Tag Archives: Christmas

10 Must-Know Holiday Hotel Travel Safety Tips


When it comes to travel, it doesn’t matter if you are an Elite Platinum Member or just a grandparent heading out for that once a year trip. You need to be concerned with your personal safety!

Below are 10 must know holiday hotel travel safety tips you should be aware of, before you even start packing. We want you to be ready when you make your first stop along the way.

  1. Let’s start with the basics. Always beware of your surroundings, when approaching your room.
  2. Don’t let the attendant at the front desk publicize your room number. If he or she announces it out loud when giving you your key, ask for a different room. Have them write the number and hand it to you.
  3. When possible, avoid staying on the first floor. Many safety experts recommend occupying a room somewhere between the third and sixth floors — where rooms are high enough to be difficult to break into; but not so high that they’re out of the reach of most fire engine ladders.
  4. Keep the door to your room locked at all times. If you are inside the room, turn the deadbolt and fasten the security chain and or/the boat latch. I would also recommend investing in a portable doorstop alarm. This is an item you can find on our website.
  5. Check the locks on the windows (and balcony door, if applicable) as soon as you arrive, and notify the front desk if any are not functioning. It’s a good idea to check these locks again each time you return to the room, as housekeeping may open them and forget to close them.
  6. When you leave your hotel room, pull the door completely closed behind you. Make sure the latch has engaged. Take a moment before you leave to try the door and make sure it is secure.
  7. Use the security view-port (peephole) to see who is outside your door before opening it. Do not trust someone claiming to be a hotel employee if you are not expecting one. If you are unsure, call the front desk to check. Leave the security chain engaged while opening the door for further protection.
  8. When leaving your room, turn the TV or radio on, and/or put your “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. Both of these tricks will give potential thieves the impression that you’re still there. (You can contact the front desk to arrange a housekeeping visit even if the “Do Not Disturb” sign is up.)
  9. The hotel parking lot and hallways should be well lit. Report any outages to the front desk and ask for a security escort if you feel unsafe. Always try to park under a light.
  10. When entering or leaving the hotel after dark, use the main entrance.

The safety tips in this article and many others can be found on our Simple Self Defense for Women DVD. Please visit our website www.simpleselfdefenseforwomen.com for more details.

        Tracy Vega, Co-Founder- Simple Self Defense for Women

7 Holiday Shopping Safety Tips


Can you believe the holiday shopping season is here? I laugh, now, looking back… My dad always had a backache the day after Thanksgiving; and now I know why. He didn’t want make the drive, fight the crowds, carry the packages and handle the kids while my mom shopped!

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that men still don’t like to go shopping, at least until Christmas Eve. What has changed is how dangerous it can be, if you aren’t aware of your surroundings. This is especially true for folks that don’t normally venture out to the mall or the big box stores during peak hours or with crowds.

Here are 7 simple safety tips to help make your holiday shopping experience a safe one!

  1. Tell someone where you plan to shop and about what time you expect to be home.
  • This is especially important for those who don’t normally go out very early or late.
  • Leave a note or tell someone where you plan to shop just in case. This can be very valuable if there is an accident or worse. It gives family, friends and police an idea where and when to start looking if you don’t return.
  1. Since holiday hours now start in the wee hours of the morning and go very late into the night, be sure to park under a light and as close to the entrance as possible.
  • Write down where you parked or even take a picture so you are not wandering looking for your car when you are ready to leave.
  1. Always have your pepper spray in your hand when you are walking to and from the car.
  2. Minimize the amount of items you carry in your purse during the holidays.
  • Only carry one credit card and a minimal amount of cash.
  • Leave all the extra pictures and personal items at home.
  • Always put your purse inside the car and lock the door (keep out your keys) before you start loading the car. NEVER leave it sitting out in the cart.
  • If someone tries to steal your purse, LET IT GO!! It’s not worth your life!
  1. Are you carrying more packages than you can manage? Can you barely see over the top of your cart?
  • Make multiple trips to your car if you are shopping at a mall or strip center. You don’t want to have so many packages in your arms that you have to lean them against the car or leave them in the cart where someone can walk by and grab them.
  • Put all items in your trunk or cover under your hatch. Don’t leave anything visible to the public.
  1. Avoid the ATM machines when possible. If you have to use one, go to a drive up and keep your pepper spray in your hand, only open the driver side window and stay alert to anyone around you.
  1. Parking lots are a place where people come and go. Pay close attention if you notice anyone lingering and acting suspicious. If in doubt, call and report it.

The safety tips in this article and many others can be found on our Simple Self Defense for Women DVD and in our new Simple Safety Tips book. Visit our website www.simpleselfdefenseforwomen.com for more details.

Tracy Vega, Co-Founder- Simple Self Defense for Women®

Lights, Camera, Action!

Santa train light display light up at night

I bet you think I am going to talk about making movies, don’t you? Well I am not. At least, not in the form of big Hollywood productions. They could be potential smile winning home movies to cherish. Just don’t expect to hear, “the envelope please.”  What I am talking about here is the combination of those three words as they relate to this week’s Holiday events.

The events this week all have decorating with lights in their theme. Some of them are drive thru, some are walk thru and some are just for viewing anytime you happen to be downtown. Most of these are holiday decorating on steroids. They feature lighted displays that are so bright they could serve as runways. These displays are a source of great warmth not for any real heat but because of the warm glow and feeling you get just looking at them.  Maybe they bring back all the Christmas memories of your youth or maybe it’s just that you feel like a kid all over again. Whatever the reason I am very certain that if you like holiday lights, you will not be disappointed in any of the displays listed here.

The camera part is very easy to understand. Because everything you see, you will want to commit to memory. You do not want to miss a moment of the beauty or the reactions of those who are with you; young and old alike. Additionally, many have parades and the opportunity to visit with Santa. Those are definitely camera necessary events!

And finally, as far as action goes, anyone and everyone who has prepared for the holidays is very aware of how that figures in here. Activities, like getting everything together, baking cookies, making plans, decorating the house and the tree, the dreaded shopping trips, etc. is all the very definition of action.  I am not complaining however, because I really enjoy it all. Well all except the shopping, I hate shopping any time of year.

The point is that the holidays are here to enthrall and overwhelm us. The next 5+ weeks will displays in your area to visit. Most of the ones I list here are on-going until Christmas and many beyond. I am sure most in your area will be as well. That’s great because you have a good amount of time to get to them, not just a weekend. Check with each event for specific dates and times. I promise that you will love it if you decide to go! My first official drive-thru display experience was over 20 years ago and the same excitement and anticipation is still there every season when I return.

Oglebay’s Winter Festival of Lights

Nov 08, 2013 – Jan 05, 2014

Oglebay Resort and Conference Center Wheeling, WV 26003

Since 1985, over 40 spectacular displays consisting of over a million colorful lights displayed throughout 300 rolling acres of the 6 mile drive. Businesses participate with decorations to add to the festive atmosphere. There are craft demonstrations, a laser light show and train exhibits as well. This is a free event, however donations are graciously accepted.
1,000,000 Attendees

Southern Lights

Nov 22, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013

Kentucky HorsePark Lexington, KY 40596

Since 1994, Arts and crafts, seasonal entertainment, special exhibits and 4 miles of spectacular holiday lights.
80,000 Attendees

Holiday Lights at the Beach

Nov 15, 2013 – Jan 01, 2014

Boardwalk at 2nd Street Virginia Beach, VA 23450

Since 1996, 50,000+ cars drive along the boardwalk at night and view a colorful display of nautical-themed characters and animals. Listen to holiday music as you drive down the Virginia Beach boardwalk…dazzled by jumping fish, surfing Santa’s, and playful mermaids! The area is transformed from a peaceful oceanfront into a play land of nautical and holiday characters right before your eyes. Viewing this holiday treat has become a tradition for Hampton Roads families, with new displays added each year. There is a charge per vehicle to drive through the display. Beginning on 2nd Street on the Boardwalk.
200,000 Attendees

Festival of Lights

Nov 23, 2013 – Jan 06, 2014

Downtown Historic District Natchitoches, LA 71457

Celebrating “45 Nights of Christmas Lights”! Natchitoches, Louisiana has been Louisiana’s premiere holiday destination since 1926. Over 300,00 Christmas light and 120 plus river bank set pieces are on every night at dusk. Downtown attractions include carriage tours through the historic district. Shops and restaurants will be open late. All events take place in the Landmark Historic District along the CaneRiverLake.
100,000 Attendees

Lights on the Lake

Nov 21, 2013 – Jan 12, 2014

Onondaga Lake Park Liverpool, NY 13088

Two miles of breathtaking beauty await visitors at the Lights on the Lake. Open daily, this drive-through holiday light show transforms Onondaga Lake Park into a winter wonderland featuring larger than life displays and thousands of twinkling lights and has become a tradition for thousands of Central New York (and beyond) families.

International Festival of Lights

Nov 23, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013

Downtown Battle Creek Battle Creek, MI 49017

Kellogg’s Cereal CityUSA will magically transform into a winter wonderland. Thousands of twinkling lights, evergreens, chiming bells and seasonal decorations come together for a stunning wintertime event. Special weekend activities and events for kid’s of all ages. various events take place throughout the entire downtown.

Fantasy In Lights at Callaway Gardens

Nov 22, 2013 – Dec 30, 2013

Callaway Gardens Pine Mountain, GA 31822

Since 1992, Fantasy In Lights continues to be the most incredible holiday light show in the South. Larger-than-life lighted scenes, music, a 22,000-square-foot ChristmasVillage, holiday decor and more make this one of those special experiences you’ll always treasure. Includes more than a dozen lighted scenes with music and many with animation. The total show includes 8,000,000 lights. This is equivalent to the number of lights on 26,666 standard 6-foot tall Christmas Trees.
170,000 Attendees


Christmas City Walkway of Lights

Nov 23, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013

Matter Park – Mississinewa Riverwalk Marion, IN 46952

Over two and a half million lights illuminate the night along a 3 mile stretch of Marion’s Mississinewa Riverwalk, winding along into MatterPark. Visitors to the Christmas City Walkway of Lights can enjoy the many beautiful displays from the comfort of their own car, or by taking a leisurely stroll along the Mississinewa Riverwalk. The spectacular 96 foot riverboat and a suspension bridge which stretches 227 feet across the MississinewaRiver are two visitor favorites, and children of all ages will delight when they spy giant animated dinosaurs. After you have enjoyed the light display, come in and warm up by the Gift Shoppe fireplace. Browse through the many handcrafted gift items created by area artisans.

Holiday Light Display PreView Night

Nov 17, 2013

Sunset Hill Farm County Park Valparaiso, IN 46385

Since 1999, SunsetHillFarmCountyPark has hosted thousands to this one day opening night of the Lights Display. While waiting for Santa families can decorate holiday cookies or make an ornament for their home and enjoy a wagon ride through the thousands of displays making up over 30 scenes in the park. Wind up the evening with a fireworks finale to kick off the holiday season. Following the lights ceremony, the drive begins and continues every Saturday and Sunday through to the end of December.

Garvan Woodland Gardens – Holiday Lights

Nov 23, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013

Garvan Woodland Gardens Hot Springs, AR 71913

This event is part of the Arkansas Trail of Lights. See nearly 4 million brilliant bulbs transform approximately 17 acres into a memorable animated holiday display in one of Arkansas’ most anticipated events. Complimentary hot chocolate. The Chipmunk Café will be open from 3-9 p.m. each day during Holiday Lights.

Enchanted Garden of Lights

Nov 22, 2013 – Jan 04, 2014

Rock City Gardens Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

Since 1996, This award-winning, light extravaganza features more than 30 holiday scenes and over a million lights (with new LED’s) that transform the garden’s natural daytime splendor into a nocturnal fantasyland. See snow and visit with St. Nick and his elves. Enjoy gingerbread cookie decorating, hot cocoa, Sugar Plum Fairy Makeovers and nightly entertainment at the North Pole Adventure! See elves harvesting candy canes and building toys!

Festival of Lights

Nov 22, 2013 – Nov 23, 2013

Moody Gardens Galveston, TX 77554

Since 2002, Weekends Only. Fun for all ages… Festive sights and sounds will fill MoodyGardens. This whimsical celebration will kick off the holiday season with Santa Claus parachuting in to switch on the lights. Transforming its lush tropical garden setting into a winter wonderland, Moody Gardens® will be adorned with more than a million twinkling lights and over one hundred light displays featuring a variety of scenes including nature, the North Pole, Toyland, underwater and much more. New this year is an exciting audio experience that will compliment the light displays, filling the night air as visitors travel down a path over a mile. In addition to the path of light displays, guest can strap on a pair of skates and glide across the ice at the Outdoor Ice Rink at Moody Gardens®. Indoors, visitors can take pictures with Santa or even gaze upon a giant poinsettia tree. The IMAX® 3D Theater will feature a variety of holiday-themed films during the Festival of Lights including Santa vs. the Snowman 3D, Nutcracker 3D and Polar Express 3D. At the Ridefilm theater, guests can buckle up their seatbelts and experience the thrills of one or both of two films, Santa’s Late and Glacier Run. Polar Express will also be showing in the 4D theater, where exciting special effects like real snow will tickle the audience from head to toe.
60,000 Attendees

Christmas Wonderland of Lights

Nov 22, 2013 – Dec 31, 2013

Zootastic Park Troutman, NC 28166

Since 2009, the annual Christmas Wonderland of lights, one of the Carolinas Largest Light Shows. With over 2 million lights, and a computerized light show set to music this will be a memory your entire family won’t forget. Along with the lights, Santa will be visiting nightly until Christmas Eve, we have petting zoos, pony rides, concessions, roasting pits to make smores, a candy shop, general store, and much, much more.
50,000 Attendees

Galaxy of Lights Walking Nights

Nov 22, 2013 – Nov 26, 2013

Huntsville Botanical Gardens Huntsville, AL 35805

Galaxy of Lights is a holiday light extravaganza featuring larger-than-life animated light displays. See Santa soaring over a delightful winter village. Nursery rhyme characters dance and frolic among traditional scenes of the season. And, best of all, experience the magic of the twinkling icicle forest. Galaxy of Lights is the perfect holiday treat for the young and young-at-heart. Walking nights are the best way to experience the Galaxy of Lights.

Maria can be reached directly at eventsblog@eventcrazy.com or @eventcrazy on Twitter  or  visit her website at www.eventcrazy.com

Copyright © 1998-2013 Events Media Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Photos are copyright of their respective owners.

Christmas Shopping Ideas at Events

Christmas shop

Oh, it’s already starting to happen. The constant barrage of the Christmas shopping season is upon us. You know what I mean. Everything is perfect for Christmas shopping, because everyone wants a few pieces of shiny silver from your pockets. That doesn’t mean that everyone should flock to the Post Office because they think they are the perfect place to shop for Christmas. I don’t even like waiting in those lines to mail things; imagine doing it to shop!

But this time of year many non profits, art guilds, women’s leagues and other organizations hold shows offering shopping opportunities. They are the Christmas Bazaars and the Home and School Holiday Craft Show and the City of Anytown USA Holiday Village; the list goes on and on. But it is a wonderful list because it is emblematic of the spirit of the holidays. It is people working together to create things to sell for profit, for charities or just for children’s delight. I am not going to try to fool you by acting as an adult here. It is my “permitted” time of the year to act like a child. (Well I say it’s my permitted time, my family might say otherwise) This is the 2-3 months when we celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  What can you say bad about those 3 holidays?

I digress, back to the shows… Many of the shows listed in your area will have a variety of different items for sale. Clothing, homemade food, crafts, even works of fine art are just some of the things you will find. Many of the shows also feature the actual craftsman or artists on-site so you can get a real sense of what you are buying and knowledge of the creator, so to speak. In addition to items for sale, these types of shows are also fun places to be with the whole family. Usually they feature many terrific Christmas activities for kids as well as interesting things to see and do for all ages and lifestyles.

So you know the drill. Grab everyone in your house that has any Christmas shopping to do and head on over to one of these terrific shows. You just need to search for shows in your backyard and get going. You may find out that by visiting just one or two of these events, you can get all of your Christmas shopping completed. And if you are lucky, you may be able to still have cash leftover to pick up a bauble or two for yourself.


Country Fair Holiday Arts and Crafts Show

Nov 16, 2013 – Nov 17, 2013

Rushmore Plaza Civic Center Rapid City, SD 57701

Exhibitors with hand made crafts and South Dakota products. Join us as we continue the tradition of the Country Fair, where vendors come together to sell quality handcrafted works, artwork, and manufactured items.
12,000 Attendees

Christmas Made in the South

Nov 15, 2013 – Nov 17, 2013

James Brown Arena – Bell Auditorium Augusta, GA 30901

Since 1987, this juried crafts show features more than 350 master artists and craftsmen demonstrating and selling their work. A holiday feast of the arts, full of holiday ideas, gifts and goodies. The creative way to shop for Christmas.

Central Oregon’s Holiday Food and Gift Festival

Nov 15, 2013 – Nov 17, 2013

Dechutes County Fairgrounds Redmond, OR 97756

This event includes booths filled with exhibitors displaying juried arts and crafts and many handcrafted items along with various gourmet foods and holiday related entertainment. Plus operating model train displays, cooking demonstrations, holiday music and Santa Claus.
10,000 Attendees

Holiday Craft Show

Nov 16, 2013 – Nov 17, 2013

Fairfax High School Fairfax, VA 22030

Since 1987. The City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation Department welcomes you to our Holiday Craft Show. What started out as a very small show has grown to become a premium arts and crafts festival. Artisans from all over the United States, including many local artists, are participating in this year’s show and we are delighted to be able to offer you so many wonderful holiday gift choices. There really is something for everyone on your shopping list. Please take your time and visit all the areas of the show – you won’t want to miss a single one. Take a rest during the show to enjoy a hot lunch.
5,000 Attendees

Christmas in the Country – Erie

Nov 16, 2013 – Nov 17, 2013

Bayfront Convention Center Erie, PA 16507

This year Erie welcomes back a holiday shopping experience like no other, as the nation’s foremost artisan marketplace, Christmas in the Country, returns to theBayfrontConvention Center. After the its successful 2010 debut, the event has grown dramatically, welcoming almost 150 artisans and artists from across the country. They will be displaying and selling their unique handcrafted creations including gourmet foods, spa quality bath and beauty products, trendsetting jewelry, handpoured aromatic candles, eco-friendly clothing, pottery, original wall art, woodwork, home décor and holiday gift items galore. Christmas in the Country enjoyed a warm first year welcome to the Erie market. “We were very pleased that the Erie community embraced this event” said Daniel Kaczynski, from Premier Promotions, organizers of the event. “Christmas in the Country is going to be significantly bigger and better this year. We have added over 50 artisans, cooking and artisan demonstrations throughout the weekend, visits from Santa himself and so much more” added Kaczynski. “Our goal is to make this a unique holiday tradition for years to come, and thanks to Erie, it is well on its way.”
10,000 Attendees

Every Husband’s Nightmare Bazaar

Nov 18, 2013 – Nov 23, 2013

Washington County Fair Complex Hillsboro, OR 97124

Featuring a boutique style show of all handcrafts, antiques, collectibles, and Oregon gourmet foods, with over 200 vendors showing their fine wares. The artists come from all over the Northwest, many with crafts that are unique to this show. You will find lots of decor for the home and garden, gifts for the man in your life, hand-painted furniture, shabby chic decor and more.
3,000+ Attendees



Christmas Craft Show

Nov 16, 2013

Allen County Fairgrounds Lima, OH 45804

Don’t miss this Christmas Craft Show where craft vendors come from all over Ohio and the surrounding states to show and sell their unique items for that special someone this holiday season! Holiday items for sale and display.

The Winter Art Festival

Nov 16, 2013 – Nov 17, 2013

Monona Terrace Convention Center Madison, WI 53713

Since 1989. Features 140 Wisconsin exhibitors with a wonderful selection of pottery, watercolors, fiber, wood, glass, photography, jewelry, graphics, sculpture and more.

Christmas Craft Show

Nov 16, 2013

Chisholm Trail Expo Center at Garfield Community Fairgrounds Enid, OK 73701

Come to the Santa’s Showcase Christmas Craft Show in Enid for a variety of arts and craft vendors and get your Christmas shopping done early this year. Held annually during November, the Santa’s Showcase Christmas Craft Show will feature crafters from a four-state region. Visitors to this Enid craft show will enjoy browsing through craft booths in a climate-controlled building on the Garfield County Fairgrounds. A concession stand serving sandwiches and other light fare will be available.

Christmas Jubilee

Nov 14, 2013 – Nov 16, 2013

Greater Gulf State Fairgrounds Mobile, AL 36608

Since 1985, Enjoy a host of activities and great shopping at the Great Gulf State Fairgrounds along with a Girl’s Night Out, Santa Breakfast, Jubilee Art Walk, Hall of Wreaths, Author’s Corner and more.

Arts and Crafts Christmas Spectacular

Nov 15, 2013 – Nov 17, 2013

Mylan Park Morgantown, WV 26501

Since 2010, Featuring artists and craftsmen from throughout the region, you can browse and shop over 175 exhibits of high-quality arts and crafts including jewelry, dried and silk floral arrangements, decorative painting, soft sculpture, photography, clothing, fabric decor for your home, personalized ornaments, scented candles, lotions and soaps, pet collars and treats, holiday decorations, and much, much more!!! Sample delicious pre-packaged foods such as dip and drink mixes, candies, fudge, kettle korn, roasted almonds and nuts, dessert mixes and more!!! You can do all of your holiday shopping and home decorating at the Mylan Park Expo Center!!! Bring your camera and take your child’s photograph with Santa!!! Have your face painted and create balloon animals with clowns Glitter Dot and Dapper!!! Located in the Mylan Park Expo Center.



Christmas Village

Nov 15, 2013 – Nov 17, 2013

Tennessee State Fairgrounds and Expo Center Nashville, TN 37203

More than 260 merchants from all over the U.S. participate in this premier consumer show. A variety of unique seasonal and gift items are offered, including: toys for all ages, clothing for children and adults, jewelry, food items, pottery, collectibles and unusual pieces for the “person who has everything”.
25,000 Attendees

Juried Holiday Show and Sale

Nov 15, 2013 – Dec 23, 2013

Lakewood Cultural Center Lakewood, CO 80226

The Juried Holiday Show and Sale, in conjunction with the Artisan Showcase, will feature more than 75 Colorado artists. The annual show captures the spirit of gift giving with a large variety of work and price ranges. Choose from holiday ornaments, paintings, photography, pottery, jewelry and more — all one-of-a-kind works of art. Find something for everyone on your gift-giving list! Plenty of free parking is available. The Lakewood Cultural Center is located near the intersection of Wadsworth Boulevard and West Alameda Avenue. Programs of the Lakewood Cultural Center are supported by the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), with appreciation to the citizens of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, and Colorado Creative Industries, to promote, support and expand the creative industries that drive Colorado’s economy. Closed November 28-30.

Happy Holidays Gift Store

Nov 02, 2013 – Dec 29, 2013

Arlington Museum of Art Arlington, TX 76010

Happy Holidays Gift Store, a part of the Arlington Museum of Art’s Festival of Trees, offers an extraordinary shopping experience. Handcrafted, many one of a kind, creations by local artisans and vintage finds from local collectors await the shopper looking for unique finds. A wide range of goodies, including mixed media framed wall art, slip cast and wheel thrown ceramics, framed and unframed photographic art, jewelry, fused and stained glass, vintage finds and more will delight the people on your gift list or become a treasure for you.


Maria can be reached directly at eventsblog@eventcrazy.com or @eventcrazy on Twitter or  visit her website at www.eventcrazy.com

Copyright © 1998-2013 Events Media Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Photos are copyright of their respective owners.