Monthly Archives: November 2019

Free Thanksgiving Meals in Northern Virginia and DC

Are you having one of those years? We’ve all been there, one time or another. You are not alone and support is available.

Here is a short list of places that are offering free Thanksgiving meals and fellowship for people who are in recovery, are experiencing homelessness or are coping with financial challenges or other problems.

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For your calendar tonight through the weekend

Thursday, November 21

Ladies’ Night Out. 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Merrifield Garden Center (Merrifield, Fair Oaks and Gainesville locations). See and shop decorated Christmas trees and decor, sample hors d’oeuvres and wine, live music and photo booth. This is a really fun event. I go every year!

Sunday, November 24

The Story of Pie tea and program. 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. You’ll be able to sample some different kinds of pie. Historic Green Spring, Alexandria. $36.

Thanksgiving for one: making a solitary holiday special

Have you ever spent Thanksgiving by yourself? You’re not alone! Maybe you are one of the people who…

  • Are single and live alone; a growing population in nearly every age range.
  • Share custody of their kids and it’s not their turn to spend Thanksgiving with them this year.
  • Can’t afford to travel to see distant relatives.
  • Don’t have any family members left or are estranged from their family.
  • Work on Thanksgiving Day or on Black Friday.
  • Experience depression, anxiety or other challenges that cause them to isolate.
  • Enjoy having the day to themselves.

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For Thanksgiving: A Turkey Cheese Ball

turkey-cheese-ballI think this is pretty darn cute. It’s a standard cheese ball — nothing fancy in the way of ingredients — cheddar, chives, cream cheese, a little pepper and Dijon Mustard — but, ah, it’s the way you decorate this cheese ball that takes it into sublime territory.

My only worry is that people will not want to mess it up. But it sounds delicious! Put this out with your crudites this Thanksgiving!

From your friends at Hallmark. Download the recipe and decorating instructions.

Your Thanksgiving Self-Care Plan

Be present in all things, and thankful for all things — Maya Angelou

718-6IH9jXLDid you know that 1 in 5 people cope with a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety? And that 1 in 10 people are in recovery from addiction? If you have one of these challenges, you are not alone.  Thanksgiving can be an especially stressful time, and that stress can make these conditions worse. Even if you do not have one of these conditions, Thanksgiving may stress you out.

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Gratitude inventory for Thanksgiving

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” — Aesop

The Health Benefits of Gratitude

It’s amazing that the active practice of gratitude has more positive impact on some aspects of our health than prescription medication (with zero side effects!). Gratitude journaling or thoughts have been found to reduce blood pressure, alleviate depression, improve sleep, boost energy, reduce pain and motivate physical activity.

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Crafts, hikes and more events coming up this weekend

Doesn’t it sound like a fun weekend? And fun gets started tonight! Events are free, unless otherwise indicated. Enjoy!

Photo by Irina Iriser on

Thursday, November 14

  • NGA Nights: Theme: 90s Throwback. 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. National Gallery of Art. Washington, DC
  • Holiday Wreath Making (18 and up). 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Reston Community Center. $45

Saturday, November 16.

  • Make Break DIY Christmas Wreath (adults). 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Michael’s Pan Am Shopping Center, Fairfax. Call store for availability. Cost of supplies.
  • Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey. 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Oakton Public Library, Oakton.
  • Night Hike and S’mores Campfire. 7 p.m. –  8 p.m. Lake Fairfax, Reston. $7

Sunday, November 17

  • Paint Christmas Ornaments (family program). 11 a.m. – 12 noon. Tysons-Pimmit Public Library.
  • A Bountiful Harvest program. 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Sully Historic Site, Chantilly.
  • Burke Lake Sunset Cruise. 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Burke Lake Park. $7.

Christmas Tree Lightings in November and December

Do you light up like a Christmas tree when they light up Christmas trees? Here’s an ahhh-some (and printable!) list made just for you.

Some of these tree lightings occur in November so I’m giving you advance notice. Most events include free entertainment, visits from Santa Claus and in some cases, toy collections. Click the links to learn more and plan your fun evening.

Friday, November 15, 6 p.m. Tree lighting at Holiday Light-Up, Fairfax Corner, Fairfax. Plus: horse carriage rides!

Friday, November 15, 6 p.m. Tree Lighting on the Plaza with Tommy McFly and musical entertainment. The Plaza, Tysons Corner Center, Vienna.

Saturday, November 23, 6 p.m. Tree Lighting Ceremony in Old Town Alexandria, City Hall on King Street and Market Street.

Friday, November 29, 6 p.m. Tree lighting and Sing-a-long at Fountain Square in Reston Town Center. While you’re there, visit the Hyatt Hotel lobby to see a real gingerbread village.

Monday, December 2, 6 p.m. Tree lighting in the Town of Vienna at The Church Street Holiday Stroll. Santa arrives by firetruck!

Tuesday, December 3, 6 p.m. Norwegian Christmas Tree Lighting and ceremony at Union Station, Washington, DC. Plus: the famous model railroad display on view all December!

Wednesday, December 4, 5 p.m. U.S. Capitol Tree Lighting, West Lawn, U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC. The tree will be lit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and will be illuminated each evening in December until 11 p.m.

Thursday December 5, 5 p.m. The National Christmas Tree will be lit by the First Lady and will remain on view through December at the Ellipse (in back of the White House) in Washington, DC. The National Tree is surrounded by 50+ smaller trees for each U.S. state and territory.

Saturday, December 7, 5:30 p.m. Tree lighting at The Festival of Lights and Carols, Old Town Square, 10415 North Street, Fairfax City. Holiday Festival of Lights and Carols 2 pm. – 7 p.m. with live music, s’mores and hot cider.


Do something FUN on Thanksgiving Day

“Be thankful for what you have. You’ll end up having more.” — Oprah Winfrey

How long, really, does it take you to eat Thanksgiving dinner? An hour, tops? That leaves plenty of time left over. Fortunately, there are plenty of fun options for Thanksgiving Day. Here are some ideas…

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Ah…CHOO! Make a self-care cold and flu kit

cold comfort cover cute

Photo by Pixabay on

With the holidays on the way, the last thing you probably want to happen is for you or one of your loved ones to catch a cold or the flu. The good news is there’s a few things you can do to minimize your chances of getting sick.

Will the flu season be bad this year? Continue reading