Home » Holiday Guide 2010

Holiday Guide 2010

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How to stop stress and bliss out

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By Liz Barrett

Holiday stress sets in when those annoying Christmas commercials start before Halloween and doesn’t officially end until the last of the confetti is tossed in the trash on New Year’s Day. Fortunately, there’s a better way: total escape. Step away from the whole frenzy and get a little unadulterated me-time. Stop in at a spa for a facial, get a soothing massage or, if you’re really out of time, try a 30-second yoga pose or a 10-minute tea break. You’ll find everything you need to relax and renew right here in Alameda.

Full story here.

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Give in Alameda

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‘Tis the season to think about the people in our community who are in need, and fortunately, Island residents are a generous lot. To make things easier for everyone, we here at The Island have assembled a giving guide featuring a host of nonprofit organizations from across Alameda. Here are some places where your donation dollars will be appreciated.

Full story here.

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Favorite recipes from three of Alameda’s top chefs

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By Liz Barrett

Before they were chefs, they were kids. And nearly every kid has at least one holiday tradition he brings from his childhood to his own family when he grows up. The following three chefs – Peter Kahl of Speisekammer, John Thiel of Pappo, and Rudy Duran of C’era Una Volta – represent different cultures and cuisines. All three generously shared treasured memories from their childhood and favorite recipes they still love to make for their families.

Full story here.

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Vote for your favorite recipe!

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‘Tis the season for all you cooks out there to strut your stuff, and in that spirit, The Island proudly presents our first-ever holiday recipe contest. We reached out to local kitchen wizards to ask for their best holiday recipes, and below are the responses we got. Now we’re asking you to tell us which recipe you like best. The winner of our reader poll will be announced on December 23, and for their efforts, they’ll receive a $100 gift certificate from Asena Restaurant.

Full story here.

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A vegetarian holiday meal

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By Heather Lyn Wood

For many, the aroma of roasting meat evokes the warmest holiday memories. Traditional dishes of lamb, beef and fowl have fed families in America for generations, and are the focal point of holiday meals across the world. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s have all historically relied on such foods as main courses at festive gatherings. Beloved as they are by many, however, these winter menus keep at least one group of celebrants out in the cold.

Vegetarians and vegans (who consume no animal products) often struggle to feel comfortable at meat-centric events. It goes without saying that the glazed ham or roast goose that brings most of the family running will not have the same effect on an animal rights advocate. Those who eschew meat on other grounds, too, often feel underwhelmed by the prominent role of meat in holiday menus.

Full story here.

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Do it yourself holiday gifts

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By Heather Lyn Wood

It’s okay to admit it: When you hear “handmade holiday gift,” you’re not so sure. Is the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) movement just a sly repackaging of gifts we’d all rather forget? When your 4-year old hands you a Play Doh sculpture of your face, you are filled with gratitude. But the same gift from your boss? At a time of year when holiday cheer collides with budget anxiety and time constraints, the average gift giver can use a little guidance. Thankfully, Alameda offers plenty of options for creative holiday gifts along the DIY spectrum, none of which involve a hot glue gun or bag of macaroni.

Full story here.

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Your weekend in holiday fun

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The holiday fun continues this weekend in Alameda, with the big event being the 40th annual Alameda Holiday Home Tour. The tour, a fundraiser for Alameda Family Services, takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, December 11 (you can get a nice preview of one of the lovingly decked-out homes on this year’s tour and its owner here).

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the tour, and are available in advance online or at Alameda Family Services, 2325 Clement Avenue; All the More to Love, 1910A Encinal Avenue; Thomsen’s Garden Center, 1113 Lincoln Avenue; and 3 Wishes, 1428 Park Street; and on the day of the tour at the Elks Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Avenue.

Full story here.

Buy local

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Looking for those hot holiday gifts? Well you can find a lot of them right here on the Island. If you want to know how to check off a good portion of your holiday gift list without crossing a bridge or traveling through the Tube, you can check out our scouting report (and get shopping!). (For more shopping advice, check out Steve Gerstle’s Word on Webster column for this week, which talks about holiday gifts you can buy in the shops on Webster Street.)

Full story here.

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Cocktail chic!

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This time of year offers a million excuses to throw a party (like you ever needed one). But what to serve the guests? If you’re tired of trotting out the same old bottles of wine, we’ve got just the thing to appeal to closet mixologists (and the people who love them). We reached out to local bars and restaurants and got back a trio of cocktails sure to make your party a little more festive.

Full story here.

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This weekend in holiday fun

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Alameda’s got lots of holiday events lined up over the month of December, and we here at The Island would be remiss if we didn’t work to ensure you’re kept abreast of all the local goings-on. Here’s a quick rundown of the goings-on this weekend.

Full story here.

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Hanukkah is here!

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As holidays go, Hanukkah isn’t one of the most important in the Jewish pantheon. But it does offer a fine excuse to invite friends and family members – in some cases, dozens of friends and family members – to gather for a hearty (read: fattening) meal.

“It’s a good excuse for a big party,” says Josh Cohen.

Full story here.

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Handmade for the holidays

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Looking for handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts for the holidays? You’ve got plenty of places to look, right here on the Island. From homemade soaps to jewelry, art and more, Alameda’s arts, cultural and religious organizations are offering a wealth of opportunities to help you whittle down your holiday shopping list.

Full story here.

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Holiday guide (and recipe contest)!

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This holiday season, The Island has a gift for you: A comprehensive holiday guide with advice on where to shop, what to eat, where to give, events listings and more. We’ll kick things off this week with a fresh holiday piece each day; you can also check out our full holiday events calendar on The Island’s Holiday Guide page (available by clicking the link here or at the top of the page), along with a list of local charities and arts organizations where you can direct your donation dollars.

We’re also sponsoring our first-ever recipe contest (and there’s prizes!). Here’s how to enter: Simply send us your best holiday recipe, along with your name and contact information, at recipes@theislandofalameda.com by December 14 (write “recipe contest” in the subject line). We’ll post the entries on December 17 – along with a poll allowing readers to choose their favorite recipe. The winner of that reader poll will be announced on December 23.

Full story here.


Holiday Events

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Giving Guide

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Looking for somewhere to spend your donation dollars? Check out these worthy local charities and arts organizations.*

The Alameda Education Foundation is made up of parents, teachers, business people and concerned members of the community. A vital force in the community since 1982, AEF has supported educational programs in Alameda public schools by providing millions of dollars in funds, materials, and volunteer resources to supplement the opportunities available in our schools. The foundation provides vital programs in art, music, drama, sports, science, technology and much more for thousands of Alameda school children. They believe that thriving schools are essential for a desirable community and a promising future.

Alameda Family Services is a human services organization, active in Alameda and the East Bay, whose programs improve the emotional, psychological and physical health of children, youth and families. Their programs include new parent support, Head Start, school-based health centers, homeless youth services, counseling, drug and alcohol treatment and a clinical training program.

The Alameda Food Bank’s mission is to provide nutritious food to the low-income residents of the City of Alameda on a non-discriminating basis. Last year the Food Bank’s fifty regular volunteers served an average of 1,350 individual recipients per month from the Food Bank’s 1,500 square foot, handicapped accessible, office/warehouse at 1900 Thau Way.

Alameda Meals on Wheels/Alameda Friendly Visitors is a locally-funded, seven-day-a-week program that has been delivering hot, nourishing meals to Alameda residents since 1973! Each day, holidays included, their cheerful and caring volunteers deliver a mid-day meal to more than 140 Alameda residents of all ages that need their assistance – whether due to recent surgery or hospitalization, because they aren’t able to get out to grocery shop, or because they can’t cook their own meals. Subscribers pay on a sliding fee scale, based upon their ability. In 2004, Alameda Friendly Visitors was created, making additional services available under the umbrella of Alameda Meals on Wheels.  It is now possible to offer a weekly 1-2 hour visit to seniors or anyone who is homebound.

The Alameda Museum offers permanent displays of Alameda history, the only rotating gallery showcasing local Alameda artists and student artwork, as well as souvenirs, books and videos about the rich history of the Island City. The Alameda Historical Society was founded in 1948, and the Museum was established in 1951. In 1983 the Alameda Museum was designated as the official repository of historical documents and artifacts for the City of Alameda.

The Alameda Point Collaborative is a unique neighborhood located on 34 acres of Alameda Point that works to end homelessness by providing housing and services to create communities where formerly homeless families and individuals can flourish. APC is situated on the former Alameda Naval Air Station, and operates 239 housing units. APC provides affordable housing, job training, health services and employment in a community that fosters support and interaction. APC operates a community garden, bike shop, commercial plant nursery, health center and community center.

Alternatives in Action is a non-profit that works with youth who have leadership potential and prepares them for college, career and community. Through education, skills-building and real world experiences, young people, some of whom may otherwise fall through the cracks, become successful, contributing adults and leaders in their community. Alternatives in Action operates the Bay Area School of Enterprise and the Home Sweet Home Preschool on the West End of Alameda and after school programs in Alameda and at partner sites in Oakland: McClymonds High School and Life Academy. Their programs directly impact over 700 children and youth each year. Alternatives in Action is holding its annual fundraising drive click the link above for more information. They’re also looking for people who are interested in volunteering or joining their board of directors.

The Boys & Girls Club of Alameda provides a safe place for kids to go for educational activities and companionship after school and on Saturdays. The club offers fun, adult-supervised programs and activities for kids ages 12-18, six days a week, 52 weeks a year. Programs range from educational to sports, fitness, arts and crafts, and recreation, and are designed to tap the interests of the club’s varied members. The club’s leadership is working to finish a new facility to open in February 2011.

The mission of Building Futures with Women and Children is to help women and children in crisis become safely and supportively housed, free from homelessness and family violence. Our programs include two emergency homeless shelters (55 beds), including Midway Village; a domestic violence safe house (20 beds); 52 units of temporary and permanent supportive housing; a 24-hour crisis line; a children’s program; and a domestic violence outreach program. In response to the economic crisis which is forcing more families into homelessness, we implemented two new homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing programs.

The Frank Bette Center for the Arts works to fulfill and build upon Frank Bette’s legacy of being a place for meetings, readings, showings, and other creative doings. With respect and generosity of spirit they nurture a space of creative energy where fine arts, crafts, literary and musical arts meet and thrive.

Girls Inc. of the Island City has provided the only youth development services just for girls ages 6-18 in Alameda. The mission of Girls Inc. is to inspire girls to be strong, smart and bold through innovative programs, activities, and advocacy. At Girls Inc., girls are challenged to explore science, math and computers; examine how money is earned and invested; and to ask questions about themselves and the world in which they live. Their nationally recognized programming is designed to be hands-on and interactive in order to encourage each girl to take risks and gain a sense of her own power and strength.

Rhythmix Cultural Works community arts center in Alameda is committed to bringing people of all ages together through a wide range of affordable art offerings in dance, music, theater, exhibitions and arts education. With a 175 seat theater, art gallery and classroom facility, RCW seeks to promote cultural awareness, encourage participation in the arts, support artists in the presentation of work and be a resource for community gatherings and events.