Friday, November 18, 2011

Tips to make holiday road trips fun for everyone

If you're on a mission to create a list for St. Nick or pick out a cool toy for a friend's birthday party a child might enjoy joining you in the shopping excursion. But to be told not to touch anything while being dragged in and out of stores with no end in sight is sheer torture. It's also one reason why, at some point along the way, someone is going to cry.
It's for this reason, when faced with a full day of Christmas shopping, you might want to consider finding something else for the kids to do. Below are just a few ideas, courtesy of child care experts and other moms:
Play dates are way better than shopping.

Play dates
If you know the parents of your child's friends, talk to them about planning a holiday play date. However, it's only fair that you offer to be the first host - since it's your idea. Chances are they'll be glad to participate.

A day with grandma and grandpa
Grandparents are a great source for family recipes, especially when it comes to Christmas favorites such as apple pie and shortbread cookies. Perhaps grandma or even grandpa is more of a crafter than a cook. If that's the case, maybe you can set up an afternoon project like a do-it-yourself wreath or Christmas card. If grandpa loves to work and the child is older, maybe they can work on building a Christmas decoration. Whatever they make during the time they're together (while you're out shopping) is sure to be a keepsake.

Cookies or cards make great projects.

Spring for a babysitter
Teenagers are always looking for ways to make money during the holiday season. Check with the teens in your family or circle of friends to see if any of them might want to earn a few bucks. Make it a special time for them too by picking up a special movie and munchies or a game that they can play.

Food and fun gadgets
When my children were toddlers, I never left the house without a container of Cheerios and one of their favorite toys. My daughter had a Sesame Street computer that she took everywhere. It was great because it kept her amused for hours, even miles. My husband and I liked that the computer-generated voice was cute rather than irritable. It means a lot when you're hearing a computer voice in the backseat saying press-a-button, over and over again.

Favorite music
Unless you plan on singing along, be sure to pack some tunes. Crayola is one of several companies that has come out with child-friendly MP3 players that are durable and simple to use.

Favorite movie
If you're fortunate enough to have a video player in your vehicle, you're all set. Just load it up with movies you know your child will enjoy. If not, consider investing in a portable player. The cost has come down considerably and you'll find that they're not only nice to have during a winter road trip but on a summer camping trip when it's pouring down rain and everyone is bored with dad's Three Stooges impersonations.

Not all children can read in the car, but those that do should have their own basket filled with their favorite titles. If you're looking for a great new title, "Dream Big Little Pig!" (Sourcebooks Jabberwacky, $16.99) is a wonderful new book featuring inspiring words by Kristi Yamaguchi and adorable illustrations by Tim Bowers. For little boys consider "Bunny's Lessons" (Blue Apple Books, $16.99). It's a charming tale written by Harriet Ziefert about a little boy and his pal and the day that they have together, learning about life's daily delights (along with the bumps and bruises of friendship and love).

Looking for family-friendly events to attend in the Detroit area? Check out our weekly listing:

Holiday crafts
Christmas cookie walk and vedor sale to benefit Harrison Township Public Library, noon-3 p.m. Dec. 4, at the library, 38151 L’Anse Creuse. Cookies $4 per pound. Vendors include Avon, Pampered Chef, Half Baked Bakery, Mary Kay, Tastefully Simple. Admission $1.
Millionaires Party
Oakar A. Andreas VFW 1794 Ladies Auxiliary hosting Millionaires Party, 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Dec. 1-2 and 8-9, at Sterling Plaza Hall, 44605 Schoenherr at Hall Road, Sterling Heights. Includes poker, blackjack,
Annual Christmas Bazaar, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 3 at Romeo United Methodist Church, 280 N. Main St.  Admission $2, free parking, no strollers. For details, 586-752-6783.
Memphis Music Boosters fall craft show, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 19, at the high school, 34130 Bordman Road, Memphis. Admission $1, free younger than 10; pictures with Santa $5.
Vendor and craft show 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 10, at Neil Reid High School, 37701 Harper, Clinton township. Free admission.
Christmas vendor show, noon-5 p.m. Dec. 10, at Eagles Hall, 23631 Greater Mack, north of Nine Mile Road, St. Clair Shores. Proceeds benefit American Diabetes Association.

Thanksgiving concert
The Salvation Army’s Royal Oak Citadel Band & Songsters present their Thanksgiving concert, 7 p.m. Nov. 19, plus guest artists, at the Royal Oak Corps Community Center, 3015 N. Main St., Royal Oak.

Lakeside signing
Artist Daniel Cascardo signs his custom designed tote bags with purchase of new True Religion fragrance Hippie Chic, 1-5 p.m. Nov. 19, at Macy’s at Lakeside Mall, Sterling Heights. The fragrance company has donated $20,000 to Turning Point, the shelter in Macomb County for victims of domestic violence.

Shores Library
Janine Marie Lanza, WSU associate professor of history, speaks on women’s lives in 17th century France, 7 p.m. Nov. 30, in meeting room of St. Clair Shores Public Library, 22500 11 Mile Road.

Toy benefit
Christmas Toy Fundraiser for Native American children, 5-10 p.m. Dec. 4, at Gino’s Surf, 36400 Jefferson, Harrison Township. Admission $25 and unwrapped gift for child 1-13 years of age; tickets include entertainment, buffet dinner, desserts, cash bar. Call 586-634-1081 or 586-468-3798.

Community theater
Clintondale Community Theatre presents, “The Winter Spirit,” a Christmas play for all ages, Dec. 8, 9 and 10, Clintondale High School Auditorium, 15 Mile Road (East of Little Mack, between Gratiot and Groesbeck). Enter off 15 Mile Road. Tickets: $5 advance, $7 at the door. Call 586-791-6300, Ext. 2409.
Auditions for Lakeview Public Schools’ production of “Doctor Doolittle,” 6:30 p.m. Nov. 29-30, in Lakeview High Schools’ Schaublin Auditorium. Callbacks Dec. 2, cast selections announced Dec. 5. Production dates March 16-18 and 23-24, 2012. Call 586-445-4040 ext. 2749.
Grosse Pointe Theater presents “The Trip to Bountiful” by Horton Foote, 8 p.m. Nov. 19, in the Fries Auditorium of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lake Shore Road, in Grosse Pointe Farms, $18, www.gpt.org or 313-881-4004.
Richmond Community Theatre dinner production of “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus,” doors open 6 p.m., dinner at 7, show 8 p.m. Nov. 25-26, at Maniaci’s, 69227 Main St. Tickets, $28 adults, $14 younger than 12, available by calling 586-727-9727.
St. Clair Shores Players present “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, Dec. 2-3, 9-10, at Good Shepherd United Methodist Church, 31601 Harper, St. Clair Shores. Doors open 7:30 p.m., curtain at 8. Tickets $10 at the door, $9 seniors and students with ID. Visit www.scsplayers.org.
Wayne State University’s graduate Hilberry Theatre presents “The Cripple of Inishmaan” by Martin McDonagh, a dark, Irish comedy, Dec. 2-Feb. 4 in repertory, at Cass Avenue and Hancock, Detroit, $12-$30, for show dates and times, visit www.wsushows.com  or call 313-577-2972.
Henry Ford II High presents “Annie,” 7 p.m. Dec. 8-10, 3 p.m. Dec. 11, at Henry Ford II Performing Arts Center, 11911 Clinton River Road, Sterling Heights, $12.

Holiday music
Symphonia Chorale presents “Sing Gloria” by David Hamlton, 7 p.m. Dec. 2, at SS John and Paul Catholic Church, 7777 28 Mile Road, Washington Township. Also, 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at St. Clement of Rome, 343 S. Main St., Romeo. Tickets for each $12 adults, $10 students, free 5 years and younger. Call 586-752-7734.
Holiday concert presented by Twelfth Night Singers, 3 p.m. Nov. 27, at Zion Lutheran Church, Woodward and Albany, Ferndale. Free-will offering accepted.
MCREST Annual Benefit Concert, 8 p.m. Dec. 3, at Warren Consolidated Schools Performing Arts Center, 12901 15 Mile Road, Sterling Heights. VIP seats $30, reserved $20; to order tickets, 586-415-5101 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., or online at www.mcrest.org. Entertainment by Don White and Matt Watroba.
Warren Concert Band and General Motors Employees’ Chorus Holiday Concert, 2 p.m. Dec. 4, at Warren Woods Community Theatre, 13400 12 Mile Road, west of Schoenherr. Tickets at door, $8 adults, free ages 12 and younger with paid adult. Call 586-709-8192.
Macomb Symphony
“Holiday Concert” performed by Macomb Symphony Orchestra and the Macomb Concert Choir, 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. Tickets, $24 adults, $20 students, seniors and children, call 586-286-2222 or visit www.macombsymphony.org.
“Home for the Holidays” concert by Warren Woods Tower High School and Grosse Pointe Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony society, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, at Warren Woods Middle School auditorium, 12 Mile and Schoenherr roads. Tickets $15 each, or two for $25. Call 586-294-9432.
“Too Hot To Handel,” 10th anniversary performance, 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at Detroit Opera House, 1526 Broadway,Detroit; free pre-concert with artists at 2 p.m. Tickets $18-$65; call 313-237-SING or 800-745-3000 or at www.MichiganOpera.org.
Oakland Choral Society presents J.S. Bach: “Magnificat and Christmas Oratorio,” 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church, 38750 Ryan Road, Sterling Heights. Also, OCS performs Handel’s “Messiah,” 4:30 p.m. Dec. 11, at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 1800 W. Maple, Birmingham. Tickets $15, $25, for each show, at the door or by calling 248-391-0184.
Madison Chorale holiday concerts, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2, at Congregational Church of Birmingham, 1000 Cranbrook Road, Bloomfield Hills; also, 3 p.m. Dec. 4, at Our Lady of LaSalette Church, 2600 Harvard, Berkley. Tickets $15 at the door; call 248-808-6238.
Langsford Men’s Chorus Christmas celebration concerts, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, at Royal Oak Middle School auditorium, 709 N. Washington; also 4 p.m. Dec. 11, at St. Malachy Catholic Church, 14115 14 Mile Road, Sterling Heights. Tickets $15 at the door, $12 in advance by calling 810-632-4067 or going to www.langsfordmenschorus.org.
Cantata Academy Chorale and Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra Holiday Concert, 7 p.m. Dec. 4, at St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 15020 Hampton St., Grosse Pointe Park. Tickets $15 adults, $12 seniors/students, $30 family, at the door or by calling 313-242-7282.
MASS Ensembles performance group Christmas-theme show, 8 p.m. Dec. 10, at Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 350 Madison, Detroit. Tickets $30, $40, $50, at box office or www.ticketmaster.com.

Nutcracker Ballet
The Nutcracker Ballet Theatre Company presents Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 9-11, at McMorran Theatre in Port Huron. For tickets, call 810-985-6166 or visit Ticketmaster.com; for more information, visit www.porthuronnutcracker.org.

Toys for Tots
Angie D’Aleo Morelli holds 18th annual Toys for Tots party, 6 p.m.-midnight Dec. 2, at The Mirage Banquet Center, 16980 18 Mile Road, Clinton Township. Admission $20 per person and a new unwrapped toy. Entertainment by Mario’s Music Company and the Casali Holiday Dancers; Santa Claus also on hand. Call 586-863-2323.

Metropark events
Wolcott Mill Historic Center near Romeo, “Heritage Holidays,” 6-8 p.m. Dec. 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, includes children’s games, holiday decorations, etc. recalling years past, hot mulled cider, holiday music. Donations at the door.
Also, gingerbread house workshop at the Historic Center, 1 p.m. Dec. 4, fee $5 per house. Advance registration required. “An Evening with Santa,” 6 p.m. Dec. 2, at the Farm Center; advance tickets $7 per child, 44 adults, and “Lunch with Santa,” 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 3-4, at the Farm Center.
For registration and tickets, call 1-800-477-3175 or visit www.metroparks.com.
“Lunch with Santa,” 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11, at Stony Creek Metropark Nature Center, near Rochester/Washington Township, $5 per child, $3 adults, 586-781-9113. General park admission also required, 800-47-PARKS.
Metro Beach in Harrison Township, “Lunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus,” 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 3, at Thomas S. Welsh Activity Center, tickets $7 per person. Also, “Birds at the Feeders, noon-3 p.m. Dec. 4, at the Nature Center, for ages 10 and older; donations. “Nature Christmas Ornaments,” 1 p.m. Dec. 11, at Nature Center, $4 per person, ages 6 and older; “Explore Nature in Winter,” 1 p.m. Dec. 18, at the Nature Center. Fee $3 person, advance registration required. For Metro Beach events, call 586-463-4581.
Collectors show
Military Collectors’ Show, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4, sponsored by Men’s Auxiliary to VFW Bruce Post No. 1146, 28404 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. General admission $5. Refreshments available; patrons may bring military items to sell, trade or display.

Christmas market
“Gifts of Joy,” Christmas artists’ market, through Dec. 22, at Anton Art Center, 125 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens, admission free, 586-469-8666:
Meet the Artists reception on 1-3 p.m. Nov. 20.
Free family fun and make-and-take activities, 1-4 p.m. Nov. 20 and Dec. 11.
Mount Clemens Family Christmas, 1-4 p.m. Dec. 4, with free activities at Anton Art Center, the Crocker House Museum and the Michigan Transit Museum.

Fishing clubs
Vanguard Trout Unlimited for fishing enthusiasts meets 7:30 p.m. second Thursday monthly at Rochester’s Dinosaur Hill. Also, Fishing Buddies Fishing Club gathers 6:30 p.m. third Tuesdays at Rochester Hills OPC, 650 Leticia Drive. Call 248-375-1931.

‘Michigan’s Harvest’
“Michigan’s Harvest: Food, Family and Community” program series Nov. 19, at the Lorenzo Cultural Center at Macomb Community College, Garfield and Hall roads, Clinton Township. The program includes more than 30 free presentations, a series of five free exhibits and three special events (admission fee). For series and registration information, www.MacombCenter.com or 586-286-2222 or 586-445-7348.

Palette Club
Lakeside Palette Club has studio space 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays in Room 111 of Adult Education Center on Masonic near Jefferson. Call 586-350-4518 or visit www.lakesidepaletteclub.org.

Chrysler Museum
“Cars, Trees & Traditions” exhibit features 23 decorated trees paired with Chrysler vehicles throughout the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, through Dec. 30. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sundays; admission $8 adults, $7 ages 62 and older, $4 ages 6-12, free 5 years and younger. For details, www.wpchryslermuseum.org.

Farmers Market
Mount Clemens Farmers Market open 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 19, at 141 North River Road. Locally grown products, including flowers. Visit www.mountclemensfarmersmarket.com.

Holiday Gift Gallery
Holiday Gift Gallery, featuring handmade objects and artworks by Michigan artists in all media, opens with a Morning Shopping Extravaganza, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 19, at Paint Creek Center for the

Line Dancing
Line dancing and couples classes, Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. beginners, 7:15 p.m. beginner plus, 8:15-9 p.m. couples, at Roseville Recreation Center, 18185 Sycamore, east of Gratiot, north of Interstate 696, $5 per session. Call 586-777-7242 or countrycuzzins@wowway.com.

Square dancing
Patches Squares dance club hosts beginning square dance lessons, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at First United Methodist Church of Warren, 5005 Chicago Road. First class (no matter when dancers start) is free, $3 for following sessions. Call 248-613-3169.

Collectors show
Military Collectors’ Show, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4, sponsored by Men’s Auxiliary to VFW Bruce Post No. 1146, 28404 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores. General admission $5. Refreshments available; patrons may bring military items to sell, trade or display.

Features Editor Debbie Komar contributed to this listing.

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