By: Deborah Salazar Shapiro, MSW, author of The Magical Mindful Day
“The earth laughs in flowers,” said the American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. I believe the earth not only laughs in flowers but also in trees, animals, fruits, and vegetables! Her generosity toward all of us is beyond compare. But can you remember the last time you connected with the joy, compassion, and abundance our planet gives us? Or the last time you invited your children to show appreciation as well? If the answer is no, you are not alone. Most of us are so consumed by our work, family life, and our never-ending to-do lists that there is very little room for anything else.
Luckily, once a year, on April 22nd, we have an opportunity to show our love and appreciation for our planet. A good way to start is by setting an intention with your children to take positive actions on that day that can contribute to the benefit of all living beings. An intention is a powerful guide to remind us what we want to achieve. Here are five ways to celebrate Earth Day with your children:
Spend the Day Outdoors! This sounds like a no-brainer, right? Okay, but what can you do differently on this special day? Consider taking a break from your electronics and social media for one day and invite the rest of your family to do the same. Discuss in advance that this will be a day to connect as a family and with the natural world and its beauty. Make a plan with your children to explore a place that you have never seen before. Perhaps a natural reserve, a lake, a different beach, a hiking trail, or a new park. Make it fun! If you’re excited, your children will be excited too.
Eat the Colors of the Rainbow: The food we consume can have a big impact on the health of our planet. For one day, if possible, avoid consuming processed foods and other items that have artificial flavors and colorings. Try a new vegetable or legume—ask your children to pick a food in every color of the rainbow. Or play a guessing game of how many colors of fruits and vegetables are available where you live. How many do you like and why? After eating “colorfully,” see if you and your children can notice how your body feels.
Express Your Gratitude to the Earth: This may feel awkward, because you’re probably not used to communicating with inanimate objects such as the food you eat or a beautiful flower or tree. That’s completely normal. Expressing our gratitude not only makes us feel joyful but also has the potential to help us develop respect and care toward animals or other living beings in nature. On Earth Day, you might encourage your children to take a brief pause and say “thank you” to the fruit or veggie they are going to eat, “thank you” to a tree, or even bow to show respect and appreciation for simply existing. How about hugging that tree? Some might think it’s too earthy-crunchy, but it feels so good!”
By: Katy Roberts
The Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker sparks the holiday spirit as she dances her way through Charleston, South Carolina.
Featured dancer: Sara Michelle Murawski
Film dedicated to John R. Kuhn of Charleston and Janka Majerova of Slovakia
Aerial footage by @ Chad. Licensed through Adobe.
By: Traci Mangus
The holidays in historic Charleston are full of festive parades, Christmas lights, and holiday art performances! If you’re planning to visit Charleston during the holidays, you’ve made the right choice.
Visiting Charleston in the winter is a great way to escape the cold, and there is no shortage of fun holiday activities for the entire family to enjoy. Whether you want to relax in a beach vacation rental and sip hot cider or explore historic Charleston and take part in the seasonal festivities, the city is a great place to usher in the magic of the holiday season.
Ready to kick off the holiday season, Holy City-style? Here are some of the best ways to experience the holidays in Historic Charleston:
Charleston Holiday Parades
Craft brews, delicious food, live music, and family-friendly activities can all be found at one of the many holiday parades in Charleston this year. Here are a few that can’t be missed:
City of Charleston Holiday Parade
When: December 3, 2017 at 3:00 p.m.
Where: Colonial Lake, Broad Street, King Street, and concluding at Marion Square
The Holiday Parade is one of Charleston’s best traditions. Hosted by the City of Charleston and the Charleston Fire Department, the parade will feature bands, performers, floats, and other entertainment to celebrate the season and get your family into the holiday spirit.
Holiday Parade of Boats
When: December 9, 2017, 5-8 p.m.
Where: Charleston Harbor
Another beloved Lowcountry tradition, the 36th Annual Holiday Parade of Boats offers a dazzling display of lights as boats decorated for the season sail past the viewing docks.
Part of the fun is attending the parade’s official viewing party! Located at the Charleston Maritime Center, guests can snack on festive foods and listen as their favorite holiday carols fill the air.
Small Town Beach Parades
Are you staying in a cozy beach vacation rental? You’ll want to experience at least one beach town parade during the holiday season.
One that can’t be missed is the annual Christmas Parade on Folly Beach. On December 9th, Santa will parade through the streets of Folly Beach as candy and other goodies are handed out to the kids.
Staying in the Town of Mount Pleasant? Check out their quaint parade. A tree-lighting and fireworks display will kick things off before more than 100 floats parade down Coleman Boulevard, delighting all who attend.
28th Annual Holiday Festival of Lights
There is no doubt about it—Charleston has some of the best festivals in the country. From Spoleto to the Lowcountry Oyster Festival, there is always something to look forward to, and the Holiday Festival of Lights is no exception.
Now in its 28th year, the Annual Holiday Festival of Lights is back and promises to deliver more excitement than ever before. Held at James Island County Park, the event is known for its three miles of stunning, multicolored light displays, and it has been named one of the “10 Best Holiday Light Shows in America” by USA Today.
The festival is more than just a driving tour; the Holiday Festival of Lights organizers welcome visitors to park their cars and explore the large, decorated walking path, visiting shops and partaking in holiday activities along the way.
The event runs from November 10th to January 1st, giving you ample opportunities to experience a magical evening that will create cherished memories for years to come.
Tree-Lighting Ceremonies in Charleston
Tree-lighting ceremonies mark the beginning of the holiday season for many people, and Charleston kicks things off with multiple tree lightings. From the official Charleston tree lighting to the celebration of Chanukah, the following tree-lighting ceremonies are sure to dazzle and delight the entire family:
By: Robin Gibson
The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.
And Park City, Utah, is more than worthy of your attention this time of year. A favorite for snow bunnies and skiers, alike, this hip, quirky, mountaintop town delights at every turn each summer. As spring bows out with the remnants of winter and summer assumes its starring role, pops of vibrant color highlight a lively downtown full of blooms, businesses, and people. Not to be outdone are the surrounding areas catering to outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy mountain biking and hiking trails, and activities such as golf, horseback riding, zip-lining, and more. Hop on a gondola and soak up the view from above or check out the sights from the ground. Head out to Utah Olympic Park for a history tour and day of fun. Dine at award-winning restaurants, shop like a local, or sample your way around the budding craft beer scene. Whatever your interests, there's something for everyone and getting around is easy (and FREE) on Park City Transit. From adventure, to food, to shopping, to interesting people, Park City dazzles all summer long.
Park City is conveniently located 35 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport. Interested in planning your trip? Begin with Visit Park City and request your Free Summer Travel Guide.