Getting out and giving back: A holiday special section

Happy Holidays from the Daily 49er.

Ice Santa Monica
by Kelsey DeMeire, Staff Writer

Among the hustle and bustle of the busy city of Los Angeles lies a hidden holiday gem, outdoor ice skating beneath the city lights.

Ice skating is the perfect outing to experience with cherished friends, a significant other or the entire family. ICE Santa Monica brings the holiday feeling one would expect from New York City’s Central Park to Southern California.

ICE Santa Monica transforms the corner of Fifth Street and Arizona Avenue into a winter wonderland with festive Christmas décor.

ICE Santa Monica is located in the heart of downtown near the Third Street Promenade, where visitors can find restaurants, shopping and the Santa Monica Pier a short walk away.

This outdoor ice skating rink is the perfect way to forget about finals and enjoy winter break in all its glory.

The rink offers lessons for those who have never had a reason to learn how to ice skate, as well as private cabanas for parties.

Admission is $12, and the ice rink is open through Jan. 20. Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday from 2 to 10 p.m., Friday from 2 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Tickets and more information can be found at downtownsm.com/ice.


Naples Boat Parade

by Courtney Tompkins, Managing Editor

Once a year, the waters along Alamitos Bay and Mother’s Beach are decorated with floating Christmas trees, people are singing Christmas carols, and the houses lining the water in Belmont Shore and Naples are lavishly decorated.

This year’s 67th annual Naples Island Holiday Boat Parade is one of the best light shows around and the infectious energy warms the air, even on the coldest nights.

Local boat owners, kayakers and paddle boarders decorate their vessels with christmas lights and parade around the canals surrounding Naples Island. Spectators can watch the show from one of the bridges, the canals, benches or the sand lining the shores.

Parking can be a little tough, so it is recommended to arrive early and park for free in the surrounding neighborhood off Second Street. For those who live in Long Beach and want to avoid parking, the bus is free for students and stops right in the heart of festivities.

This year’s boat parade is themed “Vintage Christmas” and is set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21.

The large boat parade begins at 6 p.m., and the small boat parade begins at 6:45 p.m.

Come out and enjoy the Christmas boat parade. This heartwarming experience is a wonderful excuse to celebrate with friends, family and loved ones.

 

Fill their stalkings
by Joann Row, Assistant News Editor

The month of December is full of the most wonderful things: love, family, snuggling and hot cocoa. Young and old alike are filled with the holiday spirit. Despite all of the beauty that comes with the holidays, stress about holiday gifts can carry a dark cloud throughout the month. This holiday gift guide provides cost-effective, inspiring and creative ways to find that perfect holiday gift for loved ones.

For mom:

1. Homemade meal for the whole family: This crafty and useful gift can bring the warmest smile to any mom’s face. Many mothers take it upon themselves to slave over a stove for a holiday dinner. Give mom a break, and take over the kitchen. Look for high-rated recipes on foodnetwork.com. For naturally talented chefs, get creative in the kitchen and create a whole new dish. Either way, mom is sure to be eternally grateful.

2. Pandora Bracelet & Charms: Pandora jewelry is becoming more popular, maybe even more than the classic Tiffany pieces. Pandora is just as beautiful and classy at half the cost of Tiffany jewelry. There is a variety of Pandora jewelry available, with the classic being the standard silver bangle. Although the bangle goes for $65, the charms can start as low as $25.

For Dad:

1. Bake a special treat: Dads are notorious for having a sweet tooth, and it wouldn’t be the holidays without some yummy, baked goods. Pay attention to what dad’s favorite treats are, and duplicate that. Baking ingredients are affordable, and many items can already be found in the cupboard. Look up holiday dessert recipes, and think of what dad will enjoy. Add a personal touch such as including a personal message using icing or creating a figurine with marzipan.

2. A hobby item: This item varies between every dad. Some dads enjoy fishing, so find some useful fishing tools. Other dads may enjoy golf, boating, poker nights or simply resting at home. Some dads even like toys. Find out what dad’s favorite hobby is, and go from there. This is an easy way to find an affordable gift for something he already loves.

For the girlfriend:

1. Dinner and fake snow: California is possibly the best state in the U.S., with its weather and beautiful scenery. The only problem with Southern California is its lack of snow. For those seeking a little piece of winter wonderland, The Grove is a prime location to take a girl in December. Fake snow covers the shopping center and holiday decorations drip from every light post. Make this outing special by ditching the cliché dinner at Cheesecake Factory, and instead venture to the Famer’s Market for a meal. The Farmer’s Market at The Grove has a variety of ethnic foods and specialty snacks.If you want to be a superstar partner, you might want to end the night with ice skating.

2. Dogeared “Infinite Love” Necklace: Dogeared jewelry is probably on the top of many girls’ shopping lists. There are a number of different accessories from Dogeared, each with its own message, such as “love,” “faith” and “wish.” The most appropriate one for a girlfriend has to be the “infinite love” necklace, which is also dipped in gold. Dogeared jewelry can be found at Nordstrom and other high-end retailers.

For the boyfriend:

1. Budget electronic goods: Boys love their little gadgets, and these tech goods can run at a high price. However, many electronic goods can be found at discount stores including Ross, Marshalls and TJ Maxx. These stores don’t sell just clothes, as many would think, but have pretty much anything. Not only can a selection of electronic goods be found at a discount store, but stocking stuffers can be found there as well.

2. A leather card holder: For those who need a wallet but don’t want to go out of their way to invest in a new one, a leather card holder is both classy and affordable. Leather card holders vary in price point and can be found in most department stores.

 

While our wish lists have been growing since our breath became visible, not many are so fortunate to get everything they’ve been hoping for. If you’ve been looking to give back and remind yourself and other of the charitable feeling that Christmas brings, check out these local charities and projects.

Food Finders
by Daniel Serrano, City Editor

The name Food Finders might ring a sleigh bell.

The Student Recreation and Wellness Center and KBeach have both worked with the organization, a nonprofit food bank and distribution center located in Signal Hill. But the scale of Food Finder’s operation probably isn’t as well-known.

Food Finders was founded in 1989 and has since grown into an organization with more than 300 volunteers. Food Finders regularly collects thousands of pounds of food from hundreds of restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries — on average, enough food to serve 39,000 meals a day.

Food Finders collected just under 462,900 pounds of food in October alone, food that is distributed to 210 agencies throughout Southern California. Since its founding, it is estimated that Food Finders has collected more than 100 million pounds of food total.

Everything Food Finders does is meant to achieve one main goal: to reduce food insecurity and food waste throughout Southern California. And now with the Holiday season in full swing, there’s no better time to help them achieve it.

Giving to Food Finders is easy. Either donate money on their website, or visit one of the multiple food collection areas — which can be found at any Long Beach public library — the Food Finders headquarters in Signal Hill or multiple other Long Beach businesses listed on Food Finder’s website.

And now through Dec. 31, Food Finders is hosting its first Pajama Drive and collecting pajamas for newborns to 18-year-olds.
Those especially interested can apply to be volunteers, which Food Finders depends on to reach everyone who needs its service. Any time, money or food you give will go a long way to helping someone who needs it.

Between long wish lists and clearance sales, it’s easy to look at the holidays as a time for getting new gadgets and clothes. But consider taking some time to help people who are hoping Santa Claus will bring them a full stomach.


Depot for Creative Reuse

by Danielle Carson, Diversions Editor

In our consumerist society, holidays mean stuff. Every year, we get presents that we throw into the closet and stocking stuffers that make their way to the bottoms of our drawers as clutter. But we don’t think about the used wrapping paper, twist ties and otherwise “trash” that get stuck in our cushions or dumped in a landfill along with other human waste.

Downtown Long Beach is home to The Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse, a nonprofit organization that treasures what we would normally regard as trash. The little hole-in-the-wall on Elm Avenue not only creates art and knick-knacks from recycled items such as bottle caps, beads, straws and cardboard but also encourages crafty souls and youths to create rather than discard.

Their mission statement is “to encourage, inspire and promote creative reuse of reusable items typically destined for the landfills.”

According to founder Lisa Hernandez, Long Beach was the first city to have its own Creative Reuse shop in southern California and seeks to create unity in the community. The nonprofit public charity organization that works towards a “Green America” by employing various methods of recycling, as well as supporting local artists’ works.

During this season, you can give rather than receive, but in this case, it won’t cost you anything except some time to weed through your junk. This charity is a great way to contribute to Long Beach’s creative spirit, construct a low-cost gift for a loved one or mitigate the loads of belongings we accumulate over the years.

Learn more about The Depot at http://thelongbeachdepot.org/.