Crowdsourcing Christmas: Everything you need to know to celebrate the holiday

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Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 9.31.16 AMMANCHESTER, NH – Wow! So far so good! Below are tips, ideas and information provided by you, our wonderful readers. Manchester is our focus, but we’re including public events happening anywhere. Keep them coming! Use the form below to submit your event, tip, idea, recipe, where you buy your tree, or holiday favorite song/movie.

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SHOPPING TIPS & GIFT IDEAS

    • Women of Winter Ski Class at McIntyre (Begins Jan. 5) Give mom/grandmom the gift of fun!  If you’ve ever thought about learning to ski or snowboard, or want to take your skiing to the next level, it’s time to sign up for McIntyre Ski Area’s “Women of Winter” program! It’s Monday mornings from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. with an optional 8:30 a.m. “warm up” yoga class. Enjoy a cup of coffee and pastries, then get outside for some winter fun! Taught by women, for women. Five week class: $170. Rentals: $70. Helmet: $15.
    • iHeartDining Meal Gift Deals: These deals at local restaurants are hard to beat – Chiggy’s Place, Red Sauce Ristorante, The Purple Finch, Murphy’s Taproom, Whippersnapper’s, The Chateau, and more. Win-win for customers and, especially, for our local restaurant owners, who need your support to keep doing what they’re doing. Check it out.
    • Cyber Monday at NH Made: 10 percent off on Dec. 1: Get a jump on your shopping, keep it local and save. (P.S. You can shop here anytime, even if it’s NOT CyberMonday.)
    • Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 7.17.29 AMBest 19 Best Black Friday Ads: Via Deal News, ads range from Toys R Us and Staples to Amazon and Target, and lots of goodies in between. Click here.
    • Nov. 28 Black Friday Deals at Level-Up Gaming, 1295 Elm St. in Manchester. 30 percent off all used games. (Also a great year-round place to stock up on your gaming needs).
    • Gift a Moose Plate: It costs a little more than a regular old license plate, but the NH MoosePlate helps raise money for local conservation and heritage initiatives. And it has a moose on it! Gift cards are available. Learn more here: MoosePlate.com
  • Screen Shot 2014-12-14 at 8.16.48 PMShare Create Repeat Artist Gift Box subscriptions: Great gift idea for your budding artist – or you mature artists who need a kick in the palette. About $20 a box, or save with monthly subscription.
  • A&E Roastery & Tea, with cafes in Manchester (1000 Elm St.) and Amherst, has all sorts of great caffeinated gift ideas. In fact, they are featuring the 12 Days of Giftmas at A&E to make it easy on you. Check it out here.

  • Intown Manchester Weekly Holiday Market: Shop inside the Brady-Sullivan Plaza, 1000 Elm Street, Thursdays, Dec. 4, 11, 18, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday Dec. 13, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Featuring 50 booths with local craftsmen and artisans, photos with Santa, gifts for kids, music and more.
  • Support NH Audubon Society Nov. 28 by visiting the NH Audubon Nature Store’s Blackbird Friday event on November 28. The Nature Store, located at 84 Silk Farm Road in Concord, is offering 20 percent off any one item during the event. Proceeds from the event – and from all sales at the Nature Store – support NH Audubon’s mission of protecting the Granite State’s natural environment for wildlife and people. Holiday hours are Monday through Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays in December from 9 a m  to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Nature Store is also online at nhaudubon.org.
  • GoShopNH.com: Going local this holiday shopping seasons? Check out this online shopping hub operated by the NH Union Leader featuring local goods.
  • 2014 Millyard Museum ornament
    2014 Millyard Museum ornament
    Manchester Millyard Museum’s annual ornament is on sale. This year the ornament is a tribute to the Carpenter Memorial Library, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in November. A nice gift for your favorite history buff or Mancunian. They are handcrafted in the U.S. by the same company that make the annual White House official ornament. Cost: $21.95.

EVENTS

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

  • Salvation Army Bell Ringers: The Annual Red Kettle Campaign is the Salvation Army’s primary fundraiser. Not only can you help by dropping some change into any Salvation Army Red Kettle, but you can volunteer to man a kettle for a short shift – great family or group activity. Volunteers always needed  If you would like to help, call 627-7013 or write to info@SAmanchester.org.

TOY DRIVES/FOOD DRIVES/WARM COAT/GLOVE DONATIONS

  • Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive: Happening now. Give the gift of reading. Manchester schools benefit from your generosity. Stop by the store at 1741 South Willow Street. Display at the register has bookmarks with titles requested by schools, or pick up a “wish list” at the register. Goal is to collect and distribute 4,200 books.
  • Toys For Tots toy drive/fundraiser:  Stop by Chiggy’s Place, 571 Mast Road, Goffstown, on Dec. 7 for their 9th Annual Toys for Tots toy drive. The staff donates all their tips for that day and in return, accept toy donations from customers. Santa will be on hand to help collect donations. 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Toys for Tots Collection Center: A.C. Moore, Mall of New Hampshirem 1500 South Willow St., Manchester. Collection box is near the registers.
  • McDonough Elementary School warm clothing drive: Started by a teacher who saw a need, the effort has grown. Anyone who wishes to donate gently used or new coats, boots, socks and other winter accessories for children ages 5-11 can bring them to Allstate insurance office at 1181 Hanover St., in Manchester.
  • NH Food Bank Virtual Food Drive: Help keep our NH Food Bank shelves stocked with essentials – food distributed all across the state to those estimated 143,000 individuals going through difficult times. The online form helps the food bank maximize dollars by allowing you to simply click and donate by the case, starting under $10 for a case of pasta, to monetary donations. It’s quick, easy, efficient and life changing. A great option for companies, groups, families or individuals. The need is present 365 days a year. Donate anytime, not just during the holidays. Click here.

FAVORITE RECIPES

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Screen Shot 2014-11-24 at 8.35.19 AM
Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (or your favorite combination of chips)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts. Drop by large spoonfuls onto pan lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for about 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are nicely browned.
  • Makes about 4 dozen cookies, depending on size

Glögg (Mulled Wine Punch) 

  • 2bottles of dry red wine
  • 2bottles of ruby port
  • Zest of one whole navel orange, peeled with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • cup blanched, sliced almonds
  • cinnamon sticks
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 12 cardamom pods, cracked (use the flat end of a knife)
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 to 2 star anise
  • One 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch coins
  • cups brandy, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 to 2 cups sugar
  1. In a nonreactive pan, heat the wine, port, zest, raisins, nuts, spices, and ginger over medium-low heat until simmering, then lower the heat and cover.
  2. In another nonreactive pan, heat 1 cup of the sugar and 1 cup of the brandy. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then simmer over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.
  3. Combine the syrup with the mulled wine and add another cup of brandy. Allow to simmer for an hour, then taste for sugar and brandy adding more of either if necessary.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool, then strain and bottle — or enjoy immediately!

 

MUST-WATCH HOLIDAY MOVIES

  • It’s a Wonderful Movie Guide: It may not be comprehensive, but this list of popular holiday movie fare, listed by date and channel, is helpful – especially when planning family movie night. Click here. FREE showing for seniors on Dec. 17, 12 p.m. at Chunky’s Cinema Pub. Special showing at Chunky’s Cinema on Dec. 21, at 7 p.m., free admission for everyone with a canned good to benefit the NH Food Bank.
  • “It’s a Wonderful Life” From Clarence the Angel to Zuzu’s petals, if this one doesn’t stir something in you to celebrate the gifts of family, friends and doing the right thing, nothing will. Starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Not available for streaming on NetFlix, but worth purchasing via Amazon.com (colorized or black-and-white) for around $10. You can also find it scheduled on TV. Check here.

MUSIC TO GET YOU IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT

We recommend Spotify’s free online streaming service, which includes some commercial breaks, but gives you lots of free streaming music options. Also YouTube is a great place to find free music. Below are your submissions (in alphabetical order) with Spotify/YouTube links when available. Mood range is from traditional and upbeat to longing and downright sad.

About Carol Robidoux 5278 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.