Ah the holidays … one of my most favorite times of year. Yes, I love family, and sure I love gifts, but good gracious do I love the food. There’s something about the Christmas and holiday season in general that provides a platform for specific types of dishes. It seems un-American to prepare a large roasted turkey in the middle of summer, so of course we’ve got to take advantage of the bounty of food brought to the table in December. However, if we’re watching our weight or health in general, the holidays may make us feel uneasy about overdoing it.  

A chilly breeze, a warm fire, the chance of snow (or cold rain if you live in Alabama), loved ones all around, and a good book make for a wonderful winter night. It is the time of year where the list of to-dos can be pushed aside, in favor of spending time with family and reading those well-known stories that have shaped many childhood memories year after year. Not only is it the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ to recite these stories, reading to young children has many benefits.  

Research backs this up. According to the National Education Association, 26 percent of kids who were read to 3-4 times weekly recognize the letters of the alphabet. Among kids read to less frequently, that number drops to 14 percent. 

Gwen Pascal, a Children’s Librarian at the Tuscaloosa Public Library is passionate about reading to children and encouraging them to read. Over the years, she has compiled a list of some of her favorite holiday stories. 

Olive, the Other Reindeer is one of my favorites,” said Pascal. “He’s a dog who’s wrapping gifts, listening to Christmas music, and trimming the tree, and he hears the line ‘all of the other reindeer,’ and thinks, ‘oh, I’m a reindeer.’” 

Pascal enjoys reading to children that come to weekly story times at the library every Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. Anyone who walks into Pascal’s office can see the impact she has on the children who visit the library, as her desk is decorated with cards from children she has read to ever since infancy. 

“I’ve been doing this for 16 years. I have kids that came in when they’re young, and now they’re graduating high school and going off to college,” she said.

Services offered at the Tuscaloosa Public Library give local children many opportunities to read classic holiday stories. A children’s book table highlights a variety of seasonal books to choose from at Main library. If you want to check out some Christmas and holiday books, head to the library quickly – they are popular choices this time of year.  

It is the holiday season and that means much shopping!

Parents are often distracted and kids are intrigued by elevators, escalators, and elaborate store displays; which poses a surprising number of hazards that can cause severe injuries.  Here are some tips for keeping children safe during the holiday shopping.

Do you have activities and traditions passed along by your parents that you now enjoy with your children when the holiday season rolls around? Or are you a believer in creating your own? Or maybe you are a mother for the first time this year and are looking to discover and incorporate new traditions for your new family.  

If you’ve ever wanted to view a Christmas parade on the water, now’s your chance. On Saturday, Dec. 9, the community can enjoy the annual Christmas Afloat parade. The recreational boating club Pirates of the Warrior will host its annual lighted Christmas parade. 

For over 30 years, the Tuscaloosa Community Dancers have enchanted audiences with their annual performance of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Undoubtedly, this year's dancers, under the direction of Alden Phillips, a Tuscaloosa native and alumna of the performance group, will continue that tradition. 

If you’ve ever thought about having your pet’s photo taken with Santa Claus, now might be a great time to actually get that done. The Humane Society of West Alabama’s annual pet photos with Santa is happening soon at Pet Supplies Plus on McFarland Boulevard.

Tuscaloosa County Park & Recreation Authority announces the selection of four individuals as Grand Marshals of the 42nd Annual West Alabama Christmas Parade sponsored by PARA.

Tickets for the City of Tuscaloosa’s Holidays on the River event went on sale on Monday, Nov. 13. New this year, all day passes are available for purchase.

Fall in Tuscaloosa is remarkable sight. And in addition to the plethora of pumpkin spice lattes, and the stunning autumn colors beginning to burst from the trees, there are also some great Halloween destinations you don’t want to miss this month. 

Whether you’re into the spooky frights – like a tour of Tuscaloosa’s most haunted places – or you just want to enjoy a crisp fall day picking pumpkins, these are some of the best places for families to enjoy fall fun in the area.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.


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