Massachusetts News


Follow These Tips To Fight The Flu This Winter!

Is it just us or is EVERYONE coming down with the flu this year?  It seems worse than ever and there have already been over 700 confirmed cases in Boston!  Boston has even declared a public health emergency as of Wednesday.   If you’ve ever had the flu, you know how miserable it can be, and if you haven’t had it consider yourself lucky because you definitely don’t want it!  The aches, pains, chills, fever, and vomiting are enough to knock anyone down for a few days.  So, what can you do to prevent the onset of the flu?  Follow these tips to minimize your chances of coming down with it!

  • Get your flu shot!  It’s not too late and did you know they are available in every CVS store?  This is your best defense against the flu and the Food and Drug Administration is recommending that everyone 6 months or older get their flu shot.
  • Practice basic sanitation.  This includes washing your hands after going to the bathroom,sneezing, or coughing.  When you wash your hands use hot water and plenty of soap, it should take you about 30 seconds to wash your hands thoroughly.  Be sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and if you have children, make sure they are doing the same!  Germs spread especially quickly amongst children so it is very important that they understand how critical it is to wash their hands and cover their mouths.
  • Get your 7-8 hours of sleep!  You need to get plenty of rest to fight off the flu, it helps keep your immune system strong so it is especially important to get enough sleep during this time of year when sickness is on the rise.
  • Drink your fluids!  Whether you have the flu or are trying to prevent it, your body needs to stay as hydrated as possible.  Water helps carry important nutrients to cells so you should try to drink 8 oz of water for every hour that you’re awake.  Orange Juice is another great option that you want in your refrigerator because of the immune boosting Vitamin C it provides.
  • Avoid sugar.  Did you know that sugar can actually decrease your immune system’s ability to fight off infection?  So put down those left over holiday treats and back away slowly!
  • Try to eat as many fruits and veggies as possible, they contain tons of vitamins and nutrients that help your immune system stay at the top of it’s game.   Blueberries, apples, oranges, strawberries, spinach, and garlic are especially high in vitamins that benefit your immune system.
  • Exercise!  Yet another activity that helps keep your immune system strong and ready to take on the flu.  Yes we know how cold it is outside, but you still need to find a way to get in gear and get active!  Whether you hit the slopes, go ice skating, or head to the gym just do something that gets your heart pumping a little faster than usual.
  • If you do come down with the flu, stay home!  Trying to go into school or the office will only spread the disease to your classmates or coworkers and will not speed up your recovery, if anything it will slow it down!

With cases of the flu on the rise, it is more important than ever to take care of yourself and do what you can to prevent the spread of it!  Sometimes there is just nothing you can do and you may come down with the flu even if you do follow all of our tips.  Remember, children and the elderly are especially at risk for the flu so get your children vaccinated and talk to your parents and/or grandparents about getting their vaccine!

Photo By: NHSE

Hanukkah Celebrations In Boston!

Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights as it is also known, began last Saturday, December 8th and will conclude on Sunday, December 16th this year.  For those of you looking to get closer to your Jewish roots, or even if you aren’t Jewish and just want to enjoy a great celebration, keep reading and check out some of these upcoming events celebrating Hanukkah in the Boston area!

Boston Menorah Lighting With Governor Deval Patrick – This free event sponsored by the Boston Chabad takes place Wednesday, December 12th at Copley Square.  The event will be from 5 PM – 6 PM and is totally free!  Stop by and see the Boston Menorah, one of the largest in the world, being lit while listening to live entertainment from the Berklee Music Ensemble!  Refreshments will be provided and there will even be give aways!  Governor Deval Patrick oversees the ceremony while spectators gather to celebrate light, unity, and liberty.

Jewish Heritage Night at the Boston Celtics – Join the Chabad of the North Shore for a night of entertainment and celebration of Jewish pride with the Boston Celtics!  This event is Wednesday, December 12th at the TD Garden and costs $25.oo, so register and get your tickets as soon as possible!  Seats will be on the Level 7 balcony and Jewish Heritage Night t shirts are also available for $5.  Guests will enjoy the Glatt Kosher concession stand located in close proximity to the seats and there will also be a post game event on the court for Jewish Heritage Night participants!  There will be a Menorah lighting at 7:30 PM and the game begins at 8 PM.  What better way to celebrate the holiday than by combining heritage and history with some top entertainment? Get your tickets while you still can!

Community Chanukah Celebration and Dinner – Join the community of The Boston Synagogue for their annual Community Chanukah Celebration and Dinner this Friday, December 14th!  Services begin at 6:30 PM and will be led by David Finkelstein, a Rabbinic intern from Hebrew College, followed by dinner.  Tickets are $15 for non members, $12 for Synagogue members, $8 for young professionals (20’s and 30’s), free for children 10 and under and registration is required.  There will be latkes, dreidels, and fun for everyone!  Don’t miss out on your chance to enjoy a traditional Jewish meal with friends and neighbors this Hanukkah!

Silver and Saphire: Keshet’s Hanukkah Party – Get your dancing shoes on and dress to impress this Saturday, December 15th at this Hanukkah celebration!  This event will begin at 5 PM at the First Church in Boston on Marlborough St, followed by a 21+ after party at the House of Blues!  The best part?  It’s totally FREE (although you do have to RSVP)!  There will be music, food, beer and wine (for those over 21), and activities for guests of all ages.  There will be a Menorah Lighting at 6 PM and at 7 PM rock out to the music of The Doctors Fox, a local band known for their eclectic and unique brand of rock.  This event is perfect for the whole family and fun for all ages so reserve your spot while you still can!

Celebrate the Festival of Lights this season with friends and family at one of these events!  All of these festivities celebrate and honor the history behind the holiday while also providing some lively entertainment for participants, how can you go wrong?  Reserve your spots and get tickets to these events before the season of Hanukkah passes us by!

Photo By: Dominic’s pics

Pick The Perfect Christmas Tree!

It’s that time of year again, time to hunt through a giant lot of trees in search of the perfect one to grace your home.  It’s an endeavor that families across the country take on each and every year, and sometimes finding the perfect tree can be more difficult than you think!  There’s surprisingly a lot to consider; height, length, pine needles, the list goes on and on but once you’ve found the perfect tree the fun can begin!  Keep these tips in mind when making your selection this holiday season!

  • Before you pick the perfect tree, make sure it will fit!  Measure the ceiling height in the room where you will be displaying your tree, and once you do choose a tree, make sure it is a foot shorter than the ceiling (bring a tape measure).  This will give you enough space to factor in the tree stand and should still leave you with enough room to place a tree topper on the highest point.
  • Be sure that your tree is fresh!  You don’t want to pick a tree that is dry and brittle with all of the needles about to fall off (and create a huge mess).  When you find a tree that you’re interested in, give it a good shake.  If it is fresh the needles should stay on for the most part, if it’s drying out, a lot of the needles will fall off.
  • Make sure the base of the tree is straight and will fit in your tree stand.  If it is warped and shaped strangely it will be very difficult to get it to stand upright in the stand, let alone stay in place for a few weeks.  It would be a good idea to measure your tree stand and find out if the opening is big enough for the base of the tree, another great use for that tape measure!
  • Now here comes the tricky part; getting your tree home.  Unless you own a pick up truck, this can be a very stressful task!  Most tree farms have staff on hand that can help you lift your  tree onto the roof and secure it.  Your best bet is to use bungee cords.  Once the tree is securely on top of the car, roll down the windows so that you can wrap the bungee cords over the tree, through the windows and under the roof so that the tree will stay in place.  Securing it at the top and bottom is your best bet, and be sure to wrap the bungee cord around the tree as many times as possible so it is held in tightly.  It may be a good idea to do a few laps around the parking lot with your tree just to be sure it is safe for the ride home.
  • Once you do arrive home with your tree, the fun and decorating can begin!  If you have a lot of ornaments, try to put the heavy ones near the top of the tree where the branches are thickest and strongest, smaller ornaments that are lightweight can be placed near the bottom of the tree.
  • You also have to take care of your tree if you want it to last through the holiday season, and that means lots of water.  Trees can drink a few quarts each day so it’s a good idea to check your tree throughout the day and make sure the stand still has water in it.  This will keep the needles from drying out too quickly and making a giant mess on your floor.

Once you’ve chosen your tree, transported it home, decorated and watered it, sit back and enjoy!  There’s nothing better than listening to some Christmas carols, drinking hot chocolate, and curling up by a beautiful tree so enjoy it while you can!

Photo By: liljulier

Christmas Performances In Boston!

Who doesn’t enjoy a great play or concert right before the holidays?  They get you in the spirit, are entertaining, and are the perfect excuse to venture into Boston for a day in the city!  Broadway may be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of plays, and although the Boston theater district has fewer theaters and performances, it is by no means lacking in talent.  This Christmas get in the holiday spirit with some of these festive performances, they won’t be here much longer!

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas – Get your tickets while you still can!  This holiday favorite will be at the Citi Performing Arts Center, Wang Theatre until December 9th!  Perfect for children and entertaining for adults, the play is narrated by the Grinch’s dog, Max.  Watch the Grinch plot to steal Christmas from the yuletide loving Whos, all while listening to holiday classics such as “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas”.  The play runs for about 84 minutes, so it is not too long for rambunctious little ones to sit through.  This classic tale will warm your heart, even if it is two sizes too small, right in time for the holidays!  Tickets range from $35-$125 and are available here.

The Nutcracker – The Boston Ballet continues this holiday tradition once again!  Performances have already begun but the ballet will be at the Boston Opera House until December 30th!  Choreographed by Mikko Nissinen and composed by Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky, this long running ballet is something you won’t soon forget!  See it like never before, it returns this year with new sets and costumes and is sure to impress family members of all ages.  The performance runs for two hours with one intermission.  Watch Clara save her Nutcracker Prince from the Mouse King and travel to the Land of Sweets, all before waking up and wondering if her Christmas adventure was all a dream!  Tickets are going fast so get yours while you can!

Boston Holiday Pops Tour – The Boston Symphony Orchestra invites you and your family to visit Symphony Hall from December 5th-24th for their Holiday Pops concerts!  There will be traditional sing-alongs and even a visit from Saint Nick!  There are even kids matinees where children can enjoy post-concert photos with Santa!  If you are seated at floor tables there are even kid-friendly menu options and holiday snacks available!  Children under the age of 2 are admitted for free to the children’s matinee, however children under the age of 4 are not permitted at evening Holiday Pops performances.  Ticket prices vary based on date, time, and seating location but on average range from $29-$129.

Get your tickets for these festive holiday performances while they last!  These family friendly events are perfect for all ages, and there is something for everyone! Whether you’re a fan of the classic Christmas tale of the Whos and the Grinch in Whoville, the dramatic Nutcracker ballet, or love listening and singing along to holiday favorites with the Boston Pops, all of these performances are sure to impress!

Photo By: scalleja

 

Giving Back This Holiday Season!

The holiday season is a time for giving back to friends, family, and those that are less fortunate than ourselves.  There are many people right here in Massachusetts that need help more than ever, especially during this time of year.  We know that finances are tight but even donating your time to one of these events can make a huge difference!

Holiday Market To Benefit Breast Cancer Fund – This holiday bazaar is being hosted by William Raveis Real Estate on Saturday, December 1st at their Back Bay office in Boston.  Get a jump start on your holiday shopping and support a great cause at the same time.  All vendors are donating 10% of their proceeds to the William Raveis Breast Cancer Fund which benefits the American Cancer Society.  Local restaurants have provided light snacks and there will also be a 50/50 raffle and many other raffle items available.  Stop by this Saturday and find a truly unique gift for that special someone!

Winter Walk 2012 – This holiday season two of Boston’s biggest charities fighting homelessness , Homestart and Hearth are teaming up for Winter Walk 2012.  This event is a charity walk on the Boston Common December 2, 2012 that is about ending homelessness one step at a time.  These charities want to educate participants of the harsh realities of living outside during a New England winter, and encourage people to find out how they can help.  The first step is signing up for this walk, you can register online or on the day of the event.   Registration begins at 1 PM and Opening Ceremonies begin at 2 PM, followed by the walk.  The route consists of two laps around the Boston Common and ends with a cup of warm tea and a celebration amongst all walkers.  Sign up or donate today, winter is especially difficult on the local homeless and you can help make all of the difference for them this season!

Cookie Swap For A Cause – Who doesn’t love cookies?  Boston Food Swap is hosting their 2nd Annual Cookie Swap for a Cause on Sunday, December 16, 2012 from 2PM-5PM at Space With A Soul in Boston.   For every cookie that is swapped, the Glad to Give campaign will donate $1 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support research for new and improved pediatric cancer therapies.  If you bake over 4 dozen cookies, you get free admission!  If you make less than 4 dozen cookies, or don’t plan on baking and just wanted to enjoy some sugary goodness tickets are $15.  If you don’t plan on baking and purchase your ticket after December 2nd, tickets are $20 per person.  Tickets are limited so get them while they last and take this opportunity to support this children’s charity!

Globe Santa – This yearly program benefits local families and collects donations to provide holiday gifts to children in need.  This wonderful charity began in 1956 and has continuously provided support and holiday cheer to local families. Last year they raised over $1.2 million to help 32,240 local families during the holiday season and this year their goal is even bigger, $1.4 million!  100% of all donations go to the purchase and delivery of these gifts so every penny counts!  You can even host your own event to benefit the Globe Santa and stir up some healthy competition between Santa and his Elves, for more information click here.

However you choose to give back this holiday season, keep the less fortunate in mind!  Your time and donations are what help make their holidays merry and bright, and these organizations could not do nearly as much for their beneficiaries without the help of generous donors and volunteers!

Photo By: USACE Europe District

 

 

Free Events Just In Time For The Holidays!

Who isn’t trying to save their pennies around the holidays?  Traveling, presents, parties, and other yule-tide events may take away from your budget but don’t worry, we’ve got your back!  These events are totally free, fun and will help keep your funds in line for the holiday season!

8th Annual Holidays On The Green –  This family friendly event takes place at The Pinehills in Plymouth Saturday, December 1st and has something for everyone! Children will love the petting zoo and getting their picture with Santa, followed by decorating some holiday sugar cookies! Bring your furry friends as well!  Guests can walk in or watch the “Reindog” parade where there will be tons of costumes and prizes!  Victorian carolers will be strolling the streets singing classic holiday tunes, sculptors will be whittling masterpieces out of ice, and there are a bunch of tiny shops to stop by and do some Christmas shopping.  Close out the day by watching the tree lighting on the green, it’s the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season!

North End Walking Tour – The North End is one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods and now’s your chance to take a tour of this historic gem.  Stroll the streets where Paul Revere and Cotton Mather once walked, stop by Mike’s Pastry for a cannoli, or even sample some of the local Italian cuisine that has made the neighborhood so popular with tourists.  Hosted by Free Tours By Foot, the free tours are every Saturday at 2 PM and last about 2 hours.  Although the tour is free, reservations are required and donations are welcome!  Take advantage of these free historic tours before the weather gets too nasty, the North End is especially beautiful during the holiday season, and this tour is the perfect way to burn some calories before enjoying some Italian food!

Constructing Holiday Tradition – The USS Constitution, or Old Ironsides as it is affectionately known, is hosting a holiday event perfect for families!  Stop by the USS Constitution Museum any day from now until December 24th to make your very own holiday ornament!  This daily event runs from 10 AM – 5 PM and is completely free.  Stop by with your little one(s) and they can make their very own ornament that will decorate the Christmas tree on board Old Ironsides herself.    Ornaments made before December 2nd will be placed on the tree in time for the annual lighting ceremony that night!  If ornaments are made after the tree is lit, children can climb aboard the ship and put the ornament on the tree themselves!  Want to make your own ornament to bring home?  The USS Constitution museum will have two different types for sale, the classic wooden “anchors aweigh” ornament for $2, or a new, limited edition copper ornament for $5.  Proceeds benefit the museums educational programs so you would be supporting a wonderful cause!

La Salette Christmas Festival of Lights – This National Shrine in Attleboro, MA is famous for their annual Christmas Festival of Lights!  Beginning in 1953, this festival has grown into a massive celebration with over 300,000 lights, concerts, displays, and much more.  Stop by the shrine and see their outdoor Creche, listen to some festive music, and visit with Clopper the Christmas donkey!  The lights span over 10 acres and illuminations are from 5 PM – 9 PM daily, until January 6, 2013.  This event is free to the public but donations are always accepted and appreciated!

Get into the holiday spirit this month with these festive and free events!  They are perfect for families and there is something for everyone!

Photo By: spi516

How Many Of These Traditions Do You Celebrate On Thanksgiving?

Hard to believe but Thanksgiving is only one week away!  We know there are a few things we can always count on; food, football, fun, and family.  Everyone has their own traditions around the holidays but there are a few that are pretty widespread.   Between the Macy’s Day Parade, football, breaking the wishbone, and of course the turkey, there are so many traditions to enjoy and squeeze into one day!  Which of these are your favorites?

Macy’s Day Parade – This is a Thanksgiving favorite!  Each year millions of people tune in from home and line the streets of New York to see this wonderous display of floats, bands, performances, and balloons trail through the city.  Beginning in 1924, this is the 86th year of the Parade and it gets better and better each time.  It begins at 9 AM, however if you plan on attending the actual event in New York City, spectators have been know to arrive as early as 6:30 AM!  With over 10,000 participants including the NYPD Marching Band, performance groups, clowns, and Santa himself, the event is sure to please viewers of all ages, as it does every year.  Tune into NBC Thanksgiving morning while you get ready for the day and enjoy the show!

Football – Thanksgiving is one of the biggest football days of the year, it is as much a part of the holiday as the turkey itself (at least for guys).  So what can you expect for games on the big day?  In terms of the NFL, there will be three games on CBS, the first between the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions at 12:30 PM, second between the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys at 4:15 PM, and the night will close out with the New England Patriots vs the New York Jets at 8:20 PM.  Many towns also have high school football teams play against their biggest rival on Thanksgiving, so that is a great social event to take advantage of before the feast begins!  Another way to enjoy some football?  Why not head outside after the big meal and work off some of those calories with a quick game?

The Wishbone – Wishbone’s can be found in the chest area of all turkeys and chickens, and breaking it is a fun way to celebrate, especially with children.  Legend has it that two people each hold an end of the wishbone, make a wish, and then pull on the ends until it breaks, whoever has the larger piece gets their wish!  Breaking the wishbone can be tricky, especially if it hasn’t had time to dry out.  Be sure to give it some time to dry and become brittle, if you want, save this year’s wishbone until next Thanksgiving and break it then, so that each Thanksgiving going forward you can split the wishbone from the previous years’ turkey.  This is a fun tradition to participate in with siblings, your better half, or anyone you enjoy stirring up some competition with!

Giving Thanks – During this time of year, we need to remember why we come together to celebrate and keep in mind why we give thanks.  Everyone has something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, whether it be friends, family, health, or happiness, or a day off of work.  Whatever you are thankful for, take a moment before the big meal to go around the table and have each family member share their thoughts, it will make everyone feel better and celebrates the true meaning behind Thanksgiving!  At this time of year, not only should we be thankful for what we have, but it’s important to remember those that are less fortunate than ourselves.  See if there’s any way you can give back in your neighborhood this year!  Many towns have food drives, soup kitchens, or even races to benefit the homeless on or around Thanksgiving, so look up some local events and see how you can get involved!

These traditions are only a few of the ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, however you spend the holiday, keep in mind the origins and remember to be thankful for all of your blessings!

Photo By: DrivingtheNortheast

 

 

 

 

Things To Do In Plymouth!

Everyone across the country knows of Plymouth, MA, the site of the first Thanksgiving!  How lucky are we that we have so much history only a short drive away?  Head down to the south shore this weekend and stop by Plymouth, there are tons of museums and historical points of interest, including Plymouth Rock of course!  Remembering how Thanksgiving began reminds us of why we are thankful for friends, family, health, and happiness.  What better time of year to stop by one of the most historic towns in America than the weekend before Thanksgiving?

Plimoth Plantation – Stop by Plimoth Plantation to experience a “hands-on, living history experience dedicated to the Native Wampanoag and Pilgrim colonists of the 17th century.  Costumed guides and modern artisans all add to the educational experience that spans across four award-winning exhibits.  The plantation replica is situated along the Eel River wetlands that overlooks Cape Cod Bay, so not only will you enjoy an entertaining historic discussion, there will also be some amazing views to enjoy before the winter chill sets in.  The museum is open daily from 9 AM – 5 PM and be sure to stop by their gift shop where you can find specialty gifts and crafts!

Native Plymouth Tours – Get an inside look at historic Plymouth through the eyes of a Native American!  Native American guides will lead guests on a walking tour that lasts about an hour and a half and is a mile long, through some of the most famous sites in Plymouth, along with a few that are not as well known.  The Native Americans will give you an educational and historic look back at the relationship between the Wampanoags and the Pilgrims from their perspective.  The tour begins at Plymouth Rock and runs until November 25th.  Friday and Saturday, walk up tours are available at 5:30 PM but require a reservation Sunday-Thursday.  Guests interested in taking the tour after any time after November 25th will require a reservation as well.  Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for children ages 5-18.

Plymouth Rock – Located in Pilgrim Memorial State Park, Plymouth Rock is one of the most famous attractions to visit in Plymouth.  Engraved with the year “1620” the rock is a constant reminder of the original Pilgrims that landed and made Plymouth their home.  The park has over 1 million visitors per year, and it’s no wonder with the beautiful views of Plymouth Harbor to enjoy.  The park is also home to The Mayflower II, a replica of the original Mayflower that first brought the Pilgrims from Europe to America.  Stop by Pilgrim Memorial State Park and get your history fix before Thanksgiving while also taking in some amazing views!

America’s Hometown Thanksgiving – We mentioned this event in our blog posting Events This November! but wanted to remind everyone that this yearly event is this weekend! It takes place from the 16th-18th and guests will be able to get a glimpse back in time and learn what the first Thanksgiving was actually like!  We recommend stopping by the Wampanoag Pavillion on Saturday the 17th from 11 AM to 4 PM, where you will be able to ask questions about the first Thanksgiving that will be answered by Colonial and Wampanoag interpreters during the event.  In addition to this info session, there will also be crafts, a harvest festival, photo gallery, historic village, music, living historians who will reenact military events, and artisans creating and selling goods.  Take a step back in time and celebrate the history of Thanksgiving this weekend!

Even though we love to enjoy Turkey Day with tons of food and football, it’s important to keep in mind how the tradition started and remember that we need to be thankful for each other!  Take a step back in time and stop by Plymouth this weekend for a dose of American history and a sense of the traditions that started the first Thanksgiving feast!

Photo By: BostonPhotoSphere

 

 

 

 

 

Charity Events This November

The holidays are approaching quickly and it’s the time of year when we count our blessings and recollect on what we are thankful for while also doing what we can for those in need.  If you’re looking for a way to get involved in a charity event this month, check out these options below.  These events benefit local homeless people and pets, children living in at-risk circumstances, and our military members and veterans.  All of these groups need our support year round, but especially during the holidays.  Take some time to give back this month, in addition to providing aid to those in need, attending or donating to these events will make you feel great as well!  What better time to give back and celebrate what we’re thankful for than before Thanksgiving?

Boston River Run 5k – Veteran’s day is right around the corner, what better way to spend it than running through Boston in memory of Corporal Andrew Graham Narcus?  Andrew was a U.S. Marine who was tragically killed in a vehicular homicide accident while on his way home for Christmas and the case remains unsolved.  His family and friends invite you to run in the Boston River Run 5k on Sunday, November 11th in his memory.  All proceeds and donations benefit the Andrew Graham Semper Fi Fund, which benefits one student in need from the Lincoln Sudbury regional high school each year and grants them a scholarship to be used for higher education.  The race begins and ends at Artesani Park in Boston, with a start time of 9AM and ends at 12 noon.   The registration fee is $35 and you can sign up here. There will be plenty of FREE parking at the event as well.

Pets In Need Silent AuctionPets in Need is a small adoption program that is privately run by volunteers.  They are strictly no-kill and often rescue unwanted dogs and cats that are at risk of being euthanized due to behavioral issues, overcrowded shelters, or financial burden.  If you are an animal lover, this is a very worthy cause to support as all proceeds directly benefit the animals.  Friday, November 16th they are hosting a silent auction at the Somerville City Club in Somerville, MA from 7-9 PM (bidding ends at 8:30 PM).  There will be music and food as well as many items to bid on.  Items are varied but include restaurant gift cards, sports memorabelia, hotel stays, tickets and passes to local museums and activities, and retail gift cards.  If you can’t stop by the event itself, consider volunteering!  Pets in Need relies on foster families to house their animals so every volunteer means another life saved!

Boston Thanksgiving Bootcamp Blast For Charity – This event will leave you feeling great on the inside and out!  Head over to the Boston Common on Thanksgiving morning (November 22nd) at 9AM for a workout that will help you work off all those Thanksgiving calories before you even eat!  The workout lasts from 9 AM- 10:30 AM and costs $25 to register, with proceeds benefitting the St. Francis House.  The St. Francis House is a day shelter located across from the Boston Common and offers programs to it’s guests that help them rebuild their lives.  If possible, participants are also encouraged to bring gently used clothes with them, which can then be donated to the St. Francis House right after the event.  As the cold weather approaches, charities that help the homeless need more assistance than ever so anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated!

Stuff-A-Truck Boston – This event is being hosted by the Home For Little Wanderers and WCVB-TV Ch. 5 to benefit local children living in at-risk circumstances.  The Home For Little Wanderers aims to assist children and vulnerable families alike by providing necessary programs that keep children safe in their communities.  Services include behavioral health, special education, adoption, foster care, and many additional vital programs that enrich the lives of these children in need.  The organization also helps children make the transition from state systems of care to adulthood.  WCVB-TV Ch. 5 is helping to promote this event where participants are being challenged to fill up a Bernie and Phyl’s truck with new, unwrapped toys for children from the home.  The truck will be on the Boston Common in front of Park Street station on November 29th from 11 AM – 7 PM.  There will also be another truck located in Dedham at Legacy Place.

Step out and support one of these wonderful causes this month!  All of these events benefit very worthy local charities and need your help more than ever!  While we are remembering what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving, please keep the less fortunate in mind and if you can’t attend these events themselves, consider donating or volunteering, there are always ways to help!

Photo By: balusss

 

 

Trick Or Treating Safety!

It’s hard to believe that Halloween is tomorrow but before you know it costumed children will be wandering the streets in search of endless amounts of candy!  This can be a nightmare for both drivers and nervous parents since the excitement of the holiday can sometimes distract from basic safety.  When you’re out and about tomorrow night, keep these tips for drivers and trick or treaters in mind to ensure that everyone stays as safe as possible!

Drivers:

  • Find out exactly when children will be trick or treating in your neighborhood!  Each town varies but it should be listed either on the town website or in the local paper.  It’s definitely important to know and during designated trick or treating times try to avoid residential streets that will be busy with children or totally stay off the road if possible.
  • Turn on headlights earlier than usual, the extra visibility doesn’t hurt especially since it has been darker than usual the last few days thanks to Hurricane Sandy.
  • The most important thing that drivers can do is to stay as vigilant as possible, drive slower on residential streets, or anywhere that visibility is limited, and remain aware of children that are trick or treating and may unexpectedly jump out in front of cars.
  • As always, do not text and drive and try to limit any cell phone usage on Halloween unless it is an emergency.  Halloween is very busy on the roads and dangerous for trick or treaters so it is especially important to give the road your full attention!

Trick Or Treaters and Parents:

  • Make sure trick or treaters are as visible as possible, bright costumes are great but reflective tape and flashlights are even better.  If your trick or treater doesn’t want to ruin the look of their costume with reflective sneakers or gear, try and attach reflective tape to their candy bag!  Flashlights are another great way to remain visible to drivers, just make sure the batteries are new or fully charged before going out.
  • Plan your route in advance!  This is especailly important after the hurricane, make sure there are no road obstacles, power lines, or branches blocking your expected route so that you can make alternative plans if that is the case.  Try and avoid roads that you know are busy with cars, odds are they will get even more backed up on Halloween and be that much more dangerous.
  • Respect your neighbors, only trick or treat at houses that have outside lights on.  Some neighborhood residents may not wish to participate or may be away so do not approach a house if it is in darkness. Don’t allow children to cut across driveways or run accross lawns which may upset some neighbors.  Also, abide by designated trick 0r treating times.  Don’t show up too early before your neighbors may be expecting visitors and try to finish up by the deadline, we know it’s tough to walk away from candy but sometimes you have to draw the line before a sugar rush kicks in.
  • Be practical in your costume choices, try to avoid costumes that drag on the ground as they are a hazard that could cause children to trip and fall, not a good scenario when the roads are busy as well.  Another thing to keep in mind is footwear.  Trick or treaters are going to have to cover a lot of ground if they are going to get as much candy as possible which is why footwear is so important.  Kids will be walking through lawns, up hills, and for longer distances than many are used to, so make sure they have comfortable shoes, preferably sneakers.  Although pirate boots and princess shoes add to the costume, they are not practical for children who will be out trick or treating.
  • Make sure that any props (such as sticks, swords, wands, etc) children may have for their costume are flexible so that they can’t cause injury.  Also, make sure any masks they may be wearing provide full visibility and let them breathe.
  • Parents, make sure to pay extra attention during Halloween, keep your trick or treaters close by and instruct them to walk, not run from house to house.  Hold hands for children that are extremely small and try to stay in a big group if possible.

Whether you are checking out some of these haunted Halloween attractions, taking a haunted drive, or even visiting Salem, keep these important safety tips in mind!  They apply to drivers everywhere and are good to keep in mind not only for trick or treaters, but anyone out on foot for Halloween!

Photo By: Scott & Elaine van der Chijs

 

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