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Crunch time is here...


    We've already made the last dash to assist Santa with stocking stuffers --office supplies and neat little food items we would never get for ourselves. Thursday, December 20 is the USPS holiday(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Christmas_ShoppingFever.jpg mailing deadline for cards, letters and packages (Priority Mail on those packages). Try to get errands done before 3pm or you could get stuck in traffic.


    Have you started your toy purge in anticipation of the arrival of new toys?  You can use our FREE Classifieds to sell your kids' stuff.  You can now post a picture with your classified listing - give it a try!   This is a good weekend to motivate teens to clean up those rooms you can hardly walk into.  It’s surprising how fast they can go when there’s an event they want to attend!  


    Are you looking for something unique to do in our temperate climate?  How about ice skating!  The Monterey Fairgrounds offer outdoor ice skating and lots of fun for the whole family.  If you like music, this weekend there’s the exquisite Festival of Harps, or Christmas with the Santa Cruz Chorale. Need to get outdoors and burn off some of that extra energy? Wilder Ranch and Big Basin offer special guided walks.  For details on any of these great holiday happenings, visit the Events Calendar.  


Have a wonderful holiday with your families!  



This Friday!
Community Christmas Celebration for Children 
    A first ever giant free party for children will be held with free skating, a holiday light show, sports video games on 20 foot tall big screens, Santa with his bag of gifts, free food and drinks, DJ by Mobley, and Beatles cover band, Superior Olive. See calendar for details.
Sponsors: Santa Cruz Deputy Sheriff's Association, Scotts Valley Sports Center and Phillip Mobley's PLM Productions

Top 10 Tips for the Holidays

Don R. MacMannis, Ph.D.


Believe it or not, the holidays rank right up there on the stress scales with "asking the boss for a raise!" Whether celebrating at home or on the road, most of us need to learn how to be together more gracefully. Here are some practical ideas to help bring out the best in everyone:


1. Remember the big picture. A holiday can be a great opportunity to create fun and lasting memories. Consider making learning, loving and living in the moment your highest priority.


2. Have realistic expectations. Thinking the holidays will be "perfect" with the whole family together can be a set-up for disappointment. People get sick, Aunt Ruthie might be late again, and the kids' excitement can sometimes morph into meltdowns.


3. Set realistic goals. Family meetings are an ideal way to make group decisions about plans and help everyone feel respected for their preferences. Since it adds to the family's stress to be super busy, decide on the top priorities together and "prune" the rest, (just like you prune the tree.)


4. Don't over-indulge the children. Help your children learn the value of giving instead of just getting. Insist on mutual gift giving, and create a family service activity that helps others in need and reminds your children to count their blessings


5. Honor individual differences. Family members often have different preferences around food, activities, how much time to be active vs. relaxing, etc. It's a fabulous time to learn to compromise and take turns leading and following. If elders are present, have them share memories of family traditions.


6. Share appreciations and praise. Families do best when everybody (including adults) feels appreciated. Notice the good things and praise your kids, aiming for at least a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative statements.


7. Don't relax rules and routines too much. Younger children can't "sleep in," so later or irregular bedtimes during the holidays can create sleep deprivation and irritability. Kids thrive when parents provide lots of love and warmth, but also firmness and structure.


8. Attend to family feelings. Sometimes kids just need a good cry to release their excitement and letdown. When tensions flare, a good "repair kit" is to have family members work things out by sitting face to face, listening to and acknowledging each other's feelings. Take the time, as appropriate, to process feelings about family members or friends who are absent.


9. Allow some down time. Families are often not accustomed to being together all the time. Allow some ebbs and flows of being together and apart, and of quiet and more active times.


10. Listen to your own needs. Create time to be apart from the children and nurture yourself and your adult relationships. It's a win-win situation.  One of the greatest gifts you can offer your children is your own sense of happiness and well-being.


Don R. MacMannis, Ph.D. has been a psychologist specializing in the treatment of children and families for the past thirty years. His award-winning series of songs and activity books, Ready to Rock Kids, can be found at For a special treat and holiday gift, see all of the local talent in his new video, "The Gift of Giving" at


It's Open! MAH's

Most Popular Show


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December 18-29,

Tues-Sun 11 am-5pm

Put on by the

"Over the Hill Gang"



Enter to Win

One of These Trains

When You Visit

the Toy Train Show

at MAH 


 Thomas the Tank

HO Gauge Electric Train



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donated by 


Harry Potter

Hogwart's Express

O Gauge Electric Train 

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 donated by the "Over the Hill Gang"



Need a night off
from cooking?

Visit the festive

Tyrolean Inn Restaurant

in Ben Lomond

Reservations 336-5188


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Many of you know of
Adrienne Nicole's
battle with inoperable cancer. 
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She has just been admitted
to the hospital.
If you would like to
help this family,
go here.  



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 Merry Christmas!

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Santa Cruz, CA