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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?

It’s the weekend before Halloween. That means that ghosts and goblins will be alive and well across the city attending eerie events and creepy costume parties galore. Did you get invited to Dave’s Devil Dance? Me neither, but I know of a few other places you can go to scare the wits out of yourself. Or have a laugh with your family Frankensteins.

Halloween Hyjinxs In Your Neighbourhood This Weekend

Halloween in the Village:

Wortley Village; October 26 from 4-7 pm. Parade at 7 pm.

The 3rd Annual Halloween in the Village will be held on Saturday, October 26th, 2013. There will be food, drinks, BBQ, Sweet Treats and more! Don’t miss the crafts and games for the kids. And of course join the parade! Make sure to dress up in your most creative costumes for this family fun event. There will be prizes for best costume, group and non-motorized float.

Haunted Mansion:

Grosvenor Lodge (1017 Western Rd); October 25-27 from 7-9 pm. Cost $5 per person

Are you up for an exorcism? Do you feel brave enough to walk with the undead at one of London, Ontario’s oldest homes? The folks from Heritage London Foundation are betting that you’ll be scared witless when you encounter the ghosts, ghouls and witches coven that have taken over Grosvenor Lodge this Halloween. So what do you think? Will you cast your money in the devil’s hat to prove your bravery, or run screaming from the Haunted Mansion this fall?

Beware Count Dracula’s Farm at Fanshawe Pioneer Village this fall

Haunted Village Hayrides:

Fanshawe Pioneer Village (1424 Clarke Rd); October 24-27, 29, 30. Performances at 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm on Thursday and Sunday, 7 pm, 8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm on Friday and Saturday. Cost $11 per person. Not recommended for children under 8 years.

We’ve all heard of Count Dracula. You may know that he resided in Transylvania, where he terrorized the locals mercilessly. Well, it would seem that the Old Country is too Oldschool for Drac, so he’s headed to Middlesex county to lie low and take on the personae of a simple farmer. But his bloodthirsty ways haven’t been left behind and the poor peasants around these parts are in danger! Jump aboard the Haunted Village Hayride this Fall at Pioneer Village for Jason Rip’s latest spooky play. If you DARE!

Storybook Gardens Storyspook Village:

Storybook Gardens (1958 Storybook Lane); October 24, 27-30 from 6-8 pm. Cost $12 per child (children under 2 free)

Bring your flashlight and a costume for spooky fun for the younger set. Enter through the haunted castle. Trick or treat around Storyspook Village and spy 20 costumed storybook characters. Dance at the Fairy Scary Dance Party. Listen to tales of the deep dark ocean at the Pirate’s creepy ship. Take a ride on the spotlight train. Discover other spooky nooks and corners around the grounds of Storyspook Village. Don’t forget your treat bags!

Storybook Gardens Trick or Treat Spooktacular

The Storyspook Village isn’t the only fun to be had at Storybook Gardens this Halloween. Head to Storybook Gardens on October 25-26 between 6-8:30 pm for even more Spooktacular fun. There will be a camp fire, roasting of ghost droppings over the fire, scary story time, spooky crafts, a puppet show and more. You must pre-register for the event through Spectrum. Cost is $13, children under 2 free.

Who needs Dave anyway, when there is this much spooky fun to be had in London, Ontario this weekend?!

A chill is in the air. Many seasonal cottages and trailer parks either closed Thanksgiving weekend, or will be closed by the end of the month. Around your home, outdoor plants have gone dormant or died off for the season. In good news, that means that you don’t have to mow your lawn, but the weatherman has warned that you might want to dig out your snow shovels before too much longer. Time is ticking and Old Man Winter is on the way!

In the grand scheme of things, it might sound like you can nestle in for a long winter’s nap, but there are still a few loose ends that need to be tidied up before you hibernate til spring. I am talking about where to store all your summer fun bits. Think your boat, sea-do, motorcycle, quad, or trailer/RV. Unless you live on a large piece of property, you have to figure out where to put all your larger extra-curricular toys. I hate to tell you, but your sailboat will just take up too much room in the driveway (although you wouldn’t have to shovel underneath it!).

So until they perfect shrink-wrapping a vintage vehicle into a postage stamp, you need to look farther afield for storage solutions. In London, we are lucky to have a few options available. There are plenty of storage companies with units large and small both indoors and out.

  • There are plenty of Indoor and Outdoor Storage options in London

    City Centre Storage: 3 locations around London; Indoor and Outdoor storage, as well as Portable Storage units perfect for vehicles. Portable storage units have wooden floors that don’t suck moisture of rubber tires, and are air tight to protect your vehicle from critters who might want to bed down in your car’s electrical system, as well as our harsh winter climate.

  • Forest City Mini Storage: 471 Third St, London; Indoor and Outdoor storage. Reasonable rates. Outdoor storage for RVs, cars and boats. Indoor units suitable for cars and motorcycles.
  • Midtown Storage: 2 locations in London; Convenient Outdoor storage for cars, boats, motorcycles, trailers, and RVs at 151 Thompson Rd location. Indoor storage available for cars and motorcycles at both locations. Open 7 days a week.
  • Don’t forget to leave room to get out of your vehicle when you store it indoors

    Store-N-Save Self Storage: 2 locations in London; Indoor and Outdoor storage. Private lock and key for indoor units. 24-hour surveillance to protect your valuables.

  • London Self Storage: 3425 Roe St; Indoor and Outdoor storage. Keypad entry and 24-hour surveillance. Professional advice from storage experts.
  • Hully Gully: 1705 Wharncliffe Rd S; The Ultimate Toy Store not only sells toys, but can also winterize and store them for you too! They detail crafts, winterize engines, shrink-wrap boats, and have limited storage available. Plus you can do a little shopping before next year and upgrade your summer toys for the 2014 season.

Not everyone has speed boats that they worry about in the winter though. If you love your plants as much as your convertible, why not contact Heeman’s (20422 Nissouri Rd) for your winter plant storage. They can take tender loving care of your tropicals and cold-sensitive plants until the warm weather returns in the Spring. The Greenhouses are there for a reason, so why not take advantage today! They are open Monday to Friday 8 am – 6 pm and Saturdays 8 am – 5 pm. Plus you can pick up your Fall decor items while you are out there to add a seasonal touch to your home.

Do you have a pet in your home?

After doing a little scratching around, I discovered that 35% of households in Canada own dogs, while 38% of them have a cat. According to an Ipsos Reid poll done in 2011, that equated to approximately 7.9 million cats and 5.9 million dogs residing in Canadian homes. Now while these numbers are estimates, that is still an awful lot of Canadian pets around.

Well you pet-lovers are in luck this weekend, as the London Pet Show is sniffing into London, Ontario this weekend. The folks from Purina® are taking over the Progress Building in the Western Fair District from October 18th – 20th, 2013. While you cannot bring your own pet along, you can bring your children! Or failing that, you can wander over to the East Annex Building and adopt a pet of your own to take home with you at the end of the day. The Super Adoption Days are free to enter from 9 am – 5 pm on October 19th and 20th, and there are knowledgeable staff on hand to help you find your perfect new “best friend” (or furry children as some might prefer to think of them).

As for the rest of the show, it costs $6 for adults, $4 for children (5-10 years), and those under 4 years are Free. As always at the Western Fairgrounds, parking is also Free! Hours are from 9 am – 6 pm on Friday and Saturday, and 9 am – 4 pm on Sunday. That leaves you plenty of time to take in all that the first London Pet Show has to offer, like the many exhibitors, dog shows, cat shows, and even an opportunity to get your picture taken with Toto, from the Wizard of Oz! Pictures will be taken between 10 am – 12pm and 2 pm – 4pm, plus they are free.

The Elgin County Kennel Club will be presenting an All-Breed Championship Dog Show that runs all weekend long. Expect to see over 1600 dogs from more than 100 different breeds, competing for one of several titles available.

Dogs don’t have the market on shows though. On October 19th and 20th, the Pawsitive Paws Cat Show will be on as well. There will be more than 120 kitties, with a wide variety of coats, clawing for top billings at the 12th show that the Pawsitive Paws group has put on.

I sure hope they put some space between the canine contenders and feline foes. There could be a lot of fur flying, if not…

And if that does happen, you can always grab a lint brush to remove any of the pet hair that is left behind.

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!

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