Get it while it’s hot! Also? I’m sorry I’ve been such a slacker around these parts. But hey! Content! For you! Read on, readers.
For all you Twin Citians, here are my top picks for the places to shop, things to do, and ways to donate in these last few weeks of the holiday season.
Great place for last minute stocking stuffers and hostess gifts that won’t break the bank: Cost Plus World Market. After a bleak three years of shuttered doors, the Market is back in a big way. You’ll find inexpensive and creative accessories like jewelry, scarves, and my favorite – hand-held fans, for under $10. I also love their bar accessories, like wine stoppers, glass markers and decanters. If you have a wine snob on your list, be sure to get their big, glass wine decanter for just $19.99. Plus, if you join their free World Market Explorer rewards program, you’ll receive a 10% off coupon to use on your purchases that day.
There are two local stores, one by Rosedale on the Saint Paul side of the cities, and one on 494 and France Avenue, for those of you in the west. You can also shop online at WorldMarket.com.
Speaking on shopping online, these next few days, Tuesday through Thursday, are the last few days you can order gifts and have them sent the standard ground rate – i.e. the CHEAPER rate – and have your stuff arrive by Christmas. For example, standard rates end today for Cost Plus and Best Buy, and Thursday for Macy’s.
If you want to see the holiday lights, head over to Lights in the Park at Lake Phalen in St. Paul. For $10 per vehicle, you gain entrance to one of the loveliest light displays in the Cities. And if you go Sunday through Thursday, it’s only $8 a vehicle. Best of all, the money goes to local charities like Second Harvest Heartland, so you’re doing good for others while having fun. For more details, log on to lightsinthepark.org. It’s running nightly now until January 1st.
For another lights display in St. Paul, head to downtown Rice Park. Entrance to the park is free, and you’ll see, and I quote, “The 2012 – 2013 tree lit with 15,000 energy-efficient LED lights. The park will sparkle with millions of twinkling lights, classic Nutcracker and angel statues, and other holiday décor.” Then, work off some of those holiday treats at Wells Fargo’s Winterskate. Admission to the rink is free, and skate rentals are just $2. Or, show your Wells Fargo check card and get free rentals for you and your family. Just remember, they do use the rink for hockey practice and corporate broomball after 5 PM, Monday through Thursday. The rink is open now through February 3rd. You’ll find all the details, including where to park, at Wells Fargo Winterskate.com.
For one last lights display and food donation combination, don’t forget to bring a donation to downtown Minneapolis when you attend the Holidazzle parade. Since 1988, Ameriprise Financial has hosted their Food and Cash Drive. The 2012 Drive goal is to collect a combined $20,000 dollars and 20,000 pounds of food. Ameriprise Financial will match cash and food donations up to $20,000. Suggested donations include monetary donations and nonperishable food like dry cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, soup, peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken, sugar, flour, rice, pasta, boxed meals, and personal-care items. Stop by Holidazzle.com for more information.