Kwanzaa, celebrated between December 26 and January 1, is a time for families in the African-American community to come together and enjoy their heritage. Unlike many holidays, Kwanzaa was created by one person, Maulana Karenga, in 1966. He named the celebration Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits" in Swahili.
When winter skies turn gray, and the air thickens with a chill, life becomes harder for the feathered ones. Food is scarcer, and handouts from us humans can make a difference to them. Take just a few minutes to create a place for the birds to hang out on a frosty day. Once you've got your feeder hung, check out a bird identification book from the library to learn the names of your grateful guests.
On Christmas Eve, a young girl dreams her beloved toy comes to life. He becomes her Nutcracker Prince and dances his Clara through the land of sweets and defeats the wicked Mouse King. Perhaps you've seen the ballet-- it's so popular that many ballet schools make it their featured holiday production year after year. The music is amazing—from the wild Russian dance to the slow and mysterious Arabian dance. It all flows together to create a magical night of exhilarating performances.
Gail was a girl who loved stories. She wrote them and illustrated them from a very young age and created stories told with puppet shows to entertain her little sisters. She spent part of her childhood in the North Carolina countryside in a place called Shuffletown. Both of her parents were artists, and her father worked for the newspaper The Charlotte Observer. Visiting him at his workplace inspired her to pursue a career in art, too. She wanted to study in New York but compromised with her parents and attended schools in Virginia.
"Our intent is to show by example that you can really make delicious vegetarian food and that it needn't be considered a burden to take that up."--David Hirsch, Moosewood Co-Owner/Collective Member
It was a groovy time.
In 1973, a small restaurant opened in Ithaca, NY, that would hugely influence American dining, being named one of the thirteen most influential restaurants of the 20th century by Bon Appétit magazine. Locally, our own Sammy T’s restaurant features several dishes in the Moosewood tradition.
Holiday Gatherings | Savories and Sweets | A Sparkling Home | Holiday Movies | Gifts for All | Holiday Booklists and Book Matches
December can be a joyful time of peace and celebration, but too often “getting through the holidays” seems like more of a burden than a blessing. The push to have it all go perfectly is an impossible dream that undermines the true spirit of the season. Yet entertaining friends and family and decorating our homes, however simply or elaborately we choose to do these things, is something most of us truly want to do.
Let your library be your guide to wonderful resources on decoration, party planning, and gifting, along with a selection of holiday movies to keep you and your guests entertained, whether you’re trimming the tree or sipping cider.
Ultimately, you decide how much time (or how little) you want to put into your celebrations. Let’s get started.
March 12, 1888
She was waiting for her fiancé.
In the fine house on Fifth Avenue, Prudence MacKenzie wrapped her shawl a little tighter around her and looked out onto piles of snow that blanketed everything in glittering cold and listened to the wind howl as it paralyzed the city.
New Yorkers were used to dealing with snow, but the blizzard that struck on that late winter day was one for the history books. Surely her fiancé Charles wasn’t out in it. Surely. He was a sensible man, after all.
These aren’t Claymation perennials or Hallmark heartwarmers, but each film below has something unique to add to the holidays. From the true story of a wartime Christmas remembered decades later to celebrations in song to modern stories of hope restored, we hope you find something here to bring you Christmas cheer.
Author Shirley Jackson knew where the bodies were buried in the American psyche. Writing down her subtle suburban horrors during a period best known for Leave It to Beaver, she could put herself in the place of the outsider. The new neighbor who could not comprehend the quiet cruelty and amusement at her expense as she tries to interact in a straightforward fashion with her surroundings. Or, an intense young girl, estranged and tormented, who lives in a grand, crumbling house on the outskirts of town with her lovely sister and who may very well have killed off members of her family as they sat down to a meal.
Some people hike through the Appalachian Trail as quickly as they can, trying to set speed records. Some people spend hours in the car each autumn, looking at the bursts of colorful leaves on mountainsides, before heading back to their homes on flatter ground. They get something out of their journeys, sure, but they are missing a whole way of life.
Living in the Appalachians can be hardscrabble. Many of the people there are poor in material things. Why don’t more of them leave for better jobs? Some do. But many prefer to stay, and the answer lies in the strength of their families and communities. For hundreds of years, descendants of mainly Scots-Irish, English, and German immigrants, as well as members of the Cherokee Nation, lived in a culture that is self-reliant, and, yes, hospitable—assuming their visitors remain well-mannered.
Foodways are a big part of that culture. In his James Beard Award-winning Smokehouse Ham, Spoon Bread, and Scuppernong Wine, Joseph E. Dabney delves into those delicious delights, while including enough personal notes that you’ll feel you’ve spent some time chatting on screened porches.