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Christmas Photos for Your Pets


Photo by Sandra Cobet. License: CC BY 2.0

Have your pets been naughty or nice this year? Now is their chance to whisper in Santa’s ear. Or maybe they’ll just give Santa a big slobbery kiss. ;) In Petco stores nationwide, your furry family members can have their photo taken with Santa. If there isn’t a Petco near you, contact your local humane society or animal shelter. Many humane societies have an event where Santa will take a picture with pets. For more holiday fun, you can get a free digital photo from PetSmart (details below).

So pull out your Christmas sweaters, scarves, hats, or other festive accessories and make plans to attend one of these photo events!

Photos with Santa at Petco

petco-logoOn Saturday, December 6th or 13th, head into your local Petco between 1–4pm to have your pet’s photo taken with Santa. You’ll get a 4" x 6" photo for just $9.95. You’ll be happy to know that 100% of your photo purchase will help homeless animals—now that’s money well spent!

Click here to find a Petco store near you.

Paws for the Camera at PetSmart

PETSMART-logoGet a digital photo of you with your furry friend(s) at PetSmart for free—that’s right, FREE! Now, to be clear, Santa will not be there, but you can still have a nice, festive photo taken. The image will be emailed to you, so you can print as many as you like or even use it for your Christmas cards! This in-store photo event will take place on December 6–7th and 13–14th from 12–4pm.

Click here to find a PetSmart near you.

Other Resources

  • Your local humane society – Contact your local animal shelter to find out if they are having a “photos with Santa” event.
  • Your local shopping mall – Sometimes the Santa photo booth at the mall has designated times when pets are welcome to take photos with Santa.

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Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies

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Looking for a holiday activity to do with your family and friends? Attend a Christmas tree lighting! Many cities host an annual tree lighting ceremony that is accompanied by several other festive attractions. Check out one (or more) of these events and treat your family to some holiday fun. (Psst… You might even spot Santa while you’re there!)

Rockefeller Center – New York City, New York

Rockefellar Christmas Tree
Photo by Rob Young. License: CC BY 2.0

Watch the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree light up the streets of New York City tomorrow, December 3rd. If you are unable to be there in person, you can watch this momentous occasion on television on NBC.

Fun Facts: The tree is a Norway spruce, stands 85 feet tall, is 90 years old, and weighs 13 tons.

Trafalgar Square – London

Trafalgar Square December 2006. Photo by DAVID ILIFF
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY SA 3.0

The tree will be lit at 6pm on Thursday, December 4th. If you can’t make it to the lighting ceremony, perhaps you can attend the blessing of the crib on December 7th at 5:30pm or enjoy the sound of carolers from December 8th through the 23rd.

Fun Fact: Since 1947, the Trafalgar Square tree has been donated by the city of Oslo, Norway as gesture of gratitude for Britain’s help in World War II.

National Christmas Tree Lighting 2014 – Washington, D.C.

National Christmas Tree Dec. 2009
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

Watch the National Christmas tree lighting on December 4th. The ceremony will include performances and appearances by Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Patti LaBelle, and more.

Fun Fact: Every year people from each state and territory create ornaments to donate to the “Pathway of Peace” trees, which are a group of smaller trees near the national tree.

Tampa’s Tree Lighting Ceremony – Tampa, Florida

If you’re near Tampa, be sure to attend the tree lighting ceremony on Friday, December 5th at 6pm. The event is free to attend, and there will be musical performances, a movie in the park, a Christmas market, and even ice skating!

Mayor’s Holiday Celebration – Houston, Texas

Photo Credit: Donna Carson,

The folks of Houston, Texas are kicking off the holiday season with fun festivities on Friday, December 5th. There will be music, fireworks, free photos with Santa, and the illumination of the city’s Christmas tree.

The Queen Mary – Long Beach, California

On December 3rd at 8pm, you can watch the 21st annual lighting of the Christmas tree at The Queen Mary—a floating hotel in Long Beach. There will be plenty of other festive activities for the family, such as ice skating, a magic show, performances by a local choir and accomplished figure skaters, and more!

National Gallery of Canada – Ottawa, Ontario

Photo by Aaron Bihari. License: CC BY SA 2.0

Attend the tree lighting at the National Gallery of Canada on Thursday, December 4th at 7pm. Enjoy free admission to the lighting ceremony, and take the whole family!

Fun Fact: The tree came from Quebec and is 30 years old.


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Cyber Monday Deals

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There are just 24 days until Christmas, so take advantage of these Cyber Monday deals for your holiday shopping. Some of these deals end tonight, while others extend throughout the week. You won’t need to brave the cold weather to get these deals—they are just a click away!

December is finally here! Send a festive arrangement to a loved one to celebrate the holiday season. Get free shipping/no service charge on select products at! Use promo code HLDYSHP at checkout. (Offer valid from 11/28 12:01AM EST to 12/01 11:59PM EST.)
Amazon has great deals every day this week, so you can keep saving long after Cyber Monday is over. Shop Amazon Cyber Monday deals week.
Looking for unique, one of a kind gifts? Check out CafePress’ 24-hour Cyber Monday sale! Get 30% off everything with code CYBERSAV. (Coupon code is valid today only.)
Get a head start on your holiday gifts—send some yummy treats! Think it’s too early to send a Christmas gift? Think again! You can order now and select a future delivery date upon checkout. Get $15 off $50 purchase at Use coupon code CYBERSAVE. (Offer valid 12/1/14 12.01am–11.59pm EST.)
Find some cute clothes for the kiddos on your holiday list. Save 50% off everything! (Offer valid 12/1 only.)
Not only does HearthSong have lots of amazing toys for you to discover, but they have also many award-winning toys that kids will love. Get 15% off $50+ with $15 Reward Card at! Use code: LSHSCMON14.
Juice Beauty offers an extensive line of organic skin care and cosmetic products. This award-winning company has products for both men and women, so take advantage of their Cyber Monday sale. Get an exclusive gift box that includes up to $133 worth of free skincare and makeup when you spend $75–125, plus free shipping. (Valid 11/30 and 12/1.)
You can find clothes for the whole family, home decor, and more at Kohl’s! Don’t forget to check out their pretty Christmas ornaments and decorations. The best part? You can save 20% off sitewide with code CYBERTAKE20, plus get free shipping on $25—no code needed! (Valid 11/29–12/3.)
If you or some family members need to stock up on contact lenses, check out Vision Direct. Take 30% off your First Vision Direct Contact Lens order with code THANKS30. (Valid 11/26–12/2.)
Find toys, electronics, and gifts for the whole family at Walmart. New specials added daily during Cyber Week at!

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure here.

Etsy Item of the Day: Frozen Memory Arm Warmers

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These sky blue arm warmers are made from a super soft cotton knit fabric, which means they are lightweight and breathable, perfect for many seasons. The print on the fabric reminds me of Elsa’s icy blue dress from the movie Frozen. If you have loved ones who are Frozen fans, this might be an excellent gift for them!
Frozen Memory Arm Warmers ~ Etsy Seller: Zen and Coffee

Etsy Seller: Zen and Coffee

A Special Performance of A Charlie Brown Christmas

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A Charlie Brown Christmas
On Thursday, December 4 at 7:00pm, a special performance of A Charlie Brown Christmas will be conducted at the Dominion-Chalmers United Church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

This isn’t just any concert because Jerry Granelli—the only surviving member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio—will be performing. In case you didn’t already know, it was the Guaraldi Trio who recorded the original soundtrack for A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965. Accompanying Granelli are Simon Fisk on bass, Chris Gestrin on piano, and a local choir—the Cross Town Youth Chorus.

In addition to the unforgettable music, Granelli will sharing the story of the Guaraldi Trio who made the famous album. This will be an event that the whole family will enjoy.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Ottawa Jazz Festival website.


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Black Friday Deals

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Looking for some awesome deals for your holiday shopping? Today is Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year! Browse the deals below and shop online to avoid the crowds and long lines—that way you can spend less time shopping and more time with family and loved ones this weekend.

Send some festive flowers to your loved ones or get a live plant or wreath to decorate your own home. 1-800-Flowers has Black Friday/Cyber Monday Savings all weekend long! Save 25% on your purchase of select items. Use promo code HLDYTWNTYFV at checkout. (Offer valid from 11/28 12:01AM EST to 12/01 11:59PM EST.)
Amazon has some great deals and low prices on Black Friday, but the savings continue all week long. Shop Amazon’s Black Friday deals week.
For even the toughest person on your shopping list, you can find something funny, festive, chipper, or hobby-related at CafePress. You can even create your own t-shirts, pajamas, hoodies—anything! Planning a family reunion next year? Now is the chance to save big on your order. Check out their Black Friday sale! 30% off with code BLKFRI. Good through 11/28.
You can find lots of cute clothes for your kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews at Gymboree. Get 50% off everything, plus $10 sleep and $15 fleece tops (11/26–11/28).
HearthSong is a fantastic place to shop for all kinds of kids’ toys. Check out their Black Friday deals—including free shipping for purchases $49+ and a $15 reward card at! Use code LSHSBFRI14.
Give the gift of a Kiwi Crate this holiday season! The crate is chock-full of activities and creative stuff to inspire young ones. They’re having an exclusive Kiwi Crate Black Friday sale! Starting today through 12/1, save 60% on your 1st month subscription to Kiwi Crate PLUS free shipping with code HOLIDAY60 at checkout.
Find unique toys, gifts, home decor, and more for children of all ages at Land of Nod. Receive free parcel shipping PLUS 15% off your order at The Land of Nod from 11/27 through 12/1 for a Black Friday/Cyber Monday super sale!
Kohl’s is a great place to shop for clothes for the whole family. Looking for pretty linens for Christmas dinner or accent pieces for your home decor? Check out Kohl’s, and save 15% off sitewide with code THANKS15 11/24–11/28.
Walmart is your one stop shop for toys, electronics, or other miscellaneous items for the home. For everyone on your list, shop Black Friday deals at!

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure here.

The World’s Largest Gingerbread Town


Pepperkakebyen - Bergen Sentrum
Photo Source:

Gingerbread houses and cookies are a fun Christmas treat that folks around the globe enjoy every holiday season. The citizens of Bergen, Norway have turned these tasty treats into an immaculate display—a gingerbread town (or Pepperkakebyen), which is a replica of the city of Bergen. Since 1991 children and adults alike participate in this annual Christmas tradition. The Pepperkakebyen is filled with all types of gingerbread structures, such as buildings, houses, cars, trains, and ships.

The Pepperkakebyen is open from November 22–December 31, 2014. To find out more information about admission and hours, view their website. You can view more photos on the city’s Facebook page or on Instagram using hashtag #bergensentrum.


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