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Dozens of things to do for you and your whole family.
SEASON OF TEACHING GIVING

When it comes to Christmas, kids have a singular focus: It's all about the presents. They start their wish lists in late August, add to them as the toy ads hit a fever pitch around Halloween, and by mid-December, they're about to burst with the anticipation of it all. In the meantime, we parents have our hands full! We are busy making our lists, checking them twice; braving the mall, Amazon, and a host of Shopify stores; and cooking, preparing, and baking treats galore. So it's easy to see how the best part of the holidays –the giving part-can get lost in the shuffle.

 

The holidays are chock full of opportunities to give back, and it's easy to get the kids involved. It can be as simple as tossing a few coins in the red Salvation Army kettle at the supermarket. So let kids do the coin-tossing, and be sure to wish those bell-ringers a happy holiday. Smile at shoppers around you - no matter how Grinchy they may seem. Strike up a conversation with the checkout person at the store.

 

Then roll a bit extra giving into your regular holiday routine:

 

Baking cookies for the class party? Make an extra batch for your school's office staff or your neighbors. Then, drop them off with a handmade card.

 

Practicing carols for the school performance? Grab a few friends and arrange to share your songs with the residents at a local nursing home.

 

Out shopping? Pick up some warm gloves to donate to a local homeless shelter like Union Station in Pasadena. Or, let your kids choose a toy to donate to kids through Toys for Tots.

 

Then, think a little bigger.

 

Send a little holiday cheer to a veteran or military family in the community through the Red Cross Holidays For Heroes program and honor someone you love at the same time. There are a variety of activities tailored to the needs of your local veteran community, so you're always giving what someone truly needs to get.

 

It's a tradition for many to unwrap a pair of warm, cozy new pajamas on Christmas morning. So add a kid in need to your PJ purchasing list this year. The Pajama program provides cozy new pajamas and bedtime books to kids in need, many of whom are waiting to be adopted. One fun way to get new PJs to kids is to host a pajama party. Simply download the toolkit, invite some friends over (in PJ's, of course!) and ask them to bring a pair of new PJs and a new book to donate. Then, warm up some hot cocoa and pop in a holiday movie (of which there are just a TON to choose from these days).

 

If your child is obsessed with animals - and whether a new puppy is on the list or not - they can gift one themselves. Heifer International allows for animal donations to third-world families. Kids will have fun choosing a flock of chicks, a goat, a sheep, a pair of alpacas, or even honeybees to give. In addition, you can get a few other families in on the action to provide a water buffalo or a cow, providing good food and income for a family in need.

 

Last but not least, kids are notorious for outgrowing their coats just as the weather gets cold. So instead of tossing that old coat, donate it to Burlington Coat Factory's Warm Coats Warm Hearts Coat Drive. Simply bring your gently used coats to any location, and they'll get them into the hands of a person who needs them.

 

It just takes a little time and tweaks to your traditions to make giving the focus of your holiday celebrations. Before you know it, the "getting" part of the holidays seems a lot less important.

 

Happy Holidays!

 

Julie Ward

 

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PICKS OF THE LITTER

Children's Winter Bingo Reading Challenge

Your kids (ages 4-12) can join the Children's Winter Bingo Reading Challenge from the Altadena library from December 1 through January 7, 2023. Kids complete five activities in a row from their bingo card to collect a prize. If they complete all 25 activities, they get a free book while supplies last and are entered into the Grand Prize Raffle. See the event listing for details.

 

 

Read Around the World: Windy Lake First Nation

Your tween (ages 9-12) can join the Hastings Branch librarians on a reading trip to the lands of the Cree people of Canada and the northern U.S. via Michael Hutchinson's Mighty Muskrats mystery series. The journey happens on December 9 from 4:30 PM to 5:30 PM. You're asked to read at least any one book from the series so you can talk about it. Digital and audio versions are available online. The library has a limited selection of physical books for checkout. Registration is required, and spots are limited.

 


 

Gingerbread House Challenge

Your kids (ages 12 and under) can join the Monrovia librarians for a gingerbread house decorating program on December 7 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM. The program is in two 50-minute segments, and you choose the time that works best for you. All materials needed to make a gingerbread house will be provided. Registration is required as space is limited.

 

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MAJOR ATTRACTIONS


Winter Frolic Is Back!

Visit Kidspace now through January 8 to enjoy its annual celebration of all things winter with Winter Frolic! Your little ones can explore, create and have fun with the things that make winter a unique season and the holidays a joy. Please check the site for Rose Bowl closures before heading out. And we highly suggest getting tickets in advance, as walk-in tickets are limited.



 

And while you're at Kidspace and in a wintery kind of mood, make sure you wear your favorite pair of fuzzy socks and reserve your family's time on the Sock Skating Rink. No skates. No ice. Just sliding fun.

 




Lightscape: Bigger, Bolder, Brighter

Now through January 8, your whole family can be amazed at the LA County Arboretum's annual Lightscape exhibit. The exhibit has grown both in the number of glowing wonders and the length of the trail through the gardens. Keep in mind this does sell out fast, so book your tickets in advance, grab some cocoa and a warm coat, then head out to Arcadia for the evening!
 


 


LA Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow

LA Zoo Lights is back for the 2022/2023 season with another landscape reimagined with lanterns glowing in the shape of animals, flowers, trees, and more! The nighttime fun runs from November 18 through January 22. See the event site for tickets and details.
 



 

Muddy Boot Farm

Kidspace welcomes you and your kids to their new outdoor exhibit, Muddy Boot Farm, where everyone can play growing, harvesting, and selling their crops while learning how farms work and plants grow. The exhibit is free with your paid Kidspace admission or membership. Keep in mind events at the Rose Bowl impact Kidspace, so please check the hours of operation and reserve your arrival tickets in advance.
 

HOLIDAY TREE EVENTS

 

Holiday Tree Decorating

Your family can help the Lamanda Park Branch librarians decorate their tree on December 12-17 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM with an ornament you make! See the event listing for more details

 


 

Hastings Tree Lighting Celebration

Your family can join the Hastings Branch librarians for their annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on December 13 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. See the event listing for more details.

 


 

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Your family can join the La Pintoresca Branch librarians for the lighting of their Christmas tree and the arrival of Santa on December 10 from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM. Bring your camera for a free picture with Santa. See the event listing for more details.

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STUFF TO DO

 

 

Take & Make: Winter Holiday Sun Catcher

Your family can join the Hill Avenue Branch librarians in making a holiday sun catcher. You can choose from a variety of holidays. Reservations for craft kits are open from December 1 through 31 or while supplies last. 

 


 

Take & Make: Winter Scene Shadowbox

Your whole family can join the Hastings Branch librarians in making a holiday-themed shadowbox. Craft kit reservations open December 4, and kits are available through December 17 or while supplies last. 

 


 

Take & Make: Star of David

Your family can join the Santa Catalina Branch librarians in celebrating Hanukkah by making a glittering Star of David. Craft kit reservations open December 5 and are available through December 31 or while supplies last.

 


 

Snowman Stocking Holiday Ornament

Your family can join the San Rafael Branch librarians in making a snowman stocking Christmas ornament on December 7 from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM. To sign up, call the library at 626-744-7270.

 


 

Teen Party Games

Your teen (ages 13-19) can join the Hastings Branch librarians in some afternoon gaming fun on December 7 from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM with Mario Party Superstars. See the event listing for more details.

 


 

Sock Snowman

Your kids (ages 5-12) can join the Jefferson Branch librarians on December 8 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM to make a snowman out of a white sock. Socks and art supplies are provided. See the event listing for more details.

 


 

Mythical Glove Puppets Workshop

Your kids (ages 7-11) can join the La Pintoresca Branch librarians for a two-part workshop series where they'll learn how to make a traditional Taiwanese glove puppet and perform a story. It happens on December 10 and 17 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM. Registration is required, and spots are limited. 

 


 

Manga Book Swap

The manga lover in your home can jump for joy and head over to the Hastings Branch library with their like-new/gently-used manga to trade with another aficionado on December 10 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM. See the event listing for more details.

 


 

Teen Writers Meetup

Your teen can join other teen writers and the Hasting Branch librarians to share ideas for writing projects, support each other, and sharpen their skills with writing prompts. It all happens on November 12 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM. Registration is required, and spots are limited. See the event listing for more details.

 


 

Design Ornaments for Your Tree

Your tween (ages 7-12) can join the Hastings Branch librarians in studying classic images from the history of art and then design an ornament incorporating your favorite images on December 14 from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Registration is required, and spots are limited. 

 


 

Cricut® Crafts

Your teen (ages 13-19) can join the Jefferson Branch librarians in learning to use Design Space to create amazing crafts with the library's Cricut® Explore Air 2 cutter. Registration is required, and spots are limited.

 


 

Around the World Crafts at Bob Lucas: Austria

Your family can join Altadena Library's Bob Lucas Branch librarians in exploring the culture of Austria by making snow globes. Registration is required, and space is limited.

 


 

Christmas Storytime and Ornament Craft

Your kids (grades K-5) can join the Altadena librarians for a special Christmas-themed storytime followed by an ornament craft on December 8 from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM. Supplies are limited. See the event listing for more details

 


 

Family Film: Happy Feet

Your family can join Altadena Library's Bob Lucas Branch librarians for a screening of Happy Feet on December 9 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Popcorn will be provided while supplies last. See the event listing for more details.

 


 

Winter Storytime and Craft

Your kids (infant - 5th graders) can join Altadena Library's Bob Lucas Branch librarians for a special storytime and a winter-inspired slime-making craft. Registration is encouraged.

 


 

Santa Storytimes

Your kids (ages 0-5) can join the Monrovia librarians and everyone's favorite jolly friend for stories, songs, a short film, treats, and crafts on December 9 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM and December 10 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM.

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The Case of Windy Lake and other great books featured in our events are available from our online book shop. And, if that wasn't good enough, every purchase supports a local, independent book store.
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NINE LIVES EVENTS

 

These events are regularly scheduled, and many do not require registrations. That said, please check with the event host in case of holidays, weather, COVID, or other reasons to cancel or reschedule.
 




Board Game Night

Your family can join others and the Altadena librarians in an evening of board game fun on Mondays through December 19, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. No registration is required.

 


 

Chess Night

Your family can join other chess lovers and the Altadena librarians in an evening of chess-inspired fun on Tuesdays through November 22, from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. No registration is required.
 


 

Afternoon Games

The whole family is invited to the Villa Parke Community Center Branch Library to play games, from board games to giant dominos. The fun happens on Tuesdays, from 2:00 PM till 4:00 PM.

 


 

Infant & Toddler Storytimes

Your little ones (ages 0-2) and their caregiver can join the Pasadena librarians weekly at 10:30 AM for 20 minutes of reading, rhyming, and singing fun! 

Lamanda Park Branch - Tuesdays

Allendale Branch - Wednesdays

 


 

Preschool Storytime - Pasadena Public Libraries

Your kids (ages 3-5) can join the Pasadena librarians weekly for a selection of stories, songs, crafts, or a short movie. Activities vary by branch.

Villa Parke Community Center Branch - Tuesdays, 10:30 AM till 11:30 AM

Santa Catalina Branch - Wednesday, 10:30 AM till 11:00 AM

San Rafael Branch - Wednesdays, 11:00 AM till 11:30 AM

Lamanda Park Branch - Thursdays, 10:30 AM till 11:00 AM

Linda Vista Branch - Thursday, 10:30 AM till 11:00 AM

Hill Avenue Branch - Saturdays, 10:30 AM till 11:00 AM

 


 

Family Films

Villa Parke Community Center Branch hosts a family movie for you on Thursdays, from 3:30 PM till 5:30 PM. Please contact the branch at 626-744-6510 for the movie title. And this is a BYOS (bring your own snacks) event.

 


 

Video Game Club

Your Teen (age 14-19) can stop into the Hastings Branch Library Meeting Room on Thursdays, from 4:00 PM till 6:00 PM, for some gaming fun on the Nintendo Switch. They can make new friends and learn fair play every week. No registration is required. Must play well with others.

 


 

Crafting with Tish & Tosh

Join the Pasadena Library online for some all-ages crafting fun. You'll learn new crafts all year round. The crafting fun happens on every-other Monday on Instagram Live from 3:00 PM till 3:30 PM.

 



Teen Switch Hour

Your Tweens (ages 8-12) can join the Altadena librarians for some Nintendo Switch fun playing Mario Kart, Mario Party, and Smash Brothers every Thursday from 4:00 PM till 5:00 PM in the Main Library's Community Room. The library has a limited number of systems available. You are welcome to bring your own Switch. .

 


 

Innovation Lab

Your kids (ages 6-11) can join the Monrovia librarians every month as they explore different STEM-related activities. No registration is required. Supplies are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each event runs from 3:00 PM till 4:30 PM on the following dates:

September 7

October 12

November 9

December 14

 

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