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.
How well do you know Independence Day? Take the Star-Spangled Quiz!
Independence Day celebrated on July 4th, is a day filled with fireworks, barbecues, and patriotism. But how much do you really know about this historic holiday and the country it commemorates? Take our star-spangled quiz to test your knowledge and discover fascinating facts about Independence Day!
- Question: What year did the U.S. declare independence from Great Britain? Options: A. 1876 B. 1776 C. 1787 D. 1812
- Question: Which country manufactures most of the fireworks and American flags used in the July 4 celebrations? Options: A. China B. Thailand C. U.S.A. D. Mexico
- Question: What is the most popular food consumed on July 4? Options: A. Hamburgers B. Corn dogs C. Apple pie D. Hot dogs
- Question: Which of the following founding fathers did NOT sign the Declaration of Independence? Options: A. Benjamin Franklin B. Roger Sherman C. George Washington D. Samuel Adams
- Question: Which of these former presidents did NOT die on July 4? Options: A. John Adams B. James Monroe C. Zachary Taylor D. Thomas Jefferson
- Question: What was the U.S. population the year it declared independence? Options: A. 2.5 million B. 10 million C. 5 million D. 790,000
- Question: What Hollywood actor starred in the movie Independence Day? Options: A. Tom Cruise B. Denzel Washington C. Wesley Snipes D. Will Smith
By taking this star-spangled quiz, you’ve put your knowledge of Independence Day to the test. Whether you aced it or learned something new, this quiz reminds us of the historical significance and cultural traditions associated with July 4th. So, as you enjoy the festivities, take a moment to appreciate the rich history and the shared values that make America a land of freedom and opportunity.
- (B) Only 58 percent of U.S. residents know this.
- (A) Over 90 percent of American flags and fireworks are imported from China.
- (A) Eighty-five percent of Americans eat burgers every July 4, with steak and hot dogs taking second and third place.
- (C) George Washington was defending New York City when the document was signed.
- (C) John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died five hours apart on July 4, 1826.
- (A) Today, the U.S. population is almost 332 million.
- (D) Will Smith starred in the film “Independence Day.”
Sobriety Tips for the Fourth of July Holiday
The Fourth of July is America’s top beer-drinking holiday. Over one billion dollars is estimated to be spent nationally on beer during the holiday. It is an incredibly festive time across the state. Families come together to celebrate freedom.
There will be fireworks, parades, festivals, concerts, BBQs, and family gatherings. The days are filled with food and drink. While this is a time to celebrate, it can be challenging for someone sober or in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction.
Fortunately, there are practical approaches that anyone can use to maintain sobriety during the July Fourth holiday.
“Environments that promote excessive alcohol or recreational drug use are a recipe for disaster, especially when newly sober; it’s a good idea to plan ahead,” said Marcel Gemme of Addicted.org.
Statistically, in Virginia, 16% of adults over 18 binge drink at least once per month.
Consider some of the following tips to help stay sober this Fourth of July holiday:
Begin to know and identify relapse triggers. This could be particular situations or environments, a person, or a group of individuals. Knowing these triggers makes it possible to avoid or manage them. In addition, having a healthy outlet to manage negative emotions or feelings is also important.
Avoid environments that promote binge drinking or recreational drug use; this is undoubtedly a bad idea for anyone newly sober.
Bring sober friends or family to July Fourth celebrations or attend sober events. Consider also bringing non-alcoholic beverages or mocktails. This can help avoid those pesky relatives who insist you always have an alcoholic beverage in your hand.
Plan ahead and have an exit plan if things become too much to manage. It’s ok to say no and turn down invitations. Do not feel obligated to place yourself in difficult situations.
Finally, lean on support when needed. This can be particularly important during the early days months of sobriety.
Independence Day is about celebrating freedom in all its forms. Being free from the chains of addiction is a fantastic feeling. Take this opportunity to create new memories and traditions. Spend quality time with loved ones and celebrate the 4th of July to the fullest.
Michael Leach has spent most of his career as a healthcare professional specializing in Substance Use Disorder and addiction recovery. He is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant and contributor to the healthcare website Recovery Begins.
Celebrating Father’s Day: The integral role of dads in child development
We know what day it is, Father’s Day! It’s that special time of the year when we acknowledge and celebrate the indispensable role that fathers play in our lives. But let’s not forget being a dad isn’t just about bringing home the bacon. It’s about investing meaningful time in your child’s development.
Recent research has shed light on just how significant fathers are in shaping their kids’ future interactions with the world and other people. Interactions during infancy and toddlerhood, it turns out, are more influential than we ever thought possible.
A fascinating study from the University of Regensburg in Munich, Germany, delves into the power of play. Children who enjoyed sensitive, supportive, and challenging playtime with their dads at the age of two were found to form closer and more trusting relationships with others at ages 10 and 16. By the age of 16, the impact of fathers’ play proved even more predictive than the mother-child bond. It seems that a dad’s playful interactions make a uniquely pivotal contribution to their child’s growth.
Let’s not forget the power of storytelling, either. Those family stories about how your parents and grandparents overcame adversity don’t just pass the time; they shape resilience. A study from Emory University demonstrated a fascinating link in children aged 14 to 16: those who could retell their parents’ stories showed a lower rate of depression and anxiety. So, when you share your stories, eye-to-eye, you’re not just reminiscing, you’re equipping your children to view the world with optimism.
So, on this Father’s Day, let’s take a moment to appreciate all the fathers out there – the storytellers, the playmates, and the providers. Thank you for all that you do. You’re making more of a difference than you realize. Happy Father’s Day!
10 little things dads do that mean a lot
Your dad probably helped shape the person you are today. In honor of Father’s Day, here are ten little things that your dad may have done for your growing up that have stuck with you for a lifetime.
1. Read you bedtime stories
2. Played dress up
3. Left encouraging messages in your lunchbox
4. Supported your interests by going to your concerts, recitals, and sports meets
5. Built a couch fort in your living room
6. Taught you how to ride a bike, fish, or play catch
7. Initiated a dance party
8. Gave you spending money
9. Prepare a family meal together
10. Said “yes” to something that’s usually off-limits, like dessert before supper
This Father’s Day, return the favor and make your dad feel special, noticed, cared for, and loved. Spend quality time together or buy him a unique local gift.
5 bonding activities to do with your dad
Although you can buy your dad a beautiful or thoughtful gift, sometimes spending quality time together is the best present of all. Here are five bonding activities to do with your dad on this special day.
1. Go to the movies
Whether your dad loves comedies, heart-pounding action films, or psychological thrillers, there are plenty of good flicks to watch on Father’s Day. Reserve seats at a nearby movie theatre and splurge on popcorn and drinks to complete the day.
2. Plan a spa day
Spa days aren’t just for the ladies. If your dad appreciates being pampered, book him a luxurious massage, pedicure, or facial. Make sure you join him to create lasting memories.
3. Get out in nature
Enjoy the great outdoors with Dad by hitting a local hiking or biking trail. Pack a picnic lunch with his favorite goodies to make the most of the day.
4. Play board games
Check out a board game café with your dad for the evening. You can play an unlimited number of games and enjoy a good meal. Get ready to strategize your way to a win.
5. Go to a beer or spirits tasting
If your dad enjoys knocking back a few cold ones or casually sipping on fine whiskey, arrange a tasting at a local brewery or distillery to discover a new favorite.
You don’t have to spend much money to have loads of fun!
5 unique Father’s Day gift ideas
Father’s Day is fast approaching! Have you bought your gift? Does your dad insist he doesn’t need anything at all? Finding a unique or useful present for the dad that seemingly has everything can be challenging. Here are a handful of unique ideas to inspire you.
1. Smart home gadgets
Connected technology is the perfect gift for the geeky dad. For example, a smart doorbell, thermostat, or a set of smart LED bulbs are something he typically wouldn’t buy for himself but would be grateful to own.
2. Reading accessories
If your dad is a bookworm but already has shelves full of reading material, get him some fun accessories to improve his reading experience. For example, a set of stylish bookends, a clip-on book light, a bathtub caddy book stand, a page anchor, or “lazy reading glasses” will allow your dad to dive into a great read. If your dad listens to audiobooks, get him a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones.
3. Outdoor equipment
If you have an outdoorsy dad, consider getting him something he can use while enjoying nature. For instance, a pair of binoculars, a fancy multi-tool, an insulated camping chair, or a soft-sided beer cooler make great gifts.
4. Cooking utensils
Does your dad love to cook or grill? Help him elevate his food game with a unique gift. A digital meat thermometer, barbecue tool set, handheld food torch, or salt block are gifts that are sure to please. You could also buy him a subscription to a monthly meat or spice box.
Visit your local shops to curate the ideal gift for your dad this Father’s Day.