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The Sound of Christmas Win a visit from the Christmas Calliope

WINTER 2020

Merry & Bright

Jesse Shaver shares his love of the holidays


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Happy Holidays

Chase County — F ROM—

Office: 305 Broadway, Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845 Chuck and Heidi Maggard griffinrealestateauction.com (620) 273-6421 • 1-866-273-6421 • Fax (620) 273-6425

SHOP LOCAL. EAT LOCAL. SPEND LOCAL. SPEND LOCAL. ENJOY LOCAL. cchh aass ee ccoo uu nn tt ych y c h aa mb m b ee r.org r. o r g

A Tradition of Caring & Service

Brown-Bennett-Alexander Funeral Home Serving families of the Flint Hills since 1881

Gwendolyn Runde, owner (620) 273-6311 | 201 Cherry Cottonwood Falls, KS 66845 bbafh@hotmail.com www.brown-bennett-alexander.com WINTER 2020 | 3


TABLE OF CONTENTS 6 The Sound of Christmas Win a visit from the Christmas Calliope

8 Support Local The whys & hows of supporting your local

www.shopemporiafirst.com

businesses

Editor & Publisher Chris and Ashley Walker Writers Ashley Walker Copy Editor Ryann Brooks Ashley Walker Marketing Montana Cushing Graphic Design Margie McHaley Dan Ferrell

14 Calendar of Events

For more information: 517 Merchant St. Emporia, KS 66801 620-342-4800 www.emporiagazette.com

Local Holiday Happenings

23-31 Holiday Tips Entertaining, gift-giving and more

16-22 Merry & Bright Jesse Shaver shares his love of the holidays 4 | EMPORIA LIVING SHOP LOCAL


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A TRADITION RETURNS

Christmas Calliope I

n its second year of operation since a long hiatus, the sounds of the Thomas Transfer Calliope will be filling the streets with the sounds of the holidays again this year.

Last year in Shop Local we chronicled the return of the Thomas Transfer calliope to Emporia streets, a beloved tradition in town. For decades the calliope traveled around town serenading Emporia neighborhoods with Christmas music during the holidays. But in 2011 the music stopped when the calliope was in need of extensive repairs and restoration. Jerid Thomas’ father, Jerry, loved the calliope. From a young age, Jerid remembers the calliope as the center piece of the Thomas Transfer Christmas floats and the joy it brought to neighborhoods around Emporia.

WIN A CALLIOPE VISIT

This year The Gazette and Thomas Transfer are teaming up to give one lucky winner a personal visit from the calliope. Tell us why the calliope should come by your home and we will choose three lucky winners! For more details and to enter go to the Emporia Gazette Facebook page.

After Jerry passed away Jerid knew he wanted to get it in working order again. Last year after an extensive restoration process the refurbished calliope was unveiled at the Christmas parade and once again traveled around Emporia filling the air with the joyful sounds of the holidays. Just as they did in the early 1980’s Jerid was excited to see people around town still had the same response to the calliope. “The sound would bring people out of their homes….. and seeng the smiles made it so fun,” Jerid said. “People young and old would stop what they were doing and come wave take pictures and videos and post them on social media.” “We are excited to get it rolling again this year,” he said. Thomas confirmed the calliope will once again be the Christmas Parade as well as driving Emporia streets serenading the community with holiday music.


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Supporting local businesses benefits your entire community Campaigns to “shop local” are often rooted in encouraging locals to support the small businesses in their communities. Consumers no doubt recognize that such support is vital to the survival of small businesses, but they may not realize just how much thriving local businesses benefit their communities. According to the Small Busi-

ness Economic Impact Study from American Express, an average of two-thirds of every dollar spent at small businesses in the United States stays in the local community. That support can be especially valuable as the world tries to work its way out of a global recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment rates rose

significantly within a month of the World Health Organization declaring a pandemic as the COVID-19 virus rapidly spread across the globe. While large international corporations were in better position to avoid layoffs, small, locally owned businesses faced an uphill battle as they tried to remain in operation and retain their staffs. That’s

another way shopping local can benefit local communities. The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies reports that, for every $10 million spent locally, 57 new jobs are created at local businesses. That’s an important factor to remember as the world tries to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to support small businesses this holiday season The holiday season is an important one for small businesses every year, and it figures to take on heightened importance in 2020. The outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in late 2019 and early 2020 hit small businesses especially hard, with many being forced to close their facilities to customers in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading. Estimates regarding the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on small businesses varied, but many small business owners were forced to let go employees as they confronted steep declines in revenue. A ZenBusiness survey of more than 1,000 small business founders, senior managers and decision makers found that 37 percent of small businesses that employ between 11 and 25 people were considering laying off more than one-fifth of their workforce. As small businesses face difficult challenges, it’s no surprise that many consumers want to support locally owned small businesses this holiday season. Such support not only

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can help small businesses, but also can help to revitalize local communities. • Shop online. Online shopping has traditionally been dominated by big box retailers. However, many small businesses increased their e-commerce capabilities to generate revenue. Shoppers concerned about shopping in person this holiday season should explore the delivery and curbside pickup options available at locally owned small businesses. Even businesses that have not traditionally been allowed to deliver, such as breweries and wineries, have been able to do so during the outbreak, giving consumers unlimited online shopping options. • Purchase gift cards. Gift cards take the guesswork out of holiday shopping, and such cards are easily shipped or even emailed to loved ones. That’s a significant benefit during the 2020 holiday season, when delivery times are expected to be lengthy. Gift cards to local businesses simplify holiday shopping,

support small businesses and help shoppers avoid potential delivery delays. • Share your experience. Wordof-mouth is vital to small businesses at any time, and can be especially valuable as these companies try to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. Holiday shoppers can share their experiences with local businesses via social media. Share information about the lengths local small business-

es have gone to in regard to safety measures, order fulfillment and their delivery and pickup efforts. Such sharing may compel neighbors and friends to follow your lead and provide vital support to local businesses in need this holiday season. Small businesses are the backbone of many communities, and the holiday season provides a great opportunity to support such firms as they look to recover from a difficult year.


Unique ways to support small businesses during the pandemic Small businesses have faced unprecedented challenges in 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic wore on throughout the year, small businesses continued to confront the economic fallout wrought by the virus. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the number of active business owners in the United States plummeted by 22 percent in the early stages of the pandemic. Though many businesses managed to hang on as the pandemic continued through spring, summer and fall, such businesses need their communities to continue to help them stay afloat. Consumers have not been immune to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unemployment figures skyrocketed across the globe, and in April retail sales dropped by 14.3 percent from the previous month according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and Deloitte Insights. But consumer spending gradually increased in various industries over the summer of 2020. As consumers loosen their purse strings and begin spending more, they can embrace some unique ways to help small businesses in their community. • Support struggling industries. Consumers may not typically give much thought to whether an industry is struggling before spending their money, but doing so can help small businesses that have had an especially difficult time during the pandemic. Data from the USCB and Deloitte Services indicates that retail sales in certain industries continued to lag even as other industries recovered over the sum-

mer months. Sales in the clothing and accessory and food services and drinking places industries were still down nearly 20 percent in July 2020. Supporting locally owned businesses in these industries can infuse some much-needed cash into their operations. • Think twice before buying from big box online retailers. Amazon has become such a go-to consumer resource that many shoppers forget they can comparison shop right on Amazon. com. And some consumers may be unaware that they can support small business when shopping via Amazon. Data from the Association of American Publishers indicates that print revenues have grown by more than 1 percent in 2020 as many people in quarantine are choosing to spend that time with a good book. When shopping for books via a site like Amazon, purchase books from independent sellers, who are often small book stores in local communities across the country.

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Serenading Emporia with Christmas Music for Over 30 Years!

www.thomasunited.com

620-342-1163 • 800-835-3509 906 E. 6th Ave. • Emporia, KS • ICC # 67234

Don’t over think it! We have the best gift selection in town.

• Purchase gift cards. Pandemic-related restrictions have been lifted in many places, but that doesn’t necessarily mean consumers are confident enough to visit their favorite stores and restaurants in person. Gift cards can be a great way to support local businesses even if you’re still hesitant to patronize them in person. Small businesses continue to face an uphill battle as they confront the economic fallout of the pandemic. Consumers can show their support for locally owned businesses in their communities in various ways.

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COURTESY PHOTOS


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CHRISTMAS EVENTS CALENDAR

2nd Annual AceItUp Christmas Tree Lighting

Friday, December 6 White Memorial Park, Emporia, Kansas For more details check the AceItUp Facebook page

Delane Toy Drive

Saturday, December 12, 2020 at 6 PM CST – 9 PM CST 1830 Hillcrest Dr., Emporia, Kansas The community is invited to drive through the neighborhood, which forms a square with Delane Drive, Darlene Way, Diane Avenue and Hillcrest Drive, just north of 18th Avenue. Residents decorate their homes and yards with Christmas lights, holiday figures and luminaries. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be distributing small candy canes to children who drive over to the toy drop (2307 Delane Drive). The event also helps benefits those in need. Organizers hope that parents and children will consider bringing an unwrapped present for children who might not otherwise have Christmas gifts under their tree, Monetary donations are also accepted. SOS representatives will choose appropriate toys for children in their programs, and remaining toys will be donated to The Salvation Army. People who are writing a check should make them payable to SOS.

Holiday Moonlight Madness

December 10, 2020 • 5 pm - 10 pm Downtown & Participating Businesses Emporia Main Street invites the community downtown for a community favorite event. Downtown businesses will be open late on December 10 from 5 to 10 pm for downtown shopping. Participating businesses will be having specials and promotions during the event.

Zoo Christmas Lights

The David traylor Zoo has Emporia’s largest Christmas light display and you are invited to visit it. The lights will be turned on during the virtual Happy Holidaze lighting ceremony on Nov. 24, 2020 and will stay on through January 1, 2021.

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MERRY BRIGHT BY A S H L E Y WA L K E R

A

beloved holiday tradition in Emporia, Jesse Shaver shares his love for Christmas with the community through a dramatic display of music and lights.


P H OTO BY M I C H A E L DA KOTA WINTER 2020 | 17


In the film Christmas Vacation, crazy Aunt Bethany asked, “Is your house on fire, Clark?” To which he replied with great pride and joy: “No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights.” On the corner of 29th and West Lake Drive, there lives Emporia’s own “Clark Griswold” who, for the past seven years, has created his own showstopping holiday display, the likes of the iconic holiday movie. Unashamedly channeling a bit of the Christmas-obsessed star of the movie, Jesse Shaver (also known as Sparky and Mr. Christmas by family and friends), will be sharing his choreographed musical Christmas light display with the community for the 8th year in a row again this holiday season. Born out of a love for Christmas — and his three grandchildren — Jesse, a retired fireman, and owner of Cliff’s Super Service, began this holiday tradition when they were expecting their first grandchild. “When we found out I was going to be a ‘Papa’ for the first time I started planning all this,” Jesse said.

PHOTOS BY TIM MOHN


Born to Shine

BY C H R I S WA L K E R Mike Schumann has always loved Since then he has scaled back the Christmas lights….. and not just be- home displays, but in recent years cause he is the son of an electrician. Schumann Electric is responsible for From a young age, Mike always helping put up one of the biggest light begged his parents, Gerald and Ori- displays in town: decorating the Daenne Schuman, to let him hang lights vid Traylor Zoo with thousands and on their house at thousands of color1027 Rural St. ful lights. “I would bug my With three elecOther Helpful Tips tricians mother every year at work to get some strands over the course and every year, and of four days, • Sketch out your plan we just kept adding Schumann Electric • Measure the area strands,” Mike said. transforms the zoo What started on into a holiday won• Begin where the lights the shrubs out front, derland seemingly will be plugged in migrated to trees, overnight. then to the porch, Mike offers read• Use a timer and ultimately exers a few tips on panded to outlining how to improve the entire house. your holiday light Eventually, all display: those lights turned Use hangers to into one of Emporia’s most iconic keep things straight. light displays in mid-town Emporia. Plug lights in as you hang them to Thankfully, the skill of electricity make sure lights work and don’t get was in the family because it was going kinked to short out. to take multiple generators to power Trees take lots of lights and a bucket the light show Mike came up with. truck will make the job much easier.

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Since then, the display, located at his home, 2942 West Lake Drive, has grown and changed over the years, but one thing remains the same: the pride and joy Jesse gets from knowing how much the community has come to enjoy it. “It’s very gratifying,” he said. “What’s kept me going are my grandkids and people telling me how much they enjoy it.” But it’s not an easy — or a cheap — task to pull off. Typically, Jesse starts the project at his northwest Emporia home in late-September or early-October when the weather is suitable for long hours of outside work. With the help of one of his Cliff’s employees, it will take him 8 to 10 days and more than 60 hours of work before he is ready to turn them on during the week of Thanksgiving.


P H OTO S BY M I C H A E L DA KOTA


With 4 controllers, an SD card reader, an FM transmitter, and over 50,000 colored LED lights in his arsenal, Jesse usually changes the display slightly every year, just to keep it interesting for viewers. For example, he’s added his grandchildren’s names to the lighting plan in recent years: Harper, Lakin and Everly. Passers-by can also expect wrapped trees, lighted hoops, a roof-lined house, and much more, all set and choreographed to traditional and contemporary holiday music when the vehicle is tuned into FM 94.9. The complete show, which will be new this year, is nearly two hours in length before repeating. When asked if he has any advice for someone considering creating their own choreographed holiday lighting yard display, he answered, chuckling, “Don’t do it!” “It’s a lot of work.” And it’s expensive. The first

P H OTO BY M I C H A E L DA KOTA

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year he invested close to $10,000 just to get started. “It’s a commitment,” he said. “Unless you want your $10,000 just sitting in your basement.” In fact, his basement has its own dedicated place to store the thousands of lights. Labeled, organized, and sorted as tidy as a freshly wrapped gift, Jesse knows exactly where every string belongs when it’s time to start hanging. His three-page blueprint also helps, a plan he drew out and saved after that first year. “If I lost this,” he said, pointing to the precisely hand-drawn pages, “I’d be in big trouble.” Fortunately for Emporia, he hasn’t lost that blueprint yet. The lighting display will run from dark until 11 p.m. through New Year’s Eve. For the best experience for all Jesse asks that viewers park along the curb and shut off their vehicle’s headlights.


Steps for hanging holiday lights outdoors It begins to look a lot like Christmas when twinkling lights brighten up homes inside and out. Few things liven up the season more than holiday decorations, particularly clear and colored lights. Prior to taking out the lights, ladder and thermos of coffee to get you through the job, it’s important to note that there are right and wrong ways to hang holiday lights. • Sketch out your plan. Start by taking a few photos of your home from various vantage points. Print out the photos on regular paper so that you can draw your lighting arrangement and decoration placement right on the photos to see how things will look. • Measure the area. Use a measuring tape to roughly measure the width and height of eaves or other areas of the home where you plan to hang light strands. Calculate how much overall footage you will need so you can purchase all of the lights in one shopping trip. • Test the lights first. Plug in the lights to be sure all strands are operational. • Begin where the lights will be plugged in. Start where the lights will be plugged in and then work your way around the house. • Add to shrubs and trees. Lights also can adorn shrubs and trees. Lowes Home Improvement says a good rule of thumb is 100 lights for every 11⁄2-feet of tree or shrub

to cover. A 6-foot evergreen needs at least 400 lights for a basic level of lighting. • Exercise extreme caution. Accidents can happen when stringing lights. While many professionals use harnesses, homeowners are not always so cautious. Utilize a spotter to hold the ladder and make sure things are safe. Never set foot on a wet or icy roof. Do not attempt to string lights in inclement weather. • Know the wattage. Each outlet can generally hold about 17 amps or 1,870 watts if the lights are not sharing a circuit with another outlet, says Parrish. Plan accordingly to ensure you have enough power to handle your lights. • Use plastic clips. Plastic light clips hang strands along eaves and gables. They’re specially designed for hanging lights over the gutters. Some slip under the edges of roof shingles. Lights can be hung without staples or nails, which can damage exterior surfaces. Plastic zip-ties or deck clips also can attach lights along a handrail. • Use only outdoor extension cords. Be sure the extension cords you use are designed specifically for outdoor use. • Use a timer. Timers can make sure the lights turn on and off even if homeowners forget. Once lights have been safely strung, sit back and enjoy the splendor of a well-decorated house.

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Holiday baking pointers The holiday season is steeped in tradition. Baking is one tradition that comes with the holiday territory. Many people may only bake in November and December, so it’s understandable if they’re a little rusty come the holiday season. These baking tips can lead to successful yields of cookies, cakes and other holiday treats.

Follow the recipe carefully

When cooking, it is easy to add an extra dash of this or a pinch of that. But baking is a science and the ingredients are used in a ratio to produce a desired chemical reaction while cooking. To ensure success, do not substitute ingredients unless the recipe tells you how to do so, and measure each addition carefully.

Spoon out your measurements

It can be tempting to dig a measuring cup right into a bag of flour, but scooping packs the ingredients down — potentially causing you to use more than

the recipe calls for. Instead, spoon the flour into your measuring cup gently and use a straight edge to level it out. Even better, use a scale and metric measurements to ensure exact amounts of wet and dry ingredients.

Read up on temperature

Certain ingredients, like butter and eggs, are temperature-dependent. Cold butter in biscuits helps them to rise up flaky and delicious. Eggs brought to room temperature enable the emulsification process to work more readily. The difference in temperature can mean a completely different chemical reaction, so follow the recipe accordingly.

Calibrate the oven

Purchase an oven thermometer, set your oven to 350 F, the standard baking temperature, and see what the thermometer reads. If it is different, adjust cooking times accordingly or have the oven repaired. Cooking at the wrong temperature might mean the recipe doesn’t turn out right.

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Use unsalted butter Most recipes will call for unsalted butter so you aren’t adding unwanted sodium to the recipe, affecting dough consistency and flavor.

Flip cakes

Cool cakes upside down on a cooling rack. This will help flatten out the tops, which makes it easier to stack and level cakes for layered cakes.

Position pans centrally

Pans should be on the cen-

ter rack of the oven. If the oven isn’t wide enough to put multiple pans side by side, place them on different racks and slightly offset them to enable air circulation.

Use parchment paper

This unsung hero of baking can keep cookies from spreading out on baking sheets, prevent cakes from sticking to pans and may even help batter and dough bake evenly. A few tips can go a long way to helping holiday baking go more smoothly.


The bright side of small holiday celebrations To say the novel coronavirus COVID-19 changed life would be an understatement. Due to COVID-19, the way people interact with one another has changed dramatically over the last several months. Despite this, the public has proven very resilient and adaptive, often finding a silver lining while confronting challenges that might once have seemed insurmountable. The holidays are one aspect of life that have been modified as people continue to navigate the new normal. It’s easy to lament the fact that extended family may not be able to travel or celebrate the holidays together. However, there is something to be said for small celebrations. The following are some of the positive aspects of scaling back holiday festivities. • More personal: Certainly it can be great to see distant cousins or old college roommates for the holidays. But the more people who you see each holiday season, the less personal interaction you get. When the holidays are scaled back, dinner becomes more intimate and everyone can exchange gifts and see their loved ones’ reactions.

• Reduced expenses: Putting out an extensive holiday spread and entertaining 10 or more people can be expensive. Small gatherings are less expensive because there’s fewer mouths to feed. • Ability to splurge: On the other side of the financial coin, having fewer people for the holidays means one can indulge on items that may not be possible when hosting a crowd. Therefore, if chicken was normally on the menu, it could be possible to upgrade to a roast or something indulgent like lobster and other seafood. In addition, a small holiday celebration may free up the budget to spend more on gifts. • Special touch: When there are only a few people celebrating, hosts can go the extra mile to give celebrations a special touch. Create a special holiday dessert even if the recipe is time-consuming. In addition, immediate family can pile into the car to tour the neighborhood decorations, something that may not be as manageable with a motorcade of relatives. While holiday celebrations may need to be scaled back this year, small gatherings can produce some pleasant, unanticipated benefits.

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How to create a durable gingerbread house Gingerbread cookies and houses are one of the many symbols of the holiday season, alongside Christmas trees and twinkling lights. In fact, few confections symbolize the holidays more so than gingerbread. Many a child (or a child at heart) has spent hours carefully trying to create decorative gingerbread houses. Although gingerbread recipes span various cultures, gingerbread houses originated in 16th century Germany. The fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel” helped solidify the popularity of gingerbread, which became part of Christmas traditions. Even though gingerbread houses can be fun to make, there’s no denying it can be exacting work — especially for those who strive for perfection. Prepackaged kits attempt to take some of the guesswork out of the equation, but those who are crafting from scratch can employ these tips as they build their gingerbread houses.

• Go for form and not flavor. Few gingerbread houses ever get eaten, so focus on finding a dough that will bake up rock hard as opposed to one that tastes good. • Get the right icing texture. Pastry artist Catherine Beddall says royal icing is the preferred “glue” to adhere gingerbread pieces. Beddall says icing should be thick like peanut butter and not runny. • Mind the dough. Do not roll out the gingerbread dough too thin or it may become brittle after being cooked. Always cut out shapes before the gingerbread is baked. Let the baked pieces sit overnight to cool completely before using them to build. • Patience is key. Allow the icing to dry for at least a couple of hours after adhering each piece and before moving and handling the house, says Beddall. Work in stages so that individual items can be decorated and allowed to dry. Then

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the walls can be put together, followed by the roof pieces. • Kids likely will need help. Children may not have the patience or steadiness to handle complete gingerbread construction. They can decorate the separate pieces of the house while the components are laying flat, which is easier for kids. Adults can do the main assembly later on.

• Utilize a template. Free-handing may not be easy. Cut out templates using cardboard or posterboard for various gingerbread pieces. One of the most important tips is to have fun. Don’t take gingerbread house making too seriously as a novice. Rather, enjoy the experience and the centuries-old tradition.


People to tip and gift this holiday season Are you making a list and checking it twice? If so, don’t forget to add a few extra people to that list who are worthy of a gift this holiday season. Certainly friends and family are in mind for presents, but what about the service providers in your life?

person or crew services the lawn most of the time, a tip of $20 each is an appropriate amount.

• Teachers: Class parents may take up a collection for the teacher and offer one class gift. If your student is educated by multiple teachers and the school staff is top-notch, consider stocking the staff lounge with snacks and beverages or cater a lunch.

After a challenging year, people in the service industry might benefit from a holiday boost this year more than ever. Here’s who you may want to spread some cheer to this holiday season.

• Hairdressers and nail techs: It takes a lot of effort to

look one’s best, and these individuals help people put their best selves forward. Consider tipping the amount you would normally spend on one visit. If you get your hair or nails done frequently and consider this person a friend, opt for a gift instead, such as a gift card to a nice restaurant or a pampering service for him or her.

• Babysitter or caregiver: This person is likely close with the family and may be deserv-

ing of more than a tip. Pick an age-appropriate gift you know this person will love. What about a coveted pair of Bluetooth-enabled earbuds or headphones? A gift card to a store you know this person frequents also can be fitting, or a year-long subscription to a streaming music or movie service.

• Mail carrier: The mail is delivered six days of the week in any and all weather. Treat your mail carrier to a nice gift, but stick to the rules of the U.S. Postal Service. Mail carriers are not allowed to accept cash, checks or gift cards that can

be used like credit cards. Stick to a gift of no more than $25.

• Cleaning person: You rely on this person to keep your home tidy and clean. He or she is deserving of the cost of one visit, according to Roseanne Thomas, author of “Excuse Me: The Survival Guide to Modern Business Etiquette.”

Individuals can use their discretion concerning service providers in their lives who may be worthy of some extra cheer this holiday season.

• Landscapers: If the same

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Eggnog is a classic for holiday celebrations

No beverage is more associated with holiday cocktail parties than eggnog, which is a beloved beverage come the holiday season.

QUICK BRANDY EGGNOG

1 cocktail

1 ounce brandy

While it’s perfectly acceptable to purchase store-bought eggnog in the dairy case and dress it up with a favorite spirit, most eggnog recipes only feature a handful of ingredients and are quite easy to make at home.

1⁄2 ounce simple syrup

Grated nutmeg or cinnamon for garnish

1 egg yolk 11⁄4 ounces milk In a cocktail shaker, combine the brandy, milk, simple syrup, and egg yolk. Dry shake without ice. Fill shaker with ice, then shake vigorously for about 30 seconds to ensure the egg is well mixed. Strain into an old-fashioned or cocktail glass. Add a dash of grated nutmeg or cinnamon as a garnish.

Rum, whiskey and brandy are customary liquors to use in eggnog recipes. However, The Spruce: Eats has taste-tested them all and believes brandy tops the others for the perfect finished product. Enjoy their version of “Quick Brandy Eggnog.”

Note: Only use a fresh egg. Test the egg’s freshness by placing it in a glass of water. If the egg floats, discard it, as this indicates the egg is too old. Only use eggs that rest on the bottom of the glass. This will ensure the most flavorful drink and helps to reduce the risk of salmonella.

Serve potato pancakes for holiday celebrations

Slow cooker meal makes holiday entertaining a breeze

Potato pancakes are not exclusive to Jewish celebrations and cuisine. Germans have their own variation called “kartoffelpuffer” that can be served with sour cream, applesauce or smoked salmon. The Irish have “boxty,” which may be made with a combination of shredded potato and mashed potato before being fried. Many potato pancake recipes are quite similar. Some chefs recommend draining the shredded potato prior to cooking so that the pancakes will fry up crispy and not be soggy or break apart. Enjoy this recipe for “Latkes,” courtesy of AllRecipes.com. LATKES

3 large potatoes, peeled and shredded

Place the potatoes and onion into a bowl, and stir in eggs, salt and flour as needed to make the mixture hold together. With wet hands, scoop up about 1⁄3 cup of the mixture per patty, and form into flat round or oval shapes.

3 large eggs

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, and gently place the patties into the hot oil. Fry until the bottoms are golden brown and crisp, 5 to 8 minutes, then flip with a spatula and fry the other side until golden.

1 small onion, shredded

1 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, or as needed

1⁄2 cup vegetable oil

Line a colander or strainer with 2 paper towels, and drain the cooked latkes in the colander. Serve hot.

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Utilizing a slow cooker to make a beef roast reduces time spent in the kitchen, affording hosts more opportunities to mingle with their guests. That’s just the idea behind this recipe for “Beef Roast With Dark Rum Sauce” from “Crock•Pot® 356 Year-Round Recipes” (Publications International, Ltd) by Crock•Pot Kitchens. BEEF ROAST WITH DARK RUM SAUCE

1 teaspoon ground allspice 1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 beef rump roast (about 3 pounds)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dark rum, divided

1⁄2 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1⁄2 cup beef broth

2 whole bay leaves, broken in half

1⁄4 cup lime juice

In a small bowl, combine allspice, salt, pepper, and cloves. Rub spices onto all sides of roast. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat until hot. Sear beef on all sides, turning as it browns. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add 1⁄2 cup rum, broth, garlic, and bay leaves. Cover; cook on low 1 hour. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1⁄2 cup rum, brown sugar and lime juice, stirring well. Pour over roast. Continue cooking on low 4 to 6 hours, or until beef is fork-tender. Baste beef occasionally with sauce. Remove and slice roast. Spoon sauce over beef to serve.


5 ways to make gift cards more personal When in doubt while holiday shopping, go with a gift card. Gift cards provide a convenient way to ensure people of all ages ultimately get something special.

dicates that, during the 2018 holiday shopping season, people buying gift cards purchased roughly four cards each, with an average value of $45 per card.

According to a 2016 survey by the gift card sales tool CardCash, gift cards are a $127 billion market that keeps growing. Physical gift cards have been growing at an annual rate of 6 percent, but digital gift cards are growing at an annual rate of 200 percent. The financial resource The Motley Fool in-

Many people enjoy the convenience of storing digital gift card information on their phones. Even though gift cards are any easy option, like giving cash, they may seem like impersonal gifts. However, gift givers can explore these ways to add a personal touch to the gift card.

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Make your own gift card. Companies including Visa and Mastercard enable gift-givers to personalize cards with their own photos. Shoppers also can choose from predesign galleries to present a card that has a little more flair. The gift cards can then be tied to specific occasions or holidays. Choose a popular store. Rather than buying the first gift card you see, select a card for a specific store your loved one likes. For example, if the person is an outdoors enthusiast, a gift card to L.L. Bean may be perfect. If he or she wants to be the next top chef, money toward Sur La Table or Williams Sonoma is fitting. Wrap it in a unique way. Don’t just give the gift card in an envelope; find a unique way to wrap it. After all, that will make the gift card a gift within a gift. Find a small gift box and wrap the gift card as you would any other gift. Or make it even more exciting by designing a scavenger hunt with clues on where to find the hidden gift card. Assemble a gift basket. Add a few extra treats to a basket with the gift card that ties into a theme. If the gift card is for a boating or fishing retailer, place tackle, a floating key ring or a dry storage bag in the gift basket.

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Add a sweet message. Attach a greeting card and share a few sentiments about why the gift card was chosen. This will help make the gift more personal and show that time was taken to select the item. The National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics reassures that gift cards are one of the most popular entries on holiday wish lists each year. Making the gift a bit more personal can increase the enjoyment factor even further.

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Simple ways to give back every day

for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the elderly are at greater risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 than younger people, while those with preexisting conditions such as type 2 diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, are at increased risk as well. Because of that heightened risk, such people have been urged to stay at home as much as possible. If you want to give back, offer to help at-risk neighbors with their grocery shopping or other errands that could put them in danger of getting sick. Another way to help at-risk neighbors is to visit them and keep them company. If you do so, wear a mask at all times and stay at least six feet away.

Giving back to one’s community strengthens towns and neighborhoods and makes them better places to live. Many people volunteer with local charitable organizations, while others make annual donations that help charities and nonprofits achieve their missions. Giving back to your community can require a big commitment, but there are simple ways to give back each day as well. Whether you’re strapped for time and can’t volunteer or simply want to do a little more than you already do to support your community, the following are some simple ways to give back every day. • Support a local business. Many small businesses have suffered mightily since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Such businesses help communities thrive in many ways, including employing local residents. According to The Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, small firms with fewer than 100 employees employed roughly 70 percent of the Canadian population in 2017. In the United States, the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy reports that nearly 62 percent of the country’s net new jobs between 1993 and 2016 were created by small businesses. By supporting such firms, whether it’s ordering takeout or buying from local retailers instead of their big box competitors, men and women are giving back to their communities while spending money they would be spending anyway. • Help a neighbor. The pandemic turned many people’s lives upside down, and some people have had to overcome long periods of isolation. The Centers

• Donate used items. Many people are still working from home fulltime as employers remain hesitant to bring staff back into the office. That extra time at home has no doubt made people realize just how much clutter they have around the house. Rather than leaving items out at the curb for the garbage man to take away, donate lightly used clothing and still-function appliances to nearby charities. Unemployment figures remain high across the country, and more people than ever before are in need of affordable goods. Donating rather than discarding lightly used items can help the less fortunate in your community get through a very uncertain time. Giving back to one’s community does not require a significant commitment of time or resources. Simple things that can be done every day can strengthen communities and show support for your neighbors.

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Holiday gifts for fourlegged family members

Holiday shoppers who are busy making lists and checking them twice should make sure they don’t overlook the family pet. Christmas has gone to the cats and dogs, as a greater number of people include their companion animals when selecting gifts each year.

A study by OnePoll conducted by Rover.com, the nation’s largest network of dog sitters and walkers, found that 95 percent of pet owners have bought holiday gifts for their pets. Gifts can range from everyday needs, like food and treats, to more lavish extravagances like spa treatments.

Pet owners who plan to get their pets gifts this year may want to consider some of the emerging pet trends as they browse wares and services. The Balance, a business, career and industry information site, says pet industry trends point toward these segments seeing growth.

Natural pet products

Just as people are interested in protecting the health of the planet and their own personal health, so, too, are they extending this concern to companion animals. Natural pet products, which can include natural flea and tick remedies, holistic foods, organic items, and all-natural grooming products, can make great gifts.

Specialty pet services

The American Pet Products Association says the demand

for high-end pet grooming and other services is substantial. In addition, personalized training, behavioral consulting, portrait photography, dog sitting, and upscale spa treatments like pet Reiki and massage are booming.

Mobile pet grooming

Mobile pet grooming has become the norm in many areas. Mobile pet grooming can reduce the potential stress on animals, and tends to be very convenient for customers, particularly seniors and others who have mobility issues. Beyond these growing trends, pet owners have a bevy of other ideas from which to choose. Here are just a few different suggestions:

• tests to detect pets’ DNA and trace breed and ancestry, • interactive puzzles to keep pets engaged and banish boredom,

• stylish storage baskets for pet toys,

• hidden cat litter or dog crate items that camouflage commonly used pet items, • heated pet bed for cozy nights and mornings, and

• signature vests, coats and sweaters to look good and remain comfortable.

Pet gifts are popular this time of year, ensuring all members of the family have a treat to open.

Why are Christmas colors red and green?

Many people may not get in the holiday spirit without decorations and all the trimmings. Chances are strong that if you have containers full of items just waiting to see the light of day again this holiday season, those items are red or green or some combination thereof.

congregation from the priest and altar. Dr. Bucklow notes that Victorians also extended the association of these colors as a physical boundary to another boundary: the marking of the end of the old year and the beginning of a new one at Christmastime.

Red and green have become the traditional colors of Christmas, just as blue and white symbolizes Chanukah. But how did this color palette come to evolve?

While red and green had associations with Christmas in early times through holly and other sources, the connection was perhaps best solidified thanks to a man named Haddon Sundblom. Sundblom was an artist commissioned in 1931 by the Coca-Cola company to create an image of Santa Claus for the company’s upcoming holiday ads. Until this point, versions of Santa were rarely consistent, with his clothing vacillating between green, blue and red. He also wasn’t the plump, jolly fellow associated with Christmas as we know him today, but rather thin and elf-like. Sundblom portrayed him as a chubby man wearing red robes, likely as a nod to Coca-Cola’s own red logo, even though the company denies the connection. Santa was featured in front of a green background. The ads proved popular and Sundblom’s Santa became the preferred depiction. Santa’s red robes perfectly complemented the green background and other green components of the holiday, such as Christmas trees and holly, that already had been solidified as Christmas imagery.

Just like many traditions of Christmas, the red and green scheme has origins that predate the Christian celebration. Christmas has borrowed from many of the customs of winter solstice celebrations of ancient peoples, including the Celts. Ancient Celtic people revered holly plants, believing they brought beauty and good fortune in the middle of winter — a time when the landscape is normally bleak and holly plants thrive and stand out. Celts would regularly bring in sprigs of holly and decorate their homes with the plants, which feature shiny, serrated leaves and bright, red berries, as a way to guarantee a prosperous new year. Holly also came to be associated with the crown of thorns Jesus Christ was forced to wear during his crucifixion. The custom of using red and green continued into the 14th century. Dr. Spike Bucklow, a research scientist at the University of Cambridge, says red and green also were used to paint medieval rood screens, which were partitions installed in churches to separate the

Color plays a strong role in creating Christmas nostalgia. Red and green are put on vivid display throughout the season.

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Profile for The Emporia Gazette

Shop Local Magazine  

The Christmas Guide for Emporia Kansas.

Shop Local Magazine  

The Christmas Guide for Emporia Kansas.