Family Time
December, 2009 - Issue #62
December Family Calendar

Friday, November 20 to Sunday, November 22
Candleman of Valencia Hosts Yankee Candle Company Anniversary Party
Celebrate Yankee Candle's 40th anniversary with a wine and Yankee tart "tasting" on Friday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; a cake on Saturday to celebrate the remodeled Yankee department in store; plus gifts with purchase. Enter to win great prizes in the free raffle, too; 257-9420

Friday, November 27
Mountasia Fun Center Hosts Unlimited Play on "Black Friday"

The kids will "play their turkey off" while you hit the shops the day after Thanksgiving. Open 10 a.m. to
11 p.m.; 253-4386

Ma Maison Hosts "The Great Mrs. Claus" Book Signing with Saugus-based Author
Chris Shoemaker, a Saugus resident, released his labor of love, "The Great Mrs. Claus," last year. This beautifully-illustrated story won the Mom's Choice Award and the Independent Publisher Award. Meet the author from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Advance copies are available in store for $29.95; 799-7983

Thursday > 3
MB2 Raceway and Mission Community Police Counsel Host "Race for Youth"

From 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. take to the track against Santa Clarita's and Los Angeles' finest law and fire professionals. Proceeds benefit DAPS Youth and Mission Youth projects; 866-986-RACE

j.serraino, Ma Maison & Valencia Crossroads Retailers Host Holiday Shopping Party
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., wine and dine while you shop! Spend $25 at each participating venue to be entered into a raffle for a basket of merchandise valued at $1,000; 255-9944 or 799-7983

Saturday > 5
River Oaks Shopping Center Hosts Holiday Block Party

From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., get in the holiday spirit with free entertainment like a strolling holiday brass band, a magical elf of stilts, plenty of arts and crafts for the kids (including ornament making!) free gift wrap and a free 5-inch by 7-inch photo with Santa (one per family). Canned and packaged food will be collected to support Help the Children. Located at the corner of McBean Parkway and Magic Mountain Parkway.

Saturday > 5
Santa Clarita Literacy & Arts Festival
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. experience a fun day of entertainment and activities showcasing reading, as well as visual and performing arts. Event is free. Kids are invited to dress as favorite book character;

City of Santa Clarita Hosts Holiday Parade
All SCV children are encouraged to participate by walking in the parade and dressing up according to their family's holiday traditions. The annual Old Town Newhall Holiday Parade starts at 9:30 a.m., strolling down Main Street and ending at William S. Hart Park; 286-4018

Sunday > 6
Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Hosts Community Tree Lighting

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the hospital campus celebrate with a free holiday festival including music and entertainment. Santa and Mrs. Claus will usher in the holiday season with their arrival and then magically light the holiday tree. Other program elements include a Santa and Mrs. Claus photo station, cookie decorating station, children's holiday crafts, refreshments and much more; 253-8089

Your Family can make a Difference
Helping others teaches your kids more than to appreciate what they have; it's a lesson in humanity.
Lift someone's spirits - and your own - by spending a few dollars, or a few hours, doing good.

For the Troops
Show your support for our troops fighting overseas or recovering at Walter Reed. Make handmade cards and assemble care packages with the fine folks of Prayer Angels for the Military, who work out of Newhall;

For the Hungry
Donate canned meats, beans, fruit and tomatoes; peanut butter; toothbrushes; bar soap and more to the SCV Food Pantry - because no child should ever go to bed hungry; 255-9078

For Abused Women & Children
When doing your holiday shopping, why not spend a few dollars on new clothing for women and children who've dealt with the horrors of domestic violence? Women's and children's underwear, pajamas, socks and gently used winter coats and accessories are in great need, as are gently-used non-violent DVDs, used cell phones and grocery store gift cards. Find out more from the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley; 259-8175

How Families Dealing with Autism can make the most of the Holidays
As we enter the holiday season, here are some ideas for making these times memorable and enjoyable for your families that include members who are dealing with autism.

Make sure you prepare your child. Tell them of upcoming events where there may be many people gathering. If it's loud or crowded, find a quiet den or bedroom for some downtime. Explain to well-meaning and curious relatives that this is normal, and coach them on how to interact patiently and lovingly, or to just give them some space. Focus on your child, and never talk as though your child is not there.

As far as gifts are concerned, consider giving "experiences." Ideas include tickets to theme parks, a train ride, or a special trip to a place your child enjoys, such as the zoo. Encourage others with this direction. Typical toys often go unappreciated, and the giver can feel hurt that your child didn't seem to enjoy even the best of intentions.

Explain the significance of the holiday. These are special times for good reason; lovingly take time to communicate why we celebrate. Remember to openly give thanks for these special gifts that have been placed in our care, and enjoy!
Jack and Julie Winkle are the owners of Noah's Friends, Inc. 888-620-NOAH
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