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2015 holiday shopping guide

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All signs point to a great season, thanks to local shoppers like you! Check out local deals for Holiday gift giving in The "Times" 2015 Holiday Gift Guide.
  • December 2, 2015 www.FreestoneCountyTimes.com | 1-B

    FREE Events | Sponsored by the City of Fairfield & Fairfield Chamber of Commerce

    Saturday, December 5th

    Sunday, December 6th

    Saturday, December 12th

    Fri.-Sun., December 18th-20th

    Saturday, December 19th

    Sunday, December 20th

    NATIVITY SCENE, PETTING ZOO --River of Life Family Worship (ROL) | 6:30PM-8:30pm

    CHRISTMAS IN THE PARK --Fairfield Lake State Park | 6PM-10pm (Christmas Music, campfire, Tour of Lights & Santa)

    ICE SKATING ON THE SQUARE Fri. 3pm-8pm | Sat. 1pm-6pm |Sun. 12am-5pm

    JINGLE ALL THE WAY EVENT --Ice Skating | 1pm-6pm --Santa Visits, Centex Oilmans Assoc. Santa Giveaway, Face Painting, Hat Makers, Stilt Walkers | 2pm-5pm NATIVITY SCENE, PETTING ZOO --River of Life Family Worship (ROL) | 6:30PM-8:30pm

    OLD TIME CHRISTMAS CELEBRATION on the courthouse square | 4pm-8:30pm --ROL Nativity, Petting Zoo, Winter Wonderland Surprise --Parade Lineup (see map for parade route) | 3pm --Christmas Story Reading | 3:30pm --Frozen Parade START | 4pm --Santas Workshop | 5pm-6:30pm (break) 7pm-8:30pm (Visit with Santa, Arts & Crafts, Face Painting) --BIG HOLIDAY GIVE-AWAY winners named | 6:15pm --Tree Lighting & Nativity Scene | 6:30pm

    Old Time Christmas Celebration


    --TOUR OF LIGHTS--Residential Decorating Contest


    Those shoppers registering with local Retailersfrom Nov. 1 - Dec. 1 are eligible to win the drawings for our Big Holiday Give-Awayduring the December 5th Event!

    Contact the Chamber office by Friday, Dec. 4to sign up for this years Frozen ChristmasParade. Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place.Line up 3pm at Elementary School. Parade begins at 4pm. 903-389-5792

    Enter your home in this annual contest Dec. 1st - 20th.Entries judged on originality, interaction and creativity.Prizes are $500 for 1st Place, $300 for 2nd Place and $200 for 3rd Place. Applications at Chamber office at 900 W. Commerce Street, or call 903-389-5792.(Winners will be contacted December 21st)

    in Fairfield, Texas

    on the courthouse square

    on the courthouse square

    on the courthouse square

    on the courthouse square

    on the courthouse square

    For info,call the Chamber903.389


    Frozen Parade Route

    Freemans Flowe903-389-5887 317 N. Mount, Fairfield

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

    All signs point to a great season, thanks to local shoppers like you! Your patronage paves the way

    for a vibrant, thriving community, and these area merchants would

    like to thank you for your support at the holiday

    and all year!

    The holiday season has arrived, and millions of people across the globe will be celebrating Christmas with their families and friends. The following are some interesting tidbits to share with your loved ones this holiday season. Each year, more than three billion Christmas cards are sent in the United States alone. In 350 AD, Pope Julius I, bishop of Rome, proclaimed December 25 the official celebration date for the birth of Jesus Christ. Many historians and theologians have surmised that Christ really wasnt born this time of year, thanks to imagery and information from the Bible. Christmas carols began as an English custom called wassailing. Individuals toasted neighbors to a long and healthy life. Despite the common tale that

    three wise men paid homage to baby Jesus, the Bible never specifically calls out a number. Similarly, theres no specific indication that they visited the infant Jesus. Their visit may have occurred when Jesus was older. Santa Claus modern look was inspired by writings from The Knickerbockers of New York and imagery from Clement Clarke Moores A Visit from St. Nicholas. Moore denied authoring the famous poem for 15 years after it was published anonymously, feeling the poem was beneath his talents. Santa has his own official postal code. Its H0 H0 H0. The song Jingle Bells was originally written for Thanksgiving and not Christmas. People loved it so much that the lyrics were changed to fit Christmas. Christmas trees typically

    grow for 15 years before theyre cut and sold. This means the trees sold today were likely planted in 1999. Christmas was not declared an official holiday in the United States until June 26, 1870. Before turkey, the traditional Christmas meal served in England was a pigs head and mustard. Male reindeer tend to shed their antlers in the winter. This means Santas reindeer are likely female. Christ may have been born in a cave rather than a manger. According to the gospel of Luke, the shepherds that helped find shelter for Mary to give birth kept their flock in a cave. The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is built over a cave called the Grotto of the Nativity, where Jesus is believed to have been born. Many people may be less inclined to stand under mistletoe waiting for a kiss if they knew what mistletoe means in the ancient Germanic language. It literally means dung on a twig, for the bird who eats the berries and then leaves seeds in droppings to propagate new plants. Each holiday season, PNC Wealth Management calculates the costs of the gifts in the song, The 12 Days of Christmas. The price index for the gifts went from $12,673 in 1984 to more than $24,000 in 2011. The most expensive gift is the swimming swans.

    Christmas Tidbitsto put you in the Holiday Spirit

    It is not the holiday season until homes, stores and town centers are decorated in lights and tinsel. When entire neighborhoods are enhanced by bows and animated figurines, the celebratory tone is set and decorations can trigger happy feelings associated with holiday gatherings. Some people find holiday decorating enjoyable and eagerly anticipate taking out storage containers and sorting through all of their memory-laden trinkets, while others are less enthusiastic about readying their homes for the season. No matter which group you fall into, the following are some simple tips to make holiday decorating easier. --Plan to decorate on a day when you do not have any other responsibilities. Choose to decorate on a day when you can devote your full attention to decorating, avoiding a day when you might be distracted by other things. If you prefer to decorate alone, ask a friend to watch the kids or have a spouse take them out of the house for a few hours. If decorating is a family

    event, find a day when everyones schedules are clear. --Take out the decorations the day prior. Hauling boxes and containers from the attic or basement can take a while. Take some time to move all of the decorating items to a main floor of the house the day or night before your decorating marathon. This way you wont get discouraged or tired by the task even before the real decorating has begun. --Put the tree up first. The Christmas tree is the focal point of holiday decorations, so set up the tree and decorate it before you get started on decorating the rest of the house. If you do not get to all of your other decorating, at least the tree will be ready and your home will still have some holiday appeal. Once the lights are on, decorating the tree is a great activity for keeping the kids busy while you handle other jobs. --Divide and conquer. Nothing makes holiday decorating go faster than delegating decorating

    tasks. Assign specific tasks to your helpers. Put one person in charge of decorating the living room while another handles the outside lights, wreaths and inflatable items. --Turn on the tunes. Working to music frequently takes your mind off of the work and will help pass the time more quickly. Have your favorite holiday playlist at the ready and turn up the volume. Sing along to the carols or contemporary songs while you are elbow-deep in decorations. --Take some breaks. Working hungry or tired may lead to sloppy work or frustration. Theres little chance of untangling a knot in the lights with your patience intact if you havent eaten for hours. Plan some time for lunch while you sit and rest. Survey the work youve done and make a list of the next steps. After the hard work of decorating, youll likely have a sense of accomplishment. Now its time to enjoy the holiday scene and prepare for the excitement of the weeks ahead.

    Holiday Decoratingsimplified

  • December 2, 2015 2-B | www.FreestoneCountyTimes.com

    All signs point to a great season, thanks to local shoppers like you! Your patronage paves the way

    for a vibrant, thriving community, and these area merchants would like to

    thank you for your support at the holiday and all year!

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    Greeting cards are a popular method of correspondence throughout the year. Cards are purchased for birthdays, graduations and milestone events. One of the more popular times of the year to find cards purchased and sent in bulk is during the holiday season. The Greeting Card Association claims 1.6 billion Christmas card units (including boxed cards) are purchased for Christmas. Many people consider sending cards essential to their holiday traditions. Here are some statistics on greeting cards and ways to improve upon your Christmas card sending process.--Women purchase an estimated 80 percent of all greeting cards and will spend more time choosing a card than men.--The vast majority of individually purchased cards are between $2 and $4 in price. Christmas card economy is found by purchasing boxed cards in bulk.

    --The visual design of a greeting card is the first to capture a persons attention, but the saying within will have a greater impact. Consider purchasing cards that are blank inside so you can add your own personalized sentiments.--For the perfect balance of imagery and verse, try a photo greeting card. This way you can customize both the image and the wording. Theyre even effective for business correspondence. Simply use a picture of your office team or other workers in place of a family photo.--Personalized cards need to be purchased early to allow for production. Try to get your orders in by early November to leave you time to address and mail them.--Buy extra cards than you think you need. This way you can send reciprocal greetings to a person who has mailed you a card this year.--If you want your card to stand out from the masses, consider sending it separately

    from the big holidays. Thanksgiving or New Years cards can be unique.--Try your hand at creating your own greeting cards from papercrafting materials. You also can embellish ready-made greeting cards with stamps, glitter, stickers, and other customized effects.--Keep a database of addresses saved on your computer. Then you can print address labels and save much time hand-addressing Christmas cards. Your address list can later be customized for other friend or family events.--Check the postage of your card. Oddly shaped envelopes or even square cards may require extra postage because they could be processed by hand at postal facilities.--The Greeting Card Association says that even though many people use digital means of communication, greeting card traditions are still popular and even are being adopted by todays youth.

    Send Your Love

    baskets:Wicker baskets are available in various

    shapes and sizes. They can be used to make a gift collection and then

    reused over and over again.

    newspaper:Recycle newsprint and comics into wrapping

    paper. Encourage everyone to wrap in

    newspaper for acohesive look come Christmas morning.

    glass jars:Use mason jars when

    wrapping smaller gifts, including gift cards, to give them an arts-and-

    crafts feel

    Shop Local

    Greeting Cards Still Part of Holiday Traditions

    The Benefits of Buying Close to Home Holiday shopping dominates many people's free time between the day after Thanksgiving and the final days before Christmas. While many people may shop 'til they drop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, those days still account for a relatively small amount of the hundreds of billions of dollars that are spent each holiday season. Shoppers now have a bevy of options at their disposal as they embark on holiday shopping season. Traditional in-store retailers are still around, and online shopping continues to grow in popularity with each holiday season. But many holiday shoppers are looking to buy local this holiday season, and such a decision can pay a host of dividends for both shoppers and the communities they call home.--Buying local benefits your local economy. Studies from Civic Economics, an economics and strategics planning firm, found that independent, locally-owned retailers return a far greater percentage of their revenue into their local economies than national chain stores. One such study examined the disparity between revenue recirculation among independent, locally-owned businesses in Raleigh, North Carolina, versus four major national chains in the city. The former recirculated 51.1 percent of revenue into the local economy, while the latter recirculated less than 14 percent. Similar results were discovered in many cities, indicating that buying local not only benefits local business owners, but also the communities those owners and their customers call home.--Buying local creates jobs in your community. One of the biggest ways local business owners in Raleigh recirculated their revenue in the local economy

    was job creation. While national chains also create jobs, such jobs only benefit your community if the chains are located within your community. If your local mall is a considerable drive away, chances are the chains within that mall are not employing many of your fellow community members. Local businesses in your community are more likely to employ residents of your town.--Shopping local may provide access to more unique gifts. In addition to the economic benefits of buying local, shoppers may find merchandise made by local craftsmen is more unique than mass-produced items found on the shelves of national retailers. Recipients may cherish more unique items that they cannot find on their own, and that appreciation may even spur them to visit more local retailers after the holiday season has come and gone, benefiting their own communities in so doing.--Local business may provide a more personal touch. Buying from national chains has its advantages, but customer service is not always one of them. Should your loved ones encounter problems with their gift that requires assistance, they might be forced to wait on the phone for extended periods of time as they and thousands of others wait for customer service representatives to answer their calls. Local businesses do not deal with nearly the volume of customers as national retailers and, therefore, are capable of addressing concerns more quickly and personally than large chains. Buying local not only benefits small business owners, but it also pays dividends for their customers and the communities they call home.

  • December 2, 2015 www.FreestoneCountyTimes.com | 3-B

    All signs point to a great season, thanks to local shoppers like you! Your patronage paves the way

    for a vibrant, thriving community, and these area merchants would like to

    thank you for your support at the holiday and all year!



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    Many people begin their holiday shopping around the end of summer, when retailers first begin to roll out new clothing lines and mark down existing items to make way for new inventory. Beginning holiday shopping near the end of summer or the beginning of fall may seem a little early, but early shoppers often find that starting earlier affords them more time to find the right gifts at the right prices. Early shoppers can comparison shop without the specter of the fast-approaching holiday hanging over their heads, and comparison shopping

    helps consumers feel more confident that they are getting the best deals possible. Starting early with regard to holiday shopping also allows shoppers avoid the financial crunch that shoppers who wait until the holiday season begins often feel. Spreading out spending over several months as opposed to the handful of weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a great way for shoppers to avoid buying too many gifts on credit, which can make fora penny-pinching start to the new year when bills come due in early- to mid-January

    Did You Know?

    With so much on our plates between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, the holiday season can be hectic. Fortunately, there are many ways to save time and make the holiday season more manageable.--If you dont have plastic clips to hang lights around windows and to the eaves of your home, inexpensive clothespins will work just as well. If youre concerned about the color of the wooden clips, paint them holiday hues before stringing the lights.--Put a bath mat, rug-side down and rubber-side up, beneath your Christmas tree stand. This allows you to spin the tree as you hang lights and ornaments without damaging the floor underneath. It also makes it simple to undress the tree once the season is over. Use a tree skirt to hide the mat.--Squeeze artificial tree portions into concrete form tubes. First wrap the tree portions in twine and then slip them into the concrete sleeves. Each tube can be stowed in attic or garage rafters, freeing up precious space.--Use empty squirt bottles to make baking and cooking easier. Pancake and cookie batters can be squirted from the containers for less mess.--Store one or two strings of lights in a plastic shopping bag to keep the strands from getting tangled. Hang the bags from a hook in a garage or stack

    them in a storage bin.--Use plastic zip ties to attach garland and lights to bannisters. Theyre easy to assemble and will not damage the bannisters.--A paper towel holder can be screwed to the wall in a craft room to neatly hold spools of ribbon. Simply pull the length you need from the spool and cut for easy decorating.--Mount a tree stand to a piece of wood with screws or glue. This prevents spills from reaching the floor while stabilizing the tree.--Old maps make interesting gift wrap and are a nice

    change of pace from commercially produced paper or newsprint.--Wrap duct tape or another type of sticky tape around your hand. Pat over fallen pine needles that accumulate around the tree. In hard-to-reach areas, wrap the tape around a broom or a floor sweeper.--When traveling for the holidays, use a brightly colored suitcase or flashy tape to make your suitcase stand out from others at the airport.--Place hardened brown sugar in a baking dish, cover

    it with a moist paper towel and either microwave it on high for 20-second intervals or place it in a 300 F oven for five minutes. This will soften the sugar, making it easier to use the sugar to prepare your favorite holiday cookie recipes.--Save plastic bread ties, which can be used to make tags for the wires on certain devices. Such ties also can be used to organize decorating components and to keep your place on a roll of tape.--Measure the inside of your picture window and construct a wooden frame to its

    dimensions. Staple holiday lights to the frame and then easily slip the frame in and out of place each year.--Hang a live wreath or some boughs of evergreen in your home to give it that fresh pine scent if you have an artificial tree.- - C o l o r -code storage containers so you can easily find holiday d e c o r a t i o n s in the attic or basement.--Pack for a holiday excursion using a collapsible clothing storage hanger for closets. Fold clothes on each fabric shelf and then collapse it into your suitcase. When you get to your destination, unfold and hang it in a closet so all of your clothes will be at the ready.Make the holidays even more enjoyable with a variety of timesavers and clever tips.

    MolassesSugar Cookies

    Tips for Reducing Stress This Season

    Take It Easy!

    A few simple strategies can help you save time and reduce stress this holiday season.

    TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + chilling Bake: 10 min./batch MAKES: 24 servings

    Ingredients 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup molasses 1 egg 2 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves Additional sugar

    Directions: In a large bowl, combine the oil, sugar and molasses. Add egg; mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and ginger; add to sugar mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until easy to handle. Shape dough into 1-in. balls; roll in additional sugar. Place 3 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes or until tops are cracked and edges are set. Cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

    Holiday Shopping Starts Early

  • December 2, 2015 4-B | www.FreestoneCountyTimes.com

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    Bring photo of your deer kill for our CONTEST!

    All photo entries of deer, harvested in Freestone County, along with the successfulhunter, will be published in the Freestone County Times. At the conclusion of the

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    Christmas LightInstallation


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    All signs point to a great season, thanks to local shoppers like you! Your patronage paves the way

    for a vibrant, thriving community, and these area merchants would like to

    thank you for your support at the holiday and all year!

    Store ClosingALL JEWELRY 50% OFF

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    Leaving cookies and milk for Santa Claus is a Christmas Eve tradition. Children regularly place a dish of cookies and a glass of milk by the tree on Christmas Eve so that Santa has enough energy to complete all of his gift-giving before kids wake up on Christmas morning. The tradition of leaving cookies out on Christmas Eve may trace its origins to Saint Nicholas. On the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6, children would leave food and drink for the saint and any attendants. The treats would be exchanged for gifts. While that's one theory behind the tradition, others think it is linked to the history of the Christmas tree and the edible decorations that adorn it. Santa would snack on the ornaments. Even after edible decorations gave way to inedible ornaments, the tradition of leaving a snack for Santa remained. Whatever the origins behind the tradition, millions of children dutifully leave milk and cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve

    a Christmas Eve Tradition

    Much of the holiday season can seem like a blur, during which busy men and women spend much of their time running here and there. Holiday supplies need to be purchased, homes need to be decorated and gifts must be bought and wrapped. But no matter how busy men and women may be during the holiday season, there are still ways to eat healthy meals that dont take much time to prepare. Prep work: Meal preparation can take a lot of time. But buying ingredients in advance, and saving the trouble of last-minute trips to the grocery store, can make prep work go much more smoothly and quickly.

    Devote some time on the weekend to stocking up on ingredients you will need for the week ahead. Stock up on storage containers so that food can be packaged into the refrigerator or freezer. Prepare rice and parboil pasta to use as a starchy and filling base to some recipes. Peel, dice and chop vegetables and store in containers for later use during the week. Separate meat and poultry into smaller, meal-sized containers so you only thaw out what you need for a given meal. Have a plan: Create a menu plan so you will know which recipes to create and when. Build room into your meal plan for really quick meals, such as a soup and sandwich night or breakfast for dinner. Planning a meal weekly

    meal schedule saves you time because you wont be searching for recipes each weeknight. Such planning also helps you to ensure theres plenty of variety in your weekly meals. Seek help from slow cookers: A slow cooker can be a real time-saver during the holiday season. Slow cookers can be set to cook while youre out of the house. When you return, you will find the meal ready and waiting. Expand your horizons: A meal need not always be a three-course offering. On days you expect to be particularly busy, plan for a no-heat meal. Cold cut sandwiches and salad can fit the bill. A platter of finger foods, such as cheeses and crackers, fruit, and vegetable sticks with dips, can be filling as well. If the

    kids are requesting a bowl of cereal, let them have it and save time. Eggs and reheated leftovers and quick and easy to prepare. Dine out: Budget for a few meals on the go. When shopping at the mall, stop into a restaurant for a sit-down meal. Doing so will save time and you can enjoy a well-deserved respite from cooking duties.

    Eating Healthy in a Hurry

    A slow cooker is a valuable asset for home cooks pressed for time during the busy holiday season.

    Clever Ways toGive Gift Cards Gift cards are a staple of the holiday season. Often a go-to gift when other options just do not seem to suffice, gift cards remove the worry about whether or not the item will fit or if its the right color or model. Gift cards can make ideal gifts because they are chosen with the recipients likes and tastes in mind while allowing recipients to shop without spending their own money. Todays gift cards are better than those of yesteryear, which typically came with expiration dates and onerous fees. E-gift cards, which can be purchased and redeemed online, are among the most convenient of all gift cards. Although gift cards have many positive attributes, its difficult to overlook that gift cards are viewed as a safe gift lacking in originality. But the National Retail Federation notes that in 2011, 57.7

    percent of survey respondents said they would prefer to get a gift card that year. This ranks gift cards higher than electronics, clothing and accessories as desired gifts. Recipients of holiday cheer seemingly would like to pick out their own presents, which can ease the burden on gift-givers searching high and low for the perfect gifts. Still, giving a gift card can remove some of the excitement of unwrapping a mystery gift. By employing a few creative tips, gift cards can be fun and unique. Scavenger hunt: Have the gift recipient work a little in a clever way for the gift. Plant clues around the house that will gradually lead to the hiding spot where the gift card is stashed. Clues can include witty poetic verses or tie into recipients personal interests. Nesting boxes: Another way

    to present a gift card is to hide it inside of a box that looks like any other gift. However, once the person unwraps the gift, he or she will discover another wrapped box inside. This prank can be repeated over and over as many times as desired until the gift card is unearthed. Gift basket: A gift card can be ensconced with other trinkets and tied into a theme. For example, a gift card for a spa massage may be complemented by lotions, massage oil and a terry-cloth robe. These items can all be packaged together in a decorative basket to make the entire gift eye-catching and appealing. Themed wrapping: Place the gift card inside of an item that epitomizes the gift. A card for a bookstore can be nestled inside of the pages of a classic book. A gift card to a hair salon can be attached

    to the end of a hairbrush. For those gifting to a favorite coffee shop, place the gift card inside of an empty coffee mug. Shopping savvy: Offering a gift card as a present is entitling the recipient to a day of shopping. Wrap the card with a reusable shopping tote so that he or she can carry purchases inside. You can monogram the bag with initials or even decorate it. Otherwise, purchase a new wallet and place the gift card inside. Wrap the wallet and encourage the recipient to go on a spree. Special delivery: For a creative spin, work with a retailer that offers home delivery service. Ask to have the gift card attached inside of a pizza box or nestled in a bouquet of flowers. When the recipient receives the delivery, he or she will be surprised by the added gift.

    Clever ways to give gift cards (611 words, US, UK, CAN)

    Holiday Meal Tips to Save You Time

    Milk Cookies



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