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Smart tips for well-written holiday cards

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The time has come once again to send out holiday cards. If you’re not sure what to write to your friends and relatives, here’s some advice.

Give yourself plenty of time
Whether you want to send your cards by mail or electronically, avoid waiting till the last minute to get started. Not only do you risk forgetting someone, but a rushed card won’t have the same sentiment as a message you took the time to reflect on.

Craft a personalized message
The standard greetings that appear in most store-bought cards or online templates can be a good starting point. However, regard¬less of whether the cards you choose include text, be sure to add a personal touch so the message reflects your relationship with the recipient.

If you’re very close with the person, don’t hesitate to mention recent or upcoming events such as their plans to buy a house or a trip they just took. Has it been a while since you caught up? Consider extending an invitation for a phone call or coffee date after the holidays. The most important thing is to be sincere.


Be optimistic about the future
In addition to wishing the person a happy holiday, include a positive message about the new year. While you shouldn’t disregard any recent hardship the person may have experienced, the idea is to share some hope for the future.

Remember, you can be as creative as you want with your holiday cards. Just be sure to write from the heart.

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Gift-wrapping tips and ideas

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Once you’ve finished buying all your Christmas presents, it’s time to start wrapping them. Here are some tips and ideas to make your holiday gift-wrapping a success.

Use quality wrap
Gift wrap that’s too thin will not only tear when you handle it but may also be see-through. Choose sturdy paper that’s sufficiently thick but still easy to fold. To decorate the package, use strips of ribbon that can be either curled with scissors or tied into a pretty bow.

Try furoshiki
Furoshiki are a type of traditional Japanese wrapping cloth that can be used to cover gifts. This gift-wrapping option has environmental benefits because the cloth can be reused. Plus, you can wrap and unwrap the gift as many times as you need to achieve the perfect presentation.

Whatever type of wrap you opt to use, you can visit your local craft store to find the materials you need. However, if you aren’t confident in your gift-wrapping abilities, consider relying on charities in your community that offer gift-wrapping services during the holiday season.


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Gift ideas for minimalists

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Finding the right Christmas present for a minimalist can be a challenge. Here are a few clutter-free gift ideas that could be a great fit.

A service or activity
Offering to do housework, babysit or cook a meal for the minimalist in your life is a great way to show you care. Alternatively, tickets to a live show or a local event are gifts that won’t take up any space.

A monthly subscription
Consider giving your loved one a subscription to online music or television service or a digital publication that’s in line with their interests. Some companies also offer monthly subscription boxes that contain things like snacks, alcohol, and body care products. Since these products are consumable, they’ll only take up space temporarily.

A practical item
You may want to consider giving the minimalist in your life a gift that’s useful in some way, especially if you know what they need. For example, a backpack, reusable straw, or reusable hygiene products are all suitable options. However, make sure to choose quality products that’ll stand the test of time.



For more ideas, visit the businesses in your area.

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4 gift ideas for foodies

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Is there someone on your holiday shopping list who’s a foodie? Are you looking for a gift that’ll satisfy both their taste buds and passion for cooking? If so, here are four ideas to inspire you.

1. Reusable accessories. Consider offering your foodie reusable coffee filters, produce bags, pastry bags, muffin tins, or other items that will help them enjoy and preserve their kitchen creations.

2. Cooking classes. Whether online or in-person, a cooking class is a great way for the foodie in your life to discover new dishes and learn an array of culinary techniques.

3. Food subscriptions. If your loved one is a coffee, candy, or chocolate connoisseur, consider buying them a themed subscription box. Alternatively, you may want to gift them a basket of fresh produce and local foods to spark their creativity.


4. Artisanal products. Curating a custom gift basket that includes regional delicacies such as hot sauces, cheeses, wines, and oils is a great way to inspire your loved one to cook using local ingredients.

Keep an eye out for products, services, and activities in your region for further ways to satisfy the epicurean on your shopping list.

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Holiday shopping survival guide

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Do you dread the thought of navigating crowded stores, busy parking lots, and long checkout lines? Here are a few tips to make your holiday shopping experience less of an ordeal.

Go at the right time
There’s no doubt that weekends are a prime time for shopping, especially Saturdays. If possible, head to stores on a weekday or first thing in the morning. Waiting until the last minute will also mean con¬tending with crowds. Keep in mind that many navigation apps allow you to see how busy a particular location is at a given time.

Know what you want
To limit the amount of time you spend in stores, make a list and browse local retailers’ websites before you visit in person. This will ensure you know exactly where to go to get the best deals. Of course, you can also stick to shopping online, so long as you leave enough time for your packages to arrive before the holidays.

Avoid hindrances
If you’re not a fan of shopping in general, you’ll want to ensure the experience isn’t any more unbearable than it needs to be. Among other things, you should:


• Dress in comfortable layers, and wear appropriate walking shoes
• Leave your car at home, if possible, to avoid searching for a parking spot
• Refrain from shopping with people who are indecisive
• Buy heavy items last so you don’t have to lug them around

Finally, depending on what would cause you the least amount of stress, you can either plan several short trips or aim to get all your shopping done at once.

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Lists are not just for Santa!

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The holiday season is often accompanied by worries about not being ready in time. As the festive season is approaching fast, here is a list for those in charge of organizing Christmas. It will help you make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

1. Establish your budget. This is always a good starting point. It feels awful to regret all your spending once the holidays are past.

2. Create checklists. Plan your menus, gifts, indoor and outdoor decorations, and schedule your beauty appointments well in advance.

3. Set your tasks. Each of the previous lists brings its own share of things to do, so it’s important to list them clearly along with a time frame in which to do them.


4. Spread out the tasks. Note on a calendar or in your smartphone agenda all things to do each day, as this will give you a better overview. It will also be easier to add an item to the list or delete completed tasks (yay!), so that you don’t forget anything.

5. Delegate. Some tasks can even be assigned to the children. You’ll be surprised at their creativity!

6. Get organized in advance. Some things can be done well before Christmas. Think about preparing any make-ahead dishes that can be frozen until the party or Christmas dinner. Doing this will allow you to relax a bit during the party!

7. Buy your gifts before the last-minute rush. Shopping on December 23 is just an invitation to stress. So start shopping in late November or early December. If that is truly impossible, bear in mind that shopping malls are less crowded early in the week.

Taking the time to get organized will give you the inspiration to create some unforgettable moments for you and your loved ones this holiday season.

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4 great reasons to give gift cards during the holidays

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Do you find it stressful to pick out personalized gifts for everyone on your list? Are you unsure whether giving your loved ones gift cards is the right thing to do? If so, here are four reasons offering this type of present may be a good choice for you.

1. There are endless options. From ski lift tickets to spa packages and gourmet meals to clothing stores, it’s easy to find a gift card that suits the interests of the person you want to spoil.

2. You won’t disappoint. Rather than risking buying your loved ones a present, they don’t like, giving them a gift card allows them to choose exactly what they want. This is an especially wise option for gift exchanges.

3. You’ll save time. Gift cards are quick and easy to purchase, and buying them will save you the hassle of walking up and down crowded store aisles. Simply head straight to the checkout. You can even purchase certain gift cards online.


4. You decide the price. You’re in full control of how much money is loaded onto the gift card. That way, you can spend as much or as little as you want, without having to calculate taxes.

Do you think a gift card is too impersonal? Think again! Simply wrap this present in a pretty box and attach a handwritten note to up the wow factor.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:

@AHIER

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Family Preservation Services

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Groups Recover Together

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Main Street Travel

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Mountain Trails

National Media Services

Northwestern Community Services Board

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Examiner

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Salvation Army

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Studio Verde

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

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

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Wind: 7mph SW
Humidity: 56%
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Upcoming Events

Dec
2
Thu
5:30 pm Cookies with Santa @ Strokes of Creativity
Cookies with Santa @ Strokes of Creativity
Dec 2 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Cookies with Santa @ Strokes of Creativity
Santa is coming to Strokes of Creativity. Bring your kiddos by and visit with Santa this Thursday evening, December 2nd. We will have a cookies to decorate with icing and sprinkles (while supplies last). Make[...]
Dec
4
Sat
10:00 am Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Dec 4 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Senior Painting Class with Dottie @ Strokes of Creativity
Senior Painting Class with Dottie at Strokes of Creativity. Tickets: CLICK HERE Cost: $80 for 6 weeks Dates: Thursdays – Oct 21, Oct 28, Nov 4, Nov 11, Nov 18, Dec 4 Time: 10 am[...]
1:00 pm The Nutcracker 2021 @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker 2021 @ Skyline High School
Dec 4 @ 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm
The Nutcracker 2021 @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts is pleased to announce its own student production of the seasonal ballet The Nutcracker, to be presented in Front Royal, VA, on Saturday, December 4th, 2021. 1:00 and 5:00 pm Tickets: $35[...]
4:30 pm Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Dec 4 @ 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Astronomy for Everyone @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meets in the Historic Area behind Mount Bleak. 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[...]
Dec
5
Sun
4:00 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ First Baptist Church of Winchester
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ First Baptist Church of Winchester
Dec 5 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ First Baptist Church of Winchester
Sunday, December 5, 2021 4:00pm First Baptist Church of Winchester 205 West Piccadilly St. | Winchester, VA 22601 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees Friday, December 10, 2021 7:30pm Front Royal United Methodist Church[...]
Dec
8
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 8 @ 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[...]
Dec
10
Fri
7:30 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Dec 10 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Friday, December 10, 2021 7:30pm Front Royal United Methodist Church 1 West Main Street | Front Royal, VA 22630 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees Sunday, December 12, 2021 4:00pm Trinity Episcopal Church 9108[...]
Dec
12
Sun
3:00 pm Valley Chorale’s Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Valley Chorale’s Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
Dec 12 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Valley Chorale's Christmas Concert @ Calvary Episcopal Church
This year’s yuletide concert is titled THIS SHINING NIGHT.  Join us for a selection of seasonal songs — ranging in style from classical to spirituals to pop — sure to brighten your holiday and lift[...]
4:00 pm Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Dec 12 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Sweeter, Still… Holiday Concert @ Trinity Episcopal Church
Sunday, December 12, 2021 4:00pm Trinity Episcopal Church 9108 John Mosby Hwy. | Upperville, VA 20184 COVID-19 Guidelines: Masks are required for attendees
Dec
15
Wed
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Dec 15 @ 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[...]