Dozens of things to do for you and your whole family.

One of the great things about the holiday season is that it's filled with opportunities to make things. You can craft ornaments for the tree or cards to send to friends and family; you can bake your famous sugar cookies or create the perfect holiday meal. With giving at the center of the season, one of the best ways to get your craft on is to add a few handmade gifts to your list. So whether you're the crafty sort or a bit challenged in that department, never fear. There are plenty of ways to create something worthy of some serious oohs and ahhs, come present opening time. Even better, the kids can get involved, learning the value of giving something that took time and effort to create.

Get out for a walk under twinkly lights, grab a hot cocoa to stave off the chill, then duck into one of our great make-your-own ceramics studios. Make a coffee mug, cookie plate, or salad bowl. Decorate ceramics with a holiday theme, or make a colorful, memorable piece that can be used year-round at Color Me Mine in festive Old Pasadena or cheery Montrose.

Using fabric crayons or markers, personalize plain potholders, dish towels, aprons, and cloth napkins. Let the kids create their own designs on these custom kitchen creations, then iron them to set them. Stamp on cheerful designs with fabric paint. Use iron-on transfer paper (found at most office supply stores or online) to transfer kids' drawings or even vintage holiday cards to dishtowels or aprons. Simply scan your image, print it onto the paper, and iron it on.

Add a little sweetness to your personalized kitchen gear by giving a jar of cookie mixsoup mix, or homemade hot cocoa mix alongside your masterpiece. Recycle an applesauce jar or use a mason jar, decorate it, fill it and tie the recipe instructions onto the neck with a ribbon. You can also add a nice wooden spoon or a holiday-themed rubber scraper to your package. If you're making hot cocoa mix, tie a couple of easy to make peppermint-chocolate swizzle sticks to your jar for an extra festive touch.

Peppermint Chocolate Swizzle Sticks You'll Need:

  • Candy Canes
  • White Chocolate Chips

Melt the white chocolate in the microwave. Remove the wrapper from the bottom of the candy cane. Dip ends of the candy canes, one by one, in the chocolate. Place them on parchment paper to set. Roll the dipped ends of the candy canes in colored sugar or holiday-themed sprinkles if you'd like. Let them harden, then place them in bags tied with a ribbon.

It's a fact. Everyone loves photographs. Instead of just popping them into a frame, give your pix a creative twist. Make a desk calendar like this one. All you need is a simple photo album and some calendar pages sized to fit your frame. Another way to keep your favorite photos on display year-round is to make these simple photo coasters. Use baby pictures, family photos, or chronicle a memorable trip or event. Wrap the stack up with a pretty ribbon for gifting. 

Make fun winter gear for kids and grown-ups alike using inexpensive, plain gloves, hats, scarves, a little felt, and embellishments from your sewing basket. First, simply cut hearts, flowers, or fun shapes out of colorful felt. Next, stitch your shapes onto the cuffs of gloves, the brim of a hat, or the end of a scarf. You can also use fabric glue to attach your shapes. Then glue or sew buttons in the middle of a flower to add a little sparkle to your shapes.

Wrap everything up with love, and be sure to recycle last year's cards into pretty gift tags!

Happy Crafting!


Julie Ward

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Nights of Lights and Wonder in Arcadia

The LA County Arboretum in Arcadia hosts the internationally acclaimed Lightscape event happening through January 16, 2022. Your family can wander through the Winter Cathedral and experience the Fire Garden and more. It's an unforgettable holiday event for everyone. Check out the site for tickets and details.



Winter Parks After Dark with Snow!

LA County Parks and Recreation is back with Winter Parks After Dark on weekends, December 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18, at 33 parks across LA County. There will be holiday activities, stockings for each child (while supplies last), hot cocoa station, and 40 TONS of snow! Check out the full list of parks and dates online. Our very own Loma Alta Park in Altadena is hosting a snow event on December 11, from 4:00 PM till 8:00 PM.



Out of the Pantry Cooking for Teens

A few spots are left for this teen cooking class on December 6, from 4:00 PM till 5:30 PM. If needed, limited supplies are available from the Hastings Branch Library only. Your teen will learn to make fresh semolina pasta with a lemon corn sauce! See the recipe and register on the site.


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the orange cat bookshop
Featured in this issue of The Orange Cat, Sal and Gabi Break the Universe and other great books featured in previous issues 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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A Nightmare Before Christmas - Movie & Trivia

Bring the whole family (and its memory) to watch A Nightmare Before Christmas, followed by a trivia game based on the movie at the Santa Catalina Branch Library on December 4, from 3:00 PM till 5:00 PM.



Allendale Branch Library Tree Lighting

Allendale's annual holiday tradition is back with JazzZone and the Blair High School Choir performances on December 4, from 4:00 PM till 5:30 PM.



Take & Make: Scrapbook Ornament

Pick up a kit and learn to make an ornament from festive scrapbook paper. Kits can be reserved starting December 6 online and be picked up from the Hastings Branch until December 10 or while supplies last.



Take & Make: Winter Weather Thermometer

Ideal for ages three and up, this craft will have them create a penguin thermometer to see if the temperature drops. Kit reservations open December 6 while supplies last.



Hour of Code for Kids Ages 7-9

Registration is open for this fun zoom workshop where your kids will play a game that teaches the fundamentals of coding on December 6, from 4:00 to 5:00 PM.



Hour of Code for Kids Ages 10-12

Registration is open for this zoom workshop that teaches your kids foundational computer programming skills through challenges that test critical thinking and creativity. The fun learning happens on December 7, from 4:00 PM till 5:00 PM, courtesy of the Lamanda Park Library.



It Takes a (Holiday) Village

On December 9, from 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM, your family will create, color, and decorate festive homes for the holidays with easy-to-follow instructions. Supplies provided from the San Rafael Branch Library. 



Take & Make: Shadow Box

Register for a kit to create a shadow box inspired by The Secret Garden or Treasure Island. Kit registrations open on December 13 and are available until December 17 or while supplies last. You can pick up kits from the Hastings Branch Library.



Windows and Mirrors Book Club

Spots are still available for your Tween (ages 9-12) to join this session of Windows and Mirrors on December 14 at 4:30 PM. In the club, kids meet to discuss a middle-grade book about kids with diverse backgrounds and experiences. This month the book of choice is Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez.



Hastings Annual Tree Lighting

On December 15, from 4:00 PM till 6:00 PM, your family is invited to the Hastings Branch Library for their annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, complete with festive songs, carolers, stories, refreshments, and crafts. 



Sketches & More: Art for Teens

Your Teen (ages 12-18) is invited to join the staff from the Armory in a workshop on painting with acrylics on December 16, from 4:30 PM till 6:00 PM at the La Pintoresca Branch Library. Registration is required.


L.A. Zoo Lights Returns

L.A. Zoo Lights is back from November 19 till January 9, 2022! The most fun you can have in a zoo after dark features even more glowing animals, the world's largest illuminated pop-up storybook, a disco ball forest, and a twinkling tunnel filled with dynamic, colorful swirls. Tickets required. See the site for more details.



Video Game Club

Your Teen (age 14-19) can stop into the Hastings Branch Library Meeting Room on December 9 and 16, 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.


Winter Frolic - A New Holiday Tradition from Kidspace

The first annual Winter Frolic opens November 19 and is Kidspace's biggest winter celebration ever! Winter Frolic includes some really unique activities we haven't seen before. And that's saying a lot given how long we've been publishing the orange cat! Our favorite is the Sock Skating Rink, a perfect take on a winter tradition for those of us who can't ice skate. Kids can go "ice fishing" in the interpretive Arroyo and build a fantastical winter sculpture with sparkling "ice blocks." There's even more, including skating under the lights on Friday and Saturday evenings.



Family Fun Films

Villa Parke Community Center Branch Library is queuing a movie suitable for the whole family on Thursdays from 3:30 PM till 5:30 PM. Call the library at 626-744-6510 for the specific title.

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NOTE: Story times are subject to change. Please check the sites. Recorded story times are generally available on library YouTube channels.

Teen Inspiration

Check out Altadena Library's Teen Instagram account for BTWN TiTLES, their biweekly posts of book reviews, creativity experiments, and more.

Pasadena Public Library regular storytimes:

Social Media Storytime: Preschool on Mondays at 10:30 - 10:50 AM on Facebook Live and Thursday at 3:00 - 3:20 PM on Instagram Live


Social Media Storytime: Toddler on Tuesdays at 10:30 - 10:50 AM on Instagram Live


Chinese Mandarin Storytime on Wednesdays at 3:00 PM on Instagram Live


Social Media Storytime: Hora de Cuento en Español on Wednesdays at 4:00 - 4:20 PM on Facebook Live


Social Media Storytime: ASL (American Sign Language) on Friday at 4:00 - 4:20 PM on Instagram Live

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