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Ideas for hiding Christmas presents

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For a lot of kids, it’s hunting season! They know their presents are hidden somewhere; the challenge is to find them, skillfully snoop in the packages, and wrap them all back up again.

It’s easier with little ones. They can’t reach the top shelf of the closet. But at age 10 and beyond, kids can usually reach or use a chair. You may know they’ve been naughty, not nice, if you find wrappings slightly disturbed.

According to a recent and really unscientific survey by The Wall Street Journal, these are the most popular places to hide gifts:

* In the closet.

* In the attic.
* In the basement.
* In the garage.
* In the freezer.
* In the trunk of the car.
* In the store (on layaway).
* In other people’s houses.

According to Cafe Mom, here are some other fantastic hiding solutions:

* Suitcases. Who looks in those?
* Under the bed (with decoys). Put gifts in a garbage bag, stuff them under the bed, then put more bags with old clothes in front of them.
* In a clothes hamper in your room, covered with dirty clothes.

The funny thing is, it’s not just the kids who peek. There are dads who are excellent detectives when it comes to discovering what their big gift will be. They have been known to snoop, investigate, and try to trick their own kids into giving up the big secret.

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Great gifts for someone living in a retirement home

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Are you wondering what type of gift to get for a relative who lives in a retirement home? If so, here are a few ideas.

• A bestseller. If your loved one likes to read, look for a new release they can add to their collection. Be sure to pick a book in a genre they enjoy such as historical fiction or action-adventure.

• A potted plant. Whether you opt for a lush fern or a flowering species, the greenery is sure to liven up their space. Opt for a modest-size, low-maintenance variety.

• A warm accessory. Keep your loved one comfortable this winter with a plush bathrobe, soft slippers, or wool socks. Alternatively, choose a quilt or blanket for their bed.

• A goodie basket. Purchase a gourmet gift basket or assemble one yourself with treats your relative loves. Make sure to avoid perishable items if their room doesn’t have a fridge.

• A decorative item. Visit local shops and craft fairs to find unique pieces that will add character to their home. Consider pairing a handmade frame with a new family photo.

While all of these presents are sure to be well-received, remember that the best gift you can give a loved one is time spent together.

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Numbers down but enthusiasm high for Turkey Egg Hunt 2020

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It may not have been the 2020 Thanksgiving Day Turkey Egg Hunt originally envisioned to run from the Gazebo-Village Commons area up a closed-to-vehicular-traffic East Main Street involving “hidden” eggs in a variety of downtown business locations and a larger contingent of egg hunting families. But according to organizers Mr. and Mrs. Turkey (aka Willie and Nina Huck of C&C Frozen Treats) and musical backdrop providers Chris and Sue Laurence of White Picket Fence and Key Move Properties, the more localized and properly family group socially distanced gathering of about 25 total participants was a rousing success, nonetheless.

‘Look, there are eggs over there too!’ this happy egg hunter alerts mom and sis. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

The measuring stick – the smiling children’s faces as they ran around gathering candy and surprise-filled turkey eggs dominating the Commons area landscape mid-afternoon this Thanksgiving Day.

We spoke with the “Turkeys” after their official launching of the Turkey Egg Hunt about the trials and tribulations of a pandemic and extended, not-extended walking mall-impacted Turkey Egg Hunt.

“Gobble-gobble-gobble, gobble-gobble-gobble,” Mr. Turkey began before we reminded him his interviewer was not bilingual in Turkeyese, at which point Mrs. Turkey took the helm in human-English speak.

Above, the ‘Turkeys’ in full costume; below, egg hunters spread out, perhaps wondering where to start.

“Considering the environment that we’re in, I think we had a good turnout – we have less than 25 people, so we’re not breaking any rules (regarding gubernatorial COVID-19 Phase 3 pandemic guidelines prohibiting public and business gathering of more than 25 people).

“We have a lot of family groups socially distanced from each other and I think people are going to respect that more than anything,” Mr. Turkey added, regaining his command of human-English speak. “I classify this as a success. This is the community coming out and celebrating a little memory, starting a new tradition, second year running – third is the make it or break it, right?” Mr. Turkey observed the old standard of catching on or not.

Looking a year into the future, hopefully with successful vaccines having been developed, and on the market putting an end to the worldwide 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic that is thus far attributed to taking over 266,000 American lives, and over 1.42-million worldwide, Mr. Turkey forecast a bigger and better 2021 Turkey Day Egg Hunt. – “So, next year all this (pandemic restrictions) will be gone and it’ll be much larger, much bigger, and as much fun.”

While a smaller group than hoped for in year two, as noted above, those present, children and parents alike, were notable for the big grins on their faces as children raced to claim their turkey egg candy and toy stash.

“Seeing the smiles on the family’s faces makes it a hundred percent worth it,” Mr. Turkey observed.

“Absolutely,” Mrs. Turkey, who oversaw much of the egg-laying, agreed.

Above, at least Mr. Turkey got a smile from mom – kids look more baffled; below, Mrs. Turkey does some egg-laying prior to the launch of the hunt.

Royal Examiner asked the Turkeys about the planning involved amidst a constantly shifting pandemic and downtown walking mall landscape.

“Well, I had a conversation with Santa and the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny, and we hatched this plan last year on a whim – why not do it?” Mr. Turkey replied, as Mrs. Turkey noted, “Last Easter we went to Walmart and bought all their leftover Easter eggs, so we’d have eggs, and asked our customers to bring us some candy after Halloween, so we could stuff the turkey eggs, and here we are after about an hour and a half of putting them out.”

As Mrs. Turkey retreats for supplies at C&C Frozen Treats, Sue Laurence eyes her musical setup in front of her and husband Chris’s Key Move Properties/White Picket Fence complex.

Mr. Turkey estimated that from community donations this year, as many as three thousand eggs and the candy and toys with which to fill them had been gathered. “We had an egg stuffing party at the ice cream shop and winter is upon us,” despite the 68-degree temperatures this November 26th we pointed out – “Despite the 68-degree temperatures – you stuff eggs in your downtime … and you have a bunch of smiling kids faces in the end, and that’s what it’s about.”

Sue Laurence concurred that in the circumstance of 2020, success can’t be measured solely in numbers. “We’re having a great time. There may not be a lot of people here but the weather’s great.

Next year, hopefully, more people will feel comfortable about coming out. But everybody who is here has got a smile.”

And the Turkey Egg Hunt is underway …









So many eggs, so little time … Below, the Hucks, I mean Turkeys celebrate a job well done despite the trying environment of 2020.

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10 gift ideas for the person who’s never without their phone

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If you’re looking for a gift for someone who loves their phone, here are a few suggestions that are sure to please.

1. A portable Bluetooth speaker for use at home and on the go

2. A solar phone charger for the tech-savvy environmentalist

3. A portable power bank for charging any time or place

4. A touchscreen cleaner keychain to put an end to smudges

5. A compact smartphone projector for an at-home cinema experience

6. A pair of touchscreen gloves for winter texting

7. A smartphone car mount for safe, hands-free navigation

8. A wallet case to keep all essentials in one place

9. A smartphone lens to capture stunning photos

10. A set of wireless earbuds or headphones that block out ambient noise

For these smartphone accessories and more, visit your nearest electronics store.

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Seasonal

12 reasons to buy local during the holidays

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1. To protect the environment
Goods that are grown or produced nearby generate less pollution than merchandise that needs to be transported over a long distance. These products also tend to have less packaging. Plus, you don’t have to travel far to visit local shops, which further reduces your carbon footprint.

2. To find one-of-a-kind gifts
If you really want to surprise a loved one on Christmas morning, check out the shops in your area. Small business owners work hard to offer their customers unique products that set them apart from major retailers. Alternatively, you can select handcrafted pieces made by local artisans.

3. To enjoy delicious food
Local farmers and producers provide fresh ingredients that can help you create your holiday meal. Whether you want to serve ready-made dishes or cook everything from scratch, you can count on the bakeries, butcher shops, and gourmet grocers in your region to have a variety of options to offer.

4. To boost the local economy
When you buy from local businesses, you help stimulate the region’s economy and create more jobs for the people in your area. And since a thriving market is sure to attract other companies, the result is a dynamic and prosperous community.

5. To support a vibrant community
Plenty of local groups and establishments organize activities throughout the year, with many holiday-themed events hosted in December. Whether you attend a story hour with your kids or karaoke night with your friends, your support ensures these organizations can continue to make your community a fun place to live.

6. To enjoy top-quality service
Customer satisfaction is a priority for small business owners. You can count on the knowledgeable staff at local specialty shops to offer great suggestions and answer all of your questions. Plus, exchanges and returns are easier since you can take care of them in person.

7. To discover hidden gems
Take time to explore the various shops, restaurants, venues, and attractions in your region. Even if you’ve lived there for years, you’ll likely be surprised by what you find. Discover a new craft beer, a temporary outdoor exhibition, or a charming coffee shop. Your town has more to offer than you think.

8. To alleviate holiday stress
There’s no need to venture into crowded shopping malls when everything you need to buy for a merry holiday season is available right around the corner. What’s more, if you purchase all of your gifts from local boutiques, you won’t have to worry about whether they’ll arrive in time for Christmas.

9. To demonstrate solidarity
The COVID-19 pandemic took a major toll on the economy, and small businesses need your patronage now more than ever. Shopping locally is a simple way to support hard-working members of your community through this difficult time. And since you receive high-quality goods and services in return, it’s a win-win situation.

10. To save yourself time and money
The holiday season should be about spending time with friends and family, not fighting traffic or navigating winter driving conditions. When you stick to shops, restaurants, and venues in the area, you avoid a lot of hassle and save plenty of money on gas.

11. To enjoy high-quality goods
Locally made products might be more expensive than mass-produced items, but they tend to be made better and more durable. This means you’ll spend less in the long run. What’s more, when you opt for goods made in your region, you can be confident that the employees worked inhumane conditions for a fair wage.

12. To strengthen your sense of community
If you’re a regular at your local shops and restaurants, you’ll be able to routinely chat with the owners, employees, and other customers you meet. This connection can foster a sense of belonging in your community. Plus, it’s nice to see familiar faces during the holidays.

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Seasonal

Give thanks for the rocks this Thanksgiving

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This is a year when we might feel as if we are standing in sinking sand.

We hardly need to chronicle the many and varied hardships of 2020. We can leave this to the memes–it has been a great year for those.

Most of us can be thankful for our responses to the numerous challenges of 2020. We can’t go to the gym, but there are fitness apps. Maybe we couldn’t go to the office, but many could telecommute. The people who struggled most, we helped through donations and charity. Those who succumbed to the scourge of the pandemic, we have mourned and tried to give comfort to the families.

We’ve done what we always do: Struggle, adapt, and keep moving. For that effort alone, we have reason to be thankful.

Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday when we give gifts, it’s one where we think of the gifts received. Friendship, family, work–these are some rocks that have lifted us from the sinking sand. Let’s be thankful for the rocks.

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Seasonal

Thanksgiving song is familiar, but few know writer

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Often known by its first line, “Over the river and through the wood,” these famous lyrics come from “The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day,” by Lydia Maria Child of Wayland, Mass.

Child had an interesting, but difficult life. At age 22, she wrote Hobomok (Kessinger Pub.), a novel about a Puritan girl who fell in love with a Native American boy after her fiance is lost at sea. It was successful, as was her Juvenile Miscellany, the nation’s first children’s magazine, and The Frugal Housewife (Dover Publications), a hugely popular book.

In 1833, her abolitionist views ended her popularity. Her book, An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans (Applewood Books), was one of the earliest book-length attacks upon slavery. Child claimed that northern businesses made fortunes from it.

The backlash from northerners was strong. Subscriptions were canceled, book sales fell and publishers refused to accept Child’s new books.

These are the words to her famous song:
Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
the horse knows the way,
To carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow

Over the river and through the wood,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark,
And children hark,
As we go jingling by

Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the
barn-yard gate:
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait

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It’s that time of year for Rotary Club of Front Royal’s annual Cash Fair, and we are going virtual this year due to COVID. This is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year and[...]
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