So far this year I’ve told you about Raymond’s and my adventures bustling about NYC, relaxing in the Blue Ridge Mountains, hoofing around London so Raymond could take in even more sights, and soaking up some history in Rome. Raymond and I travelled to one other city during our downtime this year… Savannah, Georgia!
We made our way down to Savannah to visit a friend of mine who was travelling around the Southeastern United States on her bicycle. This friend put so many miles on her bicycle that you would think it’s Santa’s sleigh!
All of us enjoyed Savannah’s Southern charm with its historic buildings and tree-lined streets. Raymond was especially intrigued by the Spanish moss that grows hanging from tree branches all over the city.
Enjoying a muggy day in Savannah
Silly reindeer having fun in the Spanish moss
During our trip, walking was our main source of transportation, so we were able to enjoy quite a number of Savannah’s squares and green spaces. We had a delicious brunch near Forsyth Park, which was rather lovely. Not only are there several statues in the park, but the beautiful azaleas were also in bloom.
Reading the inscription on the Spanish-American War Memorial in Forsyth Park
Hammin’ it up near some azaleas
Before we journeyed back to the North Pole, Raymond and I went down to River Street to check out the Savannah River one more time, as well as pick up some gophers for the trip home. Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Gophers!? Huh?” Gophers are a Savannah treat made by pouring caramel over a bed of Georgia pecans and topping all that with chocolate. They were so yummy that we ate them all before we could get a photo!
Tummy full of gophers near the Savannah River
Raymond and I had a fabulous time in Savannah. Where should Raymond visit next year? Let us know in the comments!
With Christmas just 3 days away, it’s a little late to get an advent calendar for this year, but it’s not too early to get one for next year! This Christmas tree advent calendar is handmade from felt, and you’ll want to use it year after year.
Each day of advent you or your kids can take an ornament from a pocket and hang it on the tree. You’ll get a few extra ornaments just in case one goes missing! If you crafty like I am, you might be interested in purchasing the PDF pattern so you can make it yourself.
Founded by Danny Thomas over a half century ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a treatment and research facility located in Memphis, Tennessee. St. Jude’s mission is beyond commendable: to advance cures and means of prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. No child is denied treatment based on race, religion, or a family’s ability to pay. Not only do patients’ families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, they also don’t have to pay for lodging, travel, or food. On top of that, treatments invented at St. Jude have helped increase the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to over 80%. Incredible!!
If you’re feeling some warm fuzzies about this amazing organization and want to help, there are several ways you can get involved this holiday season.
Make an Honourary Donation
For a unique gift this Christmas, make a donation in honour of a loved one. With your donation, St. Jude offers a variety of cards to bid festive tidings to the honouree, as well as let them know about your honourary donation. You can select between ecards, mailable cards, or print-at-home cards.
Did you know that a donation of $69 could fund a St. Jude child’s platelet count test? Or a donation of $30 could fund meals for a St. Jude family for an entire day?
Decorate the St. Jude Tree
Send a holiday greeting or a message of love & hope to the children and families at St. Jude by customizing a Christmas ornament and placing it on their interactive tree.
Select a ball ornament, angel, elf, or candy cane [designed by a St. Jude patient!] and write a sweet message to go along with your ornament. After “hanging” your ornament, you have the option to also make a donation to St. Jude.
Donate through St. Jude’s Partners
A multitude of companies—such as Delta, The Coca-Cola Company, and The Melting Pot—have teamed up with St. Jude to help raise even more money to provide treatment for ill children. Some of these companies offer specialized merchandise to benefit St. Jude, while others allow you to donate when making a purchase online or in store. These programs have made a huge difference, as some companies, like Williams-Sonoma, have raised tens of millions of dollars for St. Jude! Visit the St. Jude website to find out how your favourite brand is involved.
If you want to simply give to St. Jude in order to help out this wonderful organization, you may easily donate online.
Hippos, polar bears, and snow—oh my! The Memorable Image creates cards featuring photographs of scenes made with miniature animal figurines, and boy are they cute. So adorable, in fact, that I couldn’t decide which hippo card I liked best, so I just have to highlight both!
Check our their other Christmas cards for additional animal options, such as dinosaurs, owls, penguins, and more.
One thing I look forward to in the winter months is the snow! In my younger days I had lots of fun building snowmen, making snow angels, and sledding down hills. While I still do enjoy these activities, nowadays I prefer to admire amazing ice sculptures and snow creations made by skilled snow artists. There are many ice sculpture competitions held throughout the world, but the largest one is in Harbin, China.
In this icy metropolis you will see stunning sculptures and amazing buildings built from blocks of ice. Colorful lights are used throughout the festival, illuminating the frozen monuments which creates a spectacular sight!
The festival also includes other activities such as skiing, a lantern show, and swimming in the frigid Songua River. If you prefer a less intense activity, take a ride down the giant ice slide! Weeeeeee!
I love baking (and eating! ) sweet treats and cookies, so when I saw the cookie cutters at The Buttercup House on Etsy, I stopped in my tracks. They have all kinds of neat cookie cutters, such as holiday shapes, states, alphabets, animals, and more!
If you are planning a themed party anytime soon, you will likely find a cookie cutter to fit your theme. Peruse their collection to find the right one for you or buy a few for your friend who loves to bake. I really like this polar bear, but I also really like this gnome!
A fun activity the whole family will enjoy is a ride through a holiday light show. Many cities put on an annual holiday light show with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights. A drive through holiday experience is a perfect way to enjoy the beautiful lights without leaving the comfort of your warm car. Here are a few light shows that you can attend this year—even after Christmas day!
The Dancing Lights of Christmas – Nashville, TN
This is the 5th year that the festive folks at Jellystone Park have put on this fabulous light display. As you drive through this amazing light show, you can jam out to Christmas tunes on your radio and watch the lights dance to the music.
This sweet light display extends through 2 miles of wooded trails just minutes away from Hersheypark. Make sure you check out their website for hours of operation and directions.
Hershey Sweet Lights
100 W. Hersheypark Drive
Hershey, PA 17033
Open until January 1, 2015
Lanier Islands Christmas
Take a rolling stroll through Lanier Islands to enjoy the twinkling Christmas light display. At the end of the tour, you can visit the Holiday Village where you can see a live nativity scene, visit with Santa, and even skate around The Polar Rink.
7000 Lanier Islands Parkway
Buford, GA 30518
Open until December 31, 2014
The Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Resort
The light show at Oglebay Resort is one of the largest light shows in the US. Spanning over 6 miles and 300 acres, this is one holiday show you don’t want to miss. If you can’t make it this year, perhaps you can plan a family trip in 2015.
465 Lodge Drive
Wheeling, West Virginia 26003
Open until January 4, 2015
Lights Under Louisville – Louisville, KY
This spectacular light show has over 2 million lights that cover 17 miles of passageways… underground! Drive your own vehicle into the Louisville Mega Cavern to view this one-of-a-kind light show and create a memorable Christmas experience for your family.
Teehee! This little starfish ornament is so funny! If Santa were a starfish, this is what he would look like—sporting red swim trunks, shades, and his signature red hat. He is holding a fishing rod in one hand, but if fishing isn’t your style, you can get a starfish Santa with skis, a golf club, a volleyball, or holding nothing at all. This would make a nice gift for anyone who loves the beach or collects cute Santa ornaments.
In 6 short days, Santa will be making his big trip around the globe. He will visit homes in many countries, delivering gifts to children. As you know, many different languages exist, and therefore Santa has a multitude of names besides Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, and Ol’ Saint Nick.
Give yourself a quick, fun foreign language lesson with the infographic below. Practice saying “Merry Christmas” in a different language and say “Fröhliche Weihnachten” or “Joyeux Noël” to your loved ones!