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keep calm


and Merry On

9 unexpected places to find the Jolly Old Elf

Tips for handling holiday family stress

What Do Kids Learn in


Preschool? The range of skills nurtured in qualit y programs

+ twelve

serving cincinnati & northern kentucky

days of holiday giveawayS


contents D ECE M B ER 2 0 1 7




Where's Santa?


9 unexpected places to find the jolly old elf


12 Days of Holiday Giveaways

Your chance to win great gifts!


Keep Calm and Merry On Tips for handling holiday family stress





What Do Kids Learn in Preschool? The range of developmental skills nurtured in quality programs



529 College Savings Plans Give the gift of higher education this holiday season








December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 05



meet the staff Publisher Mary Wynne Cox // Editor Susan Bryant // ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER + ADVERTISING


Hannah Mohler //

Tis’ the season... Ready or not – ‘tis the season for cookie exchanges, holiday school parties, Elf on a Shelf, shopping and wrapping, then shopping some more; all the general frenzy and fun of the holidays. It’s a whirlwind that seems to start earlier and earlier every year. Whew. If you’re like me (and I suspect a lot of parents out there are) creating a memorable holiday for your kids becomes job #1 this time of year. And it can feel like a job at times. No doubt there’s plenty of fun to be had, but making all that fun can be a little exhausting. This is especially true if you started out setting the bar rather high in the beginning – because kids never forget! (“What do you mean we’re not making gingerbread houses again this year with a gingerbread family who lives there and then submitting it in a gingerbread competition?”) Here’s the lesson I’ve learned over the years when it comes to the lengths we go to as parents to make our kids happy during the holidays. The “must have” toys and big ticket experiences are generally forgotten as the




years pass, but the traditions you keep – even small ones – are remembered. For us, it’s baking the same kinds of Christmas cookies together each year, drinking hot chocolate while we take a drive looking at the lights, watching Elf or A Christmas Story with a fire crackling in the fireplace and decorating the tree with Johnny Mathis crooning in the background. While other activities may be added in, these are the non-negotiables. These things are so embedded in our family history that I fully expect to see my grandchildren doing the same things someday. So while the gingerbread masterpiece has its place (which we actually did by the way), it really takes so much less, thankfully, to make the season merry and bright. Here’s wishing you a holiday filled with just what makes it special for your family – and permission to omit anything that doesn’t.

Happy holidays!

Advertising Coordinator

Karen Ring // COMMUNIT Y Outreach + Social Media


Wendy Hasser // Business Manager

Roxanne Burns // INTERN

Meg Wynne //


Sarah McCosham, Deb Krupowicz, Kim Dinan and Lauren Lawson CALENDAR OF EVENTS Contact Us

9435 Waterstone Blvd., Ste. 140, Cincinnati, OH 45249 P: (513) 444-2015 • F: (513) 444-2099 Cincinnati Parent Magazine is published monthly. Copyright 2017 by Midwest Parenting Publications, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Distribution of this magazine does not constitute an endorsement of products, commentary or services herein. For information on subscriptions, editorial guidelines, advertising rates and more visit

December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 07



[c o m m u n i t y ]


Enjoy Holiday in Lights – on foot! Holiday in Lights is a fantastic, family-friendly way to take in a holiday lights display, as patrons can enjoy the stunning scenes of twinkling lights from the comfort and warmth of their own vehicles. However, this extensive light display at Sharon Woods also merits more ogling than typically happens during the drive-thru, making the annual Walk the Lights event worth the trip - even if you’ve already been this season. Get some exercise and enjoy time with your family on foot; strollers and leashed pets are welcome, too! This festive walk happens 6-10 pm on Dec. 27th and is $5/person (kids under 2 are free).

Bah humbug! Perhaps the most classic Christmas story of all time, A Christmas Carol is the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his chance at redemption. One Christmas Eve, Mr. Scrooge is visited by three ghosts – past, present and future – and through the events of that magical night, he emerges a changed man on Christmas morning. Every year, Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park delivers this heartwarming message in one of its most popular productions. Make A Christmas Carol part of your family’s holiday traditions! This show runs through Dec. 30th at Playhouse in the Park. a-christmas-carol

Bippity Boppity Boo! If you haven’t been to the Taft Theatre to see a show put on by the fabulous Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, now’s the time to go! The TCT is in the middle of its exciting 2017-18 season, with Cinderella currently showing, plus a fantastic lineup to look forward to over the coming months (including Mary Poppins!) For the holidays, TCT is treating audiences to A Cinderella Christmas, a music-packed, inspiring show full of humor and whimsy. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati is doing wonderful things for our community as they bring these stories to life, and the passion of those involved is evident in the pure joy of the cast. Make The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati part of your family’s holiday lineup this year; Cinderella runs Dec. 9-10 and 15-17 at the Taft Theatre. cinderella l/about?linknav=us-open-shopsmallglobalheader-sslogo




You’ll shoot your eye out! If you eagerly await the all-day TBS marathon of the 1983 movie, A Christmas Story, each Christmas Eve, then you’ll be pleased to know that A Christmas Story, The Musical will be coming to Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center this December. The story of Ralphie Parker and his quest for an official Red Ryder air rifle is a hilarious holiday classic that’s a must-see movie in many households, and is the basis for this musical. In addition to the fun story and memorable characters, A Christmas Story, the Musical features a delightful soundtrack sure to please die-hard fans of the cult classic as well as those simply looking for an enjoyable holiday show. Catch one of the eight showings of A Christmas Story, The Musical at the Aronoff Center Dec. 5-10.

Frisch’s Big Boy Presents The Nutcracker Year after year, this holiday show continues to awe audiences of all ages with its beautiful dancing and memorable music. The story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, the graceful Snow Queen and King, delightful Sugar Plum Fairies and mischievous mice will surely capture your kids’ hearts. Families will be enchanted by the delicate-yet-deft Cincinnati Ballet dancers as they perform this beloved holiday classic. And the icing on the cake? After an eleven-year hiatus, The Nutcracker returns to Music Hall’s revamped stage Dec. 14-24.

Ring in 2018 with the Cincinnati Zoo New Year’s Eve can be tricky for families with young kids, which is why the Cincinnati Zoo’s “Zoo Year” celebration is such a game-changer. From 5-9 pm on Dec. 31st, families can enjoy a Madcap Puppet Show, costumed characters and a bedtime-friendly New Year’s countdown with Rozzi Firework beginning at 8:55 pm. Of course, this is also the final night for the Zoo’s iconic Festival of Lights, making Zoo Year a holiday tradition your family has to experience!

Celebrate the season Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) puts the “fun” in Sunday Funday with its Second Sunday Family Showtime Series. This program happens every second Sunday of the month, from October through May and starts at the very family-friendly time of 2 pm. These shows are free for kids and just $5 for adults, and headline a variety of performances from local music, theatre and arts organizations. December’s show, Celebrate the Season, features the songs and dances of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more, all presented by the talented Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati on Tour troupe. Celebrate the season on Dec. 10th at the CCAC! celebrate-the-season-secondsunday-family-showtime/

December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 09



social network

We’re chatting up a storm over on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Come find us for quick laughs throughout the day, parenting tips, must-sees-in-the-city, giveaways and more!

like us at


follow us at

Come along with our CP Insiders as we check out sneak peeks around town and show off other behind-the-scenes fun.

Every town has certain foods that seem to define it. We recently asked Cincinnati Parent Facebook readers “What’s your favorite Cincinnati food?”


The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati opened their 2017-18 season with Peter Pan, JR. Between the top-notch acting (including Bob Herzog as Captain Hook) and fun musical numbers, this TCT show soared above our already high expectations.

Skyline for sure, somehow appears at my house in Virginia along with Goetta and White Castles. – Don D. We ship my in-laws a case of Goetta at Christmas, even though they visit several times a year from Utah, that's one thing that's a little hard to bring home themselves. – Amanda A. Skyline and LaRosa’s – Bryan W.

be on the lookout for this month's online contests!



She has her own line of t-shirts, a hashtag, viral videos, the national spotlight and a devoted following, so it’s only appropriate that the Cincinnati Zoo's Fiona the Hippo is the subject of two new books!

Win tickets to the Cincinnati Museum Center, tickets to Krohn Conservatory's holiday show, Jeff Ruby Gift Cards, and tickets to the COSI Museum!


Cincinnatians are positively nuts about donuts! We shared Yelp's Guide to the Most Delicious Donuts in Cincy, and we're pretty sure it caused a city-wide donut shortage as a result. (Just look at that box of Holtman's donuts!)



We have our nose to the grindstone on Twitter, retweeting your favorite local hotspot announcements, parenting trends and more. Want the scoop on the latest things to do around town? Check out writer Sarah McCosham’s award-winning blog Where Are We Going Today? To find all the kid-friendly adventures to take advantage of in the Cincinnati area.




December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 11

where's SANTA?

9 unexpected places to find the Jolly Old Elf Cincinnati may be a long way from the North Pole, but come December, you’ll find Santa all over the Queen City! And sure, you can find Mr. Claus in the usual places, but you’ll also see him rappelling from skyscrapers, scuba diving or whirling across the ice rink. Read on for nine unexpected places to visit with Santa this holiday season.

Sponsored by




Scuba diving at Newport Aquarium visitor-tips/aquarium-events/ water-wonderland-with-scubasanta Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa is the very definition of “unexpected” – who would’ve thought Santa could scuba dive? All December long, you’ll find Mr. C donning an air tank and scuba mask to swim with the fish at Newport Aquarium. This unique encounter with Santa is something your kids won’t soon forget!

Hangin’ with #TeamFiona at the Cincinnati Zoo festival-of-lights/ The PNC Festival of Lights at the Zoo is one of the most anticipated holiday events in Cincinnati. This year, Santa will be on site to meet with kids a full hour (4 pm) before the lights blink on. Last year, over 9,500 Cincinnati kids met with Santa at the Festival of Lights - which, by the way, features 2.5 million, or 237 miles, of twinkling LED lights!

Riding the rails at LM&M Railroad

Speeding across the ice northpole.html events-on-the-square/category/ okeeffes-ice-rink-presented-byfifth-third-bank/

Everyone knows Santa loves a train ride. Red cap, real beard and a jolly twinkle in his eyes, Santa strolls through the train cars, handing kids a bell from his sleigh and stopping for visits and pictures. The North Pole Express is the real deal in terms of authentic holiday experiences – and one you won’t want to miss!

Rappelling off Downtown Cincinnati skyscrapers happening-downtown/ holidays-downtown Put this down as the “most adventurous” Santa experience in Cincy – during Downtown Dazzle’s 20-minute show, you’ll watch the big guy rappel from the Huntington Center building down to the top of Macy’s, right next to the jumbotron on Fountain Square! There’s also a firework show, carolers, carriage rides and a family-friendly story time with Mrs. Claus. Downtown Dazzle also features Santa at Macy’s Fountain Place – pictures are free, just bring your own camera!

At the park

Despite his ample stature, Santa can glide across the ice like an Olympic pro! See for yourself on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-1 pm during Santa Skates at Fountain Square’s Ice Rink. Santa will be on the ice for this event from 12-1 pm.

Making an entrance home_page_photos.aspx events/chamber-events-1/2017lebanon-christmas-parade-8/ Maybe it’s the iconic red suit and hat, maybe it’s the scores of adoring young fans, but one thing’s for sure: Santa revels in making an entrance. At the annual Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival (Dec. 2), you’ll find old Kris Kringle at the forefront of the festivities, being pulled through Downtown Lebanon aboard a horse-drawn carriage. Meanwhile, for Deerfield Township’s tree lighting festival on December 9th, Mr. Claus arrives atop a fire truck! (The best part? Both festivals are free.)

In Brickopolis holiday-junction This holiday season, the Cincinnati Museum Center will be transformed into Brickopolis – a 12,000 square foot display of pure joy and merriment. Trains, an epic LEGO display and kid-sized locomotive rides make this holiday event a must. And of course, there’s Santa, who has said many times that the Cincinnati Museum Center is one of his favorite places in the world! Check the Museum Center’s website for Santa’s schedule. event/santas-workshop11/2017-11-25/?event Saturdays in December, you’ll find Mr. C at Washington Park from 1-3 pm, mugging for pictures during the park’s free, bring-your-own-camera “Santa’s Workshop” event. Meanwhile, at Santaland in Sharon Woods, the big guy will be on site until Dec. 23rd for pictures and the event’s famous, fresh-baked treats from the eponymous Santa's Confectionaries.

Digging into a short stack Think Santa eats milk and cookies 24/7? Think again. Santa would never pass on a Belgian waffle or fully-loaded omelet. On Dec. 10th and 17th, join him for brunch at Winton Woods. After digging into a mountain of syruptopped ‘cakes, Santa will be rosy-cheeked and ready for pictures with the kids. (Advanced registration required.)

Make sure the kids are on his “nice” list, because you never know where you’ll bump into Santa this year!

December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 13



The Midwifery Difference birthing balls, birthing positions, massage and water therapy.

At a new TriHealth obstetric practice, midwives and physicians work together to offer highly personalized care with hospital deliveries. Licensed nurse-midwife Linda Brackett has been delivering babies for more than 16 years. Women who come to her at TriHealth Women’s Services Midwife Care can expect expert, family-centered medical care—and a hug if they need one. This personal approach is the cornerstone of care at the new West Chester location where time-tested midwifery services merge with physician-led obstetric and gynecologic care.

Linda, who has a master’s degree in nursing with a specialization in midwifery and is certified by the state of Ohio, works collaboratively with obstetriciangynecologists from TriHealth Women’s Services Comprehensive OB-GYN. Together, they provide care for women before, during and after pregnancy. Honoring birth plans “We want women to have the best possible birthing experience, and we work hard to fulfill their personal birth plans,” says Linda. There are numerous alternatives for labor that she advocates, including

“Midwives encourage parents and their support people to participate actively in childbirth,” explains Linda. “Patients are welcome to bring music and aromatherapy—anything to create a comforting environment. We stay by each patient’s side throughout all stages of labor and delivery, helping her breathe and push through pain, and providing physical and emotional support.” For Linda, the birth experience is sweeter the second, third or fourth time around—when expectant mothers return to her pregnant with another child. “Seeing families grow and knowing I am part of the experience is overwhelming,” she says. To learn more about TriHealth Women’s Services Midwife Care, call 513.853.7400.

PHOTO BY LISA HEZLEP WWW.heZLepphotography.coM




December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 15

cincinnati parent



twelve days of

hol i day g i v e aways Sponsored by Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment

*Make sure to like us on Facebook for your chance to win! Beginning Dec. 1, we will post a daily contest and include instructions on how to enter. Find us at CincinnatiParent.

day 1: DECEMBER 1st Mat yroshka Coat Little Goodall ’s Matryoshka Coat was inspired by traditional Russian nesting dolls. Classically tailored swing coat has two piece sleeves, a peter pan collar, and an inverted box pleat at center back for maximum twirl-ability. Perfect for that first outing to see the ballet!

Cit y Tour At only 14 lbs., the City Tour™ stroller folds small for big adventures. Its compact design and convenient carry bag meet carry-on requirements for many modes of transportation.

Teletubbies Toy and DVDs Bundle Teletubbies 8” Talking Plush: With these plush toys kids can act out their favorite scenes! Available in all four characters, Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po; these cuddly, plush toys have built-in audio clips, music and interactive features. Press their tummies to hear them talk. Teletubbies DVDs: A new exciting line of Teletubbies DVDs is sure to keep your little ones entertained! Teletubbies: Bubbles, Twinkle Twinkle, Big Hugs and Snowball all feature six all-new episodes, plus fun bonus content, that kids and parents can enjoy together.

day 3: DECEMBER 5th Cloud Q This innovative seat is complemented by a telescopic linear side-impact protection system and an XXL canopy offering sun and wind protection with UPF50+. The 11-position height-adjustable headrest of the infant car seat simultaneously changes the harness length and sitting angle. As a result, the infant car seat grows with the child. In combination with the CYBEX strollers, the Cloud Q can be used as a visually harmonious travel system.

day 2: DECEMBER 4th Svan Farmers Market

Let your sous-chefs take on the responsibility of shopping for this holiday’s dinner at the Svan Farmers Market Stand! Not only will this teach your children to shop local but to also eat their fruits and veggies in the new year.

Svan Ice Cream Cart

Running the Svan Ice Cream Cart will teach your child to work with others, take turns and share. Enjoy ice cream social time with your child as they serve you your favorite flavors!

SCHLEICH GIFT BASKET Schleich’s hand painted playsets and figurines encourage creative, imaginative play and feature popular animals like horses. Explore all Schleich has to offer at

Cybex MIOS The MIOS, a brand new compact stroller from CYBEX, weighing in at 19lbs, and measuring fewer than 20" across is the perfect stroller for city dwelling parents. The MIOS is compatible with most car seats, and features a reversible stroller seat. The ultra stylish MIOS design features breathable mesh to not only to ensure lightweight mobility, but also to help regulate the child’s body temperature. The narrow design glides through the urban bustle with ease. The lightweight aluminum frame allows for a onehand folding mechanism that transforms your stroller into a self-standing compact package. This urban parents dream also boasts and extra large UPF50+ sun protected canopy to protect your little ones on those extra hot days.

December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 17

day 4: DECEMBER 6th Isabelle Grace Jewelry Personalized Cuff Bracelet Whether you’re looking for a meaning ful personalized necklace for a loved one or a chic statement piece for everyday wear, Isabelle Grace Jewelry is the ultimate destination for truly unique, handcrafted jewelry. Loved by celebrities, Isabelle Grace Jewelry believes in the beauty and integrity of all of their handmade pieces–all styles are made in the USA by local artisans using recycled metals whenever possible. (

Nonstick Square Casserole with Lid The Nonstick Square Casserole’s square shape allows for a larger 5.3-qt cooking capacity, as well as easily fitting next to other pans in the oven – making it a great fit for large holiday meals. The heat tempered lid controls moisture level in and out of the oven and the patented diamond-reinforced nonstick coating helps with the cleanup too.

day 5: DECEMBER 7th Thames & Kosmos $200 Gift Card to Jeff Ruby Steakhouses Featuring award-winning U.S.D.A. Prime Steaks, Seafood, Impeccable Service and Live Entertainment, Jeff Ruby’s restaurants provide the perfect backdrop for your Holiday celebrations. Whether you are entertaining clients & coworkers, reconnecting with old friends or creating new memories with family & loved ones, The Precinct, Carlo & Johnny and Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse are all ready to make this Holiday Season one you won’t soon forget. And, while you’re in the gift-giving spirit, remember that Jeff Ruby Gift Cards make a special gift for everyone on your list. Purchase online at or in any of our restaurants!

Developed for the architects of the future, MAGFORMERS is the industry leader in magnetic building toys for children. MAGFORMERS prides itself in the quality of its products and the unique constructional play experience they deliver.

You could win a bundle of toys from K’NEX– just in time for the holidays! Valued at nearly $160 this bundle includes a KID K’NEX Budding Builders Tub, K’NEX Thrill Rides: Web Weaver Roller Coaster Building Set and a K’NEX Imagine: Power & Play Motorized Construction Set all designed to inspire your child’s STEAMagination!

Chicco Lullago Deluxe Bassinet The LullaGo Deluxe is the perfect solution for parents seeking a sweet and stylish bassinet that also offers high portability for moving from room to room or taking on trips. The adjustable canopy and hanging toys create a loving and cocooning environment for baby, and the two-height bassinet bottom allows parent to keep baby closer than ever before. (

Feltman Brothers Doll Feltman Brothers’ new limited edition collector’s doll is baby scented and features the softest skin, real eyelashes, and an adorable pixie cut! Comes with a birth certificate and 4 pieces of embroidered, classic Feltman Brothers clothing - a dress, bonnet, booties, and bloomers! Retails for $149.00 at

Finn + Emma Play Gym in Fawn

Lorena Canals In addition to the colorful and stylish rugs and cushions, Lorena Canals has also added beautiful, machine-washable cotton baskets and baby blankets to their collection. Every Lorena Canals item is free of toxins/chemicals, versatile, and carefully handmade from allnatural materials, making each one unique. (

Finn + Emma makes all natural baby clothes, toys, and gifts made from organic cotton & wood. The earth-friendly, non-toxic, and fair trade gifts all feature modern baby prints and colors and the perfect balance of stylish and sustainable, classic and contemporary, whimsical and sophisticated. Their new Fawn and Origami collections are sure to be a hit with all parents! (

Ollie Swaddle + BubbleBum Ollie Swaddle: Renowned for being The Smarter Swaddle, Ollie Swaddle is the ultrasoft swaddle proven to help babies sleep longer and better with its patented moisture-wicking fabric that regulates baby's temperature (preventing the risk of overheating). BubbleBum: Perfect for school carpools, road trips, fly-ins with car rentals, taxi rides and more, the BubbleBum inflatable car booster seat.


K’NEX bundle


day 7: DECEMBER 11th

day 6: DECEMBER 8th


Thames & Kosmos is the leading manufacturer of innovative science kits, unique magic sets and educationally entertaining board games. The company places an emphasis on teaching concepts and skills through hands-on modeling of real-world devices and processes, and by offering comprehensive, meaningful reading materials for a rich learning experience.


DockATot in Night Falls The Swedish-designed, highly portable, and 100% breathable Dock ATot multifunctional baby lounger is the 4th most-registered baby product in the U.S. Handy for diaper changes, Dock ATot creates a healthy, safe, and soft surrounding for baby to co-sleep, nap, or even get in tummy time while feeling snug and comforted with a cocoon-like shape that mimics the womb. Retails for $185+ at

day 9: DECEMBER 13th day 8: DECEMBER 12th Y Glider XL Deluxe The fast way to go from learner to pro is with the Y Glider Deluxe, fitted with ‘ learn, grow, pro’ steering, allowing you to set the lean angle to suit your experience level. You can even swap out the parts, customize the colors and make it your own!

PaiBand A kid’s activity band that parents will love too! It encourages fun and active play with the free PaiBand Move – City Run app. The more kids run, jump, and play, the more points they’ ll collect! Parents will also love PaiBand insights like daily steps, heartrate, sleep, and safe distance monitors. Need some help structuring the day? Use PaiBand to set timers and alarms. Daily activities are fun with PaiBand! (4+, $69.99,

ZEISS VR ONE Connect The ZEISS VR ONE Connect is a solution to enable interactive gaming while using a mobile VR headset. Users are able to utilize the Connect with any VR headset to play SteamVR games.

2 Tickets to Opening Night of SCHOOL OF ROCK Based on the hit film, SCHOOL OF ROCK follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe rock star who turns a class of straight-A students into grade-A rockers. This hilarious musical features new songs from ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER, all the original songs from the movie and musical theater’s first-ever live kids rock band! Visit BroadwayInCincinnati. com for more information. At the Aronoff Center on February 21. $178 value.

smarTfold™ smarTfold™ is not just a ride-in/on, it is the ultimate choice in “grow-with-me” hybrid products. Featuring seven or eight distinct configurations (depending on the model), smarTfold™’s unique construction contributes to the growth and advancement of a child’s motor skills by transforming to support any toddler, at every stage of their development, from 6-months to 3-years.

Vtech/LeapSmart Toys Bundle GearZooz™ Roll & Roar Animal Train™: With the GearZooz Roll & Roar Animal Train kids can customize the train by mixing and matching the 15 included gears while strengthening their fine motor skills.

Alex Toys makes gift giving easy with Sweetlings Sprinkle Shop, bring characters to life with whipped clay, fun accessories and a touch of the secret ingredient, LOVE!, and Happy Little Loom, the easiest portable hand held loom that lets you weave in multiple widths.

Venova The Venova is an innovative, “casual wind instrument” that’s compact, lightweight and most of all, fun. Offering a pleasing tone and recorder-style fingering, it’s perfect for taking to the beach, on a camping trip, to a barbecue ‒ virtually anywhere. Easy, recorder-style fingering makes it ideal for beginners and novices, while more experienced players will appreciate the musical possibilities provided by its fully chromatic two-octave rage.

day 11: DECEMBER 15th Gotrax™ Hoverfly

day 10: DECEMBER 14th

Alex Toys Bundle

Cruise the space-time continuum with supernova power and speeds. The GOTR AX™ HOVERFLY hoverboard boasts top-ranking torque with dual 350W force field motors and is fully UL certified for electrical safety. Available in five cosmic colors, featuring lunar LED lighting.

4-in-1 Build N’ Fly Drone Kit Fly it. Crash it. Build it again. The 4-in-1 Build N’ Fly Drone Kit by FlyBlocks comes with 72 pieces, a pre-programmed circuit board and remote control. Build one of four drones with 4 or 6 axis. FlyBlocks is a toy that teaches and encourages kids to build, and explore.

Build-a-Bot Build-a-Bot is a line of colourful and cute robots built using an easy click ‘n’ create system. With three designs to choose from (Bunny, Fox and Dino), children can create unique characters by mixing and matching their various parts. Kids can begin S.T.E.M learning early with easy step-by-step instructions.

LeapStart™: LeapStart is an interactive learning system that gets kids excited about counting, learning to read, problem solving and more through fun, replayable activities. Zoo Jamz Stompin’ Fun Drums™: Encourage little ones to be a star while they enhance creative thinking and motor skills by tapping out beats and creating their own sounds with the Zoo Jamz Stompin’ Fun Drums.

Web Riderz Kids would love to find the Web Riderz Swing under the tree this year! M&M's Web Riderz Swing is a 39” platform swing that is safety rated to carry up to 600 pounds. Perfect to hang outside.

day 12: DECEMBER 18th ZEISS VR ONE Plus The ZEISS VR ONE Plus allows users to experience virtual reality from any location in the world. The headset supports all iOS® and Android™ powered smartphones with screens between 4.7-5.5 inches.

Hover-1 Cruze powered by Quirky The patent-pending Cruze brings a new take on electric skateboards. It works using a foot-controlled sensor with 3 speed levels to get you going faster without kicking.

December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 19

WORDS BY // L auren L awson and Susan Bryant


and merry on

Tips for handling holiday family stress Deck the halls with lots of family – and a hefty portion of holiday stress, too. ‘Tis the season for spending time with siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins that we may not often see – sometimes for days on end in small quarters! There are bound to be a few challenging situations that pop up under these circumstances and we have some expert advice for handling them. Read on for helpful tips on how to keep your “merry-ness” this holiday season.

SCENARIO #1 There’s something about going back to my parent’s house and being around my siblings that seems to make us all revert back to our previous (childish) selves. Although we’re grown adults now with families of our own, those old roles we played as kids (and some of those old hurts) still manifest themselves when 20


we’re together. I know our kids are watching us – and I want to do better. How can I make this holiday go differently? Holiday regression happens with so many families! When families get together they can fall back into the old habits and roles that were established years ago. It can be easy to slip back into childhood when you are with your parents. There are behavioral patterns that develop in a family that serve to help get things done, so coming back together, it is natural to be pulled into the way that worked for your family for so many years. If you feel like your family dynamics no longer work for your family and are not helpful, the first step is just having this awareness of what is happening. Patterns will continue unless challenged or intentionally changed. The only change you can manage is your own. Consider getting your family together to bring awareness to the situation and problem solve together. Staying mindful every 2017

time your family has a gathering. Mindfully speak and act/behave the way you do in your regular life outside of your family get-togethers. Keep up the image you want for yourself. This will take time before change happens. You need consistency and repetition in family gatherings to challenge the falling back into old roles. Treat your family how you would treat your friends. Reverting back to our younger selves happens for the feeling of security, reciprocated love and trust. Remind yourself why you love your family.

Erin Robinson, LPCC Licensed Professional Counselor Butler Behavioral Health Services BeechAcres Parenting Center

SCENARIO #2 I love seeing all my nieces and nephews when we gather together for the holidays, except for one issue. My daughter, who is much younger than her

cousins, always seems to get left out of the mix. She wants so much to be included in what they’re doing, but their conversations and interests are just not part of her world now. They’re nice kids and I don’t think they intentionally mean to ignore her, but it happens anyway. It makes it hard for my daughter (and me) to enjoy our time spent with family. What can we do? Family time at the holidays can be hard. Sometimes it is okay to use these types of situations as “teachable moments” for both your daughter and her older cousins. Talk with your daughter about not taking things personally, although it can feel hurtful. In reality, what we often perceive as a personal affront is not intended to be that; rather, it is people being busy and/or caught up in their own lives. Especially around the holidays, we often get excited and have high expectations and then feel let down. Her older cousins also can learn from this. They can

realize how important they are to their younger cousin as a role model and extended family member. Perhaps you can suggest all members of both families do something together such as bowling, hiking in the park, going to a movie, seeing the lights at the zoo, baking, getting coffee, walking the dog, etc. Also, you could have an activity for all the girls to do together (an arts and crafts activity that your daughter likes, nail polish, pearl-a-beads). Give the older cousins a heads up and suggest your desire that they spend a little time together. To this end, you might have a conversation with their parent(s) or text them directly. During the holidays, it can be a balance between doing what we each want and making time for family.

Sheila S. Cohen, Ph.D. BridgePointe/PsychBC

SCENARIO #3 I’m hosting our big holiday dinner this year and I’m dreading the dinner table conversation I imagine will occur among our guests. Between my family and my husband’s family, we run the gamut of political, religious and social views – and many of those who will be in attendance are known to voice their beliefs very passionately. How do I keep sparks from flying and shift the focus to just celebrating the season together?

Family holiday time does seem to have drama! Since you are hosting this year you can always send out a notification to everyone who will attend ahead of time setting ground rules and expectations. You can be honest with everyone and say how you would like to avoid heated, controversial conversations/topics because you want a peaceful evening catching up on everyone’s lives. Let them know the evening you are hoping for so they can keep it in mind when choosing what to talk about. If that doesn’t work and it is totally unavoidable, you can turn the debates into friendly conversations by saying “Let’s not try and change people’s minds, maybe just say why this is important to you.” Redirect conversations into something personal and positive. Just change the subject. Use humor to avoid serious controversial talk. Also, just keep reminding yourself that you cannot control other people and they are choosing to participate in this conversation for a reason. You can choose to create the feeling you want for yourself for the holidays.

Erin Robinson, LPCC Licensed Professional Counselor Butler Behavioral Health Services BeechAcres Parenting Center

SCENARIO #4 My brother’s family goes all out for the holidays when it comes to presents with an unbelievable stockpile under the tree. My kids are of the age now that they notice the difference between the amount of gifts they receive versus what their cousins receive. I can’t very well ask my brother to reduce what he wants to give his children, but it does make for some uncomfortable moments on Christmas morning. What’s the best way to handle this? Ahhh yes, the joys of Christmas! Kids are very susceptible to making meaning about themselves based on what they see others have and the potential lack of what they have. To soften the blow to your kids you might want to talk with them beforehand about the obvious discrepancies they are seeing in the presents and toys they are getting compared to their cousins. Be careful not to shame or blame your brother or his family as in doing so, you are possibly creating unneeded tension and labeling. Good lessons for children to learn this season are: the original meaning of Christmas, being grateful for what you have, helping the less fortunate and the real joy of

spending time together with family. How you approach it will have a lasting impact on your kids, so remember to attend to your own potential insecurities and past resentments you might have with your brother. Come from an honest and loving place and you’ll do fine.

John Harrison, Licensed Mental Health Counselor Life Made Conscious Located in Pleasant Ridge

There’s no denying that the stress and pressure that often accompanies the holidays can bring out the “bah humbug” in us. To make your season more “merry and bright” set realistic expectations for time spent with family and think ahead about situations you anticipate being difficult and how you can address them. Then, enjoy this special time of year in whatever ways are meaningful to you. Happy holidays!

December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 21

WORDS BY // Kim Dinan

what do kids learn in preschool? The range of developmental skills nurtured in quality programs

From the outside, preschool might look like just fun and games- and it is! But inside the classroom, children are developing important emotional and social skills. Cincinnati Parent spoke with preschool teachers and administrators throughout the city to find out just what children learn in a preschool classroom, and why a preschool education can help lay the foundation for a child’s future success. “We really focus on the social skills, emotional skills and how to be a positive member of a group,” says Kara Meador, Director of Early Childhood at The Seven Hills School Early Childhood Center. “That involves sharing, turn-taking, listening to others and problem solving. We want the children to develop a sense of positive self-esteem, to be confident, make friends and learn the give-and-take of friendship and working together.” “Preschool addresses the child as a whole,” says Cheryl Broadnax, Assistant Superintendent of Early Childhood Education and Director of Preschool Programs for Cincinnati Public Schools. “We focus on some 22



major content areas. We’re developing all those early literacy skills; we’re also developing things aligned in math, basic one-on-one correspondence. We want them exposed to some things in regards to self-discovery through purposeful play.” But there are broader and deeper things happening in the classroom too, that might not be always be visible, notes Broadnax. “We’re also addressing things like how do you get along with other kids? and how do you learn to leave your family and go somewhere for the day? It’s a comprehensive program of academic focus pared with social and emotional focus.” At Pleasant Ridge Presbyterian Preschool, preschool children learn through play. “The children come in and they have a lot of choices,” says Anna Rapp, Director of the school. “They can choose the activities they do.” Those activities include block area, dramatic play and open-ended art opportunities. “Our teachers find those teachable moments and make learning authentic to them.” And the skills that preschoolers learn in the classroom aren’t just academic or social, they are also self-help skills that help children gain independence and confidence. “They learn skills that they take home, like putting on their own coat, pouring their own drink or fixing their own snack,” says Rapp. “Parents are always surprised at how much they

are capable of doing.” Rapp adds that preschool also helps children learn to cope with their strong feelings and emotions. “We help them have a safe place to express those feelings and help them express them in the appropriate way.” A typical day in a preschool classroom varies somewhat, depending on the school. Some preschools, like those in the Cincinnati Public Schools, even provide breakfast. Schools may focus on literacy, letter recognition, or music and art while others are more loosely structured. But all of the teachers we spoke with stressed the importance of play. “We really want kids to have some free time to play. They’re riding bicycles, climbing, usually they’re doing something outdoors if weather permits,” says Broadnax. “We try to provide a variety of different learning opportunities.” Rapp adds, “We want them to develop a love for learning. We want them to have fun while they’re learning through their play.” The experiences that children have in preschool also help prepare them, both academically and socially, to enter kindergarten and elementary school. “Not only are the kids getting excellent instruction, but the kids benefit from being with other kids, they’re getting a lot of stimulation throughout the day,” says Broadnax. “What we notice is that when children come to kindergarten and they’ve had those experiences it makes the transition into school-aged programs easier.” When choosing a preschool for their child, parents may consider a number of factors. Location plays a role, says Broadnax, “A lot of parents want to be close to where their child is going to be during the day.” The overall environment of the classroom is also important. “You’re talking about three-year-olds. Many times that’s their first experience going away. They want to know their kid is going to be loved and well taken care of,” Broadnax adds. Rapp recommends visiting the preschool for a tour and seeing how your child interacts with the environment and the teacher. “You know what is best for your child and you’ll know the type of preschool that is best.” Meador seconds that. “It’s really valuable for a parent to come in, talk to teachers and see a classroom in action.” She adds that a parent should feel that their child’s preschool is a place where they are happy, safe and loved. “The child should feel excitement and have a good feeling when they walk in the door.” No matter which preschool you choose, your child will learn valuable social, emotional and self-help skills that will set the foundation for their years in the classroom. “To me, it’s the most important kind of schooling they can have,” says Rapp. Meador agrees. “The children are gaining building blocks for the rest of their lives.” December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 23


Ask the Teacher Students who need to move, separation anxiety and parental homework help


Sitting still has always been a challenge for our fourth-grade son, but at homework time it is especially hard. What can I do to help him sit down and do his work?


For a child who has difficulty staying still during the regular school day, adding more stationary time at the end of the day is tough. After school, begin with a 15 minute break doing something active, like bike riding, shooting hoops or walking around the block. Don’t give in if he wants to hit the video games or get on a computer or his phone; that will not help with his need to be on the move. When it is time to start homework, encourage him to identify ways to move while working. He can put papers on a clip board and move from one spot to the next in between questions. As he reads, he can move to a new spot at the end of each page or section. If he is working on math, he can move after finishing a few problems. If changing locations while working makes concentration difficult, consider getting an under-the-desk pedal exerciser. Without leaving his seat, your son will be able to pedal as he works. Forcing your son to sit still will only lead to frustration and tension when he is already tired and harboring pent up energy. Finding creative ways to encourage movement while he works can help him accomplish needed tasks and release some energy at the same time.




Our kindergartner still struggles daily to separate from me at the start of the school day and takes quite a while to settle in. I have wondered about pulling her out and re-starting next year. How can I decide what is in her best interest long term?


Before taking your daughter out of kindergarten, work with her teacher, the school counselor and the administration to develop a detailed plan for easing this transition for her. Come to a consensus on what strategies to try first. They may suggest a particular routine that your daughter can do at the beginning of each school day. It may also help to pair her with another student who is a few grades ahead of her to be her walk-in buddy. Separation anxiety is something school personnel are very familiar with and probably have many ideas for how to address this situation with your daughter. Discuss with the teacher where your daughter is academically. If you find that she is achieving what her peers are, commit to doing everything you can to help her adjust to school and put the idea of removing her on the backburner. If, on the other hand, you learn that she is lagging significantly behind her peers, she may need more time before she is able to flourish in school.



How much help should I be giving my second grader on his homework? I have a tough time not looking over his shoulder as he is working and telling him when things are wrong.


Begin by talking with your son’s teacher about her purpose for homework. She may want homework to be done with parent help to allow parents to have firsthand insight as to what is happening at school or to get a personal view of how their child works. She may, on the other hand, want to encourage independence in work. Her objective may be to help your son (and all of her students) develop some stamina and focus. She may have assigned the work to him so that he can practice skills that she has seen him struggling to master. Clarify whether she wants to see his personal results or if she would like for you to check his work and have

him re-work assignments where you see problems. With the teacher’s purpose in mind, you will be able to better define whether your role is to act as a supporter who sets a positive homework environment, a partner who assists with each problem or question, or as an observer from some distance away. It will be up to you to set the appropriate parameters that meet the intended purpose of the work.

Ask the Teacher is written by Deb Krupowicz, a mother of four who holds a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Deb has over twenty years of experience teaching preschool, elementary and middle school students. Please send your questions to her at asktheteacher@

December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 25



SAVI NGS P L A NS Give the gift of higher education this holiday season WORDS BY // Kim Dinan

“It’s a plan that allows folks, like parents, grandparents or anyone who would like to fund college for their loved ones, to take control in doing so,” adds Sharon Miller, who is in charge of client operations at Personal Choice Financial Advisors. “It’s an investment vehicle that allows folks to save for college.” Most states have 529 college savings plans and while the rules associated with 529 plans are the same from state to state, the tax benefits vary. Any Ohioan that contributes to an Ohio 529 plan can receive a tax break on their state income tax returns.

Holiday shopping for kids can be hard. They have so much already, and the latest toys and games lose their luster not long after their initial thrill. But there’s one gift you can give today that will increase in value as the years go by – a 529 college savings plan.




“A 529 plan is a college savings vehicle,” says Mark Kleespies, a shareholder at Cincinnatibased THOR Investment. “It’s a way to save for a college education where you put away after-tax dollars but they grow tax free. They’re not taxed at all if you take them out for qualified expenses such as tuition, books, lab fees, room and board.”

Some parents worry about the limitations of opening a college savings plan in a certain state. What if, for example, a child has an Ohio 529 plan but would like to go to college in California? There’s no reason to worry. 529 funds can be used to pay for qualified higher education expenses in any state. And, if your child receives a full scholarship or decides not to go to college, the funds can be transferred to another beneficiary, like a sibling. One aspect of a 529 plan parents should be aware of is that if withdraws are made for something other than qualified education expenses, they are subject to income taxes and a 10% penalty. “It is very important that folks that invest in 529 plans intend to use those funds for qualified education expenses and know that going in,” says Miller.

As we all know, college tuition is increasing much faster than the rate of inflation, and the cost of sending kids to college continues to grow. “You never know where your child will want to go to school,” says Kleespies. “We recommend that you start saving very early whether you go to an in-state school or not. Even if you can save only $25 or $30 per month, or $1000 a year, it helps just to build it up.” And when you start saving while the kids are young, the fund has time to grow.

For family and friends that want to contribute to a child’s education but aren’t the owner of their 529 account, the 529 Ugift program makes it easy to contribute. The program allows owners to generate a unique code that can be entered by friends and family when contributing online. The funds are then distributed directly into the child’s 529 savings fund.

Any Ohioan that contributes to an Ohio 529 plan can receive a tax break on their state income tax returns.

With all of the plastic toys and soon-tobe-outdated fads already in your child’s life, why not give the gift of education this year? “In our opinion the 529 Plan is one of the best ways to pass assets on to the next generation,” says Kleespies. Miller agrees, “Providing funding for education? I can’t think of anything better than that.”

December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 27

EDUCATION RESOURCES [sponsored listings]



The Campus at Kids First We have FULL DAY Kindergarten! Located inside the nationally acclaimed Kids First Sports Center, The Campus offers the premier early learning experience for children ages 6 weeks through Kindergarten. As the only early learning center in the area that makes physical education a top priority, The Campus at Kids First gives your child an academic edge by integrating a world class physical education (including gymnastics, basketball, yoga and soccer!) curriculum in to the daily schedule, at NO additional cost! Our carefully selected and loving teachers utilize a relevance-based curriculum combined with child-directed play to make learning FUN and start each child on their journey to becoming a life-long learner. 7900 E Kemper Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45249, www., Phone: (513) 629-KIDS, info@

Chai Tots Early Childhood Center Academic excellence via a unique blend of Jewish and Montessori education offering strong academics, stressing life skills, interpersonal relationship skills and nurturing a love for life-long learning. Individualized curriculum customized for each student, expansive naturally lit rooms, low student ratio. Specials include yoga, music, Hebrew, Spanish, dance, drama, art and Tae Kwon Do. Flexible schedules, before and aftercare, web cams and after-school enrichment available. Transportation available to/from Mason schools. Limited space - now enrolling! 7587 Central Parke Blvd., Mason, OH 45040, Phone: (513) 234-0600,, Ages/Grades: Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten (6 weeks-6 years), Enrollment: 60

CINCINNATI HILLS CHRISTIAN ACADEMY CHCA is a vibrant, multidenominational, college preparatory school serving students Age 2- grade 12. We’re investing $9MM to deliver new levels of student engagement through expanded facilities including an expanded Early Childhood Learning Center, Innovation Labs, a Greenhouse, and Engineering and Applied Science Labs. CHCA is leading the way to higher levels of cognitive, relational, and spiritual engagement for each student. 11525 Snider Road, Cincinnati, OH 45249, Contact: Natalie Pfister, Enrollment Director, Phone: (513)2470900, Email:, www.chca-oh. org, Ages 2 - Grade 12, Enrollment: 1350






Ages 6 weeks-6 years plus after school & summer camp up to age 12. Offering outstanding ReggioInspired full and part-time Infant, Toddler, Two’s, and Preschool programs, as well as Kindergarten, After School, and Summer Camp for school-age children. Degreed teachers, extensive parent communication, and welcoming family environment. Setting the standard in early care and education. NAEYC Accredited. Call today for your personal tour.

Skidaddles offers convenient, flexible, reliable care without reservations. Drop by days, evenings and weekends for a few hours or all day. Feel confident knowing your children will have fun while learning from a qualified staff in a safe and clean environment.

9370 Waterstone Blvd., Cincinnati, OH 45249, Contact: Meghan Schymanski, Phone: 513-683-8833, Fax: 513-683-8456, Email: compass.meghan@gmail. com,

Creative Tots, Mason Our holistic approach allows children (18 months - 5 1/2 years) the opportunity to learn, explore, play and grow while engaging in the fine arts, science, music, yoga and a modernized curriculum. We provide opportunities to use creativity, solve problems, use language, develop new vocabulary and reading skills, while engaging in intellectual activities. There are elements of STEAM education, bilingual education, arts education, as well as lots of physical activities to strengthen the mind and body.

Florence: 8660 Bankers Street, Florence, KY 41042, Phone: 859-647-7529, MasonL 5939 Deerfield Blvd Suite 104, Mason, OHIO 45040, Phone: 513-2043482,

YMCA of Greater Cincinnati The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati offers state licensed before and after school care at over 85 locations throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. 1105 Elm Street, Cincinnnati, OH 45202, Contact: Trish Kitchell, VP Youth Development, Phone: 513-362-YMCA, Fax: 513-651-3540, Email:, www., Grades: Ages 3-12, Enrollment: Stop by any YMCA of Greater Cincinnati location or check with your local school district.


6408 Thornberry Ct.,, Mason, oh 45040, Contact: Emilie Parry, Phone: 513-770-6776, Email:, www.creativetotsmason. com, Grades: Toddler: 18 months-3 years, Preschool: 3-4 years; Pre-K: 4-5 years

Central Montessori Academy

Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church Preschool

1904 Springdale Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45231, Contact: Kristin Patterson, Phone: 513-742-5800, Fax: 513-7425870, Email:,, Grades: ToddlerGrade 6, Enrollment: 100

At HPCUMC Preschool, our goal is to encourage the development of each child's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills, as well as spiritual growth in order to prepare each child for life-long learning. We provide a learning environment where student-centered learning takes place through exploration, play, experimentation, and discovery. Children are encouraged to try new tasks, use their imagination, make friends, follow directions, focus their energy and develop a love of learning. HPCUMC Preschool is a five-star awarded Step Up to Quality school. Registration for the 2018-19 school year begins December 4, 2017. Registration materials will be available online in late-November 2017. 1345 Grace Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45208, Contact: Julie Vail, Phone: 513-979-8191, Email: jvail@hpcumc. org,, Grades: 30 months to 5 years of age

Authentic Montessori environment, serving toddler through 6th grade. Small class sizes allow each student to progress at an individual pace. Part-time preschool and extended day are available. Our school is a place of discovery, curiosity, respect and enthusiasm. Come take a tour and see for yourself.

Children’s Meeting House Montessori School Children's Meeting House Montessori School has been proudly educating students from preschool through 6th grade using the principles of the Montessori philosophy since 1972. CMH offers a variety of preschool, enrichment and before/after school options to meet each family’s needs. Partner with our devoted staff of experienced and Montessori trained teachers throughout your child’s most developmental years. CMH – where learning happens, naturally. Find out more or schedule a tour on our website. 927 O’Bannonville Road, Loveland, OH 45140, Contact: Casey Reed, Director, Phone: 513-683-4757, Email:,, Grades: Preschool through Sixth grade, Enrollment: 150

Country Hills Montessori Providing programs for 3 to K. Small, individualized classes with low student-teacher ratios, under the guidance of Montessori certified teachers, in an inter-generational environment. Multiple Locations in Eastgate, Oakley, Harrison and West Chester Ohio and in Ft. Thomas KY. Visit for all location addresses & phones. Contact: Susan Schreiber, Owner, Email: susan@,, Grades: 3 - K

The Good Shepherd Catholic Montessori GSCM is a unique Catholic Montessori school set on a 12-acre campus. GSCM features nurturing Montessori teachers and individualized learning. 3, 4 or 5 day preschool options, full-day Kindergarten, and aftercare available. Spanish, unparalleled faith formation with the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, art, music, dance and drama enrichment offered. 4460 Berwick Street, Cincinnati, 513-271-4171, www., Grades: 3-year olds through grade 8, including full-day Kindergarten, Enrollment: 205; Contact: Dan Teller, Executive Director, dteller@

Little Sprouts Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten Little Sprouts Montessori nurtures the natural curiosity and enthusiasm of children, helping them develop a lifetime love of learning. Our goal is to empower children to discover and hone their strengths as they explore the world. We recognize the importance of individualized education, and maintain a 1:6 ratio. 7131 Plainfield Road, Deer Park, OH 45236, Contact: Christie Sawyer, Phone: 513-697-9021, Email: csawyer@,, Grades: Preschool & Kindergarten, Enrollment: Families choose mornings two to four days per week (T/TH and/or W/F), and/or afternoon sessions on Tuesday and Thursday.

Mercy Montessori Center Mercy Montessori is Cincinnati's first Catholic Montessori elementary school and provides students with a personalized education. Mercy offers a sliding scale tuition model, in-school swimming instruction starting at age three, and attracts students from over 50 zip codes. Mercy educates the whole child and develops a strong foundation for learning. 2335 Grandview Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45206, Contact: Amanda Grimm, Admissions Director, Phone: (513) 475-6700 ext. 210, Email: agrimm@,, Grades: Preschool - 8th Grade, Enrollment: 292

Montessori Academy of Cincinnati Our goal is to instill a love of learning in each child and to assure a solid grounding in the basics of education that will help each student achieve his potential. We provide an outstanding, experienced staff, low student-teacher ratios, a nurturing, student-centered approach, and on-site before-school and after-school care. 8293 Duke Boulevard, Mason, Ohio 45040, Phone: 513-398-7773, Email:, http://, Ages/Grades: 18 months through 8th grade


Cincinnati Public SChools Our goal is to provide a rigorous curiculum that cultivates critical thinking and technology skills while encouraging collaboration, real-world connections and endless creativity. It’s not just about getting your children ready for graduation. It’s about getting them into college and preparing them for a thriving career! Phone: 513-363-0123,


The New School Montessori Cincinnati's only school accredited by the American Montessori Society. Centrally located and surrounded by wooded play yards and gardens, students benefit from a nurturing environment where Montessori-credentialed staff support high academic and personal achievement. Full-day, half-day with healthy lunches included in tuition. ISACS and AMS accredited program. 3 Burton Woods Lane, Cincinnati, OH 45229, Contact: Ceara Comstock, Phone: (513)281-7999, Email:, www.newschool, Grades: 3-year-olds through Grade 6, Enrollment: 135


ST. GERTRUDE SCHOOL Saint Gertrude School offers academic excellence in the Dominican tradition: preaching Truth, practicing virtue, and loving one another in Christ. Students from 21 school districts. IOWA testing ranked 4th among 90 Cincinnati Catholic grade schools. Aftercare, outdoor classroom, STEM, Rosary Procession, household intergrade leadership, Latin, professionally coached musical theater, extracurriculars. 6543 Miami Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45243, Contact: Elaine Nolte, Assistant Principal, Phone: 513-561-8020,, Enrollment: 338

BRAIN BALANCE OF CINCINNATI Brain Balance Achievement Centers offer a cutting-edge, drug-free approach to help children improve their ability to learn academically, socially and emotionally. We don’t just work with your child’s strengths or compensate for a weakness. We tackle your child’s issue head on, by addressing the root cause at the most fundamental level. 12084 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45249, Phone: (513) 257-0705, locations/brain-balance-center-of-cincinnati/

Springer School and Center For more than 45 years, Springer School and Center has empowered students with learning disabilities to lead successful lives. Springer offers a day school for students ages 6-14 and outreach programs and learning disability resources for students, parents and teachers in the Greater Cincinnati area. The Springer Experience. Success Starts Here. 2121 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45208, Contact: Carmen Mendoza, Admissions Director, Phone: 513 871-6080 ext. 211, Fax: 513 871-6428, Email:,, Grades: 1 through 8, Enrollment: 200


Ohio virtual academy THE SUMMIT COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Founded in 1890, The Summit serves students from age 2 to Grade 12. A Montessori Program for ages 2-6 begins the academic journey followed by a college-preparatory program (Grades 1-12). The Summit educates students spiritually, academically, physically, socially and artistically while offering the academic excellence and one-on-one guidance of a top-tier Catholic independent school. 2161 Grandin Road (Hyde Park), Cincinnati, OH 45208, Phone: 513-871-4700, ext. 261, Email: pearl_e@,

Ohio Virtual Academy is an innovative online school with passionate educators dedicated to inspiring and empowering students. Partnering with the K12 curriculum, OHVA provides an engaging blend of interactive online lessons and offline materials that cater to varied learning styles, allowing students the opportunity to master lesson objectives. Phone: 1.866.339.9071,


December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 29


now through January 1st


SAT 02 & 09


SUN 03

calendar D ECE M B ER 2 0 1 7 FRI 01

FRI 01 – SAT 02

Fitton Family Fridays: Celebrate the Season


Come explore the history and festivities surrounding our favorite time of the year. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or a different holiday during the season, you will gain a newfound respect for the traditions that bind this magical season together through the song and dance of our fantastic performers! Time: 7:30 pm, Location: Fitton Center for Creative Arts, fitton-family-fridays, Phone: 513-863-8873, ext. 110

Holiday Music Performance

Enjoy live performances of festive holiday music by local groups. In this show, the Cincinnati Dulcimer Society will be followed by the Colerain High School Chamber Orchestra. FREE. Time 7-8:30 pm, Location: Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve/Ellenwood Nature Barn, https://www., Phone: 513-521-7275


Redsfest is the official annual winter warm-up of the Cincinnati Reds. Traditionally held in early December at the Duke Energy Convention Center, this event features games and activities for kids of all ages, including interaction with past, current and future stars of the Cincinnati Reds. Time: Check website for schedule, Location: Duke Energy Convention Center,

SAT 02 2017 Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Festival

The 29th Annual Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Festival is held in the heart of downtown Lebanon, Ohio. The horse-drawn carriage parades will be at 1 and 7 pm. The festival, food and craft vendors, Santa and more happens from 10-8 pm.

FREE. Time: 10-8 pm, Location: Downtown Lebanon, https://

SAT 09

December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 31

Holiday in the Village


Head to Olde Montgomery for a healthy dose of holiday spirit. From a tree lighting ceremony to carolers to horse-drawn carriage rides, there’s plenty of free fun for families at this annual event. FREE.

MON 04 Time: 4-5 pm, Location: Mt. Washington Branch Library,, Phone: 513-369-6033

Time: Check website for event times, Location: Various locations in Downtown Montgomery, https://www.

THURS 07 – SUN 10

Sing Me A Story: A Christmas Carol

An Old Kentucky Christmas

Cincinnati Boychoir's annual Sing Me A Story holiday extravaganza is back! With holiday favorites and new songs destined to become classics, the two hundred members of the Cincinnati Boychoir’s Aronoff programs will help put you in the giving spirit with a fun retelling of the Dickens classic.

An Old Kentucky Christmas will take you back in time to the simplicity of a colonial Kentucky Christmas. The smell of Grandma's cookies, the sound of carols and laughter, the joy of watching children and adults decorating ornaments – you’ll find it all at this free event hosted by Burlington’s First Church of Christ. FREE.

Time: 5 pm, Location: Aronoff Center, Price: $20/ticket,


Join us for our 5th annual holiday celebration and arts fair! Start the afternoon making an ornament in our Holiday Workshop, then join us for food and fellowship while we enjoy a musical treat from four of Westwood’s best choirs. Finally, cap off the night with the first annual lighting of the Westwood Community Tree. Time: 4-7 pm, Location: Westwood Town Hall Recreation Center, DecktheHall/

SAT 02 & SAT 09 Each Saturday Santa rappels down the Huntington Center at 525 Vine St., to the Macy’s rooftop to kick off a spectacular fireworks display. This 20-minute family-friendly program also features performances from local choirs. Then, come inside to Macy’s Fountain Place to warm-up with holiday fun. FREE. Time: 6:30 pm, Location: Fountain Square, https://www. holidays-downtown

MON 04 National Cookie Day

Decorate cookies for National Cookie Day. While supplies last. No registration required. FREE. Time: 4-5 pm, Location: Northside Branch Library,, Phone: 513-369-4449

Build a Gingerbread House

Join local entrepreneur Beverly Mussari for a holiday event that has become a beloved tradition! All food items are provided; just bring your imagination! Please limit one sign-up per family. FREE. Time: 7-8 pm, Location: Blue Ash Branch Library, http://, Phone: 513-369-6051

TUES 05 – SUN 10

SAT 02 – SUN 03 Holiday Lunch Cruise

Time: 12 pm (boards at 11 am), Location: BB Riverboats,, Phone: 1-800-261-8586

SUN 03 Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical The beloved TV classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Come see all of your favorite characters from the special including Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life in this fun holiday musical. Don't miss this wonderful holiday tradition that speaks to the misfit in all of us!



Taft Jr.: Holiday Fun

Start your holiday fun at the Taft. Enjoy a holiday story, make an ornament, and explore the toys and decorations of the Taft’s Antique Christmas display. Free for Taft members and kids; $10 non-members in advance (includes Museum admission) and $12 day of program. Time: 11:15 am-12:15 pm, Location: Taft Museum of Art,, Phone: 513-2410343

FRI 08 Holiday Skies

Come join us as we experience the real holiday light show, the winter sky. Discover the mysteries of the Christmas Star, see a bright holiday “wreath” of twinkling lights, and hear the tale of the man being pulled across the sky - and his three baby goats! Programs are open to adults and children ages 5 and older. Fee is $5/person and reservations are required. Time: 7-8 pm, Location: Wolff Planetarium in Burnet Woods, holiday-skies-4/?instance_id=16359

A Christmas Story, The Musical

SAT 09 – SUN 10 & FRI 15 – SUN 17

Ralphie Parker wants only one thing for Christmas: An Official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. A Christmas Story, The Musical is the hilarious account of Ralphie’s desperate quest to ensure that this most perfect of gifts ends up under his tree this Christmas. Directed by Tony Award®-winner John Rando, this new musical is based on the classic 1983 movie. A Christmas Story captures holiday wonder with such deliciously wicked wit that it is sure to delight children and grown-ups alike.

CinderellA *CP PICK


Break up your day and sail away! Climb aboard for a 2-hour cruise featuring games, entertainment, and a delicious holiday buffet. Plus, enjoy a special appearance by Santa on all Saturday lunch cruises.


Time: 2 pm, Location: Aronoff Center, https://www., Phone: 513-621-2787




Time: Check website for schedule, Location: Burlington First Church of Christ in Burlington, KY, http://

Time: Check website for schedule, Location: Aronoff Center for the Arts, events/detail/christmas-story, Phone: 513-621-2787

THURS 07 Reindeer Games

Get ready for a heap of holiday fun! Make your own reindeer ornament, play "Rudolph says" and help decorate the library gingerbread house. Grades K-5. Registration required.FREE.

For the holidays, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati will treat audiences to a Cinderella Christmas. In this hilarious holiday panto, you’ll jeer at the deliciously dysfunctional stepmother and sisters as much as you’ll cheer for Cinderella in her quest to attend the magnificent Christmas Ball. With plenty of audience participation, side-splitting humor, and outlandish characters, boys will love this classic fairytale set to pop music just as much as girls! Time: Check website for schedule, Location: Taft Theatre, cinderella, Phone: 513-569-8080

SAT 09 – SUN 10 Holly Days

Travel back in time to feel the warmth and beauty of a 19th Century holiday season. Some of our historical buildings will be decked out with traditional decorations from the 1800's. See our Village come

alive with storytelling, craft making, model train displays, music, holiday treats, and more! Admission is $10 adults, $6 children 5-11 and free for kids 4 and under and museum members. Time: 12-4 pm each day, Location: Heritage Village Museum,, Phone: 513-563-9484

SAT 09 Mt. Adams Reindog Parade

Why do reindeer get to have all the fun? Easily the most adorable (and furry!) holiday parade in Cincy, the Mt. Adams Reindog Parade has been a tradition for over 20 years! FREE. Time: 2 pm, Location: Mt. Adams along St. Gregory Street,

Christmas Tree Lighting at Deerfield Towne Center Deerfield Township and the Deerfield Towne Center have teamed up for this free annual community event! Enjoy carriage rides, arts and crafts and pictures with Santa, who arrives on a bright, red fire truck. FREE.

Time: 5-7 pm, Location: Deerfield Towne Center, https:// aspx?ProgramID=29858

SUN 10 Celebrate the Season

Holiday traditions are almost as old as holidays themselves. Come explore the history and festivities surrounding our favorite time of the year. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or a different holiday during the season, you will gain a newfound respect for the traditions that bind this magical season together through the song and dance of our TCT On Tour actors. Tickets are free for kids and $5 for adults. Time: 2 pm, Location: Clifton Cultural Arts Center, https://www., Phone: 513-497-2860

Brunch with Santa

Start a family holiday tradition! Celebrate holiday cheer with Santa and enjoy a delicious buffet of more than 25 items. Santa will greet children and listen to wish lists. Each child will receive one complimentary photo. Advance registration is required. Tickets are $18.35/adult, $8.75/child ages 2-12 (plus tax) and free for children under 2. Time: 10 am & 12:30 pm seating times, Location: Winton Woods/ Mill Race Banquet Center,, Phone: 513-521-7275

MON 11 3rd Annual Lego Menorah Building

Join us for the 3rd annual PJ Library Hanukkah Celebration and use Legos to build a menorah! This celebration will have fun for the whole family, with dinner included in the cost of admission. PJ Our Way participants ages 8-13 may sign up to join in the menorah building competition – you’ll be given a menorah building kit and have 20 minutes to build your menorah. Fellow PJ Our Way participants will get to vote on their favorite creations, with prizes for the top three winners! Registration required; cost is $10 for J Members, $12 for nonmembers and kids under 3 are free. Time: 5:30 pm, Location: Mayerson JCC, https://www.

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Candy House Creations for Children

Build and decorate a graham cracker candy house to take home! All materials will be provided, just bring your imagination. For families and children of all ages. Children under 6 years of age must bring an adult to assist them during the program. Registration required.

FREE. Time: 4-5 pm, Location: Wyoming Branch Library, http://, Phone: 513-369-6014


Gingerbread House Family Fun Night

Join us to hear a gingerbread story and make a gingerbread house! For ages 12 and under with caregiver. FREE.

Time: 6:30 pm, Location: Harrison Branch Library,, Phone: 513-369-4442

WEDS 13 – SAT 16 & WEDS 20 – SAT 23 Are Reindeer Really Real?

Art Club: Handmade Holiday Cards

Get creative and make holiday cards for friends and family. No registration required. FREE.

Time: 3:30-4:30 pm, Location: Reading Branch Library,, Phone: 513-369-4465

Reindeer are real animals – but can they really fly? Learn about reindeer and their closely related kin, including their local cousins, the white-tailed deer. Program included with admission: $2/person. Time: Check website for schedule, Location: Glenwood Gardens/Highfield Discovery Garden, https://www., Phone: 513-521-7275


TUES 12 – WEDS 13 Growing Up a Farm Kid: Farm Holidays

Help the animals on the farm celebrate the holidays. For children ages 2-5 accompanied by an adult. Cost is $10/child + one free adult and $5/additional adult. Register by Dec. 10th. Time: 9:30-11am, Location: Winton Woods/Parky’s Farm,, Phone: 513-5217275

WEDS 13 Teen Club: Make a Star Wars AT-AT Walker

Teens celebrate the movie release of Star Wars The Last Jedi by helping make a giant AT-AT Walker to decorate the Teen Space at Deer Park! All supplies provided. Star Wars costumes welcome. No reservation required. FREE.

Time: 3-5:30 pm, Location: Deer Park Branch Library,, Phone: 513-369-4450

Chanukah Wonderland (Menorah Lighting) at Deerfield Towne Center

In partnership with The Jewish Discovery Center, friends and families can gather at Deerfield Towne Center to celebrate the Festival of Lights! This event includes the menorah lighting, music, entertainment, refreshments and more! FREE. Time: 5:30-6:30 pm, Location: Deerfield Towne Center, aspx?ProgramID=29858

The Great Holiday Cupcake Decorating Competition!

SAT 16 Cincinnati Cyclones: PJ Masks Appearance

Get your photo with Gekko, Owlette, and Catboy on the concourse before and during the Cyclones match vs. the Quad City Mallards! Time: 7:30 pm, Location: U.S. Bank Arena, http://

Holiday Market at Washington Park

Shop local this holiday season! The Holiday Market at Washington Park is a festive event featuring loads of cheer and one-of-a-kind gifts. Browsing is free, but you might want to set aside a shopping allowance! Time: 5-10 pm, Location: Washington Park, http://www.

SAT 16 – SUN 17 Holiday Crafts

Drop by to make crafts all about the holiday season and winter! Kids can make up to two crafts to take home. For ages 5-12. Cost is $1/craft, payable at the door. Time: 1-3 pm, Location: Woodland Mound/Seasongood Nature Center,, Phone: 513-521-7275

SUN 17 Read to a Therapy Pet!

Our furry friends from Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati will be in the store for customers of all ages to read to and pet! This is a fantastic way for kids to practice their reading skills with a sweet, nonjudgmental listener! FREE.

Teens! Join us December 14th at 4 pm for a special holiday edition of Cupcake Wars! Compete with other teens to see who can decorate the best holiday inspired cupcakes. All materials will be provided. Registration required.

Time: 2-3 pm, Location: Blue Manatee, http://www., Phone: 513-731-2665

Time: 4-5 pm, Location: Mt. Washington Branch Library,, Phone: 513-369-6033

WEDS 20 Wrap It Up!

Come create some unique ways to wrap gifts! No registration required. FREE.

FRI 15 Story Time: Winter is for Snow

Don't miss this story time classic! After reading "Winter is for Snow" by Robert Neubecker, students will design and create their own fused glass wintery scene. Ages 3-6. No experience necessary. Time: 1:30-2:15 pm, Location: Brazee Street Studios, story-time-winter-is-for-snow, Phone: 513-321-0206

Time: 3-4 pm, Location: Greenhills Branch Library,, Phone: 513-369-4441

THURS 21 Teen Movie Day: Elf

Watch New Line Cinema's Elf starring Will Ferrell. Popcorn and drinks provided. For teens in grades 6-12; registration required. FREE. Time: 5:30-7 pm, Location: Montfort Heights Branch Library, Calendar, Phone: 513-369-4472






FRI 22 Family Nights at Krohn by Candlelight

Enjoy the beauty of the Krohn exhibit by the light of holiday twinkle. There will be live music and other special programs as well as a visit with Santa or other costumed characters (depending on the night). Time: 5-7:30 pm, Location: Krohn Conservatory, http://

Time: 12-3 pm, Location: Woodland Mound/Seasongood Nature Center,, Phone: 513-521-7275

Time: 6 pm, Location: U.S. Bank Arena, http://


Happy Zoo Year *CP PICK

Walk the Lights Night *CP PICK

Start your New Year’s resolution early with some festive exercise! Join us for a family fun night as we walk through Holiday in Lights. Strollers and leashed pets are welcome. For more information, visit holidayinlights. com. $5/person; free for children under 2.

FRI 22 – SUN 24

Time: 6-10 pm, Location: Sharon Woods, https://www., Phone: 513-521-7275

Santa-bration at Carol Ann’s Carousel


Santa’s coming, Santa’s coming, to Carol Ann’s Carousel for holiday fun at Santa-bration! Enjoy holiday and winter crafts all weekend. Want a pic with Santa? Just bring your cell phones and snap a selfie with Santa. Enter for your chance to win a Parks goodie bag! Time: 11 am-5 pm, Location: Carol Ann’s Carousel, http://

SAT 23 Winter Scavenger Hunt

Join us for a cool hunt while keeping warm. Various winter treasures will be hidden inside our nature center. Find them all to win a prize! FREE.

Guests are invited to ring in the New Year at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. “Party Animals” of all ages invited to celebrate the 8th annual Happy ZOO Year powered by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Honda Dealers. New Year’s activities will include shows of Winter Wonders by Madcap Puppets, a meet and greet with Father Time and Baby ZOO Year and the Zoo will cap off all celebrations with an EARLY countdown with fireworks presented by Rozzi Fireworks. Time: 5-9 pm, Location: Cincinnati Zoo, http://, Phone: 513-281-4700

New Year’s Craft

Make a New Year's craft. No registration required.

FREE. Time: 4-5 pm, Location: Northside Branch Library,, Phone: 513-369-4449

SUN 31 Cincinnati Cyclones New Year’s Eve Fireworks

End your 2017 in a family friendly setting with the Cyclones with this special game! Immediately following the game versus the Brampton Beast, the Cyclones will once again host indoor fireworks!

New Year’s Eve Kids Cruise

Come aboard and ring in 2018... just not so late at night! Bring the whole family as we countdown to 2018 at 12 noon. Your cruise will be complete with all the party favors as well as a DJ for entertainment. There will be some great activities throughout the day for the kids as well as a tasty lunch buffet. Some of your favorite characters from our Pirate, Princess, and Super Hero cruises will be onboard celebrating with you! Ring in the new year in style without having to stay up to the wee hours of the night. Time: 11:30 am (boards at 10:30 am), Location: BB Riverboats,, Phone: 1-800-261-8586

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ongoing events Santa’s Workshop Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23

This year, ditch your annual trip to the mall and venture down to Washington Park to see Santa Claus! Every Saturday in December, Santa and his merry band of Elves will be spending time in Washington Park making gifts, ornaments and other fun creations from 1-3 pm. Stop by the wish-list station where elves will help you write a list to give to Santa when you meet him- or bring yours from home! Time: 1-3 pm, Location: Washington Park, https://

Frisch’s Big Boy Presents The Nutcracker *CP PICK

PNC Festival of Lights

Holiday in Lights

Through Jan. 1, 2018

Through Dec. 31

The Cincinnati Zoo’s PNC Festival of Lights is one of the best-loved holiday traditions in the city. The 3 million twinkling lights transform the Zoo into a Winter Wonderland that’s straight out of a fairy tale. This year’s 35th anniversary event features all your favorite traditions, from a Madcap black-light puppet show, the BB&T Toyland Express, the Wild Lights show on Swan Lake and hot chocolate and S’mores stands. New this year: Santa will be available for visits starting at 4 p.m., an hour before the rest of the festivities begin. So come early and be sure to bring your kids’ wish lists! (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day).

Holiday in Lights 2017 presented by The Alleen Company, an established Cincinnati Holiday tradition for over 27 years, is an outdoor light display at Sharon Woods, a Great Park of Hamilton County, viewed by guests from the comfort of their own vehicle. Built over a mile of wooded roadway, the holiday themed displays of fantastic seasonal color adorn the woods, depicting everything from Santa Claus and his elves to every animal on the ark. Admission is $13 per vehicle ($45 for buses and 15 passenger vans).

Time: Open Sunday-Thursday from 5-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5-10 p.m., Location: Cincinnati Zoo,, Phone: 513-281-4700

Christmas Nights of Lights

Dec. 14-24

The Nutcracker is one of the most beloved holiday traditions in Cincinnati, and this year is even more special as the Cincinnati Ballet’s celebrated show returns to Music Hall after 11 years! Kids will delight in the story of Clara and her Nutcracker Prince, the Snow Queen and her King, the Sugar Plum Fairy and Mouse King. Of course, The Nutcracker truly is a sum of all its parts, and the many dancers, famous Tchaikovsky score and beautiful ambiance of Music Hall make this holiday performance truly magical. With a number of family-friendly matinees and weeknight shows, you’ll definitely want to start a new holiday tradition with the Cincinnati Ballet this year! Time: Check website for schedule, Location: Music Hall,, Phone: 513-6215282

Through Jan. 1, 2018

This family event features a 2-mile car ride through Christmas displays and light shows consisting of over a million LED lights, driven by more than ten thousand computer channels. From the warmth of your own car, you can sing along to the sounds of the season synchronized to each holiday display. The show will begin nightly at dusk and run through 10 p.m. Christmas Nights of Lights will be open every night including holidays. Time: 5-10 p.m. nightly, Location: Coney Island, light-show/, Phone: 513-232-8230

A Christmas Carol Through Dec. 30

Holiday Junction featuring Brickopolis *CP PICK

Time: Check website, Location: Cincinnati Museum Center,, Phone: 513-287-7000

The Playhouse's version of A Christmas Carol combines faithful storytelling with spellbinding stage magic to bring to life its familiar story of a sinner given one last chance at redemption by four persuasive ghosts. Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a miraculous Christmas Eve trans- formation as he views with new eyes his past, present and the possibilities of the future. As he witnesses all those who have improved his life he realizes that it's never too late to change his miserly ways. A Christmas Carol's heart- warming message, hundreds of costumes and thrilling special effects help to make the show one of the Playhouse's most popular productions each year.

Antique Christmas

Time: Check website for schedule, Location: Playhouse in the Park, a-christmas-carol, Phone: 513-421-3888

Through Jan. 2, 2018

Holiday Junction featuring Brickopolis will include a blizzard of bricks crafted into custom LEGO creations. From floor to ceiling, 1,800 square feet of LEGO landscapes will feature motorized trains, whimsical scenes with local flavor and a merry amount of surprises tucked into every pip of their environment. In addition, train displays, the kid-sized train and the arrival of Santa on Nov. 24th make this event a must for Cincinnati families.

Through Jan. 7, 2018

Escape to a winter wonderland of Christmas past at the Taft’s annual display of antique ornaments, decorations and toys. Free admission and parking every Sunday! Time: Check website for hours, Location: Taft Museum,, Phone: 513-241-0343

Christmas at the Junction Through Dec. 31

Create a holiday tradition for your family! See the magic of Christmas at the home of the World’s Largest Indoor Train Display. Take a “Journey to the North Pole”, where you can meet Mrs. Claus and Santa himself. Time: Open daily, Location: Entertrainment Junction,, Phone: 513-898-8000




Time: Sun.-Thurs. from 6-9 p.m. and Fri.-Sat. from 5:30-10p.m., Location: Sharon Woods, http://www., Phone: 513-769-0393

Santaland at the Sharon Centre Through Dec. 23

After your tour of Holiday in Lights, head inside Sharon Centre for some more holiday magic. Enjoy live family-friendly entertainment, share your wish list with Santa, check out the train display, do some holiday shopping at Nature’s Niche and pick up a sweet treat at Mrs. Claus’ Confectioneries. FREE, some activities require a small fee.

Time: Check website for schedule, Location: Sharon Center, http:// html, Phone: 513-769-0393

Holiday Lights on the Hill

Through Dec. 31

Holiday Lights on the Hill is a 2-mile round trip drive-through annual light display. $20/ carload on Monday-Thursday; $25/carload on Friday-Sunday (members pay $15). Time: Open 6-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 6-10 p.m. on Friday-Sunday, Location: Pyramid Hill, the-hill, Phone: 513-868-1234

Cincinnati Choo Choo Through Jan, 7, 2018

Discover the magic of being home for the holidays aboard the Cincinnati Choo Choo at Krohn Conservatory! The conservatory showroom will be filled with ruby red poinsettias, fanciful evergreens, cyclamen, amaryllis, and more of your favorite holiday plants. Delightful botanical architecture surrounded by many miles of train track will be created in natural components by the Applied Imagination team. Admission is $7/adults, $4/kids 5-17 and free for kids 4 and under. Time: Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily with special hours on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Location: Krohn Conservatory, http://www., Phone: 513-421-4086

WinterFest *CP PICK Through Dec. 30 (select dates)

Light Up Middletown

Ring in the holidays with the return of WinterFest at Kings Island on select nights November 24 through December 30. It’s an unforgettable experience with the park transformed into nine enchanting winter wonderlands featuring ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the Eiffel Tower transformed into the world’s largest Christmas tree, up to 17 rides including Mystic Timbers, more than 5 million lights and 14 holiday characters spreading merriment, like Jack Frost and Sugar Plum Fairy.

Since 1999, Light Up Middletown has grown to be a family holiday tradition and has attracted over 800,000 visitors. All arches accommodate full size tour buses. Santa and Mrs. Claus are on hand every Friday and Saturday night 7-9 p.m. until December 23rd. Admission is by cash donation only - you set the price!

Time: Check website for schedule, Location: Kings Island,, Phone: 513-754-5700

Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa Through Dec. 31

Discover the magic of Water Wonderland as Newport Aquarium presents a holiday celebration under the sea. It’s an experience that's overflowing with enchantment and fun experiences the whole family will love. Join the fun as Scuba Santa fills his air tank with magic bubbles - and sends them throughout the Aquarium creating an enchanted Water Wonderland. Be amazed as you're surrounded by lights and bubbles dancing to holiday music in Shark Ray Bay Theater, where you'll also have the opportunity to meet Scuba Santa one-on-one. Time: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, Location: Newport Aquarium, Aquarium-Events/Water-Wonderland-With-ScubaSanta, Phone: 1-800-406-3474

Through Dec. 31

Time: 6-10 p.m. nightly including holidays, Location: Verity Parkway/500 Tytus Avenue in Downtown Middletown, home.aspx

The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill Through Dec. 31

The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill was one of the nominees in USA TODAY'S 10 Best Readers' Choice 2014 travel award contest! Admission is $10 per person for everyone age 7 and older. Children 6 and under get in free! Time: 5-9 p.m. nightly (closes at 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve), Location: Clifton Mill,

Crib of the Nativity Weekend Carriage Rides at Macy’s Celebration Station Dec. 2-3; and Dec. 9-10

Enjoy free horse-drawn trolley carriage rides through the heart of the city. FREE. Time: 12-5 p.m., Location: Boards at corner of Fifth and Race Streets, Downtown Cincinnati, http://www. holidays-downtown

North Pole Express Dec. 3, 8-10, 15-17, 21-24

The LM&M railroad’s North Pole Express has become a Christmas tradition for many families. We invite you to experience the magic of a train ride with Santa Claus himself during the Christmas season. Time: Check website for train schedule, Location: LM&M Railroad,, Phone: 513-933-8022


Dec. 9-Jan. 1, 2018

Sponsored by Western & Southern, this live nativity scene features live animals - a cow, sheep and a donkey - in an antique barn just outside Krohn Conservatory. Time: 9 am-9 pm daily, Location: Krohn Conservatory, action~month/exact_date~1512104400/request_ format~html/

P L EASE NOTE At CINCINNATI PARENT, we work hard to ensure our calendar and guide information is accurate. Occasionally, event specifics change after we go to press. Therefore, we encourage our readers to call locations or visit them on the web to verify information.


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December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 37










1 Fritters Day Eat a Red Apple Day

3 Make a Gift Day

4 Wear Brown Shoes Day



Mountain Day

World Choral Day


Ninja Day

6 St. Nicholas Day



Cotton Candy Day Brownie Day



Hanukkah begins

14 Monkey Day

15 Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Violin Day

17 Maple Syrup Day



Bake Cookies Day Look for an Evergreen Day


Christmas Eve

25 31



Go Caroling Day



Kwanzaa begins

27 Make Cut-Out Snowflakes Day


21 First Day of Winter

28 Card Playing Day

22 Date Nut Bread Day


Gingerbread Decorating Day


Chocolate Covered Anything Day

23 Roots Day


Tick Tock Day Bacon Day


December 2017 // CINCINNATIPARENT.COM 39

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1217 cp issuu