The holiday season is always so fun, but it can also be stressful, especially if you are travelling. Well, I have some good news… If you live in the USA and are flying today, you may come across some furry friends at the airport! United Paws—a program from United Airlines designed to delight customers—will once again be bringing professionally trained comfort dogs to airports. United added more airports to the list this year, and doggies will be at Chicago-O’Hare, Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, and Washington-Dulles. Puppies at the airport!? That would certainly delight this airline customer!
This video is from earlier in the week, hence why it says “tomorrow.”
Not only are dogs adorable, but science shows that petting a dog is actually good for you. Veterinary Consultant Dr. Walter Woolf said, “United Paws is a wonderful program that comes at just the right time for some holiday travelers who may be experiencing a bit of anxiety or stress… Research shows that just petting a dog releases oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding and affection, and also decreases levels of stress, helps us breathe easier, and lowers our blood pressure.” I have a basset hound myself, and I can personally attest to the fact that being around a dog definitely makes you feel better This news clip shows that other travellers agree:
So if you are flying out of or have a layover in ORD, CLE, DEN, IAH, LAX, EWR, or IAD today, de-stress before take-off by petting a four-legged pal. Maybe you’ll even get a smooch from a sweet pup!
And if this act of holiday kindness wasn’t enough, United Airlines is also holding a contest where the winner will receive two round trip tickets. To enter, share a photo on Instagram or Twitter of your dog with a United Airlines logo or in a travel setting, tag @United, and include the hashtags #UnitedPaws and #UnitedContest. For every picture that is shared, United will donate $1 to support therapy dog organizations. [See official rules here.]
Earlier this year, Raymond the reindeer and I had a fantastic time visiting Chicago, so I was immediately amused by this Chicago-themed ugly Christmas sweater t-shirt. Dotted with festive elements, the design also features Chicago dogs, the city skyline, and iconic civic flag. Whether you live in Chicago or simply love the Windy City, this t-shirt would be a great addition to your holiday wardrobe!
In the spring I had to venture down to Chicago for a conference, and Raymond asked if he could tag along. Raymond is such a great travel companion that of course I said yes! The weather was sunny and mild, so we walked and walked and walked all around Chicago. We walked so much that my feet and Raymond’s hooves were aching by the end of the day—but we still had a fantastic time.
We started our day by walking quite a ways along Lakefront Trail, enjoying the breeze and the views of beautiful Lake Michigan.
Raymond with Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline
One happy reindeer, loving the sunshine and lake breeze
Then we wandered into the city, making our way to Millennium Park. On the way, we walked over some bridges, which always delights both Raymond and me.
Looking out over the Chicago River
Once we made it to Millennium Park, we strolled over to Cloud Gate, AKA “The Bean.” This amazing sculpture was constructed from 168 stainless steel plates that were welded together, and it has no visible seams. It measures 33 by 66 by 42 feet, and weighs over 100 tons—wow! Cloud Gate is extremely polished, so it reflects and distorts the people standing around it and the city’s skyline. Raymond and I thought the sculpture was really something special, as it’s so simple yet so stunning.
Raymond with Cloud Gate
Enjoying his reflection and the distorted skyline
After we left Millennium Park, we just happened upon the Chicago Stock Exchange arch. This large, embellished arch is more than 100 years old and is one of the very few pieces remaining of the original Chicago Stock Exchange building.
Checking out the detailed embellishments on the Chicago Stock Exchange arch
While we ambled around Chicago, Raymond and I kept commenting to each other how much great architecture there is in this city. One of our favourite structures in Chicago was the Wrigley Building, which is 90 years old and features a clock tower. It’s right on the river, which makes it even more lovely.
With the Wrigley Building in the background
What can I say—Raymond and I love rivers and bridges
At this point we had already done A LOT of walking, so Raymond and I decided that we needed a snack, and what better snack in Chicago than Garrett Popcorn? Naturally we had to try the Chicago mix, which is caramel popcorn combined with cheese popcorn. I know that sounds a little odd, but somehow it works and is rather tasty!
Waiting in line at Garrett Popcorn
Tummies satisfied, we walked down Navy Pier just in time to see the sunset, which was just gorgeous over Lake Michigan and with the skyline in the background.
Raymond enjoying the sunset from Navy Pier
When we were heading back down Navy Pier, Raymond saw the Ferris wheel, and he begged me to go for a ride. I’m a little scared of heights, but how can I say no to Raymond? I was a little nervous on the ride, but I held Raymond’s hoof. He’s such a good friend
Excited to ride the Ferris wheel on Navy Pier
Overall Raymond and I had a fabulous time in Chicago. Where should Raymond visit next year? Let us know in the comments!
Christmas is just four days away! (Insert squeal of joy ) If you’ve got some last minute wrapping to do, perhaps these printable gift tags will come in handy. Maybe you’re up late wrapping gifts and ran out of gift tags? No need to make a midnight run to the store to buy more; simply download the PDF and print as many as you need. Easy peasy!
Many of you might be sleeping at 6am on Christmas morning, but the rare full moon is a good reason to get up early… even if you go right back to bed for a few hours. It’s been 38 years since the full moon occurred on Christmas day, and NASA predicts this won’t happen again until 2034.
The moon will reach its peak at 6:11am ET. Whether you crawl out of bed early Christmas morning or try to catch a glimpse of it before you snuggle under your covers on Christmas Eve, make plans to see the full moon. So, go ahead and mark your calendars or set a reminder in your phone so you don’t miss this extraordinary event!
I’m a huge fan of Disney’s animated films, and even though I’m not a child anymore, it doesn’t stop me from enjoying movies like Frozen. The chipper tunes and clever lyrics especially bring a smile to my face! (And I’ve been known to belt out some songs, too. I’m not the only one, am I? ) If you share my affection for the story of Anna and Elsa, I’m sure you too will love these videos of Christmas lights synced to Frozen songs.
What’s your favorite Frozen song? Let us know in the comments!
I’m gushing over the cute bows and bow ties in this Etsy shop, and I can’t get over the clever names! The precious “Beauties” for girls and dapper “Beau Ties” for boys are too much for me If I had kids of my own, I would totally add these bows to their Christmas outfits. Pictured below are hair bows for little girls, and make sure you take a gander at the bow ties for wee gentlemen.
I’m sure someone somewhere has already said this, but I declare hot chocolate the official beverage of Christmas! Perhaps you like a good ol’ plain cup of hot cocoa… There’s nothing wrong with that, but I often want to snazz things up a bit and treat my taste buds to a sweet mouth-watering treat. This handy infographic is a quick-reference guide for custom cocoa creations. Enjoy!
Click on the image for a closer look! Infographic via SheKnows.com
Do you have a yummy recipe that’s not on the list? Let us know in the comments below or add your special recipe to Mrs. Claus’ Cookbook!
Simply gorgeous and many times colourful, Murano glass is special glass that is made in Venice on the island of Murano. Raymond and I saw all kinds of items made out of Murano glass when we were in Venice, such as jewelry, small dishes, and vases. And naturally I love these Murano glass Christmas ornaments Crafted by hand, these ornaments feature a mosaic effect that the glass masters refer to as “primavera,” but I call it just exquisite!
Raymond has gone on quite the variety of adventures this year, hasn’t he? So far we’ve told you about him posing for a photo op in Brooklyn, perusing aisles upon aisles of Christmas items at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, making some animals friends on a farm, and having a sporty afternoon at Lord’s Cricket Ground. Well, Raymond and I are both interested in history, and since we had such a fun and educational time in Rome last year, we decided to pop down to Venice, Italy!
Situated at the northern end of the Adriatic Sea, Venice is an ancient city comprised of 118 [!] small islands, which are separated by canals and connected by 409 [!!] bridges. There are actually no cars or roads in Venice, so people get around either on foot or by boat. It’s a very different and very beautiful city that Raymond and I both loved quite a bit.
Raymond in front of Saint Mark’s Basilica with loads of tourists
Dodging the hot sun in the shadow of St Mark’s Campanile [a bell tower]
Looking around Piazza San Marco, probably on the hunt for a gelato shop
One more look at the gorgeous Saint Mark’s Basilica
Unfortunately for us, I got a really bad cold while we were in Venice, so Raymond and I didn’t get to explore quite as much as we had wanted But we’ve already talked about going back sometime soon… perhaps in the autumn or winter when there are fewer tourists and it’s not quite so hot!
Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Stay tuned to find out!