Christmas Light Displays

Christmas Light Displays

 by the Elf Queen Harrogate Lights

How boring Christmas would be without lights. If you drive past a neighborhood in December, sometimes even as early as Thanksgiving or Halloween, one can see twinkling lights and other outdoor decorations. It is very exciting! These light decorations are a way of bringing some color and cheer into a cold, white month. White due to snow and cold due to winter weather! Bright, brilliant light displays take our breath away and bring us smiles. Christmas decorations that are elaborate sometimes run up electric bills, but the price for smiles is so worth it.

In our little corner of the world you can find many outdoor lights and colorful decorations.

Some ideas of lights to see are: Koziar’s Chirstmas Village-such a thrill to bring kids over the highway hill and hear their intake of breath when they see the lights for the first time.

Longwood Gardens has a great display, I remember taking a trip there as a child. Tons of chrysanthemums and lights, beautiful.

A bit closer to home Franklin Township’s Festival of Lights runs through December 23rd. They take a donation of $4/adult and $2/children.

Lights in the Parkway in Allentown is a tradition for many families. It is easy to enjoy the lights as you see them in your warm car.

To see over 40,000 bright lights, one should drive down to Gilbertsville, PA. The Lovely Christmas Lights are a family sponsored home display. Last year’s theme was Christmas around the World. This year will be themed as a Kids Christmas Party.

Orwigsburg is celebrating their bicentennial year and they’ve planned a Festival of Lightsand historical craft demonstrations.

Perhaps you will be so inspired by these Christmas light displays that you will start planning your own for next year. Let us know when you’re finished with the design and we’ll write about your display next year! As for this year, get going-you’ve a lot to see!

Twinkling Strand

Christmas Movies

Christmas Movies

 by the Elf Queen

What is the attraction to Christmas movies? Why do people so enjoy losing themselves in seemingly unrealistic situations. After all, how many people have a ham smashed by a tractor trailer truck in the grocery parking lot? Or, who would bring a reindeer into one’s home and put it in front of the fireplace? There are many types of Christmas movies, from the traditional It’s A Wonderful Lifeto the latest version of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Of course, these movies are pleasant, even tame compared to the many horror movies related to Christmas-including Santa’s Slay or Christmas Evil or even Jack Frost.

One certainly has a wide variety of movies to choose from for a night of holiday entertaining. Some might find Santa Claus Conquers the Martiansto be a top choice, though you would be among the few who like that movie. What ever movie you watch, the movie has to be entertaining and enjoyable to you.

Our family likes to watch It’s A Wonderful Life at least once each Christmas season. The grandparents, however, do not. They enjoy watching Christmas with the Kranks or A Christmas Story. One of our aunties loves to watch Elf. Each family must choose a movie with meaning special to them.

Since there are so many movies to choose from, it would be wise to read recommendations from several organizations before picking one that means Christmas to your family. The Back Row and Total Film have reviewed and listed weirdest Christmas movies; the Huffington Post, funny Christmas movies. Plugged In from Focus on the Family has 493 Christmas movies reviewed from a Christian perspective. (493 Christmas movies!) Finally, one can always check out IMDB or Netflix for a listing of Christmas movies each reviewed by fellow movie fans.

It is our hope that you can find a Christmas movie that is entertaining to you and your family, one that moves you and reminds you of the hope Christmas brings to us all.

Christmas Shopping Alternatives

Christmas Shopping Alternatives

by the Elf Queen

Alternatives to shopping, what a crazy idea. But, Christmas shopping is so overrated. People running hither and thither to find just the right gift. Time spent worrying and fretting about whether they’ve spent enough money, or too much money, or did they buy evenly for the kids, or did they get a grandiose enough gift for the new in-laws.

An idea to this stress might be found in baking cookies and cakes for a home-made gift. Making candles or soap or knitting a cap are examples of time intensive gifts, but what is more valuable to the receiver than your time and thoughtfulness.

Perhaps instead of making candles or soap, your family could exchange names and buy a Secret Santa gift for one another. Our extended family did this a few years ago and it was fun to figure out who had your name, if you could. It is sometimes called a “pollyanna”. It is fun for the kids to yell “I knew it was you all the time!” after their Secret Santa comes forward.

A book of coupons for time spent together is another good alternative to the shopping trip. Coupons for yard work or a birdwatching walk or even breakfast in bed are great to have and can be redeemed through out the year. They coupons themselves could be a work of art.

Another idea for through-the-year gift is a homemade calendar. Calendar forms can be bought cheaply at local craft stores or you could even print blank months off the computer. Kids will love to get special calendars made by mom or dad just for them. Calendars made for parents or grandparents by children become special keepsakes in years to come.

More time to spend together can be experienced at a local dance class, or art class, or even a cooking class. What excitement to look forward to after a hard day at work, time spent learning something with a loved one.

You could mix a CD or MP3 of your family’s favorite music, listening to it in the car will be a great way to spend a drive. We made several CDs for a trip to North Carolina and the kids enjoyed listening to music without commercials!

When our daughter was younger we made her wooden blocks from downed trees in the back yard. A bit of sawing and sanding and voilà, terrific, fun blocks. No, they were not all the same size, but that was okay-much more imaginative play that way. We also made sewing cards for her that we still have. Another idea for younger children might be a photo book of familiar people and places-babies and toddlers love to look at books filled with loved ones.

There are endless possibilities for home-made and low cost alternatives to the Christmas shopping trip. The above are just a few ideas. I’m sure if you take a few moments, you’ll think of some fantastic ones of your own.

Email them to us, we’d love to read about them and incorporate them into our family’s treasure box of alternatives.

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