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

Thanksgiving. It's all about tradition. A turkey (or faux-turkey) in the oven. The stuffing your grandma always made, and her grandma before that. Digging into a big slice of pumpkin pie even though you're too full to eat another bite. For some, Thanksgiving traditions mean a walk after dinner, a post-feast football game, or a marathon game of Monopoly. For others, it's all about the official start of the Christmas shopping season.


With all the Black Friday insanity, the Cyber Monday madness, and the Christmas season's (vaccinated) mall crush, it's easy for the simple joy of giving to get lost in the shuffle. So this year, why not sidestep the rush and make a new tradition. Take a little time to enjoy the process of choosing gifts in the sparkly holiday setting. Discover some great local businesses and pick up unique treasures for everyone on your list. After all, the cheery jingle of a bell ringing as you open the door, the friendly greeting from a shop owner, the gentle bustle of a town square, and the happy vibe of locally-owned business are some of the best things about holiday shopping.

Just because we're sidestepping the rush doesn't mean that the Thanksgiving weekend shopping tradition has to disappear. Saturday, November 27, is Small Business Saturday, a nationwide event encouraging shoppers to "shop small" on the year's busiest shopping weekend. There are some great shopping and gift centers, large and small, around the San Gabriel Valley. Pasadena is hosting From Pasadena, with Love featuring Welcome Stations across the city and chances to win Pasadena-branded swag and gifts.


Now, haven't you ever wondered what those city sidewalks from the classic Christmas Carol look like? Head to South Lake Avenue in Pasadena on December 4 to find out. You'll be treated to photos with Santa, cookie decorating, crafts for the kids, and loads of holiday cheer. Pop into Ten Thousand Villages for some unique gifts from around the world. Old Pasadena is also full of holiday cheer, starting this weekend in Central Park, where the Jackalope Artisan Fair bursts with great gifts, decorations, and cards. The Soap Kitchen is where you can buy beautiful, handmade soaps. And We Olive has olive oils and fixings galore for the cook in your life. Santa and the annual holiday tree celebrations kick off in One Colorado on November 26.


When it comes to Thanksgiving traditions, the always charming Claremont Village has a hybrid version of its 14th Annual Claremont Sunrise Turkey Trot. Runners can choose between running through Claremont (conditions allowing Thanksgiving morning or on the track of their choosing virtually). 


Spend the afternoon in Monrovia on December 2, where small-town charm abounds, complete with a holiday parade at 7 PM. Or, stroll the shops in Sierra Madre, where you can pick up beautiful natural décor at Leonora Moss, or a gift certificate for a relaxing treatment at the Butterfly Effect Day Spa. Before you leave, be sure to stop into Mother Moo Creamery for some delicious, handmade ice cream. You won't regret it.


Set aside the evening to shop and see the lights in Altadena. You can pick up some unique gifts and fun stocking stuffers at Carciofi Design or grab some treats for the 4-legged crew at Steve's Pets. Then, grab a coffee at Unincorporated Coffee Roasters and head up to Christmas Tree Lane to take part in the annual Lighting Ceremony, a 100-year old tradition that's not to be missed. (The official lighting date hasn't been set yet but check the Facebook page for more info.)


Now that's a whole lot to be thankful for!


Happy Thanksgiving...and let the shopping begin!


Julie Ward

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Pinecone Owls

The whole family is invited to the front lawn of the Altadena Library Main Branch on November 20, from 2:00 PM till 4:00 PM, to make pinecone owls. Registration is not required, but supplies are limited. 


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.


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.

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Take & Make: Fry Bread

Starting November 8, register online or by calling 626-744-7266 for your Take & Make Fry Bread kit. Based on the book Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story, the fry bread kit comes with online instructions on how to make it. Kits are available while supplies last.



Take & Make: Native American Dwellings

Starting November 8, register for a kit to learn about the different Native American dwellings and create your own papercraft models. Kits are available from the Hastings Branch Library for this 8 year old and up activity.



Native American Buffalo Hide Painting

On November 18, from 3:00 PM till 5:00 PM, your 5-12-year-old can decorate their own "buffalo hide," a traditional practice of the northern Plains tribes.



Take & Make: Paper Roll Totems

Your kids can learn about Totem Poles and make one of their own. Supply kits are available for pickup from the San Rafael Branch Library. Kit reservations open October 31 by phone at 626-744-7270. This is a month-long project available while supply kits last. 


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the orange cat bookshop
Featured in this issue of The Orange Cat, Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story 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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Take & Make: Tiny Art Show

Everyone in your family can take part in this art show! Pick up a mini canvas and some paint supplies from the Santa Catalina Branch Library. Then, return your creation by November 30 to be included in the library's Tiny Art Show! Supply kit reservations open on November 4.



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.



Sew It Begins: Wallets

Registration is still open for the zoom-based, two-part sewing lesson open to Teens and up who are familiar with - and have access to - a sewing machine. Classes are on November 29 and 30, from 3:30 PM till 5:30 PM. Registration is required, and registrants must attend both sessions. Check out the supply list online.



Video Game Club

Your Teen (age 14-19) can stop into the Hastings Branch Library Meeting Room on December 2, 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.

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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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