Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Thanksgiving Craft: Thankful Tree

November 19, 2014

Hallmark came up with this easy but amazing craft for friends and family on Thanksgiving Day. You know what I think this would be great for, though? For school. I think this would be a terrific class project for kids.

Here are the instructions to download.



Three Thanksgiving Ideas (that don’t involve cooking)

November 14, 2013

thanksgiving4Not all of us are blessed with large families, but we still want to celebrate Thanksgiving.  How to celebrate Thanksgiving for one or two?  If you don’t really want to cook a huge feast?  Here are some of my favorite past Thanksgiving activities and some new ideas to try…

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving at Graves Mountain Lodge

Book now for overnight accommodations and Thanskgiving at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria, Virginia.  Or just drive in for lunch or dinner.  The food is served family style, and is old-fashioned in flavor: ham, turkey, home-made rolls, sweet potatoes, fried oysters.  Lunch or dinner is $40 for adults and $20 for kids.  Be sure to purchase some of their apple butter and green pepper jelly for holiday gifting.  During the day, there is the farm to explore.  At night, there is usually a frosty hay ride into the mountains.  Luray Caverns is nearby, for a Friday side-trip.

A Historical Thanksgiving in Williamsburg

Hotel rates are generally quite low ($35-$50/night is not uncommon) and you can find bargains for this weekend. Explore Historic Jamestown ($16.50) and be transported back to a village of Native Americans and a 17th century English settlement.  You’ll really get a feeling of what the times were like around the time of the first Thanksgiving.  Colonial Williamsburg is also worth a visit, especially on Friday for shopping, and you don’t have to pay the admission fee to enjoy much of it.  We’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at the Fireside Chophouse in Williamsburg.  I think the prix fixe dinner was under $25, and it included a creamy soup, a plate of Thanksgiving favorites, and coffee and pie.  I thought it was just fine.  We poked around the Christmas Mouse afterwards (open Thanksgiving night) and looked at the hundreds of Christmas ornaments for sale there.  A post-Thanksgiving visit to Christmastown Busch Gardens is a must ($30, opens at 3 pm on Friday) and a bus from the historic area takes you right there, so you don’t even have to drive.

A Cultural Thanksgiving in Richmond

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is open 365 days a year, including Thanksgiving.  You can enjoy a rather sophisticated meal in their upscale restaurant, Amuse, for $52/person — 3 courses includes offers like an appetizer of roasted oysters, an entree of game hen, and molasses cake with pumpkin ice cream.  Or head to the Patrick Henry Pub & Grill for deep-fried turkey on their buffet.  I haven’t tried either of these restaurants, actually, but the menus sound delicious to me. Afterwards, check out VMFA’s exhibit on Hollywood costumes and fashion, “Made in Hollywood,” and explore their fabulous gift shop for unique and artsy holiday gifts.  At night, catch a movie at the Byrd Theatre. Shopping at the Carytown boutiques would be a perfect way to spend Small Business Saturday.

Any ideas?

If you don’t cook on Thanksgiving or get together with family, how do you celebrate?  Share your tips and ideas!


Mark your calendar for these DC-area holiday events

November 13, 2013

IMG_1271 All events listed are free, unless otherwise noted.  There are plenty of other holiday offerings, but I thought I would list just the free or affordable ones here. 

I will update the list and I appreciate submissions and recommendations.  For updates, check the left side bar of the Cool Yule Blog.

Holiday Events

Friday, November 1 – 30

Holiday Mail for Heroes from The Red Cross. Tysons Corner Mall, Level 2 (outside of Bloomingdale’s and American Girl). Send a holiday card to service members, veterans and military families Located on level 2 outside of Bloomingdale’s and American Girl. Hours:

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2-6PM
  • Tuesday, Thursday 10AM-2PM
  • Saturday, Sunday 11AM-5PM
  • Black Friday 11/29 9AM-3PM

Friday, November 15

  • 5:30 – 10 p.m. Meadowlark’s Winter Walk of Lights, Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, Vienna, VA. Through January 5th. More than 500,000 LED lights and displays transform the gardens into a winter wonderland, including a flowing stream of softly glowing lights, two-story animated fountain, and Gingerbread Village. $8 kids; $13 adults.

Thursday, November 21

Friday, November 22

  • 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Busch Gardens Christmas Town in Williamsburg, VA opens this evening, and is open weekends and select weeks through December 31st, tickets are $30.

Saturday, November 23

Monday, November 25

  • 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Cathedral Creche Exhibition: What Child Is This? National Cathedral, Washington, DC. The annual exhibition of nativity scenes from around the world runs through January 12, 2014. Located in the crypt (lower level), just outside Bethlehem Chapel.

Tuesday, November 26

  • 8 p.m. CBS. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is on TV tonight.

Thursday, November 28, Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Hanukkah!

Friday, November 29, Black Friday

Saturday, November 30, Small Business Saturday

Sunday, December 1, First Day of Advent

Monday, December 2

Wednesday, December 4

  • 10 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. ASL-Signing Santa, Fair Oaks Mall. American Sign Language Signing Santa and Mrs. Claus, welcoming children who are deaf and hard of hearing to the interactive Ice Palace experience.

Friday, December 6, St. Nicholas Day

Saturday, December 7, Pearl Harbor Day

  • 10 a.m. Decorating with Fresh Greens and Flowers, Merrifield Garden Center, Fair Oaks. Learn how to use fresh cut pine, holly, cedar, boxwood, magnolia and other plants to fill your home with the fragrance and beauty of the season. Learn how to combine these greens with fresh flowers and complementary accents in holiday centerpieces, garlands and wreaths.
  • 10 a.m. Create a Holiday Theme, Merrifield Garden Center, Gainesville. Learn how to create holiday displays with a unifying theme throughout your home, from an inviting entryway and elegant tabletop to your Christmas tree and gift wrapping.
  • 12 Noon Fairfax Festival of Lights and Carols, with tree lighting ceremony 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Live holiday music, hot cider, s’mores by the Yule log, caroling and lighting of the Christmas tree in the winter wonderland on the grounds of the Kitty Pozer Garden. Animated lights run through January 5, 2014.
  • 4 p.m. Wolf Trap Holiday Sing-A-Long Wolf Trap National Park – The Filene Center 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, VA. This annual musical celebration hosts a performance by the United States Marine Band and a Sing-A-Long of Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs with choir and vocal groups from the metropolitan Washington area. Bring a candle and join the tradition of exiting the Filene Center with a candlelight processional during the last verse of “Silent Night.” There will also be a “Jing-A-Long” during the singing of “Jingle Bells,” so remember to bring a candle, a bell, and a new, unwrapped toy!
  • 7 p.m. Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, Old Town Alexandria, VA (waterfront).

Sunday, December 8, Second Day of Advent

Wednesday, December 12, Poinsettia Day

Friday, December 14

  • 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tysons Corner Center German Christmas Market. Also Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. In partnership with the German Embassy and the city of Dresden, Tysons Corner Center offers a unique outdoor artisan holiday market, German fare, and entertainment.

Saturday, December 14

  • 10:30 a.m. Christmas Story film for children 8 and up (2007, set in Lapland), East Building Concourse, Auditorium, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday packages by standard post.

Sunday, December 15, Third Day of Advent

  • 11:30 a.m. Christmas Story film for children 8 and up (2007, set in Lapland), East Building Concourse, Auditorium, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Claude Moore Wassail, Claude Moore Colonial Farm 6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean, VA. Gather in the Farm’s orchard to wassail the trees with singing, dancing and chants to ensure a “howling crop.” Enjoy hot spiced cider, sugar cakes, a bonfire and 18th century games. Weather permitting – call ahead (703) 442-7557.
  • 5 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Christmas in the Time of Jane Austen, Sully Plantation, Chantilly. See how Virginians celebrated the holidays while we were still an English colony. Learn dance steps, play a game of chance and take home a recipe for a great cake. House tour is 45 min. outside festivities available till 8 p.m. This event has a $10 fee.

Friday, December 20

  • Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing holiday greeting cards

Saturday, December 21, First Day of Winter

  • Cool Yule Tip: Today is the USPS recommended deadline for mailing Priority Mail packages.

Sunday, December 22, Fourth Day of Advent

Tuesday, December 24, Christmas Eve

Wednesday, December 25, Merry Christmas!

  • National museums are closed today but Mount Vernon and the U.S. Botanic Garden are open.
  • 4 p.m. Vespers Service, National Cathedral
  • 5:15 p.m. Organ Recital, National Cathedral
  • 6 p.m. All-Star Christmas Day Jazz Jam concert, Kennedy Center

Thursday, December 26, Kwanzaa begins, Boxing Day

Tuesday, December 31, New Year’s Eve

Wednesday, January 1, Happy New Year!

Monday, January 6, Epiphany

  • Cool Yule Tip: You can buy authentic “King Cakes” at La Madeleine Bakery

Recurring Events

National Cathedral Creche Exhibit, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. through January 12.

Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Gardens, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on these dates: November 28 – January 5.

Zoo Lights at the National Zoo, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m, Nov 29 – January 1. Not open December 24, 25, or 31. More than 500,000 environmentally-friendly LED lights transform the Zoo into a winter wonderland. Lit animal silhouettes, musical light displays, and a new garden scene light sculpture.

Gallery Talk at The National Gallery of Art: The Christmas Story in Art 1 p.m. on these dates: December 6, 9, 11, 13, 17, 18, 21, 22 (50 minutes) West Building Main Floor, Rotunda

Visit with the Real Santa Claus at Merrifield Garden Center, Merrifield, VA 12-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on these dates: November 24-December 23, closed Mondays. Don’t miss the “press conference,” songs, an stories at the beginning of each session.

Millenium Stage Concerts at the Kennedy Center, 6 p.m. nightly. The holiday concerts are free but tend to be crowded. The good news is you can also watch them for free, live, online on the Kennedy Center website.

The Willard Hotel nightly choral concerts, 5:30 p.m.- 7 p.m. through December.

Pageant of Peace on The Ellipse: nightly musical performances, December 6 – January 1. Weeknight performances are 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and weekend performances take place from 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. The National Tree and state trees may be viewed until 11 p.m.

Welcome, winter holiday season 2013!

November 11, 2013

16407127_sAs you may know, I write several blogs, but Cool Yule is my favorite, just-for-fun blog.  Because I love the winter holidays, especially Christmas!

This year, I’m looking forward to writing about Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year‘s celebrations.

Even when I take a break the rest of the year from Cool Yule, it’s gratifying to see that I still get daily views, and there are holiday enthusiasts out there eager to read and share fun tips and events. Thank you for reading.

So it’s time to get started!  As you may know, the focus of this blog is sharing the best that the holidays have to offer, with a side focus on holiday offerings in the Washington, DC area.  So that means we’ll talk about recipes, movies, music, performances, shopping, religious services, fashion, traditions, party ideas, gift ideas, decorating, events around town, and more.

I always wonder if my Thanksgiving updates belong here or on my harvest blog, which also focuses heavily on Halloween.  It’s a tough call, but this year, I  think I will add them here, because so many of those recipes do well for December celebrations.

I would love to have a few guest bloggers this year.  I think it would be great to have some different voices and ideas, and maybe also some posts about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.  If you are a blogger and you have an idea for a blog post on Cool Yule, please email me  Please also contact me if you have an event or product you would like me to blog about.

Thanks for sharing Cool Yule online and with your friends who you think would enjoy it!

Happy Holidays!



Happy Thanksgiving

November 23, 2010

Has another year gone by already?  Is it time to dust off the Christmas ornaments…and the Cool Yule blog?

I guess  it is!  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

And if your turkey just won’t thaw, here are some suggestions for spending your Thanksgiving out…

  • In the Washington, DC area, Clyde’s is offering a fantastic dinner with all the trimmings for $25.95 — turkey with sausage-sage stuffing, green beans, whipped potatoes, glazed sweet potatoes, turkey gravy and cranberry sauce, and your choice of apple or pecan pie à la mode or pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  You all know how much I love Clyde’s.  I would be there if we weren’t going to Jamestown.
  • If you’re up for a drive, head to Graves Mountain in Syria, Virginia for a family-style, old-fashioned Thanksgiving, complete with fresh baked rolls, turkey, ham, and fried oysters — one of the best Thanksgiving meals I’ve had ever had!  Spend the night and spend the next day exploring Luray Caverns.
  • I will enjoy Thanksgiving in historic Jamestown with my family.  We’ve found a terrific hotel bargain for under $30 a night!  I stayed there last year, so I know it’s nice.  And not having to cook is just as great; our dinner is $12.95 for adults and $6.95 for kids. Well worth the drive.

Cool Yule Karaoke: Come Ye Thankful People Come

November 25, 2009

Remember singing this in grade school?  I do.  Here’s the karaoke version, just in time for Thanksgiving.  Gather your little ones around the computer and teach them this song.  By the way, I’m thankful for my family and friends.  Check back each Wednesday during the December holidays for a new seasonal Karaoke song (or subscribe, and they’ll come right to your email inbox).

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