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’Tis the Season of Giving: Three Charities to Get You Started

the gig:

We all know the saying, “It is better to give than to receive,” and the old adage is especially near and dear to our hearts this time of year. What better time than Christmas to do something to make a very real difference in the lives of others? To get you started, here are three charities committed to making lives better the whole year ’round. 

One Warm Coat1. One Warm Coat

Being warm and dry during the coldest winter nights is something most of us take for granted. But for many in need, facing freezing temps can be a matter of life and death. That’s where One Warm Coat comes in, an organization that unites with local groups for a singular purpose: to collect coats to give to those in need, free of charge. (To date, the agency has given away close to four million coats.)

So raid your closets, your kids’ closets, your neighbors’ closets (just kidding about the last one … kind of) and pull out those no-longer-needed coats. Visit One Warm Coat to find your nearest drop-off location. Then, let the knowledge that your coat will directly help a child, woman or man in need warm your hearts this winter.

2. The Saint Nick Project (Toy Giveaway)The Saint Nick Project

As parents, watching your children’s eyes light up on Christmas morning is one of the best parts of the Big Day. But imagine if there were no presents to open. That is the reality for thousands of kids in inner-city Atlanta … or at least it would be without the Atlanta Dream Center. The non-profit partners with volunteers every year to hand deliver toys to thousands of at-risk children.

You can help make Christmas happen for these kids by bringing in new toys for children ages 2 to 12. Toys can be dropped off at 652 Angier Avenue Ne, Atlanta GA 30308 by December 18th at 5 p.m.

ATLDCBut that isn’t where your part ends. You and your littles can also be a part of the meaningful gift-giving experience on December 20 at 10 a.m. Volunteers will have a chance to visit the homes of the children in some of Atlanta’s most down-trodden neighborhoods and hand-deliver the gifts.(There is no age restriction on the Saint Nick Project, however, keep in mind that it is important to discern whether younger attendees can handle the experience.) For more info, visit The Saint Nick Project.

3. No Hungry Children

If you’re a mama,  you have a soft spot for kids at Christmas—no matter where in the world they are. This Christmas, you can teach your own kiddos the importance of giving by partnering with the locally-based organization No Hungry Children. The African-focused non-profit makes it their mission to feeding hungry children every school day in the slum schools of Nairobi, Kenya.

There is no better proof of how so much can be done with so little than No Hungry Children. Just $1 feeds 1 child for 1 week. Yep, you read that right. For less than $60 a year, your family can feed one child for a year. Visit their website to see children awaiting sponsors and make impacting the world for the better one child at a time a new holiday tradition for your family.

To find out more about No Hungry Children, check out our Holiday 2014 issue here.

the guide:

One Warm Coat 

The Saint Nick Project (Toy Giveaway)

No Hungry Children

Earl Strand Theater Holiday Schedule

Strand Theaterthe gig:

Christmas time’s a comin’ to our favorite historic theater on the Square! The Earl Strand Theater is offering four super-fun ways to make magical Christmas memories with you and yours this holiday season. So make plans now to add these jolly events to your calendar before the Christmas crazies hit!

1. A Christmas Tradition 

This December, The Strand welcomes the return of last year’s highly successful winter music revue, A Christmas Tradition. Guaranteed to make the entire family dance, clap, and enjoy the spirit of the holidays, this upbeat song and dance revue will feature classic Christmas tunes, as well as childhood favorites and contemporary gems.

And, in case you have a scrooge in your familial mix. No worries! The Strand has added a brand new children’s choir that fill the the grinch-iest of hearts with the holiday spirit. In addition to the main show, A Christmas Tradition will feature a trolley replica on stage and a multimedia tribute to the highlights of Marietta. There will also be a pre-show holiday sing-along with Ron Carter on the Mighty Allen Theatre Organ 30 minutes before showtime.

2. Charlie Brown Christmas Concert: Featuring Jeffrey Bützer and T. T. Mahonycharlie_brown

For the third year running, The Strand will play host to the whimsical stylings of Jeffrey Bützer and T.T. Mahony as they present a jazzy musical tribute to Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. Bützer and Mahony will be playing the fanciful Christmas songs that Charlie Brown and the gang have made favorites for the holiday season. The show is guaranteed to tickle your nostalgia-bone and get you in the Christmas spirit. With a history of sold out shows, don’t wait to get your tickets!

3. Christmas Royal Tea and Grand Yuletide Ball     

Give that special starry-eyed child in your life an early Christmas present they’ll love with an afternoon of tea party fun. You and your prince or princess will start the evening with Christmas royals Prince Goodtidings and Princess Joy in the The Strand’s banquet chamber for High Tea. (High Tea includes juice or tea and a plate of sweet treats.)

Afterwards, the Prince and Princess will teach young guests a few simple royal dances at the Grand Yuletide Ball. Children (and their guests, too!) are encouraged to dress up for the special occasion.

4. It’s a Wonderful Life Marathon

It-s-A-Wonderful-Life-picPlan now to take a break from the frantic rush of last-minute holiday shopping and remember the importance of family and compassion with a day-long marathon showing of It’s a Wonderful Life. The Monday before Christmas, put on your Christmas jammies (really!), grab some popcorn, and prepare to be heart warmed with the classic story of redemption and hope. Arrive 30 minutes early to catch the holiday pre-show and sing along with the Mighty Allen Theatre Organ.

the guide: 

1. A Christmas Tradition, December 5-21

Week 1: Friday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m.Saturday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m.Sunday, Dec. 7 at 3 p.m.

Week 2: Friday, Dec 12 at 8 p.m.Saturday Dec. 13 at 8 p.m.Sunday, Dec. 14 at 3 p.m.

Week 3: Friday, Dec. 19 at 8 p.m.Saturday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m.Sunday, Dec. 21 at 3 p.m.

Tickets for A Christmas Tradition are on sale now. Seating is assigned, and tickets are $25. Special pricing for seniors, students, and groups are available online and through the box office.

2. Charlie Brown Christmas Concert, Thursday December 18, 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 the day of show.

3. Christmas Royal Tea and Grand Yuletide Ball, December 20 & 21 at 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for children and adults. (Limited space available.) Ticket includes a gift bag of goodies for our young guests that include an autograph book to commemorate the afternoon with Christmas Royalty and new friends.

4. It’s a Wonderful Life Marathon, Monday, December 22 at 12 p.m.3 p.m., 6 p.m., & 9 p.m.

Tickets are general admission, $8 for adults and $7 for seniors, students, and military.

For more information on any of the above events or to purchase tickets, visit or call the box office at 770-293-0080.

The Earl Strand Theater is located at 117 North Park Square in Marietta. Box office hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Also, The box office opens two hours before showtime.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Lights Up Atlanta

the gig:rudolph_center for puppetry arts

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall–the most famous reindeer of all? 

Rudolph and his rosy schnoz are about to make the holidays a little brighter for you and your family. The seasonal classic is back at the Center for Puppetry Arts from now through December 28. Join Rudolph and Santa, Hermey the Elf, the Abominable Snow Monster and all the other merry misfits as they reveal a timeless tale of acceptance and good will to all that has inspired generations.

Skilled puppeteers use rod and body puppets in this adaptation of the festive family classic. The recreation of the stop-motion film has become an Atlanta tradition: This year marks the 5th anniversary of the Center’s production of the favorite holiday adventure, as well as the 50th anniversary of the classic TV special.

Rudolph_1Director John Ludwig has this to say about the classic tale: “I have always loved this story. Apparently, there are a lot of others who love it too, but that makes sense as the story is about Rudolph and Hermey finding their place in the world, and realizing that everyone has a purpose. That’s what the holidays are about: family and community.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. So what are you waiting for? Get glowing (we couldn’t resist!) and make the seasonal spectacular part of your family’s festive traditions this Christmas!

the guide:

When:  Now through December 28 | For dates and times, visit: poster

Where: Center for Puppetry Arts at 1404 Spring Street NW in Atlanta.

Cost: Tickets are $9.25-$13.25 for members and $16.50-$20.50 for non-members. Tickets include the performance, museum admission, and the Create-A-Puppet Workshop (or To-Go Kit).

To purchase tickets: visit or call 404-873-3391.



The Marietta Pilgrimage: A Christmas Home Tour through Marietta

the gig:

 Marietta PilgrimageChristmas … the sights, the sounds, the smells … ahh! Just thinking about it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. And merry and bright. And jolly and cozy. And all of those other wonderful Christmasy words. The bottom line: We. Are. Excited. 

And not least because Christmas-time means it is time, once again, for the annual Marietta Pilgrimage—a.k.a. our chance to get an up-close glimpse at some of Cobb’s most beautiful homes all decked out for the holidays. 

Now in it’s 28th year, the Christmas Home Tour through Marietta features six homes arrayed from top to bottom, inside and out, in the season’s finest. On December 6th and 7th, ticket-holders can tour homes on the Whitlock Avenue Historic District, including the former governor’s mansion, a 19th century home and a charming 1950s cottage.

At each home, you will be greeted by gorgeous holiday decor and Southern hospitality at its finest. (If you’re a late bloomer when it comes to the Christmas spirit, we can all but guarantee you’ll be inspired to finally drag your decorations out of the attic.) Docents will be on site in each home to highlight the history of the home and the decor. Both day-time tours and candlelight tours are offered.

this year’s featured homes:

The Barnes House

The Barnes House

The Head-Sprague House

The Head-Sprague House

The Hagood-Sheeler-Musolf House

The Hagood-Sheeler-Musolf House

The Winn Cottage

The Winn Cottage

The Rockford House


The Kennedy House

The Kennedy House

To kick off the weekend festivities, “The Marietta Pilgrimage Tour Gala” will be held the evening of December 5th in the historic Whitlock Inn.  The glamorous black tie event will feature dining, music, and dancing. Both the home tours and the Gala are a Christmas-lover’s dream come true. 

Can it be December 5th yet, pretty please?!

the guide:

To purchase tickets for the Gala or the Christmas Home Tour, visit

Fallen Heroes Exhibit | North Cobb Christian School

RememberingFallenthe gig:

North Cobb Christian School is hosting the “Remembering Our Fallen” exhibit November 4 through 6, which is a national tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan since September 11, 2001.

Warriors of the 21st Century are professionals who volunteered to join the United States Armed Forces. They grew up in the shadow of September 11, a defining moment for most of them. Many have endured multiple deployments and most return home. Some do not. “Remembering Our Fallen” was created to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Its legacy will be that these men and women will never be forgotten and that their names will be remembered and spoken.

One or our own heroes, Jacob Dennis (NCCS class of 2005), who gave his life in service to our country in Afghanistan, is included in those who are honored in “Remembering Our Fallen.”  This is the first time this exhibit has come to our area for public viewing, and NCCS is honored to host it and invite others in the community to be a part of this meaningful event.

Family Members. Fallen Heroesexhibit hours:

Tuesday, November 4 – 9:00am until 8:00pm

Wednesday, November 5 – 9:00am until 5:00pm

Thursday, November 6 – 10:30am until 5:00p

the guide:

For more on the exhibit:

NCCS | 4500 Lakeview Drive, Kennesaw, 30144 | | 770-975-0252

For questions, e-mail Leigh Ann Geter –

Holiday window reveal = old-fashioned family fun

Woodstock Market 1the gig:

Once a year, the scene in front of Woodstock Market is like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting: families gathered together, cups of cocoa in hand, carolers caroling, Santa overlooking the happy scene, and at the center of it all, an iconic Christmas window display.  

Sounds pretty idyllic, right?

This Friday, November 7, the Woodstock Market host its 3rd annual Christmas Open House with an old-fashioned holiday window reveal, and you and yours can join in on the nostalgic merriment.

Purveyors of some of the best antiques and home decor in all of Georgia, it’s no surprise that Woodstock Market is known for creating one of the prettiest holiday window displays in the south. Last year, their window was named one of the 50 best Christmas windows in the world last year alongside windows from the likes of Macy’s and Bergdorf’s.Woodstock Market

In addition to providing a night of Christmassy fun, the over-the-top awesome displays will also add serious eye candy to your holiday shopping. After oohing and ahhing over the tricked-out display, you can come back on Saturday and Sunday to snag everything in the shop at a 20 percent discount. (Get early entrance to the goods on Saturday from 9 – 10 a.m. with a $5 donation or toy for foster children.)

So make plans now to gas up your sled and head to Woodstock Market for a weekend of old-fashioned Christmas fun.

the guide:

where: Woodstock Market, 5500 Bells Ferry Rd, Acworth, 30102

when: November 7th, 7 – 9 p.m.

Kick Off the Holiday Shopping Season at Elegant Elf Marketplace

the gig: 

Elegant Elf 1Forget filling the space under your tree with the usual socks and sweaters this Christmas. You can snag the title of gift-giving master this year, and you can do it without dashing all over town.

What’s the secret? Three words: Elegant Elf Marketplace.

It’s the biggest and best selection of gifts in one place, all in a setting of festive winter fun. (Think: merry elves to greet you at the door, Christmas decor galore and the requisite jolly music.) Now in it’s fourth year, the two-day shopping extravaganza features a spectacular array of artisan finds, from food gifts to handmade jewelry.

With so many goodies to choose from, we can bet you’ll find just the right thing for every person on your shopping list. (Even impossible-to-buy-for Uncle Ed). From hand-forged grilling forks and container gardens to heirloom quality baby clothes and locally made wooden cutting board, Elegant Elf has gifts that’ll keep a smile on your family and friends’ faces all year long.

And, with all of your shopping done before you even pop the turkey in the oven, YOU’ll be blissfully stress-free in the weeks leading up to the big day. Now, THAT’S something to get Christmas-morning-happy about!

the guide:

when :Nov. 15-16, 2014. Sat 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.;  Sun 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

where: Lake Forrest Elementary School, 5920 Sandy Springs Circle in Sandy Springs
cost: $5 at the door (Children 10 and under free)

GNO Fashion Show at The Strand | Marietta Square Events

Fashion Show Strandthe gig: 

FABULOUS GNO ALERT!! On Thursday, October 30, the Earl Smith Strand Theatre is hosting a Girls Night Out Fashion Show and pop-up boutique event that you don’t want to miss.

Cocktails & Vendors: 6 p.m.

Bring your wallet and come to shop: Gifts, clothing, jewelry and more will be set up in the event’s pop-up boutique!

Fashion Show: 7 p.m.

Come see some of our community’s most beloved ladies strut their stuff, wearing the latest fall styles from:

Macy’s | the honeybee | L. Michelle | Love Street at Cedarcrest | Heart & Sole | Ivy Lane Boutique | Miss Priss Tutus | Fashion Cupcake Clothing & Gift Boutique | B. Watts & Company | lia sophia Melissa Sarathy | Rhinos and Rhinestonez


Meet the Models 8 p.m.

(Our own editor Elizabeth Cossick and her daughter Mia are in the show!!)

Linda Beggs | Cassandra Buckalew | Katy Ruth Camp | Elizabeth Cossick | Mia Cossick | Mamie Doyle | Nicole Faulk | Teena Garcia | Allison Gruehn | Cate Gruehn | Maryum Goodwin | Terri Bunten Guthrie | Kelly Herrero | Chloe Herrero | Sally Macaulay | Paula McVicker | Zinta Perkins | Debbie Ponder | Angela Poston | Caroline Poston | Sarah Beth Poston | Kelley Weiner | Grace Weiner | Libbie Weiner | April Wright | Ava Wright | Sabrina Young

the guide: 

tickets: Purchase $20 tickets online: or call 770-293-0080.

date: October 30, 6-8 p.m.

address: 117 North Park Square
Marietta, GA 30060

**Proceeds benefit The Strand, which needs to raise funds to remain a cultural highlight of our community.**


Elf on the Shelf Book Signing at Local School Box Stores

Elf on the Shelfthe gig: 

With the holiday season quickly approaching, it won’t be long before getting on Santa’s Nice List (and staying there) will become top priority for your kiddos—especially if you have a resident Elf on the Shelf.

Fortunately, we know of at least one sure-fire way of making the list—get your very own Elf on the Shelf book signed by illustrator, Coe Steinwart, at the Town Center or North Point School Box stores on October 25th.

Whether your Elf on the Shelf is like a family member or you’re just now considering starting your own Elf tradition, this is your opportunity to meet a local legend. Hailing from East Cobb, Steinwart’s award-winning work is now a cherished memento in millions of homes across the country. (And, if it isn’t part of yours already, there will be copies available in stores the day of the signing.)Coe Steinwart

So pack up the kiddos this Saturday and stop by the School Box store at Town Center or North Point to snag your … er,  your children’s spot … at the top of the Big Man’s Nice list this holiday season.

the guide: 

The School Box at Town Center, 425 Barrett Pkwy in Kennesaw

October 25 from noon – 2 p.m.


The School Box at North Point | 7591 North Point Pkwy in Alpharetta

October 25 from 3 – 5 p.m.



Wizard of Oz Comes to Center for Puppetry Arts

Wizard of Oz_group_courtesy of Frisch Marionettesthe gig:

There may be no place like home, but the Center for Puppetry Arts runs a pretty close second this month. After a sold-out first run at the Center, The Wizard of Oz is back by popular demand!

From now until October 26, Dorothy and the gang are back together in the Frisch Marionettes’ adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel. During the show, Dorothy celebrates our nation’s rich musical heritage as she travels down the Yellow Brick Road to find out why the Lion, Tinman, and Strawman are all singing the Blues.

And speaking of the blues, we are positive those are something you won’t have if you snag a ticket to the fan-favorite event. For the very best trip to the Emerald City, snag the all-inclusive pass, which will gain you entrance into the Center’s Museum, where you can get up close and personal with the puppets. In the permanent hands-on exhibit, you and your kiddos can interact with hundreds of puppets from around the world.

The all-inclusive ticket will also include a chance for your littles to make their very own puppet to take home in the “Create-A-Puppet Workshop.” Kids can create a Cowardly Lion String & Rod Puppet, or pick up a Create-A-Puppet To-Go Kit to continue the fun at home! (The workshop can also be purchased separately for $5.75.)

Ready to snag a ticket? Slip on your ruby red slippers, close your eyes, click your heels together three times, and say, “There’s no place like the Center Puppetry Arts.” (Or, just visit the Center’s Web site below.)

the guide:

When:  Now through October 26 | Wednesday – Friday: 10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.; Saturday: 12 p.m. & 2 p.m.; Sunday: 1 p.m. & 3 p.m.

Where: Center for Puppetry Arts at 1404 Spring Street NW in Atlanta.

Cost: Tickets for patrons, ages two years of age and older, are $9.25 (Members) and $16.50 (Nonmembers) and include the performance, museum admission, and the Create-A-Puppet Workshop (or To-Go Kit).

To purchase tickets: visit or call 404-873-3391.


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