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December Events
First Day of Hanukkah – December 6
Christmas – December 25
Kwanzaa begins – December 26
New Year’s Eve – December 31

Sugar Cookies

  • 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Gradually blend in the sifted ingredients until fully absorbed. Cover dough and chill for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. On a clean floured surface, roll out small portions of chilled dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out shapes using your favorite holiday cookie cutters.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until edges are barely brown. Remove and cool. For additional sweetness, you may even add some frosting and sprinkles!

Tips for hanging holiday lights

Bring the holiday warmth to your home this season with a safe and festive holiday light display.

The prep work

  1. Consider hanging your lights early in the season to avoid cold, wet weather.
  2. Measure and map out how many strings of lights your home requires.
  3. Choose a size and wattage that fits your needs. Mini-lights are less expensive and use less energy. Larger C7 or C9 lights are more durable and remain lit even if one bulb dies. Test for any dead bulbs to ensure your lights work properly.
  4. Plug your extension cords into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Be sure the total wattage of your lights doesn’t exceed the capacity of your outlet.
  5. Install hooks and clips along surfaces on which you’ll thread your lights.

Creating your display

  1. Mix up your light display to highlight paths, doors, windows, trees, planters and bushes.
  2. Space your lights a few inches apart so they don’t blend into each other.
  3. Hook your lights up to an automatic timer so they turn on when the sun dips and switch off at dawn.

Happy holidays!

Your December Maintenance Tip

Use these tips to improve your curb appeal:

  1. Use a power washer to clean the siding, clear out the cobwebs on the ceiling of your porch, wash fences and push the dirt off the driveway.
  2. Thoroughly clean ponds, water fountains or birdbaths by removing leaves, debris and algae.
  3. Ensure your lawn sprinklers and any misters are in working order. If sprinklers and emitter heads are malfunctioning, have the system professionally repaired.
  4. Freshen up your mulch. Use contrasting colors to make your landscaping pop: light mulch, dark plants or dark mulch, light plants.
  5. When trees and shrubs get out of control, trim them into squares or spheres. You can do this easily with electronic hedge clippers.
  6. A new welcome mat will personalize your front porch and make it more inviting.
  7. Don’t forget the backyard, especially if it can be viewed from the street.

A day tidying up your property will make a huge difference in bringing buyers through the front door and, hopefully, to the bidding table.

Your holiday travel guide

Whether you’re visiting family or taking a holiday vacation, you’ll need to travel smart to brave the holiday frenzy.

  • Leave early and map out alternative routes to dodge heavy traffic.
  • Book flights and hotels in advance to snatch the best travel deals.
  • Check the weather of your destination, and pack appropriately.
  • Opt for flights that depart early in the morning or late at night to avoid the holiday crowds. An early morning departure also provides you with alternative flights during the day if yours is cancelled.
  • Travel light and avoid checking luggage if you can. This expedites your airport time and ensures your luggage doesn’t get lost.
  • Don’t carry wrapped gifts in your carry-on luggage as they may be inspected. Leave them unwrapped, or else you may have to check them in.
  • Affix address tags on your luggage – just in case!
  • Make sure all of your electronics, especially your phones, are fully charged before you leave. You may run into delays and want to fill in your family members.
  • Bring snacks to ease waiting times.

Have a safe trip!