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Ludington daily newS/LAST MINUTE GIFT GUIDE


From All of Us to All of You:

Merry Christmas

As we welcome the holiday season, we welcome the opportunity to thank all of our loyal customers and friends for your generous support and kindness. We greatly appreciate your trust in us. May the Christmas season bring much happiness, good health and good fortune to you and your loved ones.

Gifting extended for one more day Celebrated each year on December 26 in Great Britain and the Commonwealth nations, Boxing Day may sound like a day to clear a home of the boxes that accumulate during Christmas gifting celebrations. Some people may think it’s a time to head to the gym and work off some of those extra holiday pounds by landing a few hits on the punching bag. Despite its name, Boxing Day has nothing to do with heavyweight fighters or post-holiday cleanup. In fact, the holiday’s origins can be traced to Great Britain and the practice of bestowing gifts on the lower classes, primarily house servants and the working class. Centuries ago, among family members and friends of equal station,

Christmas gifts were exchanged on or before Christmas Day. Presents for the working class were bestowed the day after. A gift from one’s employer was called a “Christmas box.” The Oxford University Press defines a Christmas box as a present or gratuity given at Christmas. In Great Britain, it was usually confined to gratuities given to those who were employees or paid by the grantor of the gift or a customer. Although the holiday was once based around gifting, today it is primarily known as a shopping holiday, much like Black Friday in the United States. Banks and non-retail businesses are closed on Boxing Day, but shoppers flock to stores to use gift cards or other funds to purchase or

return gifts. Sales are prevalent, and the day presents yet another opportunity for retailers to maximize year-end profits. In the world of sports, Boxing Day is an opportunity for fans to see their favorite teams play. In the United Kingdom, football and rugby leagues host a full schedule of matches on Boxing Day. In Australia, cricket matches are held. Boxing Day also marks the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. Boxing Day also may be an opportunity for wild game hunts across the UK. Boxing Day is a day for residents of Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and Canada to celebrate and take advantage of great deals offered by retailers.

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Pomegranates are an ancient fruit Pomegranates are an ancient fruit steeped in tradition that impress modern food enthusiasts thanks to their tart taste and various health benefits. Primarily in season in North America between September and February, pomegranates are typically stocked during the holiday season when they can be enjoyed as part of festive meals. Native from the area now known as Iran and the Himalayas in northern India, pomegranates have been cultivated since ancient times throughout Mediterranean-influenced areas of Europe, Africa and Asia. Historians believe Sicilians were likely the first to introduce pomegranates to the rest of Europe, while Spanish conquistadores likely brought the pomegranate to the Americas. Because they begin to ripen at the end of summer close to the Jewish New Year, pomegranates were often used in decorations and blessings for New Year’s celebrations, according to the Madera Chamber of Commerce, which hosts a pomegranate festival each year in November. The pomegranate also played a central role in the foundations of some religions, including Christi-

anity, Judaism, Greek Orthodox, and Hinduism. Sometimes referred to as “The Fruit of Life,” pomegranates were believed to spring from The Garden of Paradise and represent fertility and rebirth. Some early Christians

also associated the fruit with resurrection and eternal life. The name pomegranate is derived from a Latin word meaning “seeded apple,” a reference to the fruit’s appearance. Pomegranates grow on shrubs or small

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trees and form large fruits that are filled with anywhere from 200 to 1,400 seed berries. The seeds are edible, while the remainder of the rind is usually discarded. Enjoying the pomegranate out of hand is a social

joy it while engaging in conversation. The seeds also can be pressed to produce pomegranate juice, which is now a part of many health beverages. The resource Health says pomegranates are full of potent antioxidants, such as polyphenols and anthocyanins, which also are present in red wine. These compounds protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Certain studies show that pomegranate juice can target bacteria in the mouth, helping produce healthier teeth and gums. Research also suggests that pomegranates have anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve muscle soreness. Data from Purdue University says parts of the pomegranate plant, including the bark and roots, have been used for medicinal purposes. Extracts of the bark, leaves, immature fruit, and fruit rind have been given as astringents to treat diarrhea, dysentery and hemorrhagendeavor. Families often es. Dried, pulverized flower gather around the table, buds have been employed as where the pomegranates are a remedy for bronchitis. Pomegranates are beautiscored and then the clusters of seeds and juice are lifted ful fruits that have a storied out of the rind to be enjoyed. past and many attributes Even though this process is that make them a coveted laborious, many people en- food today.


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How to cut back on holiday waste leftovers. The Worldwatch Institute notes that, during the holiday season, celebrants generate three times as much food waste as they do during other times of the year. Large family meals are a tradition of the holiday season, but hosts who routinely find themselves discarding leftovers can plan on preparing less food this year. Consider how much guests are likely to eat and plan meals accordingly instead of buying enough food to feed a small army. Donate leftovers to nearby shelters so nothing goes to waste. • Recycle live Christmas trees. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 25.9 million real trees were sold in the United States in 2015. Trees put out on the curb for collection after the holiday season has ended typically end up in landfills, but some communities recycle Christmas trees each year. Real tree enthusiasts can contact community officials to determine if they can recycle rather than discard their trees.

The holiday season is a joy- items made from recycled materials, ful time of year. But the weeks which run the gamut from home between Thanksgiving and New furnishings to calendars to clothing, Year’s Day also tend to be very as eco-friendly alternatives to gifts wasteful. The U.S. Environmen- produced without the environment tal Protection Agency estimates in mind. that household waste increases by more than 25 percent during the • Reuse holiday-specific items. Many people only use gift wrap, gift boxes holiday season. Reducing waste come the holi- and gift bags during the holiday day season does not mean cel- season. Such items are oftentimes ebrants have to forgo big fam- discarded after Christmas morning. ily meals or beautifully wrapped But these items can be reused to gifts. In fact, there are several cut back on holiday waste. Reusways to reduce waste without ing wrapping paper from year to year can be especially beneficial to spoiling the spirit of the season. the environment. That’s because wrapping paper tends to be dyed • Give eco-conscious gifts. The envior laminated, and many wrapping ronment may not be the first thing papers contain non-paper additives that comes to mind when holiday that cannot be recycled. Reusing shoppers are looking for gifts for wrapping paper, purchasing only their loved ones. But giving reusable recyclable paper or wrapping gifts gifts can have a positive, long-term in old newspapers or magazines can impact on the planet. Reusable help holiday celebrants reduce their coffee mugs or water bottles can carbon footprints. dramatically reduce waste over time, and such items make great stocking • Prepare less food and donate any stuffers. Shoppers also can look for

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Holiday cookies the whole family will love Many people enjoy baking come the holiday season, and perhaps no dish is more synonymous with holiday baking than cookies. Children leave cookies out for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, while adults may indulge and enjoy an extra cookie or two at family gatherings or holiday office parties. Cookies come in all shapes and sizes, so bakers have an array of options at their disposal when planning their holiday menus. Chocolate chip cookies may be among the most popular types of cookies, and bakers who want to capitalize on that popularity while giving loved ones something a little different may want to try the following recipe for “Double Chocolate Chip Cookies” from Maxine Clark’s “Chocolate: Deliciously Indulgent Recipes for Chocolate Lovers” (Ryland, Peters & Small).

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies Makes about 12 large cookies 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 5 tablespoons granulated sugar 5 tablespoons light brown sugar, sifted 1 large egg, beaten 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla essence or chocolate extract (see note) 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 1/4 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup (or more) dark and white (or milk) chocolate chips (or roughly chopped chocolate) A heavy, nonstick baking sheet Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Money for college makes a great stocking stuffer A gift certificate from West Shore Community College may be just the gift your college student was hoping for. Redeemable for tuition and books or meals at the Beans & Bread Café, these certificates are a perfect fit for anyone attending West Shore. Pick one up at the College Book Store or the cashier’s office today.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla essence. Sift the flour with the cocoa and salt in a small bowl. Fold into the egg mixture with the chocolate chips. Place 4 heaping tablespoonsfuls of the mixture on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them well apart. Press down and spread out to about 1⁄4-inch thick with the back of a wet spoon or with dampened fingers (you may like to scatter some more chocolate chips over the top). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack. When cool, store in an airtight container. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Note: Chocolate extract is a fatfree flavoring ingredient made from a blend of roasted cacao beans, water and alcohol.

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Did you know the history of the dreidel? Dreidels are especially popular during the eightday Jewish festival of Chanukah. Even though they may seem like novelty items for children, dreidels have a rich and interesting history. In ancient times, Greek Syrians infiltrated areas where many practicing Jews resided. Over time, the Greek Syrians became more oppressive and tried to convert the Jewish people to their pagan beliefs. However, their efforts were not very successful. As a result, the Greek Syrians established laws that outlawed ritual commandments and the study of the Torah. It is widely believed that Jewish people used dreidels to fool the Greeks into thinking they were just playing a game. Instead, rolls of the dreidel

corresponded to numerical equivalents that could represent elements of the Jewish faith, according to My Jewish Learning. Others say the dreidel was a distraction. Children of Israel would learn the Torah in outlying areas and forests. When Greek patrols were nearby, the children would hide their texts and take out dreidels instead, says Today the dreidel is a token of the Chanukah miracle. In Israel, the letters upon the dreidel are Nun, Gimel, Hay, and Pay, which stand for the Hebrew equivalent of “a great miracle happened here.” Outside of israel, the last letter is Shin, which transforms the phrase into “a great miracle happened there.”

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Give them the gift of Michigan (AP) — Face it: You love to love Michigan. The craft beer scene is exploding. A world-class wine tour is just a few hours’ drive away. Downtown Detroit has a brand-new sports and culture district drawing fans from all over the state. More miles are added to hiking and biking trails in Michigan state parks every year. And you could spend your life exploring Michigan’s 3,288 miles of freshwater coastline — more than any other place in the world — and probably not see it all. Life is good in the Mitten. First, shop your local stores to find Michigan gifts, but also, the Michiganology Store is packed with Michigan-made, Michigan-centric prints, puzzles, pint glasses and paper goods —and that’s just the P’s. Of course, this being the giving season, you should probably start thinking of the friends and family on your list who also love Michigan. Most items priced $25 and under, they make for perfect last-minute ideas that will turn you into the hero of the next white elephant gift exchange party. As a bonus, all proceeds made from Michiganology products benefit the education programs at the Michigan History Center in Lansing. These programs have been carefully designed to create ambassadors of Michigan pride by inspiring curiosity about Michigan’s history and connecting residents of the Great Lakes State through a common identity. To make it a little easier for you, we’ve broken it down by category for every person on your list. For example, you can find:

cartographer to the test with the personalized H.O.M.E.S. Map Custom Puzzle. Just enter your home or cottage address, and Michiganology will create a customized 500-piece jigsaw puzzle out of the 7.5-minute quadrangle surrounding it. You can choose among historical, traditional or satellite versions of the image. Either way, whoever helps you solve the puzzle will be able to find your place much easier next time they come.

as “Two Hearts (Two Peninsulas),” “Manitou Passage” and “Grand Rapids Brakeman,” they seem to be on the right path. So no matter whom you’re buying for this holiday season, Michiganology has you covered. And there are plenty more ideas where these came from – to see the full inventory of Michiganmade, Michigan-themed items, go to Michiganology. com.

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HOMES Map Custom Puzzle ($25) Think you know your hometown like the back of your hand? Put your inner

Bottle Opener Magnets ($5) Serving double duty as both eye candy and functional bottle openers, these handy little magnets are a must-have to festoon the fridge of your man cave. Featuring historic brewing logos, landmarks and distinctly Michigan mottos — “Say yah to da U.P., eh?” — a handful of these little guys make perfect stocking stuffers.

The Java Junkie Proud Robin Mug ($11) You just can’t talk to some people before they’ve had their morning coffee, but this ceramic mug serves as both a caffeine delivery vessel and a conversation starter. Proud Robin was the fifth annual Michigan Week logo in 1958, and just like you, this happy little guy is pleased as punch to be living in Michigan. Just look at his chest, which has “It’s Great to Live in Michigan” emblazoned across it. Now, that’s the way to start the day.

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The Craft Beer Guru You may not be able to drink any actual Old Michigan Beer out of this pint glass – the Grand Rapids brewery is now just a part of our state’s rich beer-making history – but it’s no big deal. You have nearly 250 other craft brewpubs in the state to choose from now. So fill this handcrafted glass with your favorite IPA, porter or pilsner and raise a toast to all the bygone breweries of the past ... and to all those still on the way.

Mack Daddy Mackinac Island, Most Historic Spot in Michigan Print ($25-$45) Whether you go for the fudge, the Butterfly House or just to hear the clip-clopping of the horses as they trot along Lake Shore Drive, “The Ultimate Spartan: A Pictorial Rendu of Michigan State Print” ($24-$45) is a detailed illustra- Mackinac Island is probably tion of the Michigan State University campus circa 1955 is a must-have for the diehard Sparty fan the most distinctive locale on your list. This rendu — an antiquated word that means this was a commissioned piece — was on the Michigan destination created to commemorate the university’s centennial by MSU alum Carl D. Johnson, a pioneer in checklist. Now you can get a print of this incredible image the field of landscape architecture. by legendary Michigan artist Irene Harsha-Young, availlist (stamp collector) on your duo whose oeuvre is primari- able in several sizes, from these in your glove compartment and you’re always list. No licking required! ly focused on life in Michigan. 11 by 14 inches up to a walldominating 24 by 30 inches. ready to go. These greeting With this, their third album, So hang it in your family cards are imprinted with they did a deep dive into our The Music Maven room or cottage and relive images from the Michistate history to discover hid“Fair Mitten (New Songs of your island adventure, from gan Trout Stamp program, den stories from the past so the Historic Great Lakes tracing your bar crawl last which began in 1948 as a they could, in their words, summer to trying to reway to fundraise for the De- Basin)” by Gifts or Creatures “inspire a new demographic ($15 CD, $20 vinyl) member exactly where you partment of Conservation’s of lovers and protectors of Fisheries Division. They also the Great Lakes.” With a track snapped that photo of the Gifts or Creatures is a Langorgeous sunset. work as gifts for the philate- sing-based singer-songwriter list that includes titles such


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Calendar of events DECEMBER 14 — Manistee Middle School Holiday concerts, grades 5 and 7, 5:30-7 p.m., 525 12th St., Manistee 14 — Michigan Republican 2nd Congressional District Christmas meeting party, 6 p.m., Holiday InnMuskegon Harbor, 939 Third St., Muskegon 14 — 4-H Christmas tree lighting ceremony, 6:30 p.m., Mason County 4-H office, WSCC Rec Center 3000 N. Stiles Road, Scottville 15 — Handmade instruments exhibit, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Ludington Area Center for the Arts, 107 S. Harrison St., Ludington 15 — Stuff a Blue Goose for Christmas, hosted by the Michigan State Police Hart Post, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Walmart, 4854 W. U.S. 10, Ludington 15 — Holiday pop-up store presented by Hart Main Street Marketplace, noon-8 p.m., 55 S. State St., Hart; (231) 301-8449 or email hartmainstreetvista@ 15 — “Whose Tragedy Is It Anyway,” performed by Stage Left Theater Company, 7:30 p.m., Timbers Bar & Grill, 320 S. James St., Ludington; $5, stagelefttheatreco@ or call Kara at (231) Daily News File Photo 480-1590 15 — Scottville Optimist The Letha Fulton School of Dance holds its Christmas recital at 1 p.m. and again at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16 at Ludington’s Peterson Auditorium. Member Christmas Party, 6 p.m., Scottville Optimist Club, publicans Christmas Par- Museum, 129 E. Ludington Ave. mance tickets $11 children, $12 16 — Ludington Area Semas story time, puppet 105 W. Green St., Scottville Live music, food, party favors, ty, 6 p.m., Lakeshore Resource adults, $60 families; Frauenthal nior Center holiday din16 — Holiday pop-up store show, letters to Santa, 11 a.m.-1 ice cream, funny family pictures Network conference room, 920 box office (231) 727-8001, Star ner with music by Salt p.m., Book Mark, 201 S. Rath presented by Hart Main Street and more. Admission is $10 per E. Tinkham Ave., Ludington Tickets 800-585-3737 or online City Dixie Band, 4-7 p.m., Ave. Marketplace, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., 55 person, $35 per family 23 — Decorate Christmas at S. State St., Hart; (231) 301-8449 16 — Children’s Christmas 308 S. Rowe St.; cost $10; (231) cookies, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sand- 31 — New Year’s Eve Fur 17 — Holiday concert by 845-6841 for reservations party, 1 p.m., Citizens Sportsor email hartmainstreetvista@ Ball, rockin’ ’80s party to castles Children’s Museum, 129 the West Shore Commu17 — “The Story of Christman’s Club, 5586 Fountain raise money for a no-kill aniE. Ludington Ave.; admission is nity College Concert mas,” performance by chilRoad; 12 years and younger 16 — Salvation Army Red mal shelter in Mason County, $6; free for members and chilChoir, 2-4 p.m., Ludington dren in preschool to seventh and special needs children. Kettle collection bell 7 p.m.-2 a.m., Stearns Motor dren under one year old Area Center for the Arts, 107 S. grade, 10:30 a.m., United MethSign up before Dec. 2 at Founringers, 9 a.m.-noon, PentInn, 212 Ludington Ave. Tickets 24 — Christmas Eve canHarrison St., Ludington odist Church of Ludington, tain Market, 4931 N. Cleveland water Post Office, 91 S. Hanare $30 (7 p.m.-midnight, and dlelight service, 9 a.m.17 — Mitten Club Annual 5810 Bryant Road St., Fountain; West Shore Bank, cock St. include a small plate dinner, 12:30 p.m., Radiant Church, 409 Holiday Get Together, 3 17 — “The Nutcracker,” 107 W. State St., Scottville; or 16 — Ginger Bread crafts raffles, contests and a blind p.m., Mitten Bar, 109 W. Luding- S. Washington Ave. Ludington performed by West MichiPioneer Party Store, 6096 U.S. with recycled material, auction), and $10 (midnight-2 24 — Christmas Eve comton Ave. gan Youth Ballet, pre-party 10, Custer. 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sandcastles a.m.) munity dinner, 4 to 6 p.m., meet and greet with Clara and 19 — Pentwater Student Children’s Museum, 129 E. Lud- 16 — Letha Fulton School 31 — Pure Ludington New Radiant Church, 409 S. WashCouncil Christmas CarPrince, 12:30 p.m.; performance, of Dance Celebration of ington Ave.; admission is $6; Year’s Eve Ball Drop, 9 ington Ave. Ludington oling, 9:45-11 a.m., Pentwater 2 p.m., Frauenthal Center, 425 Christmas, 1 p.m.; 6 p.m., free for members and children 30 — New Year’s Eve party, p.m.-midnight, downtown LudPublic School, 600 E. Park St. W. Western Ave., Muskegon; Peterson Auditorium at Ludingunder one year old ington 5-8 p.m., Sandcastles Children’s 19 — Mason County Repre-party tickets $7, perforton High School 16 — Santa Claus, Christ-


| Ludington daily newS/LAST MINUTE GIFT GUIDE 

Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christmas traditions focus on several different aspects of family and spiritual life. While many stories are shared around Christmastime, perhaps none bears more significance than the origin of the Christmas celebration. Sharing the Christmas story is an integral part of holiday gatherings, reminding families that faith is foremost during this festive time of year.

The Conception of Jesus Mary was a woman living in the Galilee area of Nazareth. She was engaged to a Jewish carpenter named Joseph. An angel visited the Virgin Mary and told her that she would conceive a child — a son — by the power of the Holy Spirit. When the son was born, she would name him Jesus. Mary questioned the angel, who reassured her that anything was possible by God and that Jesus would be God’s own son. Joseph was troubled when he found out Mary was with child and even considered breaking their engagement, which was allowed under Jewish law. But God soon sent another angel, this time to Joseph, in a dream. The angel reassured Joseph that his marriage to Mary and the birth of this child were His will. Joseph awoke from his dream and took Mary as his wife soon after, ready and willing to raise the child despite the public humiliation he may experience.

The Census During this time the Romans had control over many parts of the world, including where Joseph and Mary resided. Ruler Caesar Augustus decreed that every person living under Roman rule had to return to his town of origin to participate in a census so everyone could be taxed accordingly. Joseph, hailing from Bethlehem, had to return to this town with his very pregnant bride. They traveled for many days and, upon arriving in Bethlehem, found that the inns were full and there was no available lodging. Mary and

Joseph took shelter in a stable and prepared to welcome their son.

Jesus’ Arrival According to the Gospel of Luke, Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son, while in the stable. She wrapped him in cloth and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. -Luke Chapter 2 Many people visited the baby Jesus, including three wise men from the East who traveled by following a guiding star to bestow gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh on the baby king. When Joseph and Mary had performed all the things necessary according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Nazareth with Jesus, who was growing strong in spirit and filled with wisdom and the grace of God.


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Reindeer vs. caribou Similar, but not the same, university officials say

Reindeer are symbols of the holiday season. Legend states these antlered animals have a busy evening come December 24 — helping Santa Claus pull a sleigh weighed down by toys for the world’s children. Why does Santa choose reindeer when caribou may be equally qualified for the job? It may be due to their greater history of domestication. Although the terms “reindeer” and “caribou” are frequently used interchangeably, leading many people to assume they are the same creature, recent genetic mapping published in the journal Nature Climate Change shows caribou and reindeer are actually different animals. The journal determined that these mammals are quite similar and actually share the same scientific name, Rangifer tarandus, but they are only closely related cousins. Reindeer may be slightly smaller and are generally more domesticated than caribou. Some people of the Nenet group in Russia keep reindeer for pets. The following are some other similarities and differences, courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. • Reindeer are shorter, stouter and more sedentary than the long-legged caribou. • Caribou migrate longer distances than reindeer between wintering grounds and calving areas. • Reindeer have thicker, denser fur than caribou. Both have unique hair in their fur that trap air and provide extra insulation. • Both male and female reindeer and caribou grow antlers. However, female reindeer antlers grow larger than those of female caribou. • Reindeer calves are born at the end of April and caribou calves at the end of May. • Both animals have hooves that can be used as snowshoes for walking on the snow and for digging. • Only in North America are wild Rangifer referred to as caribou. • Reindeer have been herded for years throughout Alaska and some parts of Canada for their meat. However, caribou are largely wild animals that roam freely. As a result, caribou are hunted in the wild. Reindeer may get all the glory come the holiday season, but caribou are equally impressive animals. These large mammals provide food and other materials for survival to those who live in cold climates across the world.


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| Ludington daily newS/LAST MINUTE GIFT GUIDE 

Films contribute to cherished holiday traditions (MS) — Tradition plays a pivotal role during the holiday season. While each family has its own unique holiday traditions, certain traditions are embraced and shared by families far and wide. The tradition of watching holiday films together as a family is one custom that has endured for generations. Grandparents may have their favorite films, while moms and dads no doubt have their own must-see holiday movies as well. And no holiday film session is complete without including at least one movie that celebrates the magical impact that this time of year can have on youngsters. This year, holiday shoppers can even draw some gift-giving inspiration from some classic holiday films that appeal to family members of all ages.

“The Polar Express” (2004) Children love this tale of a young boy who lives out many kids’ holiday fantasies by embarking on a magical, unpredictable journey to the North Pole. Along the way, the boy becomes a true believer in the spirit of Christmas when he picks up a loose sleigh bell that falls off of Santa’s sleigh. Santa ultimately entrusts the bell to the boy, referring to the bell as “the first gift of Christmas.” Parents who want to make the tradition of watching holiday films together with their children even more special for kids can give the First

Gift of Christmas Sleigh Bell Gift Set (https://www.etsy. com/shop/LilyDeal), providing their youngsters with the same sense of magic and wonderment the boy feels when Santa gives him the sleigh bell in the film. The set includes a large sleigh bell, a red- and snow white-striped gift box, forest green ribbon, and large bow. A leather strap connected to each bell allows kids to hang the bell to include as part of their home holiday decor, or kids can carry the bell with them during the holiday season and show it off to friends and family alike. Each bell comes in a velvet gift bag, making the set an ideal memento for shoppers who want to give kids something they can unwrap and enjoy each Christmas for years to come. In addition, each bell comes with a Certificate of Authenticity that is signed by Santa and lists the name of the elf who inspected the bell, the reindeer name and the location of the bell on the reindeer’s harness. Shoppers looking for stocking stuffers for young fans of the film can opt for the Polar Express Round Trip Train Ticket. At 8” by 3”, the ticket fits easily into standard Christmas stockings and can be customized to say “BELIEVE” or any word up to eight letters.

“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989) A holiday favorite among

a slightly older crowd, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” continues the tale of lovable family man Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase). Clark is determined to provide a traditional family Christmas for his wife, children and their large extended family, only to have his dream holiday derailed by a stingy boss. When shopping for gifts for fans of this holiday classic, shoppers can scour an array of homemade items on, from coffee mugs to T-shirts to home furnishings and more, celebrating Clark Griswold and all the mayhem his family hilariously endures en route to enjoying a merry Christmas together.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) Grandparents are no doubt very familiar with this beloved holiday classic, which tells the tale of frustrated businessman George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart). Contemplating suicide on Christmas Eve, George is saved when his guardian angel, Clarence (Henry Travers), intervenes and shows him what life would have been like for George’s loved ones had he never been born. Holiday shoppers looking for something special for a parent or grandparent who loves the story of George Bailey can peruse to find a host of items and replicas that recall some of the film’s most memorable scenes.

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Gifts for the family cook spread holiday cheer all year black handles are molded for exceptional comfort ($39.99).

(MS) — For the gift that keeps on giving long after the holidays, consider wellcrafted kitchen tools and equipment that will inspire cooks to create delicious meals and treats all year round. To get started, here’s a short list of ten affordable culinary gifts under $50, including many that are new for this season: • New BonJour Salad Chef — Emulsify oil, vinegar and other salad dressing ingredients instantly with this battery powered mixing tool. Measurement marks and recipes are cleverly etched on the carafe, and an airtight stopper lets you easily store extra dressing in the fridge ($19.99). • New Anolon Advanced Umber 12-Inch Covered Deep Skillet — A versatile heavyduty pan with generous proportions, snug-fitting lid and flared sides to prevent messy drips, this skillet is beautifully crafted with a rich bronze nonstick finish inside and out ($49.99). • New Circulon Momentum 18-inch by 10-inch Double Burner Griddle — Flip pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers and more, just like a short order cook. This spacious griddle features a durable, metal-utensil-safe nonstick cooking surface, plus

savory baking, this comprehensive set of carbon steel nonstick bakeware includes a 10-inch by 15-inch Cookie Pan, two 9-inch Round Cake Pans, a 9-inch by 5-inch Loaf Pan, and a 9-inch by 13-inch Rectangular Cake Pan — all enrobed inside and out in a decadently rich brown hue ($39.99).

a corner pour spout to easily drain fats and other liquids ($49.99). • New Farberware PURECOOK 5-Quart Jumbo Cooker with Helper Handle — Cook a big batch of chili, soup, stew, and other one-pot comfort foods in this colorful pot featuring a PTFE and PFOA-free white ceramic nonstick cooking surface. Offered in Blue and Aqua ($39.99). • New Circulon Symmetry Chocolate 5-Piece Bakeware Set — Whether for sweet or


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• New Rachael Ray 2-Piece Crisper Pan Set — Use the 10-inch by 15-inch Cookie Pan on its own to bake cookies or roast vegetables, then add the perforated metal insert to prepare crispy bacon, oven fries, chicken wings, and more. The • Anolon Universal Steamer — Designed to work with pan’s wide rims with silicone multiple size pots, includinserts make it much easier to ing 2-, 3- and 4-quart sizes, lift out of a hot oven ($19.99). this space-saving, stainless steel steamer is extra deep • New SilverStone Ceramic to hold a generous amount 9-inch by 13-inch Covered of vegetables, fish, and other Cake Pan — Perfect for ingredients. Comes with a potlucks, bake sales, reunions, and other festivities, the trans- snug-fitting glass lid ($29.99). lucent plastic lid snaps tightly For more information on on the cake pan. Available holiday gifts under $50 for in Chili Red and Marine Blue, cooks, please visit www.anothe pan is crafted from solid,, carbon steel and has an adwww.farberwarecookware. vanced nonstick surface made com,, of PTFE-free and PFOA-free, ceramic ($19.99)., and • Cake Boss “Mini Cakes” Cake

• New Anolon 4-Piece Steak Knife Set — Meat lovers will appreciate the sleek styling and razor-sharp serrated blades of this well-priced cutlery set, which is made of

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Carrier — Avid bakers and dessert lovers won’t be able to resist this vintage-style carrier made of durable yet lightweight tin-plated steel. The tall lid locks on both sides of the base for secure transport of cakes, pies, tarts, and other sweets ($39.99).

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Keep the traditions, but ditch the worn-out decor (MS) -- The holiday countdown is on planning this year’s theme with the kids, and it’s time to get your house razzle- but don’t let children or pets play with dazzle ready. But before you do, make light strings. sure to check that your lights and decorations are still in good working order * Keep electrical connectors for outdoor after a year in storage. Not only can old lights above ground, out of water and away decor look worn out, but it also can put from metal gutters. Connect outdoor lightyou and your family at risk — which is ing into receptacles protected by weatherthe last thing anyone wants at this joy- proof ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI). ous time of year. CSA Group, a leader in These can provide protection from electric public safety testing and certification, shock by sensing ground leakage and cutoffers these tips to help you stay safe ting electrical power. this holiday: * Use heavy duty extension cords for high wattage decorations and large * Carefully inspect light strings each electronically-animated displays, and don’t year. Discard any with frayed cords, overload extension cords. cracked lamp holders or loose connections. Inspect for storage damage from If you need to purchase new lights, look moisture or rodents. for a certification mark to ensure they are * Turn off the electricity to the supply certified by an organization such as CSA outlet before working with outdoor wirGroup. ing. Unplug light strings before replacing bulbs and check to ensure replacement And remember: outdoor holiday lights bulbs match the voltage and wattage of are made for seasonal use only; extended the original. To avoid a shock from damexposure to the elements can lead to aged wires, use insulated fasteners rather damage. So when the holidays are over, than metal nails or tacks to hold light take down the festive decorations and strings in place. place them back in their original packaging for next year. * Make decorating a family activity by

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Learn about product recalls for safe giving Shopping for the perfect gift and then hiding it under the tree adds to the excitement of the holiday season. Knowing the recipient will display a big smile when tearing away the wrapping paper makes gift givers feel good. Each year, certain gifts emerge as trendy crowd favorites. However, no matter how coveted a gift may be, it pays to investigate its reputation for safety and to find out if any product recalls have been instituted. The hoverboard craze of the 2015 holiday season provided a recent example of the need to investigate an item’s reputation for safety. Thousands upon thousands of these devices flew off of the shelves. Children across the country took their hoverboards for test runs early Christmas morning. Yet many hoverboards soon ig-

nited while charging or in operation. Some even ignited while sitting idle. As of July 2016, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission indicated at least 60 reports of hoverboard fires totaling more than $2 million in property damage. Similar problems arose with certain Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones in late 2016. The phone was recalled officially in the United States through Samsung, and the company launched exchange programs in other countries. Even replacement models continued to have problems, as some caught on fire in early October. Samsung ultimately told Note 7 owners to stop using the phones and return them before permanently discontinuing the product. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. CPSC officially issued a second recall.

Those are just two instances of how products that might have made great holiday gifts posed safety issues. Consumers should learn how they can protect themselves and others from injury, even when giving holiday gifts. Searching for product recalls is one way to safeguard loved ones this holiday season. Reading product reviews from previous customers is another effective safety measure. A recall is an action taken by a manufacturer or the government. Some recalls will ban the sale of an item, while others require the consumer to return the item for repair or replacement. The U.S. government recommends visiting these websites to find the latest safety recalls and information on items that may turn up on holiday wish lists. • posts gov-

ernment-initiated recalls from federal agencies. • offers safety information on vehicles and car equipment, such as children’s safety seats. • enables consumers to report incidents and safety concerns with regard to consumer products. • includes recalls published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. • HealthyCanadians. publishes recent recalls and alerts for Canada. The holidays should be a safe and happy time. To ensure the season stays safe and happy, consumers should familiarize themselves with any product recalls or published safety hazards prior to shopping for gifts.

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Merry Christmas Make worship an integral part of the holiday season The hustle and bustle of the often hectic holiday season can make it easy to overlook religion during this special time of year. Come the holidays, adherents of Judaism celebrate Chanukah while many Christians celebrate Christmas. Though different, the two holidays share some similarities. In celebration of Chanukah, families gather for an eight-day commemoration to honor the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem and a miracle in which a small amount of oil illuminated a menorah for eight days. Perhaps because it falls during the holiday season, Chanukah has become one of the most wellknown Jewish celebrations, even for those who do not adhere to the Jewish faith. For devout Christians, Christmas isn’t about eggnog and Santa Claus. Christmas (Christ’s Mass) is a celebration of the birth of

Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the son of God. Christmas is a day of great joy in the Christian faith because it marks the beginning of Jesus’ time on earth. Both Chanukah and Christmas, while joyous celebrations, are laced with solemnity. The Second Jewish Temple was desecrated by Greek-Syrians, who had erected an altar to Zeus and sacrificed pigs within its sacred walls. At this point in time, Jews had to practice their faith in secret, reading the Torah underground and using dreidels to simulate games and confuse Greek soldiers. However, the Jews, led by a small group of rebels known as the Maccabees, persevered, marking the joy of Chanukah for years to come. The period leading up to Christmas known as Advent is a time for repentance and preparation for the grace and miracle of Jesus’ birth. According to, the word “advent” is derived from the Latin word “adventus,” meaning “coming.” Advent is a time to both reflect on the past and look forward to the future. Much like Lent, Advent is intended to be a season of fasting, prayer and reaching out to God. During the holiday season, houses of worship customarily host prayer sessions and special holiday-related events. The faithful are encouraged to participate in these events in celebration of their faith. Prayer can help remove distractions during the holiday season, helping individuals reconnect with the true meaning of the holiday season. Come the holidays, adherents of Judaism celebrate Chanukah while many Christians celebrate Christmas. Though different, the two holidays share some similarities.

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Last Minute Gift Guide  

Last Minute Gift Guide