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12 ways to support local businesses this holiday season

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1. Learn more about them
You might be surprised by the wide variety of shops in your area. Find out more about what each store carries to spark gift ideas and make your holiday shopping a breeze. Certain places even offer custom creations, allowing you to give your loved ones unique presents.

2. Start shopping early
The longer you wait to do your holiday shopping, the more tempting it is to purchase last-minute gifts from large online retailers that offer rapid delivery. If you want to support local businesses, avoid lineups and keep your stress to a minimum, start early. This also ensures everything you’re looking for is still in stock.

3. Send one-of-a-kind cards
If you want to send out cards to let your friends and relatives know you’re thinking about them over the holiday season, see if any artists or boutiques in your area sell handmade cards. These handcrafted works of art will look beautiful on a mantel, and they may even feature depictions of local landmarks.

4. Decorate with handmade items
When it comes time to decorate your home for the holidays, deck the halls with locally sourced creations. From wreaths and garlands to Christmas tree ornaments and stained-glass window hangings, the artists in your area are sure to offer handcrafted pieces that’ll imbue your home with the spirit of the season.


5. Buy from festival vendors
Does your community host Christmas markets, parades, or outdoor performances during the holiday season? These present a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, so make the most of visiting them. Buy a round of hot chocolate for your friends, treat your kids to seasonal snacks or surprise your partner with a little something from one of the stalls.

6. Update your wardrobe for parties
A new outfit will help you put your best foot forward at your upcoming holiday office party or New Year’s Eve bash. The staff at your local stores can help you put together a look from head to toe. You may also want to keep an eye out for the perfect ugly Christmas sweater or matching pajamas for the whole family.

7. Build your own gift baskets
If you’re short on inspiration, gift baskets make ideal offerings for co-workers, housekeepers, personal trainers, and your child’s teacher or babysitter. Many stores have a selection of pre-made baskets, or you can build your own with an assortment of locally sourced jams, soaps, teas, scented candles, chocolates, wine, and more.

8. Treat yourself to a meal out
Indulge in the magic of the season with a night out at a restaurant. This can be a great way to take a break from all the cooking and cleanup that comes with hosting holiday celebrations. Plus, many establishments have live music, special menus, and seasonal cocktails during this time of year to mark the occasion.

9. Remember to tip generously
‘Tis the season to give, and one way to show your appreciation is by leaving a generous tip for the people who help make the holidays special. This may include the staff at a restaurant, hairdresser, or beauty salon, as well as an employee who offers to wrap your gifts or helps you strap your Christmas tree to the car.

10. Keep it local when you buy online
Shopping online is a convenient way to quickly check items off your gift list (not to mention avoid crowded stores). Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between convenience and supporting local merchants. Many of the stores in your area have websites where you can buy what you need from the comfort of your couch.

11. Opt for gift cards over cash
Some people are harder to shop for than others. If you want to leave the choice up to them, consider offering a gift card rather than money. Not only will this guarantee the cash goes toward a local business, but a gift card is more personal as it shows that you took the time to select a store based on the person’s interests.

12. Cook with local ingredients
Whether you’re planning an elaborate Christmas dinner, preparing your contribution for a holiday potluck, or looking for the perfect hostess gift, you’ll get nothing but the best from regional producers. Visit the markets and shops in your area for everything from artisanal cheeses and pastries to seasonal produce and craft liquor.

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How to celebrate National Nurses Month

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May is National Nurses Month. The theme of this year’s celebration is Nurses Make a Difference. The spotlight is on the diversity of roles nurses play in improving people’s lives, raising awareness about the importance of nurses to the well-being of society.

To celebrate National Nurses Month, think about the impact of nurses in your life and those you love. Use social media to share pictures, stories, and expressions of thanks to nurses. Every week in May will have a different area of focus:

• Week one highlights self-care. This week focuses on promoting mental and physical well-being. Challenge yourself, colleagues, and friends to engage in healthier activities.

• Week two highlights recognition. This week aims to honor nurses’ critical work in hospitals and community settings.


• Week three highlights professional development. This week is centered around helping nurses excel in their profession. Think about how you can lead in your nursing career or inspire others in their professional nursing journey.

• Week four highlights community engagement. This week focuses on how you can promote nurses’ invaluable contributions by educating your community on what nurses do and by encouraging future nurses.

Moreover, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has created a free Nurses Month Toolkit, which can be downloaded on nursesmonth.org. The ANA will also host a live event entitled YOU Make a Difference on May 18 to celebrate nursing through storytelling.

Follow the ANA on social media to keep up to date on nursing, including National Nurses Month.

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4 ways to celebrate Mother’s Day with your grandmother

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When it comes to elderly loved ones, a little extra attention in the form of a simple visit goes a long way. This is especially true if they have limited mobility or their social lives have diminished over the years. Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your grandmother how much you love her. Here are four ways to give her some joy.

1. Dust off old board games
Many elderly people grew up playing classic board games. Therefore, why not spend an afternoon challenging your grandma to a friendly game of Scrabble or backgammon?

2. Flip through photo albums
Although less prevalent in the digital age, physical photo albums are a treasure trove of memories. Flip through a few pictures with your grandma to reminisce about days past and learn about your family’s history.

3. Offer a personalized gift
Personalized items make a great gift for grandmothers. For example, you can create a calendar featuring family photos. This is a fun and functional gift your grandma will cherish.



4. Go bargain hunting
Many grandmothers enjoy visiting boutiques, thrift shops, and bazaars to sniff out rare finds. Therefore, why not plan an outing with your grandma? You never know what hidden gems you’ll discover in your neighborhood.

Grandmothers are an essential part of the family and play a significant role in the lives of their grandchildren.

 

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Give your partner a Mother’s Day weekend fit for royalty

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Receiving a Mother’s Day card or homemade gift from your little one is heartwarming. However, a gesture of love from your other half is even better. This year, why not show your significant other how much you appreciate everything she does as a mom by treating her like a princess for the entire weekend? Here’s how.

• Declare housework off-limits. Make it clear that you’ll do all the household chores. If you see her hand go into the laundry basket or kitchen sink, step in. Tell your partner gently but firmly that you’re at her service for the entire day.

• Give her other options. Your partner may feel caught off guard by a sudden reduction in duties. Therefore, prepare a list of activities she can indulge in guilt-free. For example, she can take a hot bath, read a book, binge a TV series, work on a hobby or call a friend. Give her this list and encourage her to take more time for herself.

• Pamper her. Think of things that make her happy, like visiting a cafe or getting a foot massage, and arrange for her to do them over the weekend. You can also organize childcare so she can take a nap, either alone or with you.


• Talk with her. Nothing beats a heart-to-heart conversation. Consequently, plan a time when you can be alone together and chat about everything and nothing. Ask her open-ended questions about how she spends her days at home or work. You can also ask about her projects and dreams. Allow her to express herself and be a listening and loving ear.

After a memorable weekend like this, she’ll feel like a queen!

 

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Skip the diet and celebrate body diversity

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Celebrated on May 6, 2022, International No Diet Day (INDD) is the perfect time to put aside your food inhibitions and celebrate body diversity. Inspired by her own eating disorder and recovery, Mary Evans Young first declared this day in the UK in 1992. Today, INDD is a day to remember that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few ways you can observe No Diet Day.

Wear a blue ribbon
Stand in front of your mirror and wear a light blue ribbon to commemorate INDD. As you look at your reflection, take a moment to love and thank your body for everything it does for you.

Experiment with new foods
Engage your curiosity by preparing a new recipe. For example, explore an unfamiliar aisle at the supermarket or pop into the international grocer you always pass by on your walk home.

Indulge at a restaurant
Book a table at a restaurant you’ve never tried before. Pull out all the stops and order every course. Furthermore, look for eateries offering meal specials to observe INDD.


Celebrate your body
Plan an activity that indulges all your senses. For instance, take a hike or hit the dance floor with a troop of good friends. Moreover, find a scenic picnic spot to enjoy refreshments while reading a book or taking in the view.

Lastly, observe International No Diet Day by expressing unconditional love and gratitude to your body. Indulge your senses and celebrate good food and good living.

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Mother’s Day: 5 gift ideas for a tight budget

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Do you want to express your love for your mom on Mother’s Day but have a limited budget? Here are five gifts your mom will love that won’t break the bank.

1. Kitchen torch. This affordable kitchen accessory is perfect for browning the cheese on French onion soup or the fluffy white peaks on a lemon meringue pie.

2. Novels and non-fiction books. If your mom loves to read, why not gift her the latest bestseller, a timeless classic, or a non-fiction book on something she’s passionate about?

3. Essential oil diffuser bracelet. Your mom can enjoy the benefits of essential oils wherever she goes, be it the relaxing scent of lavender or the refreshing aroma of lemon.


4. Heated slippers. Gifting your mom a pair of microwave-safe slippers will help her relax and unwind after a long day. These slippers will also keep her feet toasty warm in the winter.

5. Plantable greeting card. If your mom enjoys gardening, buy her a greeting card with seeds embedded within the paper. Whenever she likes, she can bury the card and watch your good wishes transform into magnificent flowers.

Remember that when buying a gift for Mother’s Day, it’s the thought that counts!

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4 delicious Mother’s Day gift alternatives to chocolate

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Chocolate is a standard Mother’s Day gift. However, some moms simply don’t like this sweet treat. Fortunately, there are plenty of other edible gifts that are sure to please.

1. Specialty coffee. Coffee is an excellent source of antioxidants. Prepare a gift box filled with organic or fair-trade varieties and choose whole beans to optimize freshness. You could also include an affordable coffee mill.

2. Seafood. If your mom is a seafood lover, gift her high-end prepared items like pre-cooked shrimp or smoked salmon bites. You could also cook her a delicious feast of mussels, oysters or scallops.

3. Wine and cheese. Pick out an assortment of fine cheeses to pair with charcuterie or a bottle of good wine. If you’re not sure what your mother likes, talk to the staff at your local wine retailer for advice on what’s most popular.


4. Honey and maple syrup. Many local bee-keepers and maple syrup producers offer spectacular products in attractive packaging and pretty gift baskets.

Consumable gifts are perfect for moms that seem to have everything.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

St. Luke Community Clinic

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Vetbuilder.com

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

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Upcoming Events

May
25
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
May 25 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
May
28
Sat
8:00 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 28 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area: Discover our International Dark-Sky Park! Our evenings begin with a half-hour children’s “Junior Astronomer” program, followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Then join NASA Jet Propulsion[...]
May
30
Mon
7:00 pm 2022 Memorial Day Community Band... @ Gazebo
2022 Memorial Day Community Band... @ Gazebo
May 30 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
2022 Memorial Day Community Band Concert @ Gazebo
2022 Memorial Day Concert by Front Royal Community Band Monday, May 30, 2022, 7pm, at the Gazebo on Main St. (sponsored by American Legion Post #53)
Jun
1
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jun 1 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
Jun
4
Sat
10:00 am Backcountry Crash Course: Earth ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Backcountry Crash Course: Earth ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – Jun 5 @ 11:00 am
Backcountry Crash Course: Earth Connection Series @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the Overnight Parking Lot. Ready to try backcountry camping? Spend 24 hours in nature learning backcountry skills and survival techniques with professional outdoor instructor Tim MacWelch. With Sky Meadows’ Backcountry Campground as the[...]
10:00 am Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Boston Mill Road Trail near the Park Office. Learn how fences and tree plantings improve water quality at Sky Meadows State Park. Stop by our Explorer Outpost table along the Boston Mill Road Trail where[...]
10:00 am National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 10:00 am – Jun 5 @ 12:00 pm
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet at the intersection of Boston Mill Road Trail and Hadow Trail. Get your hands dirty as we work to improve the hiking experience on Hadow Trail. Join park trailblazers as they work to enhance[...]
11:00 am Gospel Music Festival @ Gazebo
Gospel Music Festival @ Gazebo
Jun 4 @ 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Gospel Music Festival @ Gazebo
FOOD WILL BE AVAILABLE | FUN ACTIVITIES! | LIVE MUSIC!
12:00 pm Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Settle's Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Log Cabin in the Historic Area. Follow your nose to the Log Cabin to see what tasty treats are cooking on the hearth. Watch as a Sky Meadows volunteer dons historic clothing and cooks delicious[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 4 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work in the Historic Area. Members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac have set up shop and are ready to show[...]