and tweens by multiple rating organizations, Minecraft is still popular with and appropriate for tweens and teens. Play it via PC, Mac, iOS, Android and Xbox 360. 10+. Prices depend on the hosting device but start at $19.99.


5 // Algoriddim’s djay for iPad app. If your tween or teen already has an iPad, Algoriddim’s djay app integrates your child’s music library into a full-featured DJ system through which he can perform live, record mixes on-the-go or enable the Automix mode, which creates a mix for you. All ages. $9.99.

6 // Soul Combat+ Ultimate Active Performance Over-Ear Headphones. Active tweens and teens can enjoy high-quality audio sound while exercising or just hanging out with friends thanks to an antibacterial, breathable and wide-grip headband; Comply premium ear pads (removable for easy cleaning) with body heat activation; and sweat-resistant speaker drivers. Available in blue, black and yellow. 10+. $199.








Looking for more gifts for kids? Check out our Holiday Gift Guide Part I filled with toys, dolls and games online at | DECEMBER 2013





Holiday Happenings

Christmasville in Rock Hill



he Charlotte area is bubbling over with fun, family-friendly holiday happenings. With everything from a whole-town light display to farmers market-style holiday shopping and a heartfelt celebration of the first Christmas, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So pack up the cookies and hot chocolate and head to one (or all 12) of these merry holiday “to-do’s.”

Holidays at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. Christmas Town USA in Mcadenville. Photo by Steve Rankin.

1| Holiday on Ice

2| Holidays at the Garden

Whether it’s a winter wonderland in the Queen City or not, WBT Radio brings its annual outdoor skating rink to frost noses and toes in the heart of uptown. Located at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Brevard Street on the NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, the rink is open through Jan. 5. Skate rentals are $3, and the $9 per person admission is good for skating all day. Cash and checks only are accepted on site, but you can purchase tickets online ahead of time to avoid lines at the ATMs near the rink.

Nature is all a-twinkle at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens’ annual holiday display. Happening through Dec. 31, the gardens, located at 6500 S. New Hope Road in Belmont, display more than 500,000 lights, as well as wonders such as the perennial favorite Orchid Tree and indoor décor featuring natural elements, such as artichokes, berries and cotton. There are also special days that Santa is planning a visit, plus craft events. Children can share their wish list and have a picture made with jolly 'ole St. Nick. Ticket prices vary – check the website for details.




3| ChristmasVille

Be overtaken by the holiday spirit Dec. 5 through 8 in downtown Rock Hill at ChristmasVille. Comprised of more than 70 individual events, four days of festivities include old standbys such as a parade, carriage rides, carolers, kids’ crafts and, of course, Santa Claus. The affair also features more unique attractions like mini golf, a Ferris wheel, and on Dec. 8, 20 tons of real snow will be dumped on the Getty’s Art Center parking lot for snow bunnies ages 12 and under to frolic in from noon until … well, until it melts! ChristmasVille is free to enter, but some events do charge for participation.


4 Uptown Charlotte Tree Lighting

The Queen City celebrates the season together at the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets, Dec. 5 at 5:30 p.m., as Charlotte’s official tree is lit for the season. Always a festive occasion. ACC mascots will be in attendance to pump up the crowd even more! Event is free.

5| Gingerbread Lane A popular holiday tradition at the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge, Gingerbread Lane is a display of confectionary edifices created by local professional chefs and amateurs alike for the hotel’s annual competition. From Dec. 12-29, the public is invited to view the gingerbread houses and vote on their favorite for the people’s choice award. Plus the event benefits a great cause – the Levine Children’s Hospital. Admission is free, but a minimum donation of $1 is required to vote, and proceeds from the voting goes to Levine Children’s


6 Carolina Christmas at

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Drive the oval … slowly. More than 3 million lights are displayed along the track for holiday enchantment, NASCAR style. The drive-thru experience runs seven nights a week through Dec. 30. At the end of the course, you can park and walk (and eat!) your way through the special Christmas village set up on the infield. Visit the petting zoo, a Bethlehem Village complete with live animals and actors, and have photos made with Santa. The infield is open Thursday through Sunday nights. There are also special showings of holiday movies every Friday and Saturday night on extra large outdoor movie screen. Admission is $20 per car, $15 per car on nights when the infield village is closed.

7| Christmas at the Library Celebrate the season with heart at the Billy Graham Library Dec. 2 through 23. Visit in the evening to see the live nativity scene and take a horse drawn carriage ride ($7 for adults, $3 for kids) through light displays, or come early and spend the day taking a tour of the Library, viewing the animals from the nativity scene when they’re off duty, shopping at Ruth’s Attic gift shop, and snacking on home-style goodies at the Dairy Bar. Visiting the library is free, but parking after 3 p.m. is $10 per car.


8 Leonard Bearstein

Symphony Orchestra

Delight the little ones with a quick trek into uptown Charlotte to visit the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra. The 18-piece display of adorable animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs hourly at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Corporate Center (located at 100 N. Tryon St.) through Dec. 23. Performance times subject to change. Find the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra page on Facebook for most up-to-date schedule.

9| Breakfast with Santa The Town of Matthews Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resource Department is hosting its annual Breakfast with Santa event on Dec. 14 and 21, with sessions at 9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Kids ages 2-8 can enjoy nibbling on breakfast treats and creating holiday crafts while Mom and Dad snap their photos with Santa! Don’t delay, though, because tickets are required and space is limited. Tickets are $5 per person for both adults and children and are available for purchase by cash or check at the Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell St., Matthews.

10 |Candlelight Tour If a peek into Christmases past is your thing, Historic Rosedale Plantation, just

three miles from the center of uptown on North Tryon Street, hosts a candlelight tour of its Federal-period house on Dec. 7 from 4 to 6 p.m. Docents portray Dr. David Caldwell and his wife, Harriet, who owned the then 919-acre plantation in the 1830s. The nostalgia continues with the sounds of a hand-bell choir, and refreshments served in the English basement kitchen after the tour. Cost is $10 for adults, $8 for students in grades K-12.

11| Christmas Town USA Each year since 1956, the town of McAdenville, located in Gaston County, has glowed with holiday lights, attracting national attention and countless visitors. The display has grown from a few trees around McAdenville Lake to more than 375 live trees, 200 wreaths, and a 46-foot wide image of Old Man Winter blowing snowflakes over the lake. This year, the festivities kick off with a tree-lighting ceremony on Dec. 2 and continues each night through Dec. 26. The two-mile route is drivable or you can walk, and there’s no admission fee either way, but be prepared to wait in traffic, especially on weekend nights.

12| Miracle on 34th Street Take in a theatrical production of the classic holiday film in the family-friendly atmosphere of ImaginOn. The Children’s Theater of Charlotte offers its magical take on the favorite storyline for weekend showings through Dec. 22. ImaginOn is located at 300 E. 7th Street. Tickets start at $12. Deb Mitchell is a freelance writer and a mother or three boys who lives and works in Huntersville.

Check our online calendar for more holiday events throughout the season. | DECEMBER 2013


“It’s Not ” ! r i Fa


Holiday Sibling Rivalry



ou shop ’til you drop for holiday gifts. Then, as the wrapping and ribbons settle on the living room floor, you hear a shrill, small voice whine, “Mom, she got seven presents and I only got five. It’s not fair!” Material gifts are no substitute for parental affection. Still, kids make the connection between what parents give and how parents feel. If we teach kids that gift-giving is an expression of caring, it makes sense they’d take note of just how much loot (or love) they receive.

How Much Did I Get? Kids’ understanding of equity-related concepts like count, cost and kind develop throughout childhood. Young kids think in concrete, egocentric terms. A toddler understands a big piece of cake is better than a small one. A kindergartener knows seven gifts is more than five. “Young children will be happiest with the same number of gifts, because they’re usually unaware of price,” says Tamara Shulman, a clinical psychologist in New York City. Older kids are more cost-aware and may choose one expensive item they really want over many less-costly ones. Gift-related gripes are seldom about the material objects themselves, experts say. They’re a reflection of the meaning kids attach to those objects. Fairness concerns express kids’ fears that parents favor one sibling more than another. “Sibling rivalry is developmentally appropriate throughout childhood and into middle adolescence,” says Stephanie Mihalas, a psychologist who works with children and families in Los Angeles. Kids complain when mom takes one child out for ice cream while the other takes her piano lesson. They’re always




aware of how much attention they receive. Rivalry isn’t just a developmental issue. Our society creates and reinforces the expectation that everything needs to be fair, says marriage and family therapist David Simonsen, a father of six in Olympia, Wash. Because our culture equates fairness with sameness, kids today learn that everyone gets a trophy, regardless of their performance. When everyone isn’t treated the same, kids may feel they’ve been slighted.

How Much Did She Get? “Kids are hypersensitive at holiday time because they’re comparing gift lists with peers at school and with siblings at home,” says Mihalas. Some family situations may exacerbate fairness concerns. For instance, “children of divorced parents may pit parents against one another at holiday time,” she says. A child may tell mom, “Did you know dad is going to get me a big train?” and tell dad “Did you know mom is getting me a bike?” Blended family dynamics are also tricky. If the nonbiological child feels she received fewer or different kinds of gifts — for instance, socks and books instead of an iPod

advertising p

and Uggs — she may resent her more-fortunate step siblings. Feeling left out may cause kids to act out for attention or to retaliate. Sometimes parents do discriminate, even unknowingly. “It is important that parents honestly self-evaluate to see if they are showing preferential treatment for one child over Issue: From: Telephone: December 2013 704.248.5226 the other,” says Leslie Petruk, a child and family therapist in Charlotte. Parents may buy “better” gifts for a child whose interests match their own, or buy forbox one 1. practical Check thepresents appropriate below and note changes, if any. (Maximum two proofs.) who needs items like a backpack and bike helmet. Ask each 2. Sign, date and return via fax noted above or e-mail no later than NOVEMBER 14, 2013. child for a wish list and use it asThis a shopping kids’ ad will run asguide. is and youTaking will be billed accordingly if changes or approval are not submitted by return date noted above. preferences into account makes them feel special.





How to Deal With the Drama

YES! I want to reach 39,000 web-savvy parents this month on! It’s impossible to win the fairness game. Even if you give each Please contact me about web advertising! child six gifts, spend precisely the same amount, or buy each child a personalized version of the very same item, “children will always be able to find some way in which their sibling was ___________________________________________________________ __________________________ _________________________ given more, treated differently, or ‘better’ in their view,” says Signature Date Website address Petruk. If kids raise concerns, don’t get caught up in lengthy discussion of who got more; you’ll only fuel frustrations. Take a detached, inquisitive approach. Ask “How does your gift make you feel?” or “What were you hoping to get?” Kids’ answers can give parents great insight into their feelings about competition and caring. Hearing kids out doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. Your goal is to ensure your child feels respected. Reflect her concerns back so she knows you get it, advises Petruk. Say, “It sounds like you feel like your sister got more gifts then you did, and because of that, you feel like mom and dad love her more than we love you.” Offer a hug and spend some time one-on-one. Support your child while she wrestles with her feelings. Resist the urge to smooth over kids’ sorrows or to diminish discontent with makeup gifts. “Kids need to know how to deal with disappointment,” says Simonsen. “Life isn’t fair.” When you’re tempted to give kids more stuff to stop their Now registering for holiday gift making complaints, ask yourself “What will this look like then they’re afternoons. Shop or wrap while your child teenagers?” A pillow pet may placate a 4-year-old, but teens makes handmade gifts for loved ones! want computers and cars. Don’t let equity issues dampen your holiday spirit. “This is a perfect opportunity to have a discussion about your family values regarding material things and your love for your children,” says Shulman. Select thoughtful gifts based on kids’ Located in Historic South End unique interests and wishes, and tell them you love them more 2108 South Blvd.#206, Charlotte, NC 28203 than gifts could ever express. 704.326.1214 Heidi Smith Luedtke is a personality psychologist and mom of two gift-envious kids. She is the author of “Detachment Parenting.”

Visit our website to see all of our week-long half-day sessions! | DECEMBER 2013


Ad Proofs May Not Represent Actual Size. Ads designed by Charlotte Parent are the property of Carolina Paren




HOORAY for the HOLIDAYS! Holiday On Ice

for the 2013 Holiday on Ice returns Nov. 22 n at the coolest Season. Continue the traditio ice skating place in the city, an outdoor n’t miss this rink in the heart of uptown. Do tradition holiday favorite as we share the . 22-Jan. Nov en from our family to yours. Op rs hou iday hol 5, 2014, with extended Dec. 20-Jan 5, 2014.

NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza . 400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd m lott har icec holidayon

Fantastic Frogs

Meet remarkable live frogs from around the world that have developed unique “superpowers” over time to help them survive. Learn how frogs live lives full of action, constantly struggling to fend off foes. Play interactive learning games, view scientific videos and, of course, see plenty of live frogs.

Discovery Place 301 N. Tryon St. 704-372-6261

Krueger Reindeer Romp ular

for this pop Join the Harris YMCA, Dec. 14, family — 5K ire ent holiday event. Fun for the ngest you the for Run/Walk at 8 a.m., and 8:45 a.m. at Run Fun ress runners, Santa’s Exp finish line, Hot chocolate and snacks at the for best costume. pictures with Santa and prizes . Register online at

Nutcracker The holidays aren’t complete without seeing the “Nutcracker,” Charlotte’s favorite holiday tradition. With more than 100 performers, live music from the Charlotte Symphony and a magical snowfall at each performance, it’s the perfect outing for the entire family. Tickets to “Nutcracker” make great gifts for teachers, clients and neighbors. Dec. 13-22.

Harris YMCA 5900 Quail Hollow Road 704-716-6800

Christmas in Downtown Monroe Enjoy downtown Monroe’s annual Christmas tree lighting featuring wandering carolers, live music, carriage and trolley rides, food vendors, a Christmas petting zoo, downtown business open houses, and guaranteed snow! Meet Rudolph, Frosty and Santa! Dec. 7, 6-9 p.m.

Downtown Monroe




Belk Theater 130 N. Tryon St. 704-372-1000




HOORAY for the HOLIDAYS! Holiday Shopping at The Baby Grocery Store If you have a new or expectant parent on your gift list, you can’t go wrong with a gift card from The Baby Grocery Store, a philosophyfirst company. They stock floor to ceiling with organic baby food, diapers, wipes, toys, carriers and the full line of Honest Co. products.

The Baby Grocery Store 10225 Park Road 704-543-8635

Holiday With the Charlotte Children’s Choir A Prime Time Holiday offers the music of the season for all ages, from children to senior citizens. Bring the whole family! Dec. 14 at Sharon Presbyterian Church. Christmas With the Charlotte Children’s Choir and Charlotte Bronze needs to be a part of your holiday celebration. Joyous children’s voices and brilliant ringing of the bells will put you in the holiday spirit. Dec. 21 at Myers Park Baptist Church.

Community Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at Kilgo UMC Our family-friendly service is Tuesday, Dec. 24 at 6:30pm. Every child attending receives a special gift. Come celebrate the meaning of Christmas with us. As always, we conclude with candlelight and “Silent Night.” We appreciate you making our faith community your family’s tradition for the holidays.

Kilgo United Methodist Church 2101 Belvedere Ave. 704-334-7348

Charlotte Children’s Choir 704-374-1892

Winter Cool Camp for the Holidays

Winter Cool Camp is a great way to stay active while the kids are on winter break. Filled with on- and off-ice activities, including daily skating lessons, crafts and games, your child is sure to stay “cool” this winter. Through Jan. 3. Full and half-day rates available.

Extreme Ice Center 4705 Indian Trail-Fairview Road, Indian Trail 704-882-1830

Santa Saturdays at BLACKLION

Bring the kids to meet Santa at BLACKLION’S Holiday Wonderland in South Charlotte! Santa arrives each Saturday until Christmas at 1 p.m. by fire truck. He is there from 1-4 p.m. Walk through the wonderland of Christmas trees, antique cars, gingerbread houses, singing bears and more. The kids will love it and so will you!

BLACKLION South Charlotte 10635 Park Road 704-541-1148 | DECEMBER 2013



Find more preschool options at

local S E C T I O N

Back Creek Church

British American School of Charlotte

Cannon School

Charlotte Preparatory School

Chesterbrook Academy

Christian Montessori School at Lake Norman

Davidson Day School

First Presbyterian Weekday School

Hickory Grove UMC

Ivybrook Academy

1821 Back Creek Church Road 704-805-4065 1-5 years | $140- $300/month Dedicated to providing activities that promote mental, spiritual, physical and emotional growth.

5801 Poplar Tent Road, Concord 704-721-7199 1-12 years | $11,440-$18,860 Designed with the needs of the student in mind. Not only developing the basic skills of reading, writing and math, but also cultivating creativity and curiosity in a fun environment. 15115 Norman View Lane, Huntersville 877-959-4181 6 weeks-6 years | Call for rates Provides a curriculum that offers the perfect balance of learning and play, combined with a structural learning experience designed for each developmental stage.

750 Jetton St., Davidson 704-237-5200 2-18 years | $9,500-$15,325 A diverse environment that cultivates academic excellence through collaboration, creativity and character development. Each student is offered a challenging learning environment through a broad array of programs.

6401 Hickory Grove Road 704-537-4658 1-4 years | $220/monthly A curriculum that is strong in the areas of developing social, self-help, and age level readiness skills and learning through play.




7000 Endhaven Lane 704-341-3236 2-5 years | Call for rates A curriculum designed to develop internationally minded learners, and better prepare children for their futures locally and globally.

212 Boyce Road 704-366-5994 2-12 years | $10,370-$17,050 An early school that utilizes Montessori principles. The environment creates positive school culture and focuses on building a comprehensive education for students.

14101 Stumptown Road, Huntersville 704-875-1801 6 weeks-6 years | $3,192-$12,784 Celebrates the individual gifts of each child and nurtures a passion for learning and Biblical principles by equipping them for academic excellence.

200 W. Trade St. 704-376-8683 15 mos.-5 years | $265-$445 An environment where children can learn and grow through a curriculum of cultural programs.

Weddington | Fort Mill 1-6 years | Call for rates A half-day program that provides a progressive approach to early childhood education where children create and discover, nourishing their potential as individuals.

Preschools A D V E R T I S I N G


Lake Norman Baptist Preschool

Lakeview Church Child Development Center

Our Lady of the Assumption Pre-Kindergarten

Pritchard Child Development Center

Rainbow Child Care Center

St.Ann Catholic School

Southlake Christian Academy

South Charlotte Baptist Academy

The Sunshine House Early Learning Academy

United Faith Christian Academy

7921 Sam Furr Road, Huntersville 704-892-5357 2-5 years | $155-$260/monthly A dynamic, Christian environment offering hands-on learning balanced with child-centered activities that encourage children to grow spiritually and gain skills and confidence needed for Kindergarten and elementary school.

4225 Shamrock Drive 704-531-0067 Infant-5 years | $3,109- $4,834 An academic program steeped in a tradition that has teachers who care about the potential of each child.

9340 Washam Potts Road, Cornelius 704-894-9200 6 weeks-12 years | Call for rates Developed to serve the needs of today’s family by providing early academic experiences that educates in a home-away-from-home setting.

13820 Hagers Ferrry Road, Huntersville 704-949-2200 PreK-Grade 12 | $6,980-$10,300 Students and parents are encouraged by the philosophy “educating mind, body and soul.” The goal is to enrich and strengthen the total student.

15644 Donnington Drive 704-752-1859 6 weeks-12 years | $105-$255/ week Programs are created to ignite a child’s passion for learning and prepare them for future success in school and in life.

13925 Erwin Road 704-504-0442 Infant- PreK | $185-$210/weekly Providing each child with developmentally appropriate Biblical curriculums that will help to develop skills and abilities in a formal school learning setting. 1117 South Blvd. 704-343-2944 Birth-5 years | $940-$1,140 Developing children and those with special needs.

600 Hillside Ave. 704-525-4938 Infant-5 years | $3,109/half-day; $4,834/full-day All students receive a well-rounded education by having the opportunity of smaller class sizes.

12416 Lancaster Hwy., Pineville 704-544-7323 3 yrs-Grade 12 | $4,750-$6,850 Helping students develop a Christian world-view and producing Godly leaders in an educated environment.

8617 Providence Road 704-541-1742 12 mos.-Grade12 | $6,000-$8,175 Offers an academically challenging program for students by creating smaller class sizes. Curriculum is based on a Biblical worldview. | DECEMBER 2013


Epic fun for families in Uptown Charlotte, brought to you by EPICENTRE. There’s lots for families to do in Uptown Charlotte and EPICENTRE wants you to know about it.

EPICENTRE recommends the following Uptown family events: Uptown Tree Lighting

Dec. 5 The Square North Tryon St. & West Trade St. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer with energetic entertainment!

Santa’s Bag

Dec. 4-7 Children’s Theatre of Charlotte 300 E. 7th St. Children can browse through a wide variety of inexpensive, pre-wrapped gifts and select something for everyone on their list!

North Carolina Dance Theatre Presents: The Nutcracker

Dec. 13 Belk Theater 130 N. Tryon St. Celebrate the sights and sounds of the holiday season as Clara enters a dreamland and meets her Nutcracker Prince!

Black Nativity

Dec. 14 Booth Playhouse 130 N. Tryon St. A celebration that tells the original story in scripture, verse, music and dance!

A Commedia Christmas Carol

Dec. 14 Children's Theatre of Charlotte 300 E. 7th St. Enjoy this timeless story and capture the spirit of the season!

Clara’s Trip

Dec. 21 Booth Playhouse 130 N. Tryon St. Bring in the holiday spirit as you experience a wild adventure of Clara’s dreams!

Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra

Through Dec. 27 Founders Hall 100 N. Tryon St. An orchestra of computerized bears sing and play favorite holiday classics!

First Night Kids Dec. 31

Romare Bearden Park

300 S. Church St.

A New Year’s Celebration for kids, beginning at noon.

WBT’s Holiday on Ice

Through Jan. 5 NASCAR Hall of Fame 400 E. Martin Luther King Blvd. A day of family-friendly ice skating. The rink has more than 7,000 square feet of ice and a view of the city skyline!






December 2013 go. see. play.


Santa’s Bag is a unique holiday tradition that affords children under age 12 a place to shop for gifts to give Mom and Dad or other friends and family. Gifts are pre-wrapped and priced from 50 cents to $5. Each shopper is guided through the gift market with one of Santa’s helpers to explore gift options. Bring your cameras for a picture with Santa, too. Free to attend, cost of gifts varies. Dec. 4-7, Wed.-Fri., 4:307pm; Sat., 10am-2pm. Children’s Theatre of Charlotte 300 E. 7th St. 704-973-2800


Join in a bit of healthy competition while giving back with a stroll down Gingerbread Lane. See an amazing display of delicate and enchanting gingerbread houses and creations — both amateur and professional — then cast a vote for your favorite with a minimum $1 donation to benefit Levine Children’s Hospital. Free. Dec. 12-29. 9am-5pm. The Ballantyne Hotel 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. 704-248-4055.


Celebrate the winter season by creating a holiday gift ornament and edible ornaments for birds and wildlife at the Wing Haven Holiday Celebration. Before settling in for the craft, kids can help decorate the Wing Haven tree, and join in a story time with refreshments. $12. 3:30-4:30pm. Wing Haven Gardens 248 Ridgewood Ave. 704-331-0664


Celebrate family, community, and culture at the Kwanzaa: Celebrating Ujima/Collective Work and Responsibility, and learn about the people of Africa and its culture. Enjoy an afternoon filled with drumming and live performances. While there, take time to explore the museum galleries and exhibits. 11am-3pm. Free with a suggested $5 donation. Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts+Culture 551 S. Tryon St. 704-374-1565 | DECEMBER 2013




DISCOVERY PLACE Animal Grossology. Learn about the disgusting things animals do and how they can be fun, funky and fascinating. $5-$17; includes museum admission. Through Jan. 1. Mon.-Fri., 9am- 5pm; Sat.,10am- 6pm; Sun., noon-5pm. 704372-6261. 301 N. Tryon Street.

MAIN LIBRARY Colonial Charlotte Diorama Exhibit. See how Charlotte might have looked in 1775. Free. Through Dec. 31. Tue.-Thurs., 10am-7pm; Fri. and Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm. 704-416-0100. 310 N. Tryon St.

MINT MUSEUM World’s Fairs. Experience the international exhibition with outstanding examples of glass, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, precious metalwork, and textiles displayed at the world’s fairs between The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London in 1851 and the New York World’s Fair in 1939. Through Jan. 19. Wed., 11am-9pm; Thurs.-Sat., 11am-6pm; Sun., 1-5pm. 704-337-2000. 500 S. Tryon St.

MUSEUM OF YORK COUNTY Way Back When: Ice Age Beasts of Carolina. Travel back in time to the Carolina Piedmont during the “Ice Ages” when massive mastodons browsed our woodlands, and giant ground sloths ambles along the forest edge. $3-$5. Through Dec. 30. Tues.- Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun. 1-5pm . 803-329-2121. 4621 Mt. Gallant Road, Rock Hill.

SCHIELE MUSEUM Mammal Safari: Journey of Discovery. Meet live animals from around the world, see awesome mounted specimens from Africa, Asia, North and South America, and enjoy cool hands-on interactive exhibits. Free with museum admission. Through Dec. 31. Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm. Season of Light. Discover how many endearing holiday customs developed and how they involve lighting up the winter season. $6-$10. Through Dec. 31. Tues.- Fri., 3:30pm; Sat., 11am and 2:30pm; Sun., 2:30pm. 704-866-6900. 1500 East Garrison Blvd., Gastonia.






Animal Encounters. Learn surprising facts about animals in the local area. Registration required. Free. 2pm. McDowell Nature Center, 15222 York Road. 704-588-5224. Hometown Holiday Festival and Tree-lighting. Holiday fun with take-away crafts for kids, carriage rides, tree-lighting and a special visit from Santa. Free. 3-6pm. Matthews Town Hall, 232 Matthews Station St., Matthews. 704-321-7275.

Christmas in Cramerton. Enjoy arts and crafts, food vendors, kids activities and live music. Free. 2-6:30pm. Cramerton Town Center, 155 N. Main St., Cramerton. 704-824-4231. Uptown Tree-lighting. Enjoy an evening of holiday cheer with energetic entertainment. Free. 5:30pm. The Square, N. Tryon and W. Trade streets.


Chick-fil-A Family Night. An evening filled with activities and crafts the whole family can enjoy. Free. 5-7pm. Chick-fil-A at Cotswold, 4431 Randolph Road. cotswold. Cookies ‘n Cocoa with Santa. Meet Santa and enjoy merry festivities including skits, activities and snacks. Registration required. $10. 3-6:30pm. My Gym South Park, 5110 Park Road. 704-522-6966. Rock Hill Christmas Parade. Watch as floats and Christmas lights light up the town. Free. 6:30-9pm. Winthrop to Downtown Rock Hill. 803-3252500.

Christmas Town Festival. Tree-lighting and community celebration, plus Santa at 6 and 9pm. Free. 4:30pm. Legacy Park, Elm Street, McAdenville. 704-824-3551. Read and Recycle. Re-purpose used books to create useable items. Kids can share the books they have selected. 12+. Free. 3:30pm. South County Regional Library, 5801 Rea Road. 704-416-6600.

3 TUESDAY Belmont Christmas Parade. Floats, fire trucks, marching bands, and Santa. Free. 4pm. Downtown Belmont.

4 WEDNESDAY Art of Stained Glass. Make your own stained glass piece of art using simple materials. Ages 8+. Free. 5pm. Independence Regional Library, 6000 Conference Drive. 704-416-4800. Mount Holly Christmas Parade. Holiday floats, bands, dance troupes and Santa. Free. 4pm. Downtown Mount Holly.


7 SATURDAY A Golden Christmas. Choirs, music, crafts and tours describing Christmas traditions. Free. 10am-4pm. Reed Gold Mine, 9621 Reed Mine Road, Midland. 704-721-4653. Art Session: Kuba Pattern Ornaments. Decorate and adorn an ornament inspired by traditional African symbols and patterns. Free$10, includes museum admission. 11-3pm. Mint Museum, 500 S. Tryon St. 704-337-2000. Bilingual Storytimes and Music. An interactive performance with music, plays, and stories. Ages 2-8. Free-$10, includes museum admission. 11am

daily calendar and 1pm. Mint Museum , 2730 Randolph Road . 704337-2000. Breakfast With Santa. Enjoy a hot breakfast and hear a holiday story read by Mr. Claus. The elves will be on hand with balloon animals. Ticket required. $8. 7:30-9:30am. Food Court- Carolina Place Mall, 11025 Carolina Place Pkwy., Pineville. 704-543-9300. Christmas Bazaar and Candle Tea. Handmade crafts, chicken pies, and a silent auction. Demonstrations of star- and candle-making. Free. 9am-2pm. Peace Moravian Church, 4418 Rea Road. 704-759-9939. Christmas in Monroe. Annual Christmas tree-lighting featuring wandering carolers, carriage and trolley rides, a Christmas petting zoo, and guaranteed snow. Free. 6-9pm. Downtown Monroe, 113 W. Morgan St., Monroe. Festivals of Light: Celebrations from Around the World. Explore celebrations from around the world and celebrations surrounding Winter Solstice. $5-$8, free for ages 5 and under. 11am-1pm. Harvey B. Gantt Center, 551 S. Tryon St. 704-547-3700. Fort Mill Christmas Parade. Enjoy community floats, marching bands and Santa. Free. 11am. Downtown Fort Mill. 803-547-2116. Home Depot Workshop: Tic-Tac-Toe. Build the classic game. Participants keep their craft, receive a certificate of achievement, and a workshop apron. Ages 5-12. Registration required. Free. 9am-noon. Local Home Depot stores. Hometown Holiday Festival and Tree-lighting. Enjoy holiday crafts, activities, entertainment and lighting of a tree. Free. 3-6pm. Town Hall Village Green, 232 Matthews Station St., Matthews. Kannapolis Christmas Festival. Visit Santa in his studio, listen to the singing bears, enjoy the light show accompanied by music, and ride the Winterland Express train. Free; small fee for rides. 2-8pm. Village Park, 700 W. C St., Kannapolis. Light Up MillBridge. Visit with Santa to take pictures, sip on hot cocoa, warm apple cider and snack on holiday treats. Free. 5:30-7pm. MillBridge, 1401 MillBridge Pkwy., Waxhaw. Living History Weekend: Winter Life. Historic interpreters present musket- and cannon-firing demonstrations, and explain how soldiers fared in the winter. Free. Sat., 10am-4pm; Sun.,10am-3pm. Fort Dobbs, 438 Fort Dobbs Road, Statesville. 704-8735882.

Passport to Christmas. Explore other cultures with games, crafts, stories and foods. 6-12 years. Registration required. $5-$20. 8:30am-noon or 1:305pm. JAARS Center, 7405 JAARS Road, Waxhaw. 704843-6130. Plantation Candlelight Tour. Experience the antiquities of Southern culture and soak in the fragrances of all native and natural decorations that would have been used in a backcountry plantation home. Registration required. $8-$10. 4-7pm. Historic Rosedale Plantation 3427 N. Tryon St.. 704-335-0325. Snow Party. Create paper snowflake chains to help decorate the nature center and make your own snowflake catcher. Hot chocolate included. Free. 10am-noon. McDowell Nature Center, 15222 York Road. 704-588-5224. Story Explorers: Holidays Around the World. Explore books and stories in creative ways through interactive activities. Ages 5-11. Registration required. Free. 3-4pm. Matthews Library, 230 Matthews Station St., Matthews. Victorian Christmas Tea. See the museum decorated for Christmas and partake in a tea party with fresh brewed tea, hot cocoa and pastries. Ages 6+. Registration required. $10-$15. 1-2pm. Gaston County Museum, 131 W. Main St., Dallas. 704-922-7681. Walk Through Bethlehem. Travel back in time to Bethlehem as it was during the time of Jesus’ birth, complete with Roman soldiers, a lively marketplace, a temple of worship and singing angels, culminating in a visit to the manger. Free. 2-8pm. Matthews United Methodist Church, 801 S. Trade St., Matthews. 704-8476261.

8 SUNDAY Gastonia Christmas Parade. Watch the parade of floats, listen to bands perform and see Santa. Free. 2pm. Downtown Gastonia, 615 W. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia. Living History Weekend: Winter Life. Historic interpreters present musket- and cannon-firing demonstrations and explain how soldiers fared in the winter. Free. Sat., 10am-4pm; Sun., 10am-3pm. Fort Dobbs, 438 Fort Dobbs Road, Statesville. 704-8735882.

9 MONDAY Baby Storytime. Infants experience brain stimulation through language and socialization. Free. 10:30am. | DECEMBER 2013




ARMOUR STREET THEATRE Davidson Community Players Presents: Miracle on 34th Street. A universal theme of “hope in times of uncertainty.” Actors perform a radio version of the classic story. $20. Dec. 5-22. Thurs.-Sun., 8pm. 704-892-7953. davidsoncommunityplayers. org. 307 Armour St., Davidson.

BLUMENTHAL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Nutcracker. Be there as the Prince triumphs over the evil Mouse King and as the Sugar Plum Fairy entertains Clara, her Prince and the audience. $25-$90. Dec. 13-22. Thurs.Fri. 7:30pm; Sat. and Sun., 2 and 7pm . 704-372-1000. Black Nativity. A celebration that tells the original Christmas story in scripture, verse, music and dance. $10-$20. Dec. 13-15. Fri., 11am; Sat. and Sun., 3 and 7 pm. 704-3721000. Clara’s Trip. Bring in the holiday spirit and experience a wild adventure of dreams with aerial dance performances by Carolina Calouche & Co. $35-$45. Dec. 20-21. Fri., 7pm; Sat., 2 and 7pm. 704-372-1000. 130 N. Tryon St.

CHILDREN'S THEATRE OF CHARLOTTE A Commedia Christmas Carol. Enjoy the timeless story and capture the spirit of the season. Ages 5+. Tickets start at $14. Dec. 14-29. Fri. and Sat. See website for performance times. 704-416-4600. Miracle on 34th Street. Celebrate the holidays with this adaptation of the classic 1947 film. 6-adult. $12+. Through Dec. 22. Fri.-Sun. See website for performance times. 704-973-2780. ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th Street.

DANA AUDITORIUM AT QUEENS UNIVERSITY Nutcracker: Harris YMCA School of Dance. A family-friendly, abridged version narrated for all to enjoy. $15. Dec. 14-15. Sat., 10am, 1, 4 and 7pm; Sun., noon and 3pm. 1900 Selwyn Ave.

FULLWOOD THEATER Nutcracker: Matthews Ballet. Experience an evening of the classic performance. $3-$5. Through Dec. 8. Sat. and Sun., 3 and 7pm. 704-321-7275. A Classic Christmas TV Special. Enjoy an evening of Christmas memories with a sampling of musical numbers. $10. Dec. 13-15. Fri., 7:30pm; Sat., 2 and 4pm; Sun., 2pm. 704-846-8343.




Scrooge. The classic holiday tale brought to life on stage by Matthews Playhouse Senior Theatre. $10. Dec. 14. 8pm. 704-846-8343. 100 McDowell St. E., Matthews.

HALTON THEATER The Nutcracker by Charlotte Youth Ballet. Watch the holiday tale come to life through beautiful choreography and costumes. $11-$25. Dec. 6-8. Fri., 7:30pm; Sat., 1:30 and 5:30pm; and Sun., 2:30pm. 704-330-3534. 206 Elizabeth Ave.

HUNTERSVILLE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH A Merry Carol of the Bells. Hear a diverse array of sacred and secular holiday tunes. Free. Dec. 2. 7:30pm. 119 N. Old Statesville Road, Huntersville.

OVENS AUDITORIUM Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS. Join Charlotte Parent at this one-hour show full of sing-a-longs, holiday tunes, puppets, dancers and Santa. Coloring activities and giveaways for early attendees. $10-$34. Dec. 14. 11am and 3:30pm. 704-374-1564. 2700 E. Independence Blvd.

ROLAND R. MORGAN AUDITORIUM Nutcracker Ballet by Academy of Dance and Fine Arts. Experience the timeless tale of the transformation into a magical prince. $10-$12. Dec. 20-21. Fri., 7pm; Sat., 1 and 5pm. Mooresville High School 659 E. Center Ave., Mooresville.

SHARON PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH Holidays With the Charlotte Children’s Choir. Music of the season for the whole family enjoy. $5-$8. 4pm. 704-374-1892. 5201 Sharon Road.

ST. PATRICK’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH Celtic Christmas Concert. The music of Christmas comes to life with carols and hymns that reflect centuries of tradition and joy. $15. Dec. 1. 7pm. 704-663-5659. 201 Fairview Road, Mooresville.

North County Regional Library, 16500 Holly Crest Lane, Huntersville. 704-416-6000.

10 TUESDAY Learn, Connect, Play: Board Games. Participate in games that encourage cooperation, problem solving, letter and word recognition. Free. 3pm. ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th St.. 704-416-4600.

11 WEDNESDAY Cat Square Christmas Parade. Parade floats, holiday cheer, and activities for the family to enjoy, plus a visit from Santa. Free. 2-5pm. Cat Square, Denver. Mini Masters Art Workshops: My Treasure Box. Explore art techniques in the classroom and take home a unique creation. Ages 3-5. $12-$16. 10:3011:45am. Mint Museum, 2730 Randolph Road. 704337-2107. Victorian Winter Holidays: Home School Living History Day. Learn about the seasonal celebrations of 19th-century Carolinas and create a craft to take home. Ages 5+. Registration required. $3. 9:30am-noon. Gaston County Museum, 131 W. Main St., Dallas. 704-922-7681.

12 THURSDAY Mini Masters Art Workshops: My Treasure Box. Explore art techniques in the classroom and take home a unique creation. Ages 3-5. $12-$16. 1:302:45pm. Mint Museum, 2730 Randolph Road. 704337-2107.

13 FRIDAY Holiday Open House. Cookie decorating, crafts, live music, dancing, and holiday treats, plus Santa. Free. 3-7pm. Gaston County Museum, 131 W. Main St., Dallas. 704-922-7681. Homeschool Woodland Story Walk. Join in a hike, then create imaginative stories using inspiration from nature. Journal provided. Ages 6-12. Registration required. $3. 10-11am. McDowell Nature Center, 15222 York Road. 704-588-5224. Yule Log Parade and Ceremony. Help pull the Yule Log through town to Legacy Park where it is then ignited, then gather around to sing Christmas carols. Free. 5:30pm. Pharr Yarns Main Office, 100 Main St., McAdenville. 704-824-3551.

14 SATURDAY Antique Toys and Games. Learn about and play games and with toys of yesteryear. Ages 6+. Registration required. $2. 10-10:45am. Matthews Community

Center, 100 McDowell St. E., Matthews. 704-321-7275. Breakfast with Santa. Make holiday crafts while enjoying breakfast with Santa. Ages 2-8. Tickets required. $5. 9 and 10:45 am. Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell Street E., Matthews. 704-3217275 . Breakfast with Santa. Come in your pajamas and enjoy all you can eat pancakes with Santa and his elves. Registration required. $4-$6. 8-10am. Peace Preschool, 4418 Rea Road. 704-927-1687. Family Storytime: For Me, For You, For Later. The whole family can learn how people, things and money have value. Free. 10:30-11am. ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th St.. 704-416-4600. Holiday Candlelight Tour. Celebrate a colonial Christmas with decorations, plus cider and cookies inside the gift shop. $7. 1-5pm. The Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Drive. Holiday Open House. Enjoy a day filled with hiking, arts, crafts, stories, gift ideas and refreshments. Free. 11am-2pm. Reedy Creek Nature Center, 2900 Rocky River Road. 704-432-6459. Kannapolis Christmas Parade. Enjoy the illuminated night parade that includes fire trucks, bands, horses and floats, plus Santa. Free. 6pm. Main and 1st streets and West Avenue, Kannapolis. Kids Club Central Holiday Party. Enjoy a fun-filled day with a visit from Santa and be a part of a magical snowstorm. Radio Disney Charlotte will be in attendance with lots of games and prizes. Free. 3-5pm. Epicentre, 210 E. Trade St., Charlotte. 704-6885980. Krueger Reindeer Romp 5k Walk/Run. Start a new holiday tradition.Young runners can dress up for the Santa’s Express Fun Run and win a prize for best costume. Hot chocolate and Santa at the finish line. $25-$40. 8am. Harris YMCA, 5900 Quail Hollow Road. 704-716-6800. Lowes Build and Grow: Train Engine Workshop. Using tools and crafts, children can build their own train engine. Registration required. Free. 10-11am. Local Lowes Home Improvement locations. Mother-Daughter American Girl Christmas Tea. Enjoy a story, doll craft and Christmas tea. Registration required. $12. 1 and 3:30pm. Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell Street E., Matthews. 704-3217275. Polk Backcountry Christmas. Learn about food and customs from Christmas in 1802. Free. 11am-3pm. James K. Polk State Historic Site, 12031 Lancaster Hwy., Pineville. 704-889-7145.

Jackson woke with his eyes crossed one morning, sending his parents on a mission to find a cure. They eventually found just that after meeting with Dr. Erin Schotthoefer at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. See how Jackson’s vision was restored at

GOODSENSES.COM | 704.295.3000 | DECEMBER 2013 CEENTA_Charlotte_Parent_Sidebar.indd 1


7/10/2013 1:36:12 PM

ongoing ongoing

holiday events ay events


Christmas at the Library. Experience a live Nativity, horse-drawn carriage rides and a Christmas story time for kids. $10 for parking, $3-$7 for carriage rides. Dec. 2-23. Mon.-Thurs., 5-9pm; Fri. and Sat., 5-10pm. Billy Graham Library, 4330 Westmont Drive. 704401-3200.

Big City Lights! Christmas Candlelight Tours. Activities include candle dripping, ornament making, dramatic readings and music. Dec. 7-14. $5-$10; children under 3 are free. 3-9pm. Historic Brattonsville, 1444 Brattonsville Road, McConnells, S.C. 803-684-2327. Christmas in Davidson. Enjoy horsedrawn carriage rides, a doggie fashion show and Santa’s house. Dec. 5-7. Free. See website for various event times. Downtown Davidson. Christmas Town USA. Drive through to see more than 375 trees aglow. Expect delays on weekends. Free. Through Dec. 26. Mon.-Fri., 5:30-9:30pm; Sat.-Sun., 5:30-11pm. McAdenville. 704-823-2260. ChristmasVille. Rock Hill transforms with an event that features carolers, carriage rides, and more than 20 tons of real snow. Dec. 5-8. Free. See website for schedule. Old Town Rock Hill. 803-329-8756.




Community Nativity Festival. View 500 nativities, hear musical performances by local choirs, plus make-and-take crafts for kids. Dec. 5-7. Free. 10am-9pm. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7036 McIlwaine Road, Huntersville. 704766-0059. Cookies and Cocoa With Santa. Take an evening train ride to the roundhouse to visit with Santa and hear a holiday story. Registration required. $12-$15, free for children under age 2. Dec. 7, 14, 20 and 21. 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30pm. NC Transportation Museum, 411 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer. 704-636-2889. Gingerbread Lane. View gingerbread creations by novice and professional chefs. Dec. 12-29. 9am-5pm. The Ballantyne Hotel, 10000 Ballantyne Commons Pkwy. 704-248-4055. Holiday On Ice. Enjoy ice-skating on a 7,000-square-foot, outdoor rink with a view of the city skyline. Santa and Ms. Claus will be there Dec. 24, 10am, for photos. $9-$12. Through

Jan. 5. Wed.-Fri., 5pm-10pm; Sat., 10am-10pm; Sun., 10am-7pm. NASCAR Hall of Fame, 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 704-277-2636. Holidays in the Garden. Enjoy a natural winter wonderland with thousands of lights, visits from Santa, crafts, holiday treats and more. $6-$12; Children under 6 are free. Through Dec. 31. Noon-9pm, lights on at 5pm. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, 6500 New Hope Road, Belmont. 740-825-4490. Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra. The 18-piece display of adorable animatronic bears performs classic holiday songs. Free. Through Dec. 27. Daily on the hour from 10am-8pm. Times are subject to change. Founders Hall, 100 N. Tryon St. 704-716-8469. Santa Train. Enjoy a train ride with Santa and his elves. $10-$14; free for children under age 2. Through Dec. 22. Sat.-Sun. See website for train departure times. NC Transportation Museum, 411 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer. 704-636-2889.

Santa’s Bag. Children can browse through a wide variety of inexpensive, pre-wrapped gifts and select something for everyone on their list. 12 and under. Free. Dec. 4-7. Wed.-Fri., 4:30-7pm; Sat. 10am-2pm. ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th St. 704-9732806. Speedway Christmas. See more than 3 million Christmas lights while driving on the track, plus movie nights on the world's largest HDTV every Friday and Saturday night. $20 per vehicle. Through Dec. 30. 6-10pm. Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy S, Concord. 704-455-3200. Winterland Express and Celebration of Lights. Ride the Rotary Express through more than 250,000 twinkling lights. Enjoy singing bears, model trains, s’mores and hot cocoa. $2. Nov. 30-Dec. 30. Daily, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 6-9:30pm. 704-920-4343. Village Park, 700 W. C. St., Kannapolis.

Victorian Christmas. Explore holiday fun through songs and crafts. $2. 10-11am. Gaston County Museum, 131 W. Main St., Dallas. 704-922-7681.

15 SUNDAY Decorating Trees. Spend a relaxing afternoon before the holidays stringing popcorn, cranberries and other animal-friendly snacks to hang on the trees outside. Free. 2-4pm. McDowell Nature Center, 15222 York Road. 704-588-5224. Mother-Daughter American Girl Christmas Tea. Enjoy a Christmas story, doll craft and Christmas tea. Registration required. $12. 1 and 3:30pm. Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell Street E., Matthews. 704-321-7275. Tracks and Traces. Learn how to identify common animals by the signs they leave behind. Create your own animal track to take home. Ages 6-12. $3. 2-4pm. McDowell Nature Center, 15222 York Road. 704-5885224. Waxhaw Christmas Parade. See local school marching bands, horses and floats. Santa is also in town for snacks. Free. 3pm. Downtown Waxhaw. 704-843-2195.

16 MONDAY Carmel Drive-Thru Christmas. Travel back in time to experience the Christmas story through a series of live nativity scenes. Each car is a given a CD upon entering that narrates the story. Free. 6-8pm. Carmel Presbyterian Church, 2048 Carmel Road. 704-366-5114. Discovery Place IMAX: Jerusalem. Explore why this city remains a mystery. The viewing showcases the common heritage between Christians, Jews and Muslims. $5-$10. 10am, noon and 2 pm. See website for more showtimes. Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St. 704-372-6261.

Wing Haven Holiday Celebration. Read a story, create a holiday gift ornament, and make edible ornaments for wildlife, and help decorate the Wing Haven tree. Registration required. $12. 3:30-4:30pm. Wing Haven Gardens, 248 Ridgewood Ave. 704-331-0664.

18 WEDNESDAY Homeschoolers: Winter Hike. Learn how to dress properly, how much water to drink, and how to safely interact with nature during winter. Ages 12+. Free. 10:30am-12:30pm. Latta Plantation Nature Center, 5225 Sample Road, Huntersville. 704-875-2312.

19 THURSDAY Books Come to Life: Harry Potter. Wear a costume inspired by book characters, then help create scenes from the book. Ages 12+. Registration required. Free. 5:30-7:30pm. South County Regional Library, 5801 Rea Road. 704-416-6600.

20 FRIDAY Holiday Enchantment. The Charlotte City Ballet Company presents a holiday performance. $10 in advance. 3 and 7pm. Matthews Community Center Theater, 100 E. McDowell St., Matthews.

21 SATURDAY Breakfast with Santa. Make holiday crafts while enjoying breakfast with Santa. Ages 2-8. Tickets required. $5. 9 and 10:45 am. Matthews Community Center, 100 McDowell Street E., Matthews. 704-3217275 . McDowell Tree House Theater. Enjoy a nature-oriented puppet show. Ages 2-7. Free. 11am. McDowell Nature Center, 15222 York Road. 704-588-5224.



Carmel Drive-Thru Christmas. Travel back in time to experience the Christmas story through a series of live nativity scenes. Each car is a given a CD upon entering that narrates the story. Free. 6-8pm. Carmel Presbyterian Church, 2048 Carmel Road. 704-366-5114. Full Moon Hike. An evening hike through the woods with the stars and the moon. Ages 8+. Registration required. Free. 5:30pm. McDowell Nature Center, 15222 York Road. 704-588-5224.

Season of Light. Discover how many endearing holiday customs developed and how they involve lighting up the winter season. $6-$10. 2:30pm. See website for full schedule. Schiele Museum, 1500 E. Garrison Blvd., Gastonia. 704-866-6900.

HOLIDAY PHOTOS WITH SANTA Visit with Santa until Christmas Eve

Special Events Pet Nights Monday Nights from 6 pm - 9 pm

Pajama Party Tuesday Nights from 6 pm - 9 pm

23 MONDAY Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra. Last day to see the computerized bears play Christmas classics. A favorite for young children. Free. On the hour from 10am-8pm. Times are subject to change. Founders

11025 Carolina Place Parkway Pineville, North Carolina 28134

CALENDAR POLICY: The Charlotte Parent calendar lists free and low-cost local events targeted to children and families. Time, dates and details subject to change. Call venue to confirm. Want to get listed? Go to, then click on Submit an Event. | DECEMBER 2013


Hall, 100 N. Tryon St. 704-716-8469. Winter Film Series: “Polar Express.” See the story brought to life on screen. Popcorn served. Free. 10:30am-12:15pm. Mountain Island Library, 4420 Hoyt Galvin Way.

24 TUESDAY Christmas Eve Paws to Read. Boost reading skills and confidence by reading to a certified therapy dog. Free. 5:30-6:30pm. Mountain Island Library, 4420 Hoyt Galvin Way.

25 WEDNESDAY Christmas Day Holiday on Ice. Enjoy ice skating on the outdoor rink under the uptown skyline. $9-$12. 10am-10pm. See website for full schedule. NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

26 THURSDAY Family Storytime. Children enjoy favorite stories, songs and movement activities that support early literacy skills. Free. 10:30am. ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th St.. 704-416-4600.

27 FRIDAY Homeschool Family Hike. Grab the family and a bottle of water and explore different areas of the park plus activities, games and adventure. Registration required. Free. 10-11:30am. McDowell Nature Center, 15222 York Road. 704-588-5224.

28 SATURDAY Cone Creatures. Children can create festive stars, cone critters, magic wands and forts. Dress to get messy. Ages 4+. Registration required. Free. 3:30-4:30pm. McDowell Nature Center, 15222 York Road. 704-5885224. Kwanzaa: Celebrating Ujima. Spend the third day of Kwanzaa exploring drums, and learn about the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Explore the galleries and end with themed arts and crafts. Free; $5 suggested donation. 11am-3pm. Harvey B. Gantt Center, 551 S. Tryon St. 704-547-3700.

29 SUNDAY A Commedia Christmas Carol. The last performance of the classic Ebenezer Scrooge story told in the Commedia dell‘arte style. Ages 5+. $14+. 2pm. ImaginOn, 300 E. 7th St. 704-4164600.

30 MONDAY Winter Film Series: “Cars.” Bring your favorite toy car and enjoy viewing the “Cars” movie. Popcorn served. Ages 5-11. Free. 2pm. Mountain Island Library, 4420 Hoyt Galvin Way.

31 TUESDAY New Year’s Eve First Night Kids. Children can celebrate New Year’s Eve with artists, dancers, comedians and magicians. The Kids Countdown happens at the main stage from 4-5pm. Free. Begins at noon. Romare Bearden Park, 300 S. Church St.. 704-332-2227.

early on












New Year’s Day Fantastic Frogs. Don’t miss out on the last day of this exhibition. Meet live frogs and participate in interactive learning games. $10-$12, includes museum admission. 9am-4pm. Discovery Place, 301 N. Tryon St. 704-3726261.

4 SATURDAY Civil War Winter Quarters and Homefront. See how Civil War soldiers survived brutal winters encamped with the armies and how families survived at home. $7-$8, free for children under 5. Sat. 10am-4pm; Sun. 1-4pm. Latta Plantation, 5225 Sample Road, Huntersville. 704-875-2312. Twelfth Night. Sing carols around the bonfires, play colonial games, take a candlelight tour and enjoy cider and cake just like the Backcountry settlers did to celebrate the end of the Christmas season. $5-$10, free for children under age 6. 6-7:30pm. Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Drive. 704-568-1774. Winter Family Fun. Bring the whole family out to enjoy an afternoon by the campfire. Build a fort and explore the habitat trail. Free. 1-4pm. Latta Plantation Center, 5225 Sample Road, Huntersville. 704-875-2312.

5 SUNDAY Feeding Frenzy. Learn about different animals through their eating habits around the nature preserves. Free. 2-3pm. Reedy Creek Nature Center, 2900 Rocky River Road, Charlotte. 704-432-6459.

Come early to the Singing Christmas Tree for KIDS, Dec. 14 for holiday activities for kids at the Charlotte Parent Table.






days of GIVEAWAYS Holiday shopping can get pricey. That’s why we’re giving away 12 days worth of awesome prizes to wrap up and put under your tree. From toys to games to dolls, we’ve got something for every kid on your shopping list.



Big City Lights!


ut the kids in their pajamas, pop some popcorn and make to-go hot chocolate for a magical Christmas ride in your own ride.

and recommend parking and strolling to really appreciate the beauty of all the twinkling globes.

1. Hillside Avenue in Myers Park is known for its large glowing globes, (actually lightcovered chicken-wire balls) strung high in the trees. The neighbors get together to make and hang the balls. Myers Park High School senior Mason Schmitt is collecting canned goods for Loaves & Fishes again this year at a station outside her house on Hillside Drive. “Both the drive and the decorations will be even bigger and badder as it's my last year at home before college,” says Schmitt. 2. Thomas Avenue in Plaza Midwood is another street that has latched onto the lighted chicken-wire globes. I toured the street with my family a couple years ago

2. Jim Miller has been turning his house at 7323 Sherwood Forest Drive, off Colony Road, in south Charlotte into a show of lights — estimated more than 10,000 — for years, and we hope this year is no exception (though we weren’t able to reach Miller to confirm). Santa is also a regular at the Miller’s house, passing out candy canes to visitors. Lights are turned on daily at 6pm. 3. Down Ballantyne way, the Cook Family Computer Controlled Christmas light project includes leaping arches and a mega tree at 10732 Honeynut Drive. Displays are scheduled Dec. 2 through Dec. 31, 6-10pm. Tune your radio to 100.3 FM for music that syncs with the lights. It’s free to view, but donations for A Child’s Place are

The Brightest Drive-by Displays in Town BY MICHELE HUGGINS

being collected via the project’s website, 4. Bellechasse in Beverly Woods East near Southpark is rumored to have a ton of holiday inflatables. 5. Carmel Presbyterian’s Drive-Thru Christmas is a great way to experience the Christmas story. A CD is given to each car that comes through that tells the story as you pass by live nativity stations complete with live animals and church members dressed in costume. It’s free, and kids are usually given a treat bag at the end. It’s happening Dec. 16 and 17. Know of more great holiday neighborhood light displays. Email us at or comment on this story at

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Wish Upon A St r D E L I V E R Y



Children’s Parties • Look-A-Likes

Lynnwood Equestrian Center Come to the barn and Party with the Ponies! • Supervised ring riding • Miniature pet pony & donkey • Pizza, drinks & decorations • Special present for the birthday child



Located off Doby’s Bridge Road in Fort Mill, SC (10 minutes from Ballantyne)

704-649-1936 Prices starting at $150.00 for 6 hours

• In-House Vet • Boarding Facility • Girl Scout Horse Program


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(704) 348-2181 (704) 840-8509 how-to/find-child-care/ | DECEMBER 2013




K-12 TUTORING / WE COME TO YOU! 704-594-9934 704-333-8113 NOW REGISTERING FOR


WINTER/SPRING CLASSES! We also do BIRTHDAY PARTIES for ages 2-5! Located in Historic SouthEnd • 704-333-3242

peace preschool

Looking for a preschool where children love to learn? 9am - 1pm, Monday - Friday children From 18 months to 5 years drop by or call for an appointment


Piano & Violin Lessons Private & In-Home Ballantyne & Uptown Studios Ages 3-Adult


PlaySpanish invites you to Play Languages with Us!

GET STARTED ON THE PATH TO A SECOND LANGUAGE TODAY Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, Italian & German

Instruction for children as young as six months old. Locations throughout the Greater Charlotte area! Call 704-442-5616 for information!

Reading Specialist

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Dawn Petalino 704-302-4884 or email:

Changing Lives One Child at a Time Reading Specialist Master’s, Orton-Gillingham educated


Hands on Science Classes Birthday Parties Professional Development

4418 Rea Road, Charlotte


704-942-8817 •


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Blacklion Bliss Vacation Bright Horizons-CLT Extreme Ice Center First Presbyterian Weekday School




FMN-CLT Kidz Dental Central Kilgo United Methodist Church Lake Norman Baptist Preschool Lakeview Child Development Center

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Wonder What She Wants This Holiday Season?

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Our 3 Locations: Cotswold/Midtown University & Davidson Phone: 704-377-3687 | DECEMBER 2013


Kindergarten Lessons in Life


he other day the Snyder family took a stroll through our neighborhood. We were walking and talking about what we A GOOD SPORT wanted for the BY BRUCE SNYDER holidays, but soon the conversation turned to things you should and should not do. For example my wife Charisse and I talked to our daughter Sage about the dangers of smoking, and also how you should say “no” if a stranger asks you to come with them. We also discussed proper things, like sharing and playing nice, and being good to people. That’s when I realized I was quoting Robert Fulghum, the man who wrote the book “All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.” From not taking things that are not yours, to washing your hands before you eat, the poem is a laundry list of right and wrong, all wrapped up in 19 lines. Indeed I

think these kindergarten lessons of life can apply to anyone of any age. My 6-yearold daughter agreed, and then started reciting a series of sentences that she had committed to memory. She called them her creed. Come to find out it is a series of life lessons that her school emphasizes. It is taken from a short poem called “I AM CREED” by Mark Scharenbroich. I am unique in the world. I am capable of learning and growing. I am a person who appreciates the differences in others. I am talented and I share my talents. I am unlike any other human being. I am a person who pursues personal dreams. I am an active participant in life. I am committed to my values. I am a one of a kind human being and a celebration of life.

Sage Snyder, 6.

The fact Sage, on her own, committed them to memory was incredible, but the words themselves, so simple and yet so true, have made an impact on her, and me. I am going to try to live by the same creed Sage does. It was an interesting walk. It started off with me trying to teach her, but by the end, I was the one getting the education. I guess you’re never too old to learn. Bruce Snyder is a longtime sportscaster who lives in Charlotte with his wife and two children.

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“Creating Beautiful, Healthy Smiles That Change Lives” Orthodontics for the entire family

Alexis Gonzalez Miss Lake Norman 2013

Photo by Lenn Long

Patient of Drs. Burrow & Case

Specializing in the treatment of children, teens and adults Growth-monitoring Orthodontics Pre-orthodontic Tooth Guidance Pre-prosthetic Orthodontics Habit appliances TMJ Therapy Convenient state-of-the-art offices




2711 Randolph Road, Suite 600 • Charlotte, NC 28207 704-334-7202 7922 Rea Road, Suite A • Charlotte, NC 28277 704-334-7204

PLEASE JOIN US FOR AN ADMISSIONS OPEN HOUSE Tuesday, January 14 – 9:30 a.m. Pre-K – 8th Grade




More cute pictures from our readers. We love seeing the smiles.

Send your smiles to Include the child’s first and last name, and age. Non-professional photos only. Photos must be high-resolution.




it’s ok when they share their history notes, not

their prescription


misuse of prescription drugs is a growing cause of death among teens today. and it can happen when friends share pills, take medicine intended for other family members or use their own medication improperly. the confidential carolinas poison center help line is open 24/7 if you need help or want to know more.

sharing pills can kill. | DECEMBER 2013


Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s

Nutcracker December 13-22 | Belk Theater

Charlotte’s Favorite Holiday Tradition Over 100 performers - led by NCDT’s nationally acclaimed professional dancers - and live music from the Charlotte Symphony Presented to the community by:


Meet the Stars! D



Special d perform aytime a students nces for & visit ncd seniors

Join us for a Matinee Magic reception immediately following all Nutcracker matinee performances. Your child can meet and take photos with the stars of Nutcracker, receive a performance poster to have autographed and enjoy tasty snacks. Reception tickets are just $5 in advance, $10 at the show.

Charlotte Parent magazine December 2013  
Charlotte Parent magazine December 2013  

The latest news for parents and parents-to-be, including health and education resources for infants and toddlers, big kids, teens, and much,...