Hometown Moments & Memories 2016

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Hometown

Hometown Moments & Memories

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Guide to a Joyous Holiday

Eco-Friendly 06

HEART OF TRADITION

Holiday Wrap 10

GREAT GIFT IDEAS

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TIS THE SEASON TO SHOP LOCAL

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HOLIDAY RECIPES


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Contents OF 06 HEART TRADITION TRAVEL TIPS 08 HOLIDAY WITH YOUR KIDS IDEAS 10 GIFT FOR HIM IDEAS 12 GIFT FOR HER IDEAS 14 GIFT FOR KIDS 16 ECO-FRIENDLY HOLIDAY WRAP FORGET 17 DON’T YOUR TEACHERS 18 CHOCOLATE COOKIE BARK FOR YOUR 20 CARING POINSETTIAS THE SEASON 22 TIS TO SHOP LOCAL & BRIE DIP, 24 CRABMEAT SAUSAGE ROLLS & ARTICHOKE DIP

On the cover: Harvest your GARDEN MOSS for decorating wrapping paper. Cut a square from a paper bag to use as the liner and glue moss or grass onto the bag. Once it dries, wrap your gift.

NUT NOG 25 GINGER FRENCH TOAST &

SANTA’S GET UP AND GO-HO-HO SMOOTHIE

26 CHRISTMAS PRESENT SOUP TO 28 COUNTDOWN CHRISTMAS 29 HOLIDAY SHOPPING LIST


Hometown STAFF Executive Publishers H.G. FOX, SR. SUZANNE FOX Editor CINDY ARMAND LUGO Copy Editor MICHELE ROBERT POCHE Contributing Writers CINDY ARMAND LUGO MICHELE ROBERT POCHE SUZANNE FOX Creative Director | JENNIFER CABALLERO Art Director | PHAM QUYNH TRANG Digital & Marketing | NEAL BOYD Print Production | DEBBIE WELDON

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Heart of Tradition A

t the heart of tradition is the sharing of simple pleasures with the people you love. As the Christmas season rolls in, I can’t help but think of the traditions that have personalized this holiday for my family and me. Even with three sons now in their twenties, I still reminisce about the years when they were living at home and we engaged in our favorite activities each holiday season. Beginning with the tree, we’d make a day of it, trekking to a nearby Christmas tree farm to select the fullest tree worthy of displaying the family ornaments. There was a day set aside to make Christmas cookies

and an evening designated to drive around viewing beautiful homes illuminated with holiday splendor. On another evening, we schedule time to gather as a family and watch a DVD of A Christmas Story. I got into the habit of making cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, a tradition my boys still enjoy if they sleep over on Christmas Eve. One of our favorite activities, which has grown as familiar as gathering for Christmas dinner, is our tradition of taking a day during the season to go out to breakfast together and then spend time walking through the lobbies of downtown hotels to view the decorations. There are abundant opportunities to

take a Christmas-themed family photo as we peruse the elaborate holiday displays and enormous Christmas trees. As our family has grown to include significant others and grandchildren, we always anticipate sharing family customs with those who have entered our clan. The children want to help guide Santa’s reindeer team to our house. They enjoy helping make reindeer dust, which is a mixture of oatmeal and glitter. Just sprinkle on the lawn Christmas Eve and it never fails! Then before we put the little ones to bed, they help lay out Santa’s cookies and milk. And we don’t forget to leave some fresh carrots for Rudolph and his reindeer buddies!


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DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE CHRISTMAS TRADITION THAT YOU SHARE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY? IT IS NEVER TOO EARLY OR TOO LATE TO START ESTABLISHING NEW CUSTOMS. AS YOUR CHILDREN OUTGROW CERTAIN CHILDHOOD TRADITIONS, LOOK FOR IDEAS TO START NEW ONES.

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Look for ways to begin new traditions and learn to incorporate something that will draw in the new significant others and spouses. Every family tradition had a new beginning.

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Think of taking all the gang out for breakfast instead of dinner. The cost of eating out during the breakfast/brunch hour can be significantly cheaper. Tack on a Christmasthemed activity.

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Engage in a Christmas scavenger hunt. Send family members out in small groups to take pictures of themselves with Christmasrelated objects. Then, have everyone return home to view the collection of photos together over hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.

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Visit a local craft/hobby store to make a special family ornament. During the Christmas season, craft stores offer such opportunities for free or minimal fees.


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Tips For

HOLIDAY T R A V E Lids

With Your K

W

hether by plane, train or automobile, holiday travel is here. And while we’re taking time to talk about the destination, we should also take a moment to plan the traveling. Because we’ve all been kids ourselves and we know that sometimes the “getting there” part can make or break the whole trip. So how do we keep our kids busy, happy and safe ‘til we get there? Let’s take it by age. AGES 0-2. BAG OF TRICKS. Remember Mary Poppins? You want to have a bag like hers, filled with everything from books to loveys to normally “forbidden” items like Scotch tape or car keys. And introduce them one at a time. You’ll be just like a magician, or at least a quirky English nanny.

AGES 3-6. AUDIO BOOKS. Buy or download some beforehand. If you pick great storylines, your kids will listen intently and you’ll have plenty to talk about afterwards. “Mama, why do you think her shoes were made of glass? Isn’t that dangerous, Mama?” AGES 7-10. TRAVEL GAMES. They’re old enough to understand them but still young enough to appreciate them. Timeless favorites include I SPY, Name That Tune or 20 Questions. “Wait, Dad. Can a banana be a vegetable?” AGES 11-14. MUSIC. Make sure their iPods are fully charged and ready prior to leaving. Download some new material to keep them interested. And don’t forget the earphones! Or expect to be serenaded from here to Grandma’s.

did we Oh, wait! Ancdks? ! mention sna

AGES 15-18. READING. Have them

bring some age-appropriate books or magazines on whatever they’re into these days. (Might as well enjoy what they’re reading, right?). Or talk. Because when else do you have your teenager’s uninterrupted attention for hours at a time? Of course, there are plenty of DVDs and gaming devices upon which you can also rely. The secret is not letting that plugged-in existence dominate the entire traveling experience. Enjoy each other’s company while also respecting each other’s space and you’ll be good to go.


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GIFT IDEAS

HIM I t’s that time of year again when you begin pondering ideas for the men in your life. So let’s think out of the box…. the gift box, that is. Here are some stylish suggestions for a season of surprises for him. Facial hair is in! It takes time and patience to grow that beard and guys are generally quite proud of their whiskers. With that being said, whether your guy is sporting a full grown beard or a carefully manicured moustache and goatee, he is likely to appreciate a gift of BEARD OILS. In today’s marketplace, many retailers carry a line of personal products for men. Growing in popularity is an assortment of vendors

producing these specialized oils to battle the brittle and pave the way for a healthier, softer set of whiskers. An added benefit with these oils is the aromatic scent of cedarwood, eucalyptus, tobacco, vanilla, pine and other delicious natural scents which provide an experience to enjoy. Function meets fashion even for men with the advent of a LEATHER WALLET EQUIPPED WITH A BUILT-IN BATTERY for charging on the go. This surely kills two birds with one stone. Consider buying your guy a stylish wallet that has the capacity to charge his cell phone with a high density lithium ion battery that is no thicker than your average wallet. He will thank you. I guarantee!

For the active guy who prefers backpacks over duffle bags and computer bags, scout out a selection of WATERPROOF BACKPACKS. In today’s modern market, guys can do away with their collegebook-lugging or weathertorn- hiking backpack and replace it with a sleek waterproof bag. Many are now complete with ample storage and an inside laptop pocket. He will be ready to brave any storm in stylish form.


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for

GIFT IDEAS

HER

I

t’s the Christmas countdown and you are still in a quandary as to what to buy for the special women in your life. There’s no need to get anxious about the fickle female. Whether it’s mom, grandma, girlfriend, sister, cousin or just someone special, take a moment to think about her. What are her interests, hobbies, passions, favorite colors, favorite flavors? Does she like to read or listen to music? If you observe closely, you can pick up ideas through her daily routine.

Is she the type that runs to the pantry seeking indulgent treats once you settle into a late night movie? Then, think of putting together a basket with her favorite WINE AND CHOCOLATES. For a personal touch, add a handwritten note that says she can pick the movie to watch and you will happily enjoy it with her. If your lady likes being pampered, a TRIP TO A DAY SPA or an appointment for a great massage is sure to hit the mark. Buying a cute,

fashionable tote bag and filling it with aromatherapy products, lotions, bath salts, bath sponges, and quality perfume can be nice, too. If you want to score some real points, you might consider purchasing nail polish in some of her favorite colors along with some foot lotions and scrubs. Then offer to give her a foot massage by yours truly. For the active female with whom you enjoy the outdoors, why not assemble a FASHIONABLE BACKPACK with items of her liking? As a bonus, throw in a gift certificate for an activity you can engage in together. If the restful outdoors is more her style, be on the lookout for a picnic basket and stock it with all the fixings for the perfect romantic outing. No need to wrap this gift. Just tie a big red bow to the handle. Buying the right gift for the women in your life won’t be difficult if you are prepared to give it a little thought and creativity. The ideas are endless when you take the time to reflect on the simple things and add a personal touch.


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SOMETHING THEY NEED Here’s where you can sneak in that item of a practical nature or an educational toy you have been eying just for that child.

for kids GIFT IDEAS

When it comes to buying gifts for our kids, we can stress ourselves out trying to think of something new and different, trying to find the latest “cool” gadget. Attempting to please them can end up being very displeasing for you. Relax, take a breath, and bring it back to the basics. Keep your life simple and stay within budget by implementing this inspiring idea - a gift-giving plan that covers four basic areas for your kids:

SOMETHING THEY WANT This category lends itself to your child’s desire for the latest and greatest new item but you can set the price limit. SOMETHING TO WEAR Whether it is a boy or a girl, tween or college grad, a son or daughter of any age likes something new to wear. From attire to jewelry, hats and shoes, the options for this category are endless.

SOMETHING TO READ From books that still require the turning of pages to electronic tablets that allow for the downloading of stories from favorite authors, the bookworm will devour this gift.


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Eco-Friendly Holiday Wrap

Waste not, want not. Taking the old and making something new from it is a good way to stretch your dollars and challenge your creativity this holiday season. Here are some ideas for wrapping gifts the eco friendly way.

Throughout the year, save SHOPPING BAGS to repurpose into wrapping paper. If you don’t like the pattern, turn it inside out and use the white side.

If it will fit in a JAR, put it in a jar! Everyone can use an extra jar in the house!

Don’t stop with the comics from the paper. The black and white NEWSPRINT is a great backdrop

Stamp LUNCH BAGS or grocery bags with holiday pictures. Fold the top of the bag over and make 4 or 6 holes across the folded top. Thread yarn through the holes and tie a bow on each side or make a handle with the extra yarn.

Replace styrofoam and bubble wrap with POPCORN!

The GPS has taken over, so MAPS are probably collecting dust in your bookcase. They make pretty colorful wrapping paper.

Use sprigs of outdoor FOLIAGE like berries, mistletoe or pine needles and pine cones in place of bows.


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Don’t Forget Your

Teachers! It’s been said that teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. These extraordinary individuals educate us. They motivate us. They inspire us. They lead us. And, when the time is right, they follow us … so that we can become the leaders. Show them you care this holiday season with a little something from the heart. HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS They’re personal, they’re seasonal and, best of all, they serve a purpose (unlike paperweights, etc.) Whether store-bought or DIY, your teacher will remember you every year he hangs it on his tree.

HOMEMADE COOKIES Allow her to enjoy your gift at her convenience. The Curious Cookie Company packages all the high-quality ingredients she’ll need in a decorative jar so she can easily make this treat from scratch when she’s ready. curiouscookieco.com

GIFT CERTIFICATES Snoop around a little in advance to see if you can determine her preferred nail salon or his favorite coffee shop. Teachers are usually so busy taking care of their students that they neglect themselves. That’s where you come in.

THANK YOU NOTE Albert Einstein once said, “Out of clutter, find simplicity.” Your teacher doesn’t need another ceramic apple with an inspirational quote on it. Instead, take a moment to write down how much you appreciate everything he has done for you.

“Summer vacation is the time when parents realize that teachers are grossly underpaid.” - Author Unknown


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Chocolate

* If you don’t have a double boiler (because seriously, who does?), create your own by filling servings a pot with water and placing the chocolate in a glass or metal bowl set atop the pot (i.e. the chocolate is suspended over the water). This sweet treat is easy to prepare and serve at holiday parties or Place on stovetop and bring package up for teacher, neighbor and other-special-people-in-your-life water in the bottom level to gifts. Plus, after melting the chocolates, it’s a very kid-friendly recipe a boil as it safely melts the with which your children will be more than happy to help! chocolate in the top level.

Cookie Bark INGREDIENTS: • 2 tbsp. peanut butter • 1 pkg. (6 squares) Baker’s white chocolate • 10 Oreo cookies, coarsely crushed • 1 pkg. (8 squares) Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate DIRECTIONS 1. Melt each chocolate separately in double boiler* and pour each into its own bowl. 2. Add peanut butter to melted white chocolate bowl.

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3. Mix half of the crushed cookies into the white chocolate bowl and the other half into the semi-sweet bowl. 4. Drop spoonfuls of the chocolate mixtures onto wax paper-lined baking sheets, alternating colors/flavors as you go. 5. Use knife to swirl colors/ flavors together. 6. Refrigerate one hour or until firm. 7. Break into pieces and store in refrigerator in airtight container.

TO DIAL UP THE HOLIDAY FLAVOR, TRY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING IDEAS: Omit peanut butter from 1Oreo recipe above. Replace cookies with crushed peppermint candies and proceed as directed.

Omit peanut butter 2 from recipe above. After spreading and swirling melted chocolate onto the baking sheets, immediately sprinkle ¼ to ½ cup chopped, dried cranberries over the entire mixture and proceed as directed.


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CARING

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Soil. Check the moisture level daily. Water when soil is dry. Be sure to punch holes in the foil surrounding the pot so excess water can drain into a saucer.

FOR YOUR POINSETTIAS 5 When it comes to houseplants, nothing quite represents the holiday season like the poinsettia. Christmas Red is undoubtedly its signature color, but poinsettias also come in white, pink, salmon, apricot, yellow and cream. With tens of millions sold annually, they’re the highest selling potted flowering plant in the country. Of course, with the proper care and attention, you don’t actually have to buy them again every year. With a little gentle nurturing, poinsettias can live year round, sometimes growing as tall as ten to fifteen feet in tropical climates. Here is how to care for your poinsettia:

Fertilizer. If you plan to keep your poinsettia beyond the holiday season, add fertilizer to the soil monthly. Do not fertilize when it is in bloom. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous, although ingesting the plant is not encouraged as it can cause intestinal discomfort in children and animals. Plus who wants to eat a poinsettia when there’s so much peppermint and gingerbread going around?!!?

DECEMBER 12 IS NATIONAL POINSETTIA DAY

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Temperature. Ideally, poinsettias require daytime temperatures of 60 to 70°F and nighttime temperatures of around 55°F. Extreme high or low temperatures, even briefly, can shorten the plant’s life.

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Sunlight. Place poinsettia in indirect light. Six hours of light daily is optimal.

Drafts. Keep poinsettias away from radiators, air registers or open doors and windows. A plant placed in the window should not have its leaves touching the cold glass panes.

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Adapted and reprinted with permission from The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a national nonprofit organization working to strengthen independent businesses and local economies.

As you make your list and check it twice, consider the benefits of shopping locally for your holiday gifts and needs. By choosing to support locally owned businesses, you contribute to strengthening your neighborhood and sustaining your community. Here are some valuable reasons for supporting locally owned businesses. Protect Local Prosperity - Your support helps your community’s diversity and uniqueness because locally owned businesses link neighbors economically and socially. Local DecisionMaking - Local ownership means that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community.

Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy Locally owned businesses enrich the community because they recycle a large share of their revenue back into the local economy. Jobs and Wages Locally owned businesses create more local jobs and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains. Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship is a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs & into the middle class.

Locally owned businesses have a greater impact on enriching the community.

Environmental Sustainability - Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers which are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution. Competition - A marketplace of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices. Product Diversity - Small businesses, each selecting products based on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantee a much broader range of product choices.


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SAUSAGE ROLLS

CRABMEAT & BRIE DIP INGREDIENTS: • 1 Qt. trinity* • 1 c. chopped garlic • 3 c. white wine • 1 Qt. heavy cream • 1 lb. Brie • ½ lb. cream cheese • 1 tbsp. white pepper • 2 lbs. crabmeat, picked thoroughly DIRECTIONS 1. Sauté trinity until soft. 2. Add garlic. 3. Deglaze with white wine and reduce.

4. Add cream, Brie and cream cheese and simmer on low for 30 minutes. 5. Add pepper and crabmeat. 6. Thicken with a dash of cornstarch and water to desired consistency. 7. Simmer on low 10 minutes then add salt and pepper to taste. 8. Serve hot with toast points or crackers.

*In Cajun cooking, this term refers to a blend of chopped onions, bell pepper and celery.

ARTICHOKE DIP INGREDIENTS: • one 14-oz. can artichokes, drained and sliced • 1 c. mayonnaise • 1 c. parmesan cheese • garlic powder to taste

DIRECTIONS 1. Mix all ingredients in large bowl. 2. Spread into baking dish. 3. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until bubbling. 4. Serve hot with crackers.

INGREDIENTS: • 1 ½ lbs. breakfast sausage • 1 ½ (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature • 3 (8 oz.) packages refrigerated crescent rolls • 2 egg whites DIRECTIONS 1. Cook sausage on both sides in skillet on mediumhigh until browned and falling apart. 3. Drain and discard grease. 4. Break apart sausage a little more (if necessary) and blend with cream cheese. 5. Unroll dough and place crescents an inch apart on greased baking sheet. 6. Spoon 2 to 3 tsps. sausage mixture onto each piece of dough. 7. Wrap dough around filling and brush each crescent roll with egg white. 8. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until rolls are lightly browned.


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GINGER NUT NOG FRENCH TOAST With vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and confectioner’s sugar, what’s not to love?

INGREDIENTS: • 3 eggs • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg • ½ tsp. ground ginger • ¾ c. eggnog • 12 slices bread DIRECTIONS 1. Beat egg, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in shallow dish.

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2. Stir in eggnog. 3. Dip bread in egg mixture until both sides are coated evenly. 4. Cook bread slices on medium heat in lightly greased nonstick pan or skillet until browned on both sides. 5. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve with maple syrup.

Hit the Ground Running on Christmas Morning with this Festive Holiday Breakfast

Coffee: If serving to children, it can be omitted. Or you can use decaf in place of regular. Spinach: If it’s too intimidating, it can be omitted. But I personally guarantee you won’t taste it. Plus what’s better on Christmas morning than holiday green? Try it! You just might love it!

SANTA’S GET UP AND GO-HO-HO SMOOTHIE The perfect healthy complement to the decadent French Toast. INGREDIENTS: • 1 c. chilled coffee (optional) • 2 c. cooked pumpkin, fresh or canned • 1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced • 1 c. almond milk • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg • ¼ tsp. ground cloves • 2 c. fresh baby spinach (optional)

DIRECTIONS 1. Pour all ingredients into blender. 2. Blend on high 1 minute or until mixture is creamy.


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CHRISTMAS PRESENT SOUP INGREDIENTS: • 60 pint jars • 10 lbs. dried Great Northern beans • 2 - 1 oz. jars parsley • 10 lbs. dried split peas • 2 - 1 oz. jars minced onions • 10 lbs. dried red kidney beans

• 2 - 1/4 oz. jars dried celery • 2 - 1/4 oz. jars garlic powder • 10 lbs. dried yellow split peas • 2 - 1 oz. jars dried bellpepper • 10 lbs. dried black beans • 60 bay leaves

DIRECTIONS 1. Evenly distribute ingredients in jars in the order listed. 2. To make fewer jars - 6 jars = one bag of each bean variety and 1/6 of the seasonings. 3. Top with fabric and twine or avoid the craft store and get jumbo muffin cup liners at the grocery. 4. Print labels or cards with cooking instructions below: Soak bean mixture in 2 quarts of water for 2 hours. Bring to a slow boil, adding more water if needed. Simmer for 1 hour. Add turkey carcass, ham bone or 2 inch cube of salt pork. Simmer 1 hour longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Community

Hometown Moments & Memories

RESOURCE DIRECTORY

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Countdown to

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CHRISTMAS 1

2

Buy Advent Calendar

Shop local for unique gifts

Saturday

Sunday

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5

Put up Christmas tree

Hang wreath on front door

Make ornament with kids / grandkids

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Saturday

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7

8

9

10

Volunteer to ring the Salvation Army Christmas bell

Bake Christmas cookies

Watch favorite Christmas movie

Mail Christmas cards

Visit a Live Nativity

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12

13

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15

Attend a Christmas Concert

Spread holiday cheer at a nursing home

Donate goods to your local food pantry

Call someone who lost a loved one

Make a gingerbread house

Saturday

Sunday

Sunday

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17

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19

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Pay for a stranger’s coffee at coffee shop

Go to a Holiday Tea

Go Christmas caroling with friends

Drive to look at Christmas lights

Take a picture with Santa

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Make DIY Christmas stockings with friends

Visit a holiday art market

Skype with out of town family

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Pray for loved ones to be blessed in the new year


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 Spouse  Children  Mother  Father  Sisters  Brothers  In-Laws  Grandmothers  Grandfathers  Aunts  Uncles  Cousins  Nieces  Nephews  Friends  Neighbors  Bosses  Co-Workers  Teachers  School Staff (cafeteria, bus, etc.)  Household Helpers (housekeeper, babysitter, etc.)  Service Workers (mailmen, garbage collectors, etc.)  Clergy  Pets

Shopping List


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