Monday, December 24, 2012
How much will we spend this year? And what's the best-selling Christmas song of all time? Find the answers below.
We know that there were three Wise Men, 12 days of Christmas and that Santa delivers all his presents around the world in one night. But did you know... $23,439.38 How much it would cost to buy your "true love" all the gifts in the 12 Day of Christmas . 12.9 billion hours, $447 billion How many hours Americans were expected to spend shopping, wrapping and returning gifts last year. That was about 42 hours and $688.87 per person. Get your postman/postwoman a gift According to Hallmark, Christmas is the largest card-sending occasion . Nearly 1.5 billion cards are sent to friends and family every Christmas Season. (That's actually down 400 million cards since 2004.) $983 million The value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from …
Saturday, December 22, 2012
A look at the hot toys for tots this holiday season.
Every holiday season, the mailbox fills with the latest toy catalogs. Children peruse the pages as they scribble their lists, daydreaming about what they will find under the tree come Christmas morning. Parents pull out their pocketbooks, spending hard-earned cash as they anticipate the joy on those little faces. What will be the runaway favorites this year is always a guess, but here are some of the latest trends, mixed with tried-and-true perennial favorites. jChews Smartphone teether by Jellystone No tears for parents or babies. Babies love nothing more than to gum Mom and Dad’s cell phone, but now they’ll be too intrigued with their own smartphone to chew on. The Jellystone smartphone teether comes in seven funky colors and is BPA …
As you look over the list of gifts you need this holiday season, an unsettling feeling starts. How will I pay for all these gifts? How about homemade gifts?
Gift-giving is meant to be a time for sharing how much you appreciate others, but rising prices and tight budgets take the feel-good vibes right out of gift-giving traditions. This year, take the money stress out of the holidays by turning to homemade gifts. Homemade gifts are a great way to show you appreciate someone while also adding a personal touch. Gifts don’t need to be expensive to be special. Get the family involved in the fun and you will be creating memories while making unique gifts for those who mean the most in your life. Patch explores the homemade holidays in hopes that you will find something to inspire you to enjoy the season more. Healthy options: Pack energy in a jar with healthy snacks like energy bars, dark chocolate…
Friday, December 21, 2012
Achieve Foundation is raising funds to renovate the Columbia High School auditorium to its former glory.
Still looking for a holiday gift? Here’s something that is local, meaningful and will impact generations of South Orange - Maplewood students for years to come. Since 2010, the Achieve Foundation has been partnering with the South Orange -Maplewood School District (SOMSD) in the Take a Seat (TAS) campaign to renovate the Columbia High School (CHS) auditorium. Donors can choose to honor or dedicate a seat to someone – a teacher, family member, coach, principal, graduate, or a group or organization -- to contribute to the fundraising effort. The $1.3 million project will upgrade features of the 85-year-old performance hall while restoring it to its former splendor, according to Achieve. The campaign aims to raise enough to fill the gap …
For our family, these cookies herald the start of the holiday season.
In my house, it isn’t the holidays until the Chocolate Crackle Cookies come out. They are, for us, as much a staple of the season as decorating the tree and overspending on presents. There are many different variations on this recipe, but they all follow the same basic structure: whip up an ultra-fudgy cookie dough, roll it into balls, coat with confectioners sugar and pop into the oven. As they bake, the cookies split open on top and the powdered sugar gives them a festive, crackled look. They are almost pretty enough to hang on the tree, although I wouldn’t recommend it. Crackle cookies are easy, delicious and last for at least a week – which makes them an ideal holiday gift. I wrap a few in festive bags, tie with a ribbon and hand …
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Our Patch Elf on the Shelf has gotten ahold of our computer and now wants to know what his buddy elves are up to. Share your photos here!
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Hi friends! I'm the Patch Elf on the Shelf. Call me Patchy. I've heard about more of my friends hanging around the area lately, and I wondered what they were up to. Could their families post pictures here on Patch to show me? I'd love to catch up with them. We all go back to Santa on Christmas Eve, but in the meantime, we'll be watching you! Cheers, Patchy the Elf Add your photo by clicking on the green "Upload Photos and Videos" icon.
Admission is free to this family-friendly annual event.
The annual Essex County Holiday Lights Spectacular has returned to the Turtle Back Zoo for a sixth year. The exhibit features 50 animal and holiday-themed figures including bears, tigers and elephants illuminated by over 100,000 lights, along with holiday lights designed to look like wooden soldiers, stars and winter scenes, according to a release from the office of Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. “Turtle Back Zoo will be turned into a Winter Wonderland, with extraordinary seasonal lighting exhibits and costumed characters," DiVincenzo said in a press release. "Stroll the landscaped paths of our zoo and admire the illuminated images of everything from toy soldiers to penguins." The exhibit is open every day except …
Sunday, December 9, 2012
2012 is venue's busiest year.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
The Essex County Turtle Back Zoo set a new annual attendance record for the eighth consecutive year, according to the office of Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. On Saturday, Dec. 1, DiVincenzo welcomed Pompton Plains residents Shannon and Alex Patti and their 2½-year-old son Roman as the 525,508th visitors to the zoo in 2012. In recognition of the milestone, DiVincenzo, Essex County Parks Director Dan Salvante and Turtle Back Zoo Director Dr. Jeremy Goodman presented the family with a gift basket filled with toys, stuffed animals and merchandise from the zoo, along with a one-year membership to the Essex County Zoological Society. This is the third consecutive year more than half a million visitors have come to zoo. “…
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Traditional and Indian latkes prepared with love
I was at Amy Rubin Schottland's house over the summer when she taught me how to make rugelachs. This time she invited me to her kitchen for potato latkes. I am not a novice since I have made latkes before. The problem was, I had experience with Indian style latkes - that's right- they were definitely not the traditional ones. I love tradition- especially when it comes to food -- but I do find myself challenging and modifying old recipes whenever possible. In this case I decided to change up the traditional latke recipe by adding a few Indian ingredients. In India, vegetable fritters are made with chickpea flour. It is a pale yellow in color and has a delicious nutty flavor - it is also high in protein. I started with the usual russet …
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Give it up for latkes, applesauce and brisket.
This article originally ran in December of 2011. The winter holidays are upon us. Oh joy! In our house, that means scrambling to find gifts my kids might actually need and making brisket and applesauce from scratch and latkes out of the box. I know it’s heresy to use potato pancake mix and many of you foodies out there are probably gathering your potatoes and onions already. Go ahead. I have spent many nights, whipping out the food processor, peeling the potatoes, slicing them up so they fit down the chute, letting the processor grate them into mushy bits and then spooning them into a pan of hot oil, exhausted but secure in the knowledge in that I have peeled the potatoes myself and my family might love me more for it. But I’ve found …