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Tips to Keep You Safe This Holiday Season

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We’re almost half-way through December, can you believe it? By now I bet most of you have already put up your Christmas trees, which is why I thought it would be the perfect time to remind everyone of some general safety tips. The infographic below contains lots of handy tips to keep you and your loved ones out of harm’s way this holiday season.

Tips to Keep You Safe This Holiday Season
Click on the image for a closer look! Infographic via visual.ly

Etsy Item of the Day: Laser-Cut Christmas Reindeer

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Earlier today, I told you about Raymond’s visit to a farm. Since I’ve had reindeer on my mind, I had to feature these laser-cut reindeer. These would look quite charming on a mantle or a coffee table. The natural wood grain would perfectly accent your rustic decor, or if you prefer a more finished look, you can easily paint it, bedazzle it, or coat it with glitter—because EVERYTHING is better with glitter! ;) (Note: The reindeer are sold individually, so click here for the small one and here for the large one.)
Laser Cut Christmas Reindeer

Etsy Seller: kARANdAVE

Raymond Visits a Farm

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Generally speaking, I don’t travel quite as often as Raymond and Becky do, but that’s because when Raymond’s home at the North Pole, he and I spend a great deal of time thinking of fun shenanigans like blowing bubbles, trying on outfits and posing in front of a camera, or baking cookies. ;) This year, however, I had the opportunity to visit some relatives in rural Virginia, so Raymond accompanied me there.

In this part of Virginia, there are a handful of farms that grow fresh fruits and veggies, as well as raise animals. We stopped at one dairy farm to get ice cream, and then we walked the grounds to visit all the animals.

First we saw a pig taking a break from the shade to soak up some sunshine.
Look what Raymond saw when we entered the stables—silly goat!
What are these chickens doing under a tractor?!
The cow didn’t want to look at Raymond. Maybe she’s shy?
Raymond saying “Hi” to a donkey, who’s munching on some hay.
Speaking of hay, check out these minion haystacks!
Look at the size of that silo! Wowser!
Raymond stopping to take one last photo before we left the farm.

Where else do you think Raymond went this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Etsy Item of the Day: Needle-Felted Pocket Reindeer

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While perusing the Christmas goodies on Etsy, the photo of this little guy stopped me in my tracks! Doesn’t this needle-felted reindeer look like he’s just popping in to say “hi”? :D Standing at a mere 3 inches tall, this wee reindeer would be a festive addition to your desk at work—or carry him around in your coat pocket for merriness to-go!
Hi there!

Etsy Seller: Mister Sandman

Send Sa’fyre a Christmas Card

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During the holiday season when so many of us are surrounded by family, it’s good to remember that not everyone is so lucky. Two years ago eight-year-old Sa’fyre was the sole survivor in an arson attack that killed the rest of her immediate family. Since surviving the fire, she has undergone countless surgeries, but—according to this Redbook article—Sa’fyre’s aunt says “She is the bravest, most courageous little girl you will ever meet. She is funny and witty, sweet and caring, and super strong… She wakes every morning with a smile on her face. She is the true definition of hope, faith and love.”​ It’s so inspiring that Sa’fyre has stayed so positive, despite everything that she’s been through!

Photo Credit: Sa’fyre Schenectady’s Super Survivor Facebook Page

Now we all have the chance to do something that will only take a moment, but will make Sa’fyre’s Christmas a little merrier. She would love to receive holiday cards from folks all around the world, and if this video is any indication, Sa’fyre has already received quite a number of cards!

But I think we can all help Sa’fyre’s pile of cards grow! Pop over to the store to pick up a card or dig through your stash of extra Christmas cards [I'm not the only one with a card stash, right?] and send a card to Sa’fyre today to help her have a very merry Christmas:

Sa’fyre
P.O. Box 6126
Schenectady, NY 12306
USA

Go for a Spin at a Pop-Up Rink Near You

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It’s that time of year when ice rinks are popping up all around. We’ve hand-picked a few popular ones to highlight today that are located in large cities. As one might expect, most of these pop-up rinks charge admission, but some lucky souls can get in for free! So round up your troupe, gather your friends, or grab your honey’s hand and head to over to pop-up ice rink near you for some festive fun.

The Rink at Park Tavern – Atlanta, GA

The Rink at Park Tavern - Atlanta, GA
In midtown Atlanta, the ice rink at Park Tavern is a go-to spot for a gliding-good time. The rink is fully enclosed and temperature regulated, so it’s heated—or air-conditioned if Atlanta’s experiencing warm winter weather. While skating, you can enjoy music that plays over the speakers, and when you need to rest your feet, have a seat at a table and gulp down some hot chocolate. The last day to skate is February 15, 2016, so get your tickets today. They are available to purchase here.

The Rink at Park Tavern
500 10th St NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
404-249-0001

Admission: $15–$20
Skate Rental: Included!
Hours, Monday–Friday: 4:30pm–12am*
Hours, Saturday & Sunday: 11:30am–12am*
*Adults only: 8:30pm–12am

Ice Skating on the Plaza – Austin, TX

Ice Skating on the Plaza - Austin, TX
Well, this is something I’ve never heard of before—skating on a roof! Yup, that’s right, at a Whole Foods store in Austin, Texas you can skate on the top of a building! Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? If you live within driving distance of Austin, head on over to the Plaza and take your turn spinning around this rooftop rink.

Know this before you go: Friday nights and weekends are always open to the public, but weekdays may be booked for a private event. To confirm that a weekday is open to the public, call Guest Services at this store.

Ice Skating on the Plaza
525 N Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
512-542-2200

Admission: $10
Skate Rental: Included!
Hours: 10am–9pm

Union Square Ice Rink – San Francisco, CA

Union Square Ice Rink - San Francisco, CA
In the heart of San Francisco, you can find a pop-up rink in Union Square. One unique feature about this rink is that they have a mobile app, so tech-savvy skaters can jump in the “virtual queue” instead of waiting in line. I’m sure you’ll enjoy spending that time scouting out some hot chocolate in the square!

While the rink is open now until January 18, 2016, you may want to go ahead and buy your tickets online as certain times are already sold out.

Union Square Ice Rink
333 Post St
San Francisco, CA 94108
415-781-2688

Adult Admission: $11
Children Admission: $7
Skate Rental: $6 (On Wednesdays, rent your skates for free, thanks to Bank of the West!)
Hours: 10am–11:30pm (Closes at 9:30pm on December 31st.)

Southwest Rink at Skyline Park – Denver, CO

Skyline Park Ice Rink - Denver, CO
Skating at Skyline Park is free—yippee! And, renting a pair of skates is only $2, or free if you’re a student (just show your MY Denver Card). With rates like this, it’s the perfect opportunity to come out again and again all winter long. Since the rink is open until February 15, 2016, there’s no rush to cram in your skate sessions before Christmas. ;)

Southwest Rink at Skyline Park
16th St & Arapahoe St
Denver, CO 80202
303-825-6787

Admission: Free!
Skate Rental: $2
Hours: Varies by day. Click here for details.

Winter Village at Bryant Park – New York, NY

Winter Village at Bryant Park - New York, NY
Photo Credit: Chris Huggins. License: CC by 2.0

The Winter Village at Bryant Park is the only rink in New York that offers free admission! Since there’s no fee, it’s an inexpensive way to entertain all your relatives who are visiting. Or if you work nearby, you can pop over for a quick twirl on the ice during your lunch break! With the rink being open until March 6, 2016 you’ve got plenty of time schedule a slippin’ good time!

Winter Village at Bryant Park
Located in Midtown Manhattan between 40th & 42nd Streets
and Fifth & Sixth Avenues
New York, NY 10018
212-661-8870

Admission: Free!
Skate Rental: $15–$19
Hours: 8am–10pm

Ice Rink Canary Wharf – London, UK

Ice Rink Canary Wharf
For our British friends, plan on visiting the ice rink at Canary Wharf. It is home to London’s only skate path and can proudly say it’s one of the city’s largest rinks. The trees surrounding the area are beautifully lit with fairy lights which add to the magical holiday feel. If you’d rather watch the icy action from the sidelines, you can make yourself comfy on the viewing terrace. The rink is open until February 27, 2016.

Ice Rink Canary Wharf
Canada Square Park
Canary Wharf
E14 5AB
London
08456 531 431

Adult Admission: £14.95
Child Admission: £9.95
Skate Rental: Included!
Hours: Varies. See here for details.

Water Changes Everything

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Take a moment to imagine your life without clean water. The thought is kind of hard to wrap your mind around, isn’t it? Well, for many folks, it’s a reality, as 663 million people on this planet [1 in 11!] do not have access to clean, safe water. But charity: water hopes to change that for the better.

On a mission to bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, charity: water has already funded more than 16,000 water projects in 24 countries since being founded in 2006! Water projects such as hand-dug and drilled wells, rainwater catchments, water purification systems, and more have brought clean water to 5.2 million people.

charity: water

When charity: water helps folks gain easy access to clean drinking water, many wonderful things happen in their community: health improves, medical expenses lower, equality is increased, girls get more time in school, and women are given the chance to grow food or earn income. How incredible is that? As charity: water’s slogan says, water changes everything.

charity: water

If you would like to get involved with this admirable organization, there are several ways to do so.

Give in Honour of a Loved One

For a more unique gift this Christmas, honour a loved one by making a donation to charity: water in their name. The recipient will receive a lovely card explaining your gift and charity: water’s mission. It’s a great present for the person who already has everything!

Purchase charity: water Goodies as Gifts

If you still have more Christmas shopping to do, consider purchasing some of the goodies from charity: water’s store to give to your family and friends. The profits from your purchase help fund charity: water’s operating costs and helps them grow, plus they offer some fun items! Here are a few of my favourites:

“Water Changes Everything” Tee
Pure Fix Cycles
Pure Fix Cycles
Votivo Candle
Votivo Candle

Volunteer Your Time

If you’re in the New York City area, you can volunteer to hand-write thank you notes, help out at special events, and more.

charity: water

Simply Donate

charity: water follows a 100% model, meaning that 100% of public donations funds clean water projects. They depend on private donors, foundations, and sponsors to cover salaries and other operating costs, so all of your donation will go directly to a water project! Click here to give a donation to support clean water around the world.

charity: water
Becky

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Category: Charities

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Etsy Item of the Day: Galaxy Gift Wrap

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Cover your gifts with colorful nebulas and twinkling stars so that you can give presents that are out of this world! I have one elfy friend in mind who I know would love to receive a gift in this galactic gift wrap. The paper comes in a set of 12 sheets, each one measures 13" x 19", which is perfect for wrapping small boxes.
Galaxy Gift Wrap

Etsy Seller: Poplar Print
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