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Lancaster, PA – Experience the holiday season in the City with a variety of special events, activities and shopping. During the holiday season come to Downtown Lancaster for visits with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, and entertainment.
The event season kicks off on Black Friday, November 29th, with the Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and Tuba Christmas Presented by Susquehanna Bank slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Penn Square with a performance by PRiMA Theatre.
Santa will arrive then officially arrive in Downtown at 7:00 p.m. with the lighting of the tree at approximately 7:15 p.m. As is tradition in Lancaster City, Santa will be making his way to the top of the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square – formerly the Watt and Shand department store.
After the Tree Lighting Ceremony, follow Santa to the lobby of the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square where he will greet kids of all ages. This will also be Santa’s home for the holiday season where he will be meeting and taking his picture with children and families Fridays, 6pm – 9pm and Saturdays, 10am – 3pm.
PRiMA Theatre will then perform in the lobby of the Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square from 8:00pm to 8:30pm.
Also following the lighting of the tree, over 30 tuba players will be performing at Penn Square beginning at 7:30pm. Musicians from around Lancaster will be on hand to play holiday favorites on their tubas and euphoniums. They even decorate their instruments for the holiday event.
NEW YORK (AP) — An Elmo that gives out hugs, Barbie’s Dream House, and a new striped Furby all made Target Corp.’s list of top toys for the holiday season.
Retailers place their bets early on which toys will be hits and then spend heavily to market them to spur sales during the holiday season. It’s a crucial time because holiday sales can make up to 40 percent of a retailers’ annual revenue.
Toy sales have been weak in North America, Europe and Australia, due to a weak video game market, an uncertain economy and continued popularity of electronic gadgets like smartphones and tablets. BMO Capital Markets analyst Gerrick Johnson estimates total toy revenue will be down 2 percent to about $21 billion.
Among the top picks: Sesame Street’s Big Hugs Elmo, a mechanical Elmo that gives out hugs and sings songs; Hasbro’s Furby Boom, a robotic toy pet; a Target exclusive Mattel Monster High doll called Power Ghouls; and SpinMaster’s Flutterbye Flying Fairy, a doll that can flutter on air.
By MELISSA KOSSLER DUTTON
As parents of a toddler, Miranda and Dave Anderson realized that ringing in the New Year with a late-night bash had gotten a lot harder. So they began hosting a New Year’s Day brunch.
From the start, they billed it as an annual event.
“We wanted it to be a tradition,” says Miranda Anderson, who plans to host the event again this year even though her family, which now includes two children, recently moved from Virginia to Austin, Texas.
It’s fun to have a signature party that friends and family look forward to each year, and even better if you can change things up a little over time, event planners say.
“It is always nice to keep some of the old traditions, but adding in new activities is what will spice up the party every year,” says Christina Berrios of Event Details in New York.
Don’t be afraid to tweak the guest list, food and activities.
When Karen Martin of San Diego started hosting an annual Academy Awards party about 15 years ago, she included “Camp Oscar” — crafts and snacks set up in another room for guests’ children. Adults would watch the awards show in a different room. “We’d take turns checking on them,” says Martin. Now, her guests no longer have young children.
Likewise, Sheri StLaurent, owner of The Inn at East Hill Farm in Troy, N.H., used to include sleigh rides at the Inn’s annual Christmas party. But she stopped that when the number of kids declined and adults said they didn’t like going out in the cold.
She’s found that it’s OK to make other little changes each year. She usually has a full bar, for instance, but when the budget is tight, she may opt to serve only beer and wine. And she changes the menu from time to time — with one exception.
“I do serve shrimp,” she says. “If I didn’t do that; that might be a big deal.”
Changing the food can help add excitement to a party each year, says Jenny Goodman, an event consultant with At Your Door Events in Los Angeles. If you typically serve a sit-down dinner, consider hearty appetizers or food stations.
By BETH J. HARPAZ
NEW YORK (AP) — In Michigan, you’re expected to leave snowy boots in the mudroom before going inside. In Alaska, boots are taken off in “Arctic entries.” In Japan, Thailand and many other countries, you wouldn’t dream of entering a home with your shoes on, regardless of the season.
But removing shoes before coming inside has not been the norm in much of the U.S.
These days, however, city dwellers and suburbanites from New York to Los Angeles often find that hosts expect footwear to be left at the door. Sometimes it’s because of weather; other times, homeowners want to protect light-colored rugs and high-gloss wood floors from dirt and dings, or parents don’t want street germs on floors where kids play.
Some guests find the request irksome — especially at holiday parties when they’re dressed up. “But this is an outfit!” squeals Carrie Bradshaw in a “Sex and the City” episode when asked to take her shoes off at a baby shower. (Insult to injury: Her high-heeled Manolos are stolen during the party.)
Shalena Broaster of Philadelphia — whose friends call her “the diva” — says her first thought when asked to remove shoes is: “I just pray I have a fresh pedicure!” Since she’s only 5 feet tall, she also misses the height her stilettos provide.
Classy hosts with a no-shoes rule hand out “guest socks” or inexpensive slippers that folks can take home. But please don’t offer Broaster your old tube socks. “Nasty!” she said.
By ALISON LADMAN
Sweet potatoes generally get one of three treatments at the Thanksgiving table.
They are mashed like regular potatoes; they are roasted like squash, or they are saturated with sugar until they no longer resemble a vegetable.
We decided there had to be an alternative. We still mashed them, but we also doctored them up with a second mash — a puree of cauliflower and Parmesan cheese. The sweet and savory of those ingredients play so wonderfully together, you’ll never go back to the three usual suspects.
ORANGE SWEET POTATOES SWIRLED WITH PARMESAN CAULIFLOWER PUREE
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (15 minutes active)
4 large sweet potatoes
16 ounces cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen
4 tablespoons butter, divided
Zest of 1 orange
Salt and ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Parmesan
Heat the oven to 400 F. Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork.
Place the sweet potatoes directly on the oven’s center rack and bake for Bake, directly on the rack for 1 hour, or until completely tender.
While the sweet potatoes cook, steam the cauliflower. Set a steamer basket in a medium saucepan with 1/2 inch of water. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and add the cauliflower to the steamer basket. Cover and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the steamer and set aside.
Butterfly Tree Children’s Mural to be unveiled at Manheim Township Public Library on National Children’s Grief Awareness Day, Nov 21
The death of a baby can be very difficult on a child. They witness their parents wrestling with overwhelming grief, and struggle with their own feelings of sadness and confusion. These children deserve a day just to be carefree children, playing with their parents in the sunshine and having fun, and each year Sweet Pea Project offers those families that kind of a day at their annual Sweet Pea Sisters & Brothers Picnic. At this year’s picnic, 106 children decorated paper butterflies with watercolor paint, acrylic paint, colored pencils, crayons, markers, and glitter glue in honor of their sisters and brothers. Artist and Sweet Pea Project founder, Stephanie Paige Cole, then helped the children create a giant mural using their butterflies as leaves on a butterfly tree. The mural will be unveiled on National Children’s Grief Awareness Day, November 21st, with a special cookies and cocoa reception for the artists who created this touching piece of art at Manheim Township Public Library, and will remain on display there during regular library hours from November 21-30. During the mural’s stay, the library will have Sweet Pea Project community event videos available for viewing. They will also have books specially chosen to suit this topic and Sweet Pea Project informational brochures will be available as well. For details about this project please visit www.sweetpeaproject.org/
By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL
NEW YORK (AP) — It’s so easy to share all that holiday fun in an instant: One click and you can cover Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all your other social media accounts. Two seconds later, everyone who wasn’t included will know about it, too.
Or someone might notice that you’ve checked in at a store that holds the item at the top of their gift list. There goes that surprise.
Surely no one wants to make hurt feelings or spilled secrets part of the holiday tradition, yet it can be as tempting to post pictures as it is to grab an extra helping of pecan pie.
To avoid uncomfortable situations, take a breath, experts say, and think about how your status update will be received. What will it say about you beyond your enjoyment of some seasonal cheer?
Social media will be part of the holidays this year — parties, gifts, photos, shopping — in a way it was not five years ago, notes Anthony Rotolo, who teaches social media strategy at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. He thinks that’s mostly a good thing, since your followers or friends are there because they want to be.
Be mindful of others’ feelings, however, and try to grow a tougher skin yourself, he says.
Guest lists can be particularly sensitive. The very social Samantha Yanks, an avid Tweeter, Facebooker and Instagrammer and editor-in-chief of Hamptons magazine, says she uses them all to keep up to date with people she likes and admires. She reminds herself that social media is not an accurate popularity barometer. If others are out having a good time, she tries to celebrate it.
And she’ll do the same. “I don’t want to feel guilty for being there,” Yanks says.
If you have questions about toys and purposeful play, send them to Melissa Palermo-Spero. Melissa is the mother of two and the owner of 1 of the top 5 toy stores in the country, The Fun-est Toy Store Ever! You can send questions by clicking on our “Ask An Expert” Link. It’s never too early to start holiday shopping!
By LISA A. FLAM
Cynthia Greenwood’s three girls always get new sleepwear at Christmas, the only gift they are allowed to open on Christmas Eve. The sisters waste no time getting comfy before the family sits down to a holiday dinner and relaxes by the fire.
“They come right in from church, they look under the tree and there’s the box of PJs, and they run back to their room and put them on and we start the festivities,” said Greenwood, of Arlington Heights, Ill. “It’s just a really nice night. It’s special.”
The tradition has been going strong for about two and a half decades in the Greenwood home: The sisters, now 31, 28 and 23, have seen their gifts evolve from one-piece footed numbers to matching ruffled nightgowns to two-piece pajama sets.
New pajamas are a holiday custom in many families and a perennially popular gift, whether it’s Mom and Dad outfitting the kids in coordinating PJs for keepsake photos, a husband or wife tired of seeing their spouse in the same old ratty nightwear, or a treat for a special friend.
“Getting sleepwear is very nostalgic,” said Jennifer Wilson, associate corporate merchant for L.L. Bean. “You’re giving the gift of warmth and comfort. It’s cozy but it’s practical at the same time.”
People spend a lot of time in their PJs, often changing into them right after work, snuggling up on the couch to watch a football game or even wearing them out of the house, notes Stacey Buonanno, director of product development for online retailer PajamaGram.
“People are trying really hard to carve out family time together and relaxation time, whether it’s playing a game together or watching a movie. A lot of that time happens in your PJs or sweats,” said Buonanno.
Pajamas also make a great gift because many people neglect to buy them for themselves, she added.
And sleepwear is easier to buy for someone else than a sweater or pair of jeans because you don’t need to worry about the perfect fit. “With PJs, just go up a size if you’re not sure and say you wanted them to be comfortable,” Buonanno said.
There are a lot of choices when shopping for jammies. Does your guy like a classic button-front or pullover style? Do the kids need fleece or cotton? Does the lady in your life prefer a gown (short or long? sexy or demure?) or a two-piece set? Will your recipients appreciate the whimsy of a reindeer eating a candy cane or do they expect a traditional tartan?
A look at some options:
For parents, there may be nothing cuter (or more relief-inducing) after a long day of holiday celebrations than seeing the kids all washed up for bed and in new PJs.
By Jill U. Adams
Special To The Washington Post.
There’s little dispute that physical activity is good for kids: It not only helps develop muscles and fend off obesity, it also offers opportunities to socialize and learn new skills. Getting kids active is a key component of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, which says “children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day to grow up to a healthy weight.”
Can physical activity also help improve a child’s academic performance?
“This is a very consistent finding, that physically fit kids do better in school,” says James Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California at San Diego, who has long worked on preventing childhood obesity.
A recent report from the Institute of Medicine asserts that “children who are more active show greater attention, have faster cognitive processing speed, and perform better on standardized academic tests than children who are less active.”
A strong body of research supports the link between physical fitness and test scores. In one study, for example, nearly 2,000 California schoolchildren who were outside a “healthy fitness zone” — a 12-year-old who took longer than 12 minutes to run a mile would be outside that zone — scored lower on state standardized tests than those who were more fit.
A similar study in Nebraska assessed the fitness of schoolchildren in a shuttle run, in which kids run a back-and-forth lap in a set time. The kids who performed best on this test scored higher on both the math and reading portions of state standardized exams.
While compelling, such evidence does not prove that fitness is the cause of higher test scores. Fitness in kids also tends to correlate with higher socioeconomic status, which is strongly predictive of academic achievement.
The more important question is: Does adding opportunities for physical activity during the school day boosts kids’ capacity to learn?
The research on this question is still in its early stages, but the evidence is beginning to suggest that the answer is yes.