2009 Holiday Supplement: More Music, More Gifts, More Events!
It’s our first Holiday season here at Omaha.net, so aside from placing a Baby’s First Christmas ornament on the tree, dusting off the Menorah and candles, and still being generally confused as to how to spell Kwanzaa, we’re also trying to pack in as much spirit as we can.
So, with that in mind, and good memories of Festivus past just beginning to fade from memory (as Seinfeld taught us, Festivus is the holiday for the rest-of-us!), we present to you our so-stuffed-to-the-brim-it’s-over-freakin-flowin Chistmas Supplement.
The video above is violinist Matt Schiach. We ran into him at the Borders on 132nd and Maple, playing a spirited mix of Christmas favorites and classical arrangements in support of Millard North High School’s International Baccalaureate Boosters. You know the city is ready to usher in the holiday season when even the local Borders is a concert venue. Fellow high schoolers Samhitha Krishnar and Ben Curthright staved off sickness to play a set of emo/pop-punk covers.
Why doesn’t this kind of thing occur more often, and how can we make it happen? Send your local band videos here! Internet groupies are so 2010!
Lighting of the Menorah Candles, December 11th–19th
The Jewish population of Omaha is over 6,500 strong, and the Jewish Federation of Omaha is well regarded for being one of the most active communities its size. One look at the Federation’s overflowing community calendar attests to the many events the Federation is coordinating this holiday season. December 11th, 4:39pm, marked the first night of Chanukah in Omaha this year, and the candles will continue to be lit each day at sunset until the 19th. With menorahs (or menorot) at many locations around the city, from the Jewish Community Center to the Westroads Mall, it’s an excellent time to come out, meet the community, and take part in Chanukah celebrations. In addition, Rosh Chodesh Tevet, the beginning of the 10th month on the Jewish calendar, falls on the 18th.
Santa’s Woods Christmas tree cutting with special activities
Santa’s Woods is a family operated tree farm. You select the tree you want from a selection of State Fair winning Firs and pines, and then the friendly staff cuts it, hauls it, shakes it, and bales it. They even tie the tree to your car!
In addition to trees, Santa’s Woods features a huge selection of wreaths. They also offer private family, not group, haystack rides, which culminate in a campfire in the middle of the woods (approx. 45 min., adults $7). Finally, there is the Shepard Light’s show, which they describe as a “drive-through computer animated light extravaganza!” Families stay in the car as they drive from display to display (approx. 30 min., $5 per car).
December 4th marked the start of their Trees for Troops weekend, where trees purchased at Santa’s Woods were delivered to military families serving on bases in the United States and abroad. Help them reach their goal of delivering over 100 trees for troops this year!
Village Pointe, special events, through December 22nd
Since you’ll already be at the mall this season, Village Pointe spices up the holidays with some family fun. Check their website for the numerous appearances by Santa and the complimentary horse & carriage rides.
Also, be sure to register to win a $300 shopping spree with your personal shopper, Star 104.5’s Nikki Boulay!
Henry Doorly Zoo, visits from Santa, December 19th
The Henry Doorly Zoo features visits from Santa December 19th. And since this is the Zoo, he’ll be swimming with the sharks. Seriously. The Zoo will also be conducting something as Animal Enrichment (things like Sea Lion Feeding). Check their website for more information.
Yes, this event at Backwoods already happened. And you probably missed it. But doesn’t it look fun? In addition to numerous product giveaways, Backwoods was nice enough to give anyone there 15% off one item, no questions asked. They’re always doing great stuff like that, so sign up for their mailing list to stay informed about what’s happening around the store. Rumor has it they have a wonderful birthday offer…
Stuck for a gift idea? Donate your time (or money) in someone’s honor and give them a gift that gives back to the city! If giving is the true spirit of Christmas, giving back is like…the…MEGA spirit of Christmas! It’s all explained in A Christmas Carol 2: Back to the Future, trust us.
Community Bike Shop of Omaha
If your friend or loved is the cyclist who has everything, why not volunteer for a day in their honor at the Community Bike Shop of Omaha. The shop is staffed entirely by volunteers, and since its budget derives from donations, they’ll glady accept monetary gifts, as well. This not-for-profit aims to teach bike mechanics and bike safety to the community, while educating non-cyclists on bicycle awarness. The shop, located at 525 33rd Street, will take volunteers of all stripes, not just mechanics! Give your time today!
Youth Emergency Services
Youth Emergency Serices (YES) has a very clear mission: to protect the at risk youth and homeless youth of Omaha. By combining shelter services with outreach, encompassing basic offerings like food and clothing, through to medical attention, and counseling for those in need, YES is able to serve a broad demographic of the city’s youth. But YES is always in need of volunteers for the 3M’s: meals, mentoring, and maintainence.
This Christmas, the YES staff has also compiled a holiday wish list for the underprivilaged children it serves. Here’s your chance to be a Secret Santa for a child in need!
The Siena and Francis Houses
To put it bluntly, the Siena and Francis Houses save lives. For the city’s neediest people, often dealing with some combination of poverty, medical problems, and addiction, the Houses serve as a lifeline to critical supplies and care. By offering separate men’s and women’s facilities, the Siena/Francis House is better able to provided focused advocacy, counseling, education, and training, while maintaining an unconditional acceptance policy.
Maintaining a charity where no one is denied shelter is not easy. The Siena/Francis House often needs help, both in fundraising and managing day to day operations. During the holidays, those needs only increase, as the charity aims to share the holiday spirit with over 1,500 men, women, and children. Those unable to give money are always welcome to give their time, as dinner is served 365 days a year. If you have a free night, you and your family can help out your fellow Omahans this holiday season!
The Open Door Mission
The Open Door Mission has been serving Omaha for a long time, over 50 years, in fact, since its founding as the Gospel Rescue Mission. The holiday season is a great time to give back to a charity that has given Omaha so much.
According to the Mission, each night there are over 2,000 people homeless in Omaha. The Mission serves 320 of these men, women, and children with food and shelter, seeking to break the endless cycle of poverty and homelessness through targeted eduction. The Mission maintains both volunteer and full-time employment oppurtunities in order to staff the wide variety of programs it offers Omaha’s homeless and in-need communities.
Currently, the Mission is in need of teen board games, puzzles, baby dolls, Barbies, play sets for children aged 1-2, and winter clothing. Get more information on these and their current food drive here.