This is now the fourth year I have done this (see 2005, 2006, and the 2007 three part extravaganza), and I do enjoy putting these together for the amusement of my two readers. This time I am putting things in no particular order by broad categories, so my two readers can find what they like. Just like last year, we have enough stuff to make another three part extravaganza. Part One is this post. Part two will be a collection of humor with a bit of "spice" thrown in (an adult thing or two could get in), and Part Three will be a special post for book lovers and readers (hey, I am a librarian after all).
So here we go:
Safety: It is important to be safe during the holidays.
- From the blog GovGab, a post on holiday safety with those Christmas lights and decorations. They also point to information on food safety. Given the many meals that will be prepared, being aware of food safety is important.
- Speaking of safety, this time when traveling: if you fly, you may want to look over the list of restrictions on food and gifts from the TSA.
- The Federal Trade Commission has some Holiday Shopping Tips, Circa 2008. They offer some good advice for consumers.
- By now, you probably bought most of your gifts. If you had to ship anything, you should have done it by now (hey, Christmas Eve is tomorrow). Anyhow, here are 10 Tips for Shipping Holiday presents.
- Maybe you have decided to do a little regifting. If you go this route, here are 12 Rules for 'Regifting' you may want to consider (via MSN). There is even a whole website dedicated to the concept of regifting (www.regiftable.com).
- The economy is tight, to put it mildly. So people are looking for ways to save and still have a meaningful holiday. To help out, here are the "Top 25 Life-Improving Christmas Gifts Under $10" (via ZenHabits).
- If you are looking for gifts that may be a bit humourous or amusing or just plain different, you may want to give Uncommon Goods a try.
- Giving can also involve charitable giving. But how do you give when money is tight? From the National Better Business Bureau, here are "Five Ways to Donate to Charities When Money is Tight."Found via GovGab, which also has other ways to get creative with giving. I am not very good at giving formally, but I always put something in the red kettles of the Salvation Army when I come out of stores and establishments. While I don't keep track of it, I am sure it would add up.
- From The New York Times, a feature on Hanukkah Recipes, for our Jewish friends as well as those of us just interested in what other people do over the holidays.
- I always say if you choose drink during the holidays, to please do so in moderation. Here is an article on making the perfect holiday drink, from the folks at the Wired HowTo wiki.
- From WikiHow, here is how to make mulled beer.
- Liquor Snob has published their 2008 Holiday Gift Guide.
- Cheap Fun Wines also has their 2008 Holiday Gift Guide. Find something for the wine lover friend or family member. As for me, yes, wine is always a welcome gift.
- Food Network always has a big section for the holidays. Find food ideas for Christmas as well as other holidays.
- Epicurious also has their feature for Christmas recipes.
- Since I am Puerto Rican, even though I live in East Texas (not exactly the most diverse place), we still make a recipe or two at home. This year, we will be making some coquito at home. I will let you know how it turns out. If you are curious, here is a small summary of Puerto Rican holiday traditions (from PRCooking.com). If you want to do some shopping of PR things, El Colmadito might be able to help (I just discovered this). Want some books on Puerto Rican cooking, Amazon has a selection. I personally recommend the one by Aboy Valldejuli. Wikipedia has a decent overview of Puerto Rican cuisine, just so you have an idea of how good the stuff is.
Miscellaneous (or I was not quite sure where to put these):
- This is one I saved from last year. If you need some ideas, here are 50 Ungrinchy Holiday Ideas. It has a selection of simple things to do for things like crafts, shopping, and cards. (via Tinker X).
- Make sure that you get the right lyrics when you go caroling. Look them up in this handy Christmas Carol Lyrics Database. You can browse it online or download it to your computer.
- The U.S. Census Bureau always puts out a Facts For Features sheet for the holidays. Here is the one for 2008. For example, did you know that sales by U.S. Christmas tree farmers in 2007 totaled $493.3 million?
- Many people will be traveling this holiday season. My family and I will probably take a short road trip (or at least a day trip or two), but not too far. To help out travelers, here is a list of 20+ Tools for Holiday Travel, from Mashable.
- The holidays can be a time of stress for some people. There is a Spanish song, pretty popular in Puerto Rico, that speaks of Christmas that returns ("Navidad que vuelve") where some are happy, and some are crying ("unos van alegres y otros van llorando"). Christmas this year will clearly be a bit different for me this year, but I am doing my best to keep the party going. To help folks out, here is a Holiday Survival Guide from the folks at About.com. The guide has items on things like dealing with family during gatherings and simplifying things. Folks, do remember to take care of yourselves as well as each other. And do keep things simple.
- Ever wondered who invented those cool Christmas lights? Find the answer here, a feature from the Library of Congress.
- GovGab has a nice summary of what they do for the holidays at the White House. There is even a link to the first dog's BarneyCam.
- The Australian Government cultural portal has a page on Christmas in Australia. A shout out to my brother who is currently living in Australia with his wife and two lovely daughters.
- The American Antiquarian Society has an online exhibit on "Visions of Christmas." They present a nice collection of images from books and materials from the 19th century.
- Also from GovGab, a summary of issues about animals and the holidays. This is mostly about whether to adopt an animal and giving to agencies like the Humane Society. We have two cats at home, Autumn and (the mighty) Isis, who were adopted from a shelter. We were in Houston when we adopted them and got them at CAP. If you are getting a pet, I would encourage people to seriously consider adopting one from a shelter, especially for cats since they often have more kittens than they know what to do with, as the saying goes.
- Talking about music, Accuradio has an excellent holiday music section. Their Navidad section has a great selection with a lot of Puerto Rican and Caribbean holiday music. If you want to get a taste of "mi musica," go listen. It's what I am listening to now while I am blogging.
And I leave you with a bit humor for now (by Matthew Henry Hall, from Inside Higher Ed.):
Update Note (12/31/08): I added the links to Parts 2 and 3 above.