Tag Archives: Holidays

Black Friday 2011


Not quite what you expected? Let me explain.

My best shopping experiences generally involve selecting the tastiest tomatoes in produce or the cool tools at the hardware store (I even have a favorite sales guy in electrical). I don’t abhor “real” shopping, but my natural inclinations pull me toward trails more often than malls. And quite frankly, Black Friday intimidates me. I wouldn’t even buy a banana in the midst of such an adrenaline-laced retail event.

So we escaped to Caesar Creek State Park. The parking lot was uncrowded. The trail was as clear as the air and the views. We completely missed the bargains. The competition. The madness.

This season arrives pre-loaded with a frenzy of traditions and obligations. It’s worth taking a quiet moment to choose what is most personally meaningful. If shopping is your thing, be my guest (and you can claim my parking space. At the back of the lot —sorry!). But before methodically checking off the items on your annual list, why not take a look at the list itself. See if last year’s priorities are worthy of the same attention this year.

It turned out that my “must do”s hadn’t changed over the past twelve months. Which is why we went hiking as a family the day after Thanksgiving.

For more on choosing meaningful traditions, visit “Traditions” on the Inspiration page at Heather Dugan Creative .

Cincinnati Things To Do on raveable



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It’s Already Here

It’s here, isn’t it?  “Getting ready for Christmas” is actually the biggest part of our Christmas (or any holiday) experience. So take a minute to breathe it in. Those moments sitting in ridiculous amounts of traffic -but with someone you love in the passenger seat, the splattering of batter across your kitchen as cookies are created and baked, the extra sparkle in your neighborhood as you drive in through your own personal light show…   Let’s recognize these for the gifts that they are. How I ever was organized enough in 2008 to do a pre-Christmas vacation eludes me now as I scramble through last minute shopping, audio recording and writing projects!  But, it’s good.  The moments, as chaotic as they may occasionally be, are  mine.  And I appreciate them all.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico Map

Santa might check his list twice, but I didn’t have to do a recheck on the option of a Mexico trip just before Christmas this year! My response was an immediate and emphatic “Yes!” (throw in a squeal or two if you want to be completely realistic). Panic followed shortly thereafter. I lack the elfin staff that enables Santa to readily pause for cookies and belly laughs; could I really bypass the final pre-Christmas shopping days, returning just in time for its Eve?

Umm… yeah. As it turned out, that’s not such a big problem for a non-recreational shopper like me. More strategic shopping shaved off much of the reallocated time, and we aimed for earlier enjoyment of our treasured traditions such as “The Nutcracker” ballet with my daughter, gingerbread house-grahamcracker house buildingmaking with kids and cousins, and caroling with Grandma Dugan. If traveling to Mexico had required debiting seasonal joys, it wouldn’t have been worth the “warm”, but all fell into place, and I boarded the plane with virtually all of my shopping/baking completed ~ready for “wonderful” because I already had that cozy sort of feeling on the inside.

Here are some photos from “downtown” Play del Carmen in the days before Christmas. I hope to locate some more photos from previous trips to the area, because I spent most of our long weekend this time running, swimming, snorkeling and walking miles along the shoreline of the Caribbean Sea.

Counting my blessings in Spanish…

Updated from December 28, 2008.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico Map

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WildLights, Wild Nights


I’m not normally a fan of rushing the seasons. We avert our eyes from displays of school supplies until at least mid-August and roll our eyes at the Valentine candy that usually appears next to mark-down Christmas candy canes. Let me enjoy Thanksgiving before we so quickly move on to Christmas please…



The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Wildlights display nudges us toward Christmas without steamrolling over our Thanksgiving holiday.  We attend the members’ preview night most years and do a leisurely wander through the annual dazzle, exhaling autumn and breathing in the goodness of being a family.

The nightly holiday display runs through January 2, 2010, excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (5 – 9PM, Sunday – Thursday and until 10PM on weekends).  Regular zoo admission and parking prices apply for non-members.

More photos and information to come…

Columbus Things To Do


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