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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Thursday, November 29, 2012


The evolution and many faces of Christmas M

any people prepare for the arrival of Christmas months in advance. The first traces of wrapping paper and decorations arrive in stores as early as September, transforming the holiday into a much more secular celebration than its modest Christian beginnings. Despite Christmas being an important date in the lives of today’s Christians, the holiday failed to gain prominent status until relatively recently. Research indicates that as late as the 19th century, Christmas was not even a legal holiday requiring a day off from work. That’s why 19th-century readers of the classic Christmas tale, “A Christmas Carol,” were not shocked at Bob Cratchit having to work on Christmas Day. The United States Congress used to meet on Christmas Day because it was not a national holiday. In 1836, A labama became the first state to officially recognize Christmas,

but it didn’t become a legal holiday across the country until June 26, 1970. Today’s Christmas celebrations include traditions from around the world. Some ascertain that it was the Church’s doing to schedule Christmas at a similar time to the pagan festivals, such as Saturnalia, that took place during the winter months. But many biblical scholars argue that this was not the case. Some pagan influences, such as holly and mistletoe as well as the burning of a yule log, have long been a part of Christmas traditions. Santa Claus is one of the more recognizable symbols of Christmas. He is based on St. Nikolas of Myrna, an area that is part of modern-day Turkey. St. Nikolas is the world’s most popular non-Biblical saint and is one of the saints most portrayed by artists. Early depictions of St. Nikolas show him as a stern man who delivered his share of discipline. Eventually, those depictions changed to show a figure more associated with generosity. Throughout history there have been characters from around the globe, such as the Viking deity Odin, who were precursors to Santa Claus. Myth states that Odin rode his eight-legged flying horse in the winter. Odin gave out gifts to well-behaved children and punishments to those who misbehaved. Children would fill boots or stockings with treats for the flying horse. Regardless of the origins of Christmas, today it is hard to deny that Christmas is a commercialized success. It is a national holiday not only in the United States but also in other areas of the world, and it is best known for the tradition of giving presents to others.

Christmas is a holiday steeped in many different traditions, and many people have their own ways of celebrating all through the month of In fact, many people head to the stores well in advance of the December. Here, a child marks the day on an Advent calendar.

The Magi, bearing gifts, are reported to have visited the infant Jesus on the day of Epiphany.

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Christmas holiday to purchase all of the presents on their shopping lists. The shopping season tradition may be traced back to the time of World War II, when it was necessary to mail gifts early to the troops serving in Europe so that they would be able to open them in time.

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Merchants realized that this concept could be used when gifting troops as well as private citizens, reminding shoppers to make their holiday purchases early so they could mail them to relatives near or far. As a result, the advanced shopping season was born. Although many people feel Christmas begins when the first bag of tinsel appears on a store shelf and ends when the last present is opened on December 25th, the true religious holiday does not coincide with merchant schedules. While most people are bustling to and from department stores and malls, Christians are participating in Advent, which was traditionally a solemn season of reflection and fasting. Christians are supposed to spend Advent preparing for the birth of Jesus Christ and the joy that ensues during the weeks leading up to December 25. Similarly, the joyous time of Christ's birth is a day of celebration that does not end on December 26 but continues for 12 days until the Epiphany, also known as Little Christmas, when Magi were reported to have visited the infant Christ and given him gifts. Although the more traditional day for giftgiving would seem to be on the Epiphany, by the time that day arrives many people have already taken down their Christmas decorations. (Metro)

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, November 29, 2012

Safety should be a holiday tradition, too C

elebrants and shoppers annually spend billions of dollars during the holiday season. With so much money exchanging hands, it is imperative for shoppers and revelers to use caution to avoid incidents that can put a damper on such a festive time of year. Though many people who look forward to the holiday season for all the right reasons, there are some who see this time of year as a prime opportunity to prey on the generosity or distraction Christmas brings. Thieves know that the holidays can be hectic, and they use this to their advantage, knowing full well people tend to store high-priced items in their homes during this time of the year. Heeding certain safety tips during the holidays can help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Stagger shopping times Being a creature of habit may not be advantageous come t he holidays. Of tent imes, potent ia l burg la rs monitor neighborhoods to see when residents come and go. It can take mere minutes for a thief to get into a home and then abscond with valuables. Creating a situation where there is always someone home or at least the appearance that someone is home might dissuade a thief from targeting your home.

Watch your wallet Cash is a very attractive prospect for thieves because it is largely untraceable and easily spent. While shoppers who want to curb high credit card bills might favor cash, it is important not to carry too much around. Spread out purchases over a few days so that you do not have to carry large quantities of cash. When using an ATM at the mall or at the bank, always be aware of your surroundings, including fellow customers. It may be worth paying multiple service fees to withdraw small amounts of cash rather than withdrawing a large amount of money that thieves can target. Remove extraneous credit cards when shopping. Should your wallet be stolen or go missing, this will eliminate the number of accounts that thieves can use and also cuts down on the number of accounts that need to be closed out. You should never carry your social security card in your wallet because this increases your risk of being victimized by identity theft.

Request to sign for packages Many shipping carriers have eliminated the need for package recipients to sign for merchandise. Recipients can now choose to have boxes and bags left outside the front door. To decrease the risk of theft, always choose to sign for packages, regardless of how safe your neighborhood may be.

When you venture out to shop, do so at different times so you're not establishing a recognizable pattern that gives a thief a sense of security and a perfect window of time to break in.

Triple-check your home Security experts warn that most burglaries occur during daytime hours when homes are empty. The main point of entry is on the ground floor via a rear or a side door. Access through a garage door is another common way thieves gain access to a home.


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Before leaving the house, make sure that all doors and windows are locked and that the garage door cannot be opened. Many times thieves are able to simply enter a home through an unlocked window. The key is to make it as difficult as possible for a burglar to get inside your home. Running out of the home for parties, shopping, and other social events could derail safety precautions. If need be, leave a checklist by the front door to remind you to safeguard the home before exiting.

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Park in well-lit areas Cars are prime targets for burglaries. Many times shoppers visit the car frequently during shopping excursions and store gifts in the trunk, only to return for more shopping. Thieves recognize there may be a bounty of merchandise inside. First and foremost, all items in the car should be stored out of sight to deter interest in your vehicle. Secondly, make sure that the car is locked and that the security system (if there is one) is engaged, as merchandise in a car is not often covered by standard auto insurance policies. In addition, park as close as you can to the store entrance or beneath a bright light. Poor visibility encourages thieves.

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Great gift ideas for nursing care facility residents By Sharon Bouchard Feature Writer

picture puzzles are great gifts to help occupy time and keep the mind stimulated.


Family photos and photo albums are a perfect gift for any family member, but for those in nursing homes they may be the only time they get to see how the grandchildren are growing. If your gift recipient is in a dementia unit, the glass in a framed family photo should be replaced with unbreakable plastic.

all get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and often a time of holiday glee can become a dreaded chore especially when the people on your list live in a residential care facility. Finding the right gift for our elderly relatives and friends can be difficult under the best of circumstances, but for those with limited room and perhaps limited mobility finding the right gift can be a little more difficult.

Often residents have to go outside to a doctor’s appointment or other outside activity. During the cold winter months, a warm knit hat would be a truly appreciated gift. What not to give for gifts can be as important as what to give. As well as staying away from house plants, colognes and perfumes are not the best gift to give, and food items can be tricky or even harmful unless you know for sure the resident is not on a restricted diet or can handle the size and texture of the food.

Angela Noyes, of Market Square Health Care Facility, and Ellie Newell, admissions coordinator of The Maine Veterans’ Home, have a lot of experience in this area of gift-giving and have provided some ideas to help you with your holiday shopping. Sweaters, lap blankets, and afghans are always welcome. Nursing homes are often on the cool side and having some warm items can be very beneficial. Everyone likes to wrap themselves in a warm sweater or curl up under a warm blanket.

The very best gift of all is the least expensive. “The gift of time,” said Newell. “People love visits from loved ones at any time, but especially during the holidays.” What better gift can you give than spending holiday time with someone who would give anything in the world to spend it with you?

To help put residents in a festive mood going into the holiday season, an artificial wreath (no live greens) for their door will help make the season bright. Fresh seasonal-colored flowers are also a good choice, but check with the florist or nursing facility to make sure the flowers are allowed. Some flowers are toxic and some may trigger allergies. House plants are not a good choice due to lack of space and the ability of the resident to care for them. “For the men,” said Newell, “handkerchiefs are a great gift; they can never have too many of them.” Some of the women might enjoy some pretty hankies as well. You can never go wrong with picture calendars for the upcoming year. The residents enjoy the pictures and the calendars help keep track of the days. Slippers for both men

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and women are a good consideration. Just remember to check on the correct size and make sure the bottoms are slip resistant to avoid accidents. Gift cards are a one-size-fits-all, whether it’s a phone card that will allow your loved one to call family who may be long distance or a store card so they can purchase something they need or want, make great gifts. If the individual needs special footwear, it is possible to get gift cards for shoe fittings. The nursing staff may be able to point you in the right direction for such a purchase. Diabetic socks are another idea to help the feet and circulation. They are available at most pharmacy stores and medical-supply businesses. Though nursing care facilities tr y to have a variet y of enjoyable activities for the residents, the days can still be pretty long. Word search and crossword puzzle books, largeprint magazines, personalized CDs of favorite music, and

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Grandparents who want to give a gift that is both fun and informative may consider giving a gift that can last a lifetime— the love of books and reading. To help, here are a few examples of books for young people from DK Books: • Readers can discover all there is to know about one of the world’s most beloved toy companies with “The LEGO Book.” • For children for whom “dinosaurs” is a magic word, there’s “Make Your Own T. Rex.” Grandparents can pitch in and help young readers construct a 2-foot cardboard model of T. rex and learn fun facts as they build together. • “Super Nature” is an interactive look at the “wow” factor of the natural world. It spotlights great white sharks, emperor moths, howler monkeys, and many of the world’s most fascinating animals in remarkable detail. • Children with a passion for horses are likely to be pleased with “Horses: The Ultimate Treasury,” an illustrated guide to this amazing world. • For young people fascinated by visual tricks, try picking up “Optical Illusions.” Each time readers turn the page, lift the flaps, or pull the tabs, they’ll find another amazing sight. • Children delighted with art and self-expression are likely to enjoy “Doodlepedia.” This is a fact-packed drawing and coloring book that just may change the way you and your grandchildren look at learning. DK publishes books for children from preschool to high school. Those whose grandchildren live mainly in a digital world will be glad to know that DK offers many of its children’s titles in an e-book format. To learn more, visit (NAPSI)

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday book picks By Kenny Brechner Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers

Maine Interest Maine: The Wilder Half of New England, by William Barry

This nicely illustrated book published by Maine’s Tilbury house prov ides something that has been sorely lacking: a good, c u r rent, popu la r history of Maine. Barry’s book ably covers Maine historical Year Zero, by Rob Reid matters from the pre-history If you take holiday cheer seriously you’ll want the funniest to the present. After all, no new book you can lay your one wants to reads about the hands on and this year that tamer half of New England. w i l l be Year Zero. Never Maine it is for the people on has the principle of writing your gift list. about what you know been more creatively or effectively employed t ha n by aut hor The Maine Alphabet, by Dahlov Ipcar Rob Reid. Reid is the founder of t he R h a p s o d y mu sicMa i ne’s Isla ndpor t press sharing ser vice and listen. has been using the classic com. His account of a league illustrations of Ipcar, one of of culturally advanced aliens Ma i ne’s pr i ncipa l a r t ist ic w h o h a v e i n a d v e r t e nt l y treasures, to make new board illegally downloaded all of books, featuring images from earth’s music in a manner her older children’s books calculated to impoverish the paired with simple new text entire universe skewers the for younger readers. This ABC music industry in a manner board book is the best yet. worthy of Douglas Adams.


Non -Fiction Double Cross, by Ben MacIntyre Double Cross is an account of the six Double Cross agents used by British Intelligence in a concerted, dangerous, and high sta kes ef for t to conv i nce t he Na zi's t hat Operat ion Fortitude, the Allied invasion of Europe, would occur north of Normandy. Considering t he i m mense h istor ica l i mpor t a nce of Operat ion For t it ude, MacI nt y re, i n ma k ing a ver y conv incing argument that the individual per sona l it ie s a nd qu i rk s of si x unusua l indiv idua ls played an essential role in D-Day's success, st rong ly c on f i r m s h i s c ore bel ief t hat i nd iv idua l it y shou ld never be u nderest i mated as an historical lever. There is a double benefit here, of course, since the intrinsic interest of colorful personalities, and MacIntyre's gift for capturing them, are also what makes the book so enjoyable. With Double Cross, and particularly with its amazing account of Johnny Jebsen, the reader is left with a profoundly haunting sense of the meaningfulness of our individual actions.

Picture Books

Black Dog, by Levi Pinfold W hen a family is visited by a gigantic Black Dog, only the youngest in the family has the courage to go out and play with him. As the story progresses, the dog slowly shrinks, giv ing children a very clever sense of how fear shapes our perceptions of the world. Filled with spectacular illustrations w ith multiple storylines running in smaller panels throughout, Black Dog is sure to delight and engage young readers and listeners.

Coffee Table Book More Than Human, by Tim Flach Apart from sharing a title with the great Theodore Sturgeon, Ti m F lach, photog r aph ic author of Dogs and Equus, has delivered yet a not her a ma z i ng book of a n i ma l photography. Each picture is an intricate world unto itself. My advice is as follows: Go to a bookstore, stand slack jawed and gasp at the pages. Take home a sealed copy for the holidays.


page 8 ‰

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, by William Joyce Always a wonderful illustrator, Joyce has penned a truly lovely story here of a life captured and sustained by the magic of books. Books nourish Morris L essmore t h roug hout h is life until his own life story enters into the pages of a story opened by a young girl whose own journey is beginning. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a delight meant for sharing.

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Gift ideas for the traveler on your list The perfect holiday gift isn’t always easy to find. Shoppers may scour the malls looking for ideas or spend countless hours online in the hopes of landing the gift that is sure to make their loved one’s holiday unforgettable. When shopping for the holidays, shoppers often discover that the best gifts are the ones that speak to a person’s passion. A sports fan, for instance, might want nothing more than tickets to watch his favorite team play. When catering to a person’s interests, shoppers should find out what that passion is and then the process of finding the perfect gift becomes a lot easier. Of course, passions can vary. For those with an on-the-go loved one who is seemingly always planning his or her next globe-trotting adventure, the following gift ideas are sure to please.

The Backpacker Travelers come in many shapes and sizes. Those who prefer backpacking through the woods instead of jetting off to the nearest island resort may love a new backpack. When shopping, don’t look for backpacks tailor-made for students. Instead, visit your nearest outdoor store and look for a bag that’s sturdy and capable of storing a variety of items needed for camping. Daypacks are smaller and made for campers who frequently take day trips or shorter overnight trips. These packs are lightweight and boast enough room for a small amount of

When shopping for the holidays, shoppers often discover that the best gifts are the ones that speak to a person’s passion. supplies. Medium-duty packs typically provide more storage and support than smaller daypacks. They of ten feature internal frames and can be used when backpacking through a variety of trails. An expedition pack will be larger and is ideal for campers who need to carry a lot of weight because they tend to go on longer camping or hiking trips.

The Road Tripper Despite the high cost of fuel, some people still feel road trips are the best way to travel. Travelers who can’t get enough of the open road would benefit from a gift card to a filling station, which can drastically reduce the cost of their next adventure.

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When going this route, shoppers should be sure to buy a gift card to a filling station their loved one is bound to encounter on the road. The card won’t do much good if drivers won’t be able to use it. Before purchasing a card, call the company or visit their Web site to ensure they have locations along your loved one’s route.

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Such restlessness might be quelled with an e-reader that enables travelers to read books, stream movies and television shows, and update their status via social media apps so their friends and family can follow them on their adventures. Some new luggage may also make a jetsetter’s holiday that much better. While a completely new set of luggage might break the bank, consider a nice duffel bag or a small travel bag with room for toiletries and other small items no traveler can do without. Sun Journal

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Traveling is a passion for many men and women. This holiday season use a loved one’s love of travel to help you find him or her the perfect gift. (Metro)

Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, November 29, 2012

Great gifts that won't break the bank


iving is synonymous with the holiday season. But in a holiday season where people are still dealing with a sagging and unpredictable economy, giving in a way that won’t break the bank is imperative for many thoughtful holiday shoppers. In response to the economy, many families have set limits on how much family members can spend on holiday gifts. Such budgets are a great idea and can even make holiday shopping more fun as shoppers hunt down the perfect gift without having to worry about how they’re going to pay for it. Low-cost holiday gifts come in many shapes and sizes, and the following are a few ideas to help you get started.

Food & Beverage If you need to find an inexpensive gift for the family foodie, then you’re in luck. Plenty of culinary gifts can be had for less than $25. Early risers might appreciate some gourmet coffee beans accompanied by a new coffee mug, while those who prefer tea instead of coffee would no doubt appreciate a variety pack of herbal teas and a new teacup or teapot.

feeding that passion can be easy and inexpensive. Many film fans have a favorite director or actor, so why not gift a collection of that director’s or actor’s work? Perhaps thanks to the growing popularity of streaming movies online, DVDs are now more affordable than ever. Many film fanatics are also interested in the history of the film industry, so a book detailing that history might appeal to your loved ones. Of course, all film fans generally appreciate a gift certificate to their local multiplex.

Pet Parents Pet parents are enamored with their furry friends, so a petoriented gift is sure to make their holiday season even more special. A new bowl, a flashy new collar, or some additional attire aimed at helping their beloved pooch or cat stay warm through the winter months won’t cost much, but it’s certainly something most pet owners and their pets need. For the pet parent who seemingly has everything, remember that pets can never have enough toys. Pets tend to play rough, so their toys aren’t known for their longevity. Some new pet toys can be had on the cheap, and pet parents will appreciate the gesture.

Men and women who embrace mea lt ime as a n oppor tunit y to ex per ience va r ious st yles of cuisine would likely love a cookbook filled with recipes from all over the world or a particular country whose cuisine inspires them.

Rest & Relaxation Arguably one of the best holiday gifts is one that won’t cost shoppers a penny. Offer to babysit a loved one’s kids so the adults can enjoy a worry-free night on the town or simply relax at home without the kids.

A not her g reat g i f t for food ies is a membership to a club such as “Pastry of the Month” or “Coffee of the Month.” Such gifts cost a little more than thrifty shoppers would care to spend, but there are some deals to be had on such memberships come the holiday season.

Another R&R gift is to book a spa trip for you and a loved one. While this won’t necessarily qualify as an inexpensive holiday gift, you can often get great deals on spa treatments and other luxurious services when you book for two. And booking such a trip is also a way to reward yourself for surviving another holiday season. (Metro)

Photography The dawn of the digital age has made photog raphy more popu la r t ha n ever before. Amateur photographers can now take photos with a digital camera or even their cellular phones and post their pictures to the Internet i n a mat ter of seconds. T houg h online photo albums are popular, a traditional photo album is a thoughtful and inexpensive gift for a loved one who can’t take enough pictures. New parents might also consider Made by g i v i n g t he i r y ou n g s t e r ’s Tova Millett 739-2377 grandparents a photo album Penny Merrill 743-7491 At Cut Loose, Fair St. Norway f i l led w it h photos of t he 14”- $14.00 family’s newest addition.


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TwelveKindsofIce, by Ellen Obud, illustrated by Barbara McClintock

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The Peculiar takes us to the deba sed world of a 19t hcentur y London which has consumed but not erased an incursion from the realm of the fae. The great strength of the book lies in its imaginative power, for its deeply evocative phrases reinforce the subtle power of the faerie world. Everything about The Peculiar whispers that it is so much easier to stay asleep and passive under the sway of dark and questionable currents. How difficult it is to act, to come fully awake in this world – the reader rises energetically into this void. The Peculiar is a gripping and satisfying read. Its sense of the fae, of dangerous bridges from one realm into the other, is both traditional and authentic.

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Put these books in the hands of young readers and they w i l l devour t hem w it hout pause and clamor for more, leaving all this ponderous, philosophical breast beating to adult fans.

TheShadowoftheHawk, by Curtis Jobling If you read primarily for pleasure sooner or later you'll encounter a book which makes you ask the really tough questions. Are fun and escapism truly more edifying than realistic drama? Am I horizontally enlightened or just shallow?

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One such book is The Shadow of the Hawk, the third volume of The Wereworld series. This third book firmly establishes the Wereworld series as being preposterously entertaining. I n Sh a dow of the Hawk , Job l i n g d o e s bi g t h i n g s with the Spartacus story as Drew t he young Werewolf heir to the throne, our hero, captured by the evil slaver Weregoat Kesslar, and sold into Gladiatorial pits of the even more ev il Werelizard Ignus, leads his fellow slaves to freedom in a spectacularly exciting manner. So why are these Wereworld books so much fun? Because they contain the timeless pleasures of great storytelling epics, red-blooded villains, heroes and heroines we love and identify with, dark sorcery, heart-pounding danger, friendship and romance, multiple storylines racing along, each as happily absorbing as its neighbors.

Whatever gifts you choose to share with your loved ones, make sure to purchase them from the stores which share a community with you.

Kenny Brechner is owner of Devaney Doak & Garrett Booksellers, Farmington. Email or visit

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Now THAT's a Bargain! Your FSB ATM-Debit card gives you free access to ATMs at 11 Maine Community Banks through the Maine Cash Access partnership. Get details at

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Follow us on Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Thursday, November 29, 2012

Western Maine Holiday 2012  

Feature stories and information to get you in the holiday mood!

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