Fun Ways to Bring on the Holidays

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I think the department stores set a record this year. Christmas decorations are up in full force in every nook and cranny. Unfortunately, all this happened before Halloween. We could safely ignore them for a few weeks, but now that Thanksgiving is upon us, we have officially entered the holiday season. So, it’s time to embrace the joy and get started with the fun.

The first thing you’ll need to do, of course, is find your tree and other greenery. Real or artificial is always a hotly contested debate, but if you’re looking for real, look no further than Mint Hill and Matthews.

You can visit Martin’s & Sons Produce & Nursery (7750 Matthews Mint Hill Rd.) for a great selection of trees (all different heights and shapes) as well as wreaths and garland; you can count on finding your perfect Frasier Fir by November 23 when their first selections will be out. You can also check out King’s Greenhouse (524 Stallings Rd.) where they will have trees in stock beginning November 20.

While you’re there, you can also pick up poinsettias, garland, wreaths, and table top decorations. Need more options? Local big name home improvement stores will carry a good selection of trees as well.

With the tree taken care of, it’s time to start thinking about gifts. If possible, shop local. (There’s even a Small Business Saturday which comes the day after Black Friday which is, of course, the day after Thanksgiving.

This is the perfect opportunity to indulge in local shopping!) Mint Hill and Matthews boast gift stores, home décor shops (check out Homestyles Gallery & Specialty Shops on Lawyers Rd.), and restaurants aplenty and they are owned by your neighbors. Supporting them means supporting your local economy. Especially if you are thinking about a gift card, consider one from a local place first.

Have a coffee lover on your list? Buy a gift certificate from a coffee shop near you that’s not a national chain. Know someone who loves craft beer? Check out the many local breweries in the area (Barking Duck is in Mint Hill!). For the pet lovers in your group, consider giving them a gift card to a pet spa for grooming or perhaps a doggie day care.

Do you have family members who are constantly asking you to go to a yoga or Pilates class with them? Take the pressure off by purchasing some classes at a local studio. Or a local gym.

Coincidentally, those same people might need massage therapy or physical therapy; there are plenty of great local therapists who offer sessions you can purchase for gifts (Massage Sanctuary is a good option). And then there is the always pleasing gift card to a salon for haircuts and styles, manicures, pedicures, and other beauty services.

If you can’t purchase all your gifts locally on Small Business Saturday, make sure to check out all the amazing deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Check online, in the papers and, of course, when your TV is on to find deep discounts that you won’t see any other time of the year.

And then after you’ve spent a ton of money over those three days, assuage your guilt by making a donation to your favorite charity on #GivingTuesday.

Once you have the gifts figured out (for the most part), it’s time to simply enjoy the holiday season and all it offers. And what better place to start than at the Mint Hill Annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Thursday, December 1 at 7pm at the Town Hall.

Santa will be there to pat the kids on the head and listen to toy requests. There will also be hot chocolate, cider, and cookies. Bring a gender-neutral toy to support the Mint Hill Police Department’s Toy Drive.

Just two days later, on Saturday, December 3, come out for the first annual 5K Jingle All the Way Run/Walk. The fun gets started at 9am at Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park (8850 Fairview Road). Dress as Santa or one of his helpers (or even as a reindeer) and get your heart pumping with the spirit of the season. Your pets are welcome to come along too, as long as they’re on a leash. And Santa might even make an appearance. The cost is $25; all proceeds benefit the MHPD Volunteer and Explorers Program.

After all that running, you are due for a treat, right? Don’t miss the Mint Hill Historical Society Christmas Teas, going on December 8, 9, 10, and 11 at the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village (7601 Matthews-Mint Hill Rd.). During two seatings each day at 2pm and 6pm, they will offer three different types of tea, wassail, savory treats, and sweet treats, all for a bargain price of only $20 (this is their annual fundraiser).

Attendance is by reservation only, and seating is limited (and going fast). Afterward, you can visit the Christmas Village Shoppe, filled with handcrafted items, to pick up some unique gifts and stocking stuffers for friends and family on your list.
Hanukkah begins this year on December 24 and there are a few local events going on to celebrate the eight-day festival of light. At the Ballantyne Home Depot (5415 Ballantyne Commons Parkway), on Sunday, December 11, you can attend a free menorah workshop. Sponsored by The Jewish Center of Ballantyne, this event invites kids to get ready for Hanukkah by building their own menorahs and enjoying snacks and music.

There will be two sessions, one from 2:30pm until 3:45pm and another from 4pm until 5:15. This activity is free but your RSVP is required. Email
Later in the month of December, there will be two menorah lightings, one in Ballantyne and the other in downtown Waxhaw. Sponsored by The Ballantyne Jewish Center, you can come out to Stonecrest at Piper Glen (7800 Rea Rd.) on Monday, December 26 at 5:30pm, and downtown Waxhaw on Wednesday, December 28 at 4:30pm. These events are free and family friendly.

Now you know where to go, what to buy, and how to celebrate, time to put on some classic holiday tunes and get to work! After all, they’ve already been doing that in the department stores for weeks.

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Andrea Powell
Andrea has been writing in various capacities for over 20 years. A wife and mom of two kids (and one fabulous dog), she is currently a freelance writer living in Charlotte. She also dabbles in blogging and social media for various clients around town. When not in front of a computer, you can find her running, reading, and making every possible attempt to travel.