You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Canada’ category.

This time of year is always so busy. There are presents to buy and wrap, cards to write, the house to decorate and prepare for guests, parties and Santa, plus, plus, plus! It is hard to find the time to get it all done.

That is why I am taking a little extra time this holiday to slow down and breathe. Starting today I am going to let a few things go and focus on what is truly important. It is time for family and friends. It is time to reach out to those in need in my community. It is time to be kind to myself.

So, I am going to let go of the notion that I can get it all done. And here are a few ways that I think we all can do that;

  • Trim the calendar. Those extra appointments can wait until after the holidays. What else do you have planned for the dark days of January anyway? Schedule in me days, family days, and a moment for those most dear. Winter solstice is just days away. Celebrate that with a gift of peace and quiet at home.
  • Finish decorating. Be honest with yourself. The house looks great. Whatever you haven’t done already maybe just doesn’t need to get done. Leave the crumbs for the spiders in the corners and the dust for the cleaning lady once the holidays are done. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s the gift of sanity to yourself.
  • Green greetings. If your Christmas cards are out already, congratulate yourself. If that is still on your to-do list cross it off. Go green with e-cards this year. Or send out a mass-mailer to everyone in your address book wishing holiday greetings. Or let the whole concept go. You’ll be wishing merry Christmas to everyone you see anyway. You can make phone calls in the new year to anyone that is farther afield. And perhaps now is the time to let go of old friends that never respond anyway. You are only human. You don’t need to do it all.
  • Call it a wrap. Do you have enough wrapping paper to wrap all the presents? Think about alternates. Buy from stores that wrap for you, like Mastermind Toys, Scholar’s Choice, Curiousities, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Chapters Indigo, and many more. Take advantage of the service and save yourself some time later.
  • Enough is enough. I don’t care how much money you have in the bank, do you really need to go buy even more presents? Sometimes overkill in the present department just doesn’t pay. Younger children can get overwhelmed by it all. Older kids come to expect it and lack the gratitude for what they get. Your bank account certainly doesn’t appreciate it, and it cuts into your spending budget after the holidays when you might need it most.
  • Give back instead. Have you been helped by an organization, company or someone special this year? They are the people that we need to remember at Christmastime. Why not volunteer at said organization (ie, the food bank always appreciates a helping hand)? How about making a special homemade gift for a company that has given to you (ie. a couple of dozen cookies will disappear in a lunch room anytime, guaranteed)? Surprise a certain special someone with the gift of time. You could do tea, shovel a driveway, or help an elderly neighbour shop to give back for all those smiles you have received all year.

As for me, I am going to give myself the gift of time. It is high time for me to spend a little more quality time with my family. So you might not see me around these parts so much, but know that I appreciate all my friends, family, customers and co-workers now and throughout the year. Peace to you all over the holidays!

Advertisements

So how are you holding up under the holiday pressure? Is it getting to you yet? Can you tick off indoor and outdoor holiday decorating yet? How about that shopping? Maybe you’ve got a leg up on party prep?

Hmm, I suspect you need a glass of inspiration to get you going (from whattodrink.com)…

FROSTY NOGGIN 

Tis the season for Eggnog!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Rum
  • 3/4 oz Creme de Cacao
  • 3 oz Eggnog
  • 3 cups Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Whipped Cream
  • Green Creme de Menthe

Directions:

Blend ingredients until smooth. Pour into parfait glass.  Top with whipped cream, decorated with a few drops of green crème de menthe. Garnish with a rolled cookie.

NOW,

Time to go down to work. Check back in the archives of this blog for some decorating ideas. I’ve got some here and here. That should get you started at least and maybe you will be able to convince someone to help you if you promise them their own glass of Frosty Noggin.

So how about that shopping? You are in luck as there is another Christmas craft sale that runs all weekend at the Western Fair Progress Building (900 King St E). The 34th Annual Christmas Craft Festival runs from December 5th – 8th. Admission is $6, but if you visit their website, they have a $1 off coupon for you to print off. Hours are as follows.

Thurs. Dec 5, – 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Fri. Dec 6, – 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Sat. Dec. 7, – 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sun. Dec. 8, – 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

You will find plenty of Christmas decorations and gift giving ideas. It is London’s largest Craft Show and Sale with over 150 artisans participating over the four-days. No excuse not to grab a few gifts (or all of them) at this sale!

I can even help you out with some of your party prep. Will you be carving a gigantic turkey, ham or roast beast of some sort this Christmas? If so, you will need to have a carving knife on hand. In case you didn’t know, a sharp knife makes that job easier. No monster muscles required when your blade is sharp, as it will slide through whatever you have to slice like butter. If you are inept when it comes to that, head down to Covent Garden Market on Saturday, December 7th between 8 am and 1 pm. Sharp my Knife is there every 1st Saturday of the month to sharpen knives and scissors.

In case you’ve got too many to carry, they also offer a mobile service where they come to your home and sharpen everything from knives, lawn mowers, garden tools, axes (think about that for your Christmas tree hunt!), chainsaws, food processor blades, paper shredders and more.

All I can do is give you ideas. The rest is up to you. So get out there and make the season bright! And if you get enough done, maybe you can join in on the Salvation Army Santa Shuffle Fun Run and Elf Walk at The Raceway at the Western Fair District on December 7th. It raises money for families in need during Christmas and throughout the year. Registration opens at 8:30 am, race begins at 10 am, and overall fun and good tidings will last until noon.

Have a great weekend!

Snow arrived before December this year and appears to be sticking around London, Ontario for the long haul. That’s okay because it adds a seasonal touch to all the Christmas decorations that are around. Of course for many, it isn’t truly time for the Christmas countdown until a few things happen. Do you know what I’m talking about? Read on to see what festive events are taking place this weekend in London!

Festive Events In Your Neighbourhood

Lighting of the Lights in Victoria Park

It isn’t officially Christmas without the Lighting of the Lights in Victoria Park. Every year the city decorates Victoria Park with thousands of lights, ornaments, figurines and more. On Friday, November 29th, the fun begins at 6:15 pm. There will be carolers, a variety of entertainment, skating at the rink and more. At approximately 6:45 pm the Mayor and City Counsellors will lead everyone in Christmas carols, then count down to flip the switch for the lights. 3, 2, 1… and the park will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland. The lights will be on every night from 5:30 pm – 11 pm until January 1st, 2014. For an extra special sight, why not go to the 12th floor of City Hall (300 Dufferin Ave) to view the lights from the City Hall Promenade Deck. The viewing hours are as follows;

Friday, November 29 to Monday, December 2, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 3 CLOSED
Wednesday, December 4 to Sunday, December 8, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Monday, December 9 & Tuesday, December 10 CLOSED
Wednesday, December 11 to Monday, December 16, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 17 CLOSED
Wednesday, December 18 to Tuesday, December 24, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 25 CLOSED (CHRISTMAS DAY)
Thursday, December 26 CLOSED (BOXING DAY)
Friday, December 27 to Monday, December 30, inclusive 7:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 31 CLOSED (NEW YEAR’S EVE)
Wednesday, January 1 CLOSED (NEW YEAR’S DAY)
CP Holiday Train

With the lights all aglow it is full steam ahead for the Canadian Pacific Holiday train to pull into town! This is the 15th year that the Holiday Train has hit the rails, and on December 1st at 8:30 pm it will pull into London. Make sure to arrive to the Richmond St railway crossing between Oxford and Central at least 15 minutes early to see the train arrive. Donations will be accepted for the London Food Bank. Seeing the train lit up isn’t the only perk though. The train also features a boxcar full of entertainment in tow. On the London stage, we will get to see The Brothers Dube and The Claytones on our stop of the train.

Do you think they will blow the whistle before they draw out of sight? Choo, chooooo…

Celebrate Christmas with a trip to Eldon House

And lastly, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to Eldon House for their Traditional Victorian Christmas. London’s oldest residence will be decorated in the traditional festive way from November 30th, 2013 – January 1st, 2014. Hours are 12 pm – 5 pm. Admission by donation.

If a tour through the house to see holiday decorations of the past isn’t enough, then register for their special Christmas Tea on December 1st. Sittings are at 1:30 pm and 3 pm at a cost of $10 for adults and $5 for children. Enjoy tea and treats in the beauty of a Victorian Christmas, but make sure to call for a reservation, as seating is limited!

How do you get into the festive spirit at Christmas?

Let’s face it; not everyone is the Martha Stewart of Christmas. There are plenty of folks who are staring out their windows wondering where the rake might be. The one that they forgot to put away last week. Before London, Ontario got hit with upwards of 70 cm of snow in a single day. Yeah. Good luck people! You’ll find it when all the snow melts in the spring. I’m pretty sure this deluge will last that long.

What it looked like at the McFadden home on Sunday morning

Under the circumstances, I suspect that Londoners can look forward to a white Christmas this year. At the very least, all the snow that walloped London got people in mind of Christmas a little early this year. Not only are Santa’s helpers already in the malls and Christmas carols jingling in the background, but everywhere you look certainly has that winter wonderland feel, including the mountains of snow in parking lots. It’s amazing how fast those mounds add up! How high are the piles beside your driveway? The kids are snowboarding off mine.

So, Christmas. Are you ready for it? Note that I have lights up outside already. Am I a step ahead of you? Don’t feel bad though, as that doesn’t mean that the rest of my Christmas prep is done. Perhaps a few decorations added to your house will get you in the festive spirit? These won’t knock Martha off her pedestal, but are still a fun way to get into the Christmas spirit. Why not grab the kids and try some of these decor ideas on for size. Heck, you could get them to do them all leaving you more time for eggnog consumption! Now that’s the ticket…

12 Easy Christmas Decor Ideas

A different take on the Christmas wreath

  1. popcorn strings (mix in beads or dried berries to jazz it up)
  2. clove-studded oranges
  3. snowflakes (perfect craft for youngest kids, but fun for all)
  4. Christmas ornaments in glass vases
  5. pine cones in bowls
  6. Christmas pictures popped into frames
  7. pillar candles encircled by candy canes (tied with a ribbon for a finishing touch)
  8. gingerbread house
  9. gingerbread ornaments hanging off the mantle
  10. evergreen garlands draped on the mantelpiece
  11. a bundle of birch branches as an accent beside the fire
  12. Santa’s boot filled with presents, pine cones, evergreens, candy canes, etc.

Now that is a dozen simple ideas that even the least crafty among you can handle. They help the Christmas budget stretch a little further and make Christmas more about the simple things in life. Isn’t that the beauty of the holiday?

What are your favourite Christmas decorations?

Hello weekend! You are always a welcome addition to any week. The perfect time to relax, reconnect with family and friends, tackle some chores, or get out and have fun in your neighbourhood! Do you have plans for this weekend? Are you going to tackle some Christmas chores? Perhaps I can suggest a few ways to cross some of those things off your list while still having fun this weekend.

Local Help For Your Christmas Chores In Your Neighbourhood

Learn how to make your own winter arrangements at Heeman’s

Let’s look at that list again shall we? I believe Step 1 was outdoor decor. No problem! Head out to Heeman’s for one of their Winter Workshops. For $50, you get to choose a container of your choice and learn how to turn it into a fabulous winter planter. The workshop runs 90 minutes in length. All the evergreen boughs, sparkly bits, and finishing touches are included. Classes are limited in size and require prior registration and payment. The best part is that you get to take home your masterpiece at the end of class to decorate your home with. And if you are particularly pleased with the result and want to create another one, you can buy all the necessary materials and make more at home. They have white and red pine, cedar, dogwood, willow, magnolia leaves, pine cones, birch poles, and more. They are open 8 am – 5 pm from Monday to Saturday. Workshops are as follows;

  • Friday November 22, 1:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday November 26, 1:00 p.m.
  • Monday December 2, 1:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday December 4, 7:00 p.m.

 

Create a felt stocking just in time for Christmas

Now, how about the inside of your home? Well, if you are looking for crafting help, you could head to Michael’s. Not only do they have tonnes of arts and craft supplies, but they also offer classes to give hands-on experience. On Saturday at the 1737 Richmond St and 3080 Wonderland Rd S stores, they are hosting a Festive Felt Stocking workshop for kids. Get your kids to make their own stockings and maybe one for everyone in the family this year! Workshops are 30 minutes in length and run from 10-11:30 am. Cost is $2 and includes supplies. Ages 3 and up.

 

Shopping is easy this time of year with all the Christmas Bazaars on. Here are a few places where you can start your holiday shopping.

  • Green Christmas: Fairtrade, local artist, earth friendly, alternative gift giving Christmas expo. Nov 23, 9 am – 4 pm at Talbot Street Church (513 Talbot St). One stop shopping for all your Christmas gift giving. Featuring art, fair-trade coffee, live musicians,  alternative gifts like “chickens for families in Haiti”, and plenty more. No cover charge.
  • Annual First Nations Art and Craft Show and Sale: Celebrate a handmade holiday. Nov 24, 10 am – 4 pm at Museum of Ontario Archaeology (1600 Attawandaron Rd). Over 25 craft vendors selling jewellery, moccasins, pottery, beading, soapstone, +++. Art and craft demonstrations. Door prizes,  and popular penny sale. Admission by donation.
  • Chocolate Sunday: Christmas arts/vendor bazaar. Nov 24, 12:30 – 4:40 pm, at the Hilton Hotel (300 King St). Includes Chocolate Fountain, Silent Auction, Door Prizes & a great selection of Christmas Vendors for seasonal shopping. Tickets are $15 for individuals and $35 for families. In support of Life Spin.
    • ALSO; For the past nineteen years LIFE*SPIN has facilitated a Christmas Sponsorship program that provides additional support to the poor families in our community.  This program relieves poverty for low-income families with children over the Christmas season. LIFE*SPIN matches low-income families with those wishing to help a disadvantaged family celebrate Christmas.

How much do you still have to do to get ready for Christmas? Got any tips for making it easier, faster or completed with local help?

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

The Royal LePage 2012 President’s Gold Award

Top 6-10% Nationally

A Question of Quality

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,847 other followers

Categories

Archives

The Royal LePage Award of Excellence

2010 Royal LePage Award of Excellence

Winner of the 2010 Award of Excellence

The Royal LePage Director’s Platinum Award

2010 Winner of Royal LePage's Director's Platinum Award

Winner of the 2010 Director's Platinum Award

%d bloggers like this: