So, I’m cheating here a bit with this post because my 1st pick is actually a few weeks from now. Originally, I was going to post about the Parent/Child Cupcake making class that is taking place at Eurostoves on Saturday 11/29, BUT it is sold out….which made me think that some things I may want to recommend in the future may need to be written about ahead of time so that interested readers don’t get shut out! I’ll try to keep that in mind.
You’re in luck, however, because the “Parent/Child Cupcake Crazy” is also being offered on December 26th. So book now….and turn it into a great little gift to put under the tree! A fantastic little date day for you and yours (or a niece, nephew, grandchild, etc) all wrapped up with a bow. Annnnd, no need for the recipient of your awesome gift to be patient, because just when the Christmas buzz is about to wear off, you get to hop in the car and keep the fun going!
If I’m to be honest, I haven’t been here yet, but I’ve been meaning to go and this weekend’s Annual Holiday Bazaar in the “magical shop in the forest” sounds pretty perfect to me. I love the sound of the nature-inspired gifts, but strolling through craft tables can get boring for kids, let’s be honest. The Center for Wildlife in Cape Neddick, Maine, (just over an hour away….so not too bad!) eliminates that by giving the kiddos an opportunity to meet the owl, hawk, falcon, and more who call the center home! And, this weekend’s events will also include winter book readings.
“Environmental Fairy Tales Come Alive! We will have readings of “A Christmas Owl” and “A Winter Solstice Celebration” at 1pm and 2pm. Gather under our educational pavilion, enjoy hot cocoa and cider, listen to these great tales, and meet some of the animals from the book!”
Stop for some lunch and hot cocoa in Newburyport on the way home to break up the drive and you’ve made a whole day of it!
One of our favorite holiday traditions!! For the record, traditions are really important to my little family unit. Because I say so. Kidding. In all seriousness, creating traditions and being sure to do them each year so that our boys would hopefully learn to love and cherish them, was really important to me. So, we have several traditions that we don’t mess with….and hopefully never will. One of those is cutting down our Christmas Tree. In November of 2010, the Bertolon family opened the Beverly Tree Farm. Since then, countless families have marked their calendars to make the annual pilgrimage to their gorgeous property to find the one. The one perfect tree that speaks to them!
We have gone every year since. I’m not going to lie, the trees could easily be considered expensive. However, you’re not just paying for a tree. You’re paying for hot cider, cocoa, homemade Christmas cookies, a roaring fire, and an incredibly kind and friendly family run business. You’re paying for holiday memories in the making. When they first opened it was possible to tag the tree of your dreams and then go back and get it later. When that was an option, we got two times the tradition for the price of one! We would go, find our tree, decorate it at the farm, have some holiday yummies, sit by the fire, and then head home….Christmas carols blaring! Then, we’d head back the following week, search for our masterpiece, and cut her down. We’d eat some more yummies, sit by the fire for a bit longer, strap it onto the car….and head home once again.
Tagging it for later pick-up is no longer an option. One of the reasons for that is that the tree farm is so phenomenal that they now sell out of trees in just two short weekends. They open the day after Thanksgiving and stay open just this weekend and next weekend. That’s it. Still, even without the tagging, it is totally worth it.
A very important fact to know is that the Bertolon family uses proceeds to cover operating costs and then gives every other penny to charity. A couple of years ago a large recipient was Hospice of the North Shore….last year, they were able to give $25,000 to Direct Relief to assist Philippine victims recovering from Super Typhoon Haiyan. In all, over the past few years, they have given an incredibly $85,000 to selected charities. This year’s charity is The Cabot….as in The Cabot Performing Arts Center in Beverly.