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Posts Tagged ‘KIDS’

The Christmas Calendar covers events in both the Whatcom County area and throughout Western Washington, with occasional listings from lower mainland British Columbia. Calendar listings will increase with time as information on events becomes available, so check back often.

I will be happy to list your holiday event, or events which you have heard about, on the calendar if you send all the pertinent details in an e-mail to simplyxmas09@gmail.com.

The calendar may be accessed in the right sidebar.

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Toys for Tots Toy Drive for Children in Need, Whatcom County, Nov. 22-Dec. 18, 2008

What: Toys for Tots drive for new, unwrapped toys and cash donations to buy toys for children of families in need.

Where: Whatcom County Haggen locations; NW Hot Spring Spas; all Whatcom County Little Caesar’s Pizza locations; Whidbey Island Bank locations, and Quizno’s locations.

When: Now until Dec. 18  Haggen & NW Hot Spring Spa locations accepting toys and cash donations until Dec. 20 [via KGMI radio morning show, 11-21].

A concurrent Toys for Tots drive is taking place at Haggen locations in Stanwood, Arlington, Marysville and Lake Stevens until Dec. 20th. (read more)

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Well, no kid has everything, but let me pose the following scenario to you. I have no doubt that many readers will be familiar with it–

Dick and Jane get lots of presents at Christmas.  Their parents go all out, as do both sets of grandparents along with assorted aunts and uncles. There’s not room for everything under the tree; presents have to be piled on the kitchen table as well. Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning, the unwrapping gets underway, and two or three hours after starting, Dick and Jane are still at it. Paper and ribbon and bows everywhere; the place looks like it’s been hit by a hurricane.

It’s hard to buy for kids like this. First of all, there’s the risk of duplication, especially if you go after this year’s “trendy” toys.  But on a deeper plane, suppose that you feel like you want to get them something that’s special, amongst all those other “special” things (read: special junk)….

Answer: Books. When the toys have lost their novelty a few months down the road, and joined the vast array of rarely-played-with toys that populate Dick and Jane’s rooms, the books will still be there, beckoning. Well, maybe. This strategy probably works better with younger kids who are just learning to read, than it will with older kids who have discovered the allure of the video game. But even if the books go neglected, you will know that you gave it your best shot, bestowing upon them a time-honored, non-passive form of entertainment that enriches both mind and spirit. As opposed to glitzy crap made in Chinese sweatshops.

There’s the added advantage here that you can, with some judicious shopping around in used bookstores, pick up like-new kids books at a substantial savings over the big retailers. Unless you think that spending more money on brand new books means you love Dick and Jane more, that God abhors Christmas thrift, or some other crazy idea along those general lines.

Another idea is art supplies. Most kids like to draw and color, so getting them crayons, colored pens and pencils, art paper, etc., is never a waste.

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THIS POST HAS MOVED TO OUR NEW LOCATION
http://oldxmas.blogspot.com/2008/11/a-fun-project-for-kids-make-your-own.html

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Christmas Sugar

Your kids will enjoy helping with this recipe – and they’ll be more than happy to eat the product of their labors afterwards. This is a great item for a kids’ Christmas party, as well.

Ingredients:

15-20 large marshmallows
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
red and green sugars
waxed paper
toothpicks
cookie sheet or platter

Preparation:

Place a piece of waxed paper on cookie sheet or platter. Stick a toothpick into each marshmallow.

Heat the chocolate in a double boiler (or a smaller saucepan placed inside a larger saucepan of water if you don’t have a double boiler) until melted. Take each marshmallow by the stick and dip in chocolate. Then pass it off to a kid who will then thoroughly roll it in red or green sugar.

Put the marshmallows on the cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours.

Sliced bananas or other fruit of your choice may be substituted for the marshmallows.

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I know that October  8th may seem rather early to debut the Christmas calendar for 2008, but the fact of the matter is that some of the ticketed events are already selling seats – and it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to bring the calendar online after these have sold out. Surprisingly, however, one very big holiday event kicks off before the end of this month – namely, the Tacoma Holiday Food and Gift Festival, to be held at the Tacoma Dome October 22-26.

As with last year, there will be a strong emphasis this year on discovering and listing free and low-cost events throughout Whatcom County and greater Western Washington that the whole family can enjoy. This is in line with the general theme of this site: simplifying Christmas, and  creating pleasant and memorable experiences in the place of pre-Christmas stress and a post-Christmas flat wallet.

Events with a price for admission will of course be listed, as well – there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the producers of an event asking that a production or festival be supported by the attendees (although I must confess that $184-$450 price tags on a family-of-four admission to a certain time-honored production this year strikes me as near-larceny).

From now until Halloween, I’ll be very busy behind the scenes, here, gathering material for the site, and discovering even more events to populate the calendar (there’s a whole lot out there). Before I close this post, though, I’d like to ask you to keep the following phrase in mind: Ornament is for joy. Christmastime is a season of ornament, and has the potential to be a time of real value, of real joy, rather than a time for superficial affectations of joy and a closing value that can be summed off of gift-receipts.  But it’s up to you. If you’ve turned the holiday season into a finance-straining, nerve-shattering experience…well, it’s your own damned fault. About that, here’s some good news: it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make it better; you can make this very Christmas one to remember fondly.  And I can help you with that.

See you on November 1st: All Saint’s Day!

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Over the next couple of months visitors to Simplify Christmas (yes, visits have remained consistently high, even through the spring and summer months of 2008) will notice some fairly dramatic changes in the organization and appearance of the site as I prepare for the official start-up date of November 1st. The first big change is this new theme – which will be modified as needed before the official start-up. Update: 09/27/2208: I’ve decided to stick with last year’s theme – better features, overall.

Do not be alarmed by the changes – Christmas 2007 is past, and Simplify Xmas 2008 is going to be even bigger and better than last year!

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