I've always felt a bit uneasy volunteering during the holidays - to help the homeless, the poor, the otherwise downtrodden - primarily because I find the spirit of helping people during a particular season creepy. For many, I think the holidays has become a period for justifying inaction during the rest of the year and relieving oneself of the guilt that that inaction comes with. Of course, I know this sounds slightly ridiculous, slightly humbuggerish, possibly uncaring. But you get my broader point. So, my question is: what volunteering activities do you find socially efficacious and personally meaningful? [more inside]
I need recommendations for an entry-level telescope and perhaps a good book to go with it. [more inside]
I have family (parents and siblings, no young'ns) visiting me in South Florida around Christmas. How can I best entertain them? [more inside]
What are the most memorable, awesome or useful handmade gifts you've received or given? I'm in search of some inspiration, as well as cautionary tales. [more inside]
It looks like I'll be in NYC over Christmas and New Year's, and I don't really know anyone in town. Any suggestions for how to salvage some joy from the holiday season regardless? Budget is reasonably flexible.
Ugh. I actually *am* sick - sick since I woke up this [Monday] morning. But calling into work has me cringing under the duvet. Please help me out of this quandry... [more inside]
The girlfriend and I cannot take another mm of rain in Scotland. We want to go somewhere hot (europe...anywhere!...hot!) for 4-5 nights (leaving tomorrow) but cannot find anywhere helpful to book a place to go. Please... help... somebody.... impulsive.. to find a website that'll help so WE CAN BE DRY!! [more inside]
Can anyone recommend a similar Barcelona hotel? [more inside]
I'm planning a two night boat trip in Ontario with my son. Any ideas on a waterway that will keep us occupied while we aren't fishing? We have a 16 foot boat so I need a fairly calm lake or river system.
Is there a good reference site for festivals around the world? I'm going to be traveling and this would be a neat place to start planning where to be when. I'd like to find a resource that has actual festivals, not just holidays (like you wouldn't specifically come to the US for MLK Day but you would for the 4th of July).
Where is a good place in a European city for a non-European to buy a small but nice two bedroom apartment for holidays? Looking for a city environment. How much would I need to spend? Are there any regulatory hurdles? Where do I find them? [more inside]
My family members decided to suddenly start celebrating Christmas this year. I feel weird about it. Help me deal with these changes. [more inside]
I'm going to be in New York with my dad on Christmas Eve. What should I expect, crowd- and activity-wise? [more inside]
Where can I buy a ridiculous Christmas sweater? [more inside]
Charity for Christmas? [more inside]
Are there likely going to be holiday sales on budget laptops? [more inside]
Please recommend a delicious, decadent, primarily chocolate dessert that I can make for Thanksgiving. Some constraints inside. [more inside]
I'm looking for a quotation that would be appropriate to include on a holiday card in the vein of growth, renewal etc [more inside]
Is there a way to excuse oneself from family obligations during the holidays? A way that would minimize gossip and guilt-trips? Any successes out there? [more inside]
My immediate family is considering making our holidays vacation a trip to New Orleans to do volunteer work, excavating houses, etc. Problem #1: We have no idea where to start. [more inside]
A large group (6-10) high school friends want to meet in Vegas for 4 days over new years. O' Hive mind, where can we get the best deal on airfare and a hotel on the strip? Please help as most of us are now exceedingly poor graduate students. [more inside]
I'm going to be in NYC with my girlfriend over Christmas, and need some advice from the hive mind about the general opening hours of restaurants and cafes on Christmas day in Manhattan. [more inside]
A young professional Jewish woman of my acquaintance is moving to London for about a year and would love to find some community that might be welcoming to a stranger for the holidays. Suggestions as to places to meet (reform preferred) Jews, websites, etc. would be welcome.
Help us find a regular location for weekends away - starting in Birmingham, UK - by public transport
We want to find somewhere we can regularly visit, that is accessible from Birmingham by public transport (up to 3 hours) and not too expensive. Seaside would be the best option. A guesthouse or perhaps a caravan site. Where can we easily get to in that timescale? [more inside]
What can I suggest my partner do with a huge stack of greeting cards he kept? [more inside]
So, I've agreed to drive a group of people to Longleat Safari Park this weekend. It's been in the diary for months, but the weather forecast is not good. If you've been to Longleat before - is the bad weather going to spoil the trip? should we reschedule?
Can you recommend any sites which list (or allow easy searches for) villas/cottages/apartments in Europe that are accessible without a car? I've found a couple for Italy here and here - any other suggestions?
how can i advise a youth-mentorship organization to be sensitive to the cultural and religious needs of its young participants and their parents?
how can i advise a youth-mentorship organization to be sensitive to the cultural and religious needs of its young participants and their parents? this Q applies to a very diverse group of kids. the issues i've noticed so far have specifically affected the muslim kids. [more inside]
As a first-time visitor to Rome and Florence (and Venice?) at next Christmas and New Year's, what can I expect? What is a must-see attraction that might have special holiday hours?
I can't stand my brother-in-law. [more inside]
What offbeat and/or slightly strange publications would be receptive to non-fiction writing submissions about Christmas? [more inside]
Can you help me find rice, corn, and wheat cereals in the UK that roughly correspond with Chex? [more inside]
Help me complete my groovy retro-kitsch Xmas CD [more inside]
Something special to do for boyfriend who is a stressed out single parent? [more inside]
It's gonna be a rotten Thanksgiving. Nothing tragic's happened, it's just that circumstances have conspired to make it rotten this year. What are some of the things you've done to alleviate or turn around a holiday you know isn't going to be the tiniest bit festive at all? [more inside]
Franksgiving was the notorious GOP / DEM legislative dispute over which Thursday in November was to be the official day of giving thanks. It seems unlikely the Mayflower gang had the coveted 4 day weekends in mind. Why is Thanksgiving always held on a Thursday and who deemed it so?
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, help me fulfill a childhood wish: Where are the best places on the route to stand? And how early should I get there? [more inside]
I want to bring alcohol for Christmas. This being AskMe, of course there is... [more inside]
Double Question: Favorite Fall Traditions/Make your own winter-holidays gifts [more inside]
I'm looking for a good vegetarian-focused (as opposed to just vegetarian-friendly) restaurant or buffet for Thanksgiving brunch/dinner somewhere around the Twin Cities area. It doesn't need to be actually in Minneapolis or St. Paul, but within a few hours' driving distance is preferred. Bonus points if the city where this elusive destination also has family friendly Thanksgiving-themed events like hay rides, etc.
My fiance and I have an on going debate regaring the name of the night before holloween. Growing up in a new jersey city we called it mischief night, but the 'burbs she grew up in watered it down to goosey night. I know some places call it devil's night, etc... What names is it called elsewhere. What name brings the sweet memories of getting egged and flower sacked to you folks?
London at the holidays...so much to do, so little time... [more inside]
Evil In-Laws Filter. Alternatively, do I need to learn to take the high road? My pseudo in-laws insist on maintaining a relationship with my boyfriend's ex-wife. This irks me to no end and I am exhausted from trying to ingratiate myself to them. Do I have to include them into my life? [more inside]
What is on your Christmas list? [more inside]
Is it possible to make someone happy, if they're generally not most of the time? [more inside]
To any non-Christians who celebrate Christmas - what makes the holiday special for you? What is "the true meaning of Christmas" for you? What traditions do you follow, what are your favorite memories, etc.
Just got done with an extended discussion of how weird my family is, after we decided to go to a buffet for thanksgiving rather than get together with the in-laws. Part of the problem is that my side of the family is "economically disadvantaged" and spouse's side of the family is middle class. [more inside]
Do you tip your building's super during the holiday season? Your postman? How much. I'm interested in practical advice on the local customs in Toronto, but stories from around the world (Hamilton, Scarbrough, Oakville, etc) invited too.
MissingGiftFilter: You have your coolest uncle in the family holiday gift draw. It looks like the gift you carefully chose for him will be late - what do you do? [+] [more inside]
So I completely underestimated the generosity of my co-workers. I'm a part-time employee, still in school, and not exactly at the top of the food chain. But a bunch of people I work with (some above me, some in different departments) gave me holiday gifts. Keep in mind that I'm making just enough to make ends meet. What should I give them in return? [more inside]