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Raymond Around the World: New York City

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Over the past few years, Raymond and I have had a lot of fun travelling together during the elfy downtime. We’ve been all over the world to places like San Francisco, South Korea, and Brussels. And lucky for us, we were able to travel together again this year.

This past winter I was heading down to New York City for the birthday of one of my best friends, and I invited Raymond along since you know it’s simply not a birthday party without Raymond there!

Raymond had never visited the Big Apple before, but he loved it, especially all the different modes of transportation that we took. Plus, it was rather cold while we were there, so Raymond felt right at home.

Excited for his first ride on the New York City Subway
Emerging from the subway station
Going for a brisk walk on the High Line
Enjoying the view from above the busy streets
Raymond hailed a cab like a pro
Raymond telling the cab driver where he wanted to go

Where else in the world do you think Raymond went this year? Stayed tuned to find out! :)

Etsy Item of the Day: Doggie Christmas Tree Pullover

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Just look at how adorable this French Bulldog is in her Christmas tree pullover sweater! Made from plush fleece and adorned with a cheery tree, this pullover will put any pup in a festive mood. And you will feel your own warm fuzzies, as all profits from your purchase will go to helping dogs in need.

Etsy Seller: Rosie’s Clothes

Give a Goat to Help Those in Need

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One way you can give a meaningful present this holiday season is by giving a symbolic gift to a friend or family member. With Oxfam America Unwrapped, you can purchase a gift in honor of a loved one that will help someone else in need of basic supplies, education, or animals. The present itself is sent to someone else across in the world to help them support their family and community.

If you’re like us and love Christmas goats (such as the Gävlebocken), you might want to purchase a goat in honor of your best friend. The goat goes to someone else who needs it, and you can send your friend a card to let them know about the gift.

Goats are a great gift because they are hardy creatures, as they are drought-resistant and will eat just about anything. This is an important factor for people who live in areas without a lot of grass. Should you decide to give a pair of goats or a tribe of goats, your gift will have long term benefits since the goats can provide milk and offspring.

In addition to the various animal gifts, you can also give gifts of education, skill training, emergency supplies, or even basic necessities, such as soap. There are many other types of gifts to choose from, so check out Oxfam’s website to choose one that appeals to you. Your charitable gift will have a lasting impact on the lives of others.

Christmas Crafts for Kids at Anthropologie

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Over the next couple of weekends, some Anthropologie stores across the USA and Canada are hosting holiday craft events for children. Recommended for ages 5–8, kids will be able to create some fun crafts while mom and dad sneak in a little shopping. You can visit Anthropologie’s website to see if your local store is hosting this event, and if you plan to attend, make sure to call the store to RSVP.

Holiday Indie Craft Fairs

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If you’re on the hunt for some special holiday gifts, hit up an indie craft fair this weekend or next weekend. At these markets you can find all kinds of goodies from jewelry to stationery to ceramics—all handmade and many times local. By shopping at one of these fairs, not only will you be able to find truly unique Christmas presents for your loved ones, you will also be supporting local small businesses, so it’s a win-win. Always fun, indie craft fairs are basically Etsy in event form, complete with DJs and food trucks.

Below I’ve highlighted a few of these merry markets, but if you have a favourite local indie craft fair in your area, let me know in the comments!

Holiday Strawberry Swing – Kansas City, MO

A two-day event, the 4th annual Holiday Strawberry Swing is going on this weekend over First Friday. Held at the historic West Bottoms at The Foundation, the Holiday Swing will be a fun time, as you can find local, handmade Christmas gifts there while listening to live music and sipping a festive drink. This event’s 30+ vendors sell a myriad of products, such as jewelry, quilts, wood work, mobiles, photography, painting, zines, and much more.

Holiday Strawberry Swing
The Foundation
1221 Union Avenue

Friday, 5 December: 10am–8pm
Saturday, 6 December: 10am–6pm
Admission: Free!

Renegade Craft Fair December Market – Los Angeles

The Renegade Craft Fair December Market sounds like quite the festive fête! At this market in Grand Park there will be more than 250 independent makers, as well as workshops, food trucks, music, and a photo booth. The vendors will be selling handmade holiday gift wrap, health & beauty products, jewelry, toys, apparel, stationery, housewares, and more. If all that isn’t enticing enough, well behaved pets are welcome to attend, and there’s an official afterparty called Meet the Makers [RSVP here].

Renegade Craft Fair December Market
200 N. Grand Avenue
[between Broadway and Spring Street]

Saturday, 13 December: 10am–5pm
Sunday, 14 December: 10am–5pm
Admission: Free!

Picnic Holiday Sale – Portland, ME

Tap into the Maine DIY scene at the Picnic Holiday Sale. At this juried craft fair’s sixth year, not only can you find handmade accessories, housewares, stationery, and the like—you can also shop for vintage goods. While perusing the items, you can nibble on tasty treats from a local bakery, cafe, or coffee shop. For an awesome bonus, kiddos and adults can have their photo taken with the Yeti!

Picnic Holiday Sale
Portland Company Complex
58 Fore Street

Sunday, 14 December
11am–6pm
Admission: Free!

BUST Christmas Craftacular – London

The BUST Christmas Craftacular has everything you could want in a craft fair: handmade wares, DIY workshops, goodie bags for the first 100 shoppers, a raffle, tasty treats, and a DJ! Seventy stalls contain clothing, artwork, soap, accessories, textiles, stationery, ceramics, and much more. After shopping, try your hand at one of the workshops where you can make items like a perspex necklace [all day; £10], linoprint Christmas cards [3.30–5pm; free], or felt slippers [12.30–2pm; free].

BUST Christmas Craftacular
The Islington Metal Works
7 Torrens Street
[directly behind Angel tube station]

Sunday, 14 December
12–7pm
Admission: £3

Indie Craft Experience Pop-Up Shop – Atlanta, GA

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The 5th annual ICE Holiday Pop-Up Shop features hand-crafted goodies from more than 70 artists, crafters, and makers from all over the USA. Located in Candler Park and open through Christmas Eve, you could easily finish up your Christmas shopping by stopping in this shop.

ICE Holiday Pop-Up Shop
1390 McLendon Avenue NE

Now through 24 December
Tuesday–Thursday: 11am–7pm
Friday–Saturday: 11am–8pm
Sunday: 12–6pm
Monday: Closed

Additional Craft Fairs This Weekend

While I would love to feature all of the indie Christmas craft markets, but that would make for a rather massive blog post. But, since I like y’all, here are a few more craft fairs going on this weekend around the United States.

Etsy Item of the Day: Swedish Christmas Tea Towel

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After writing about Gävlebocken yesterday, of course I have to highlight something julbock-related from Etsy today! This sweet tea towel features yule goats, red apples, and Swedish paper hearts. Bright & cheerful and made with a linen/cotton blend, this towel will add a touch of julstämning to any kitchen.
julbocktowel

Etsy Seller: Lilleputt Studio

Psst… Want to learn how to make your own paper hearts? Head on over to the Craft Cottage for easy-to-follow instructions.

Christmas Photos for Your Pets

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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.
Mary

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Category: Events

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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, houstontx.gov

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.

Mary

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