Chroniclesc e DECEMBER 2018 COUNCIL
T en years ago, our family came close to having a very special Christmas day. At the time, I was pregnant with our first child, and STEWART’S DREAMS. BUT THE KIDS JUST WANT TO HANG THEIR ORNAMENTS IN A CLUTTERED MANNER.” IF I HAD MY WAY, THE TREE WOULD LOOK LIKE SOMETHING OUT OF MARTHA Given the closeness of her birthday to the biggest holiday of the year, we’ve always done our best to make Elaina’s birthday feel distinct and not just like another celebration in the midst of many. If you don’t have children who were born in late December, you may not realize what a serious concern that is. School is out, which means they don’t get the standard special day in the classroom, and it’s easy for them to feel lost in the shuffle. For us, making Elaina’s day special usually involves getting together with her friends. She’s turning 10 this year, and she’s informed me that she’s no longer young enough for a kiddie-style birthday party. Instead, she’d like to spend a day with her buddies doing girl stuff. I, for one, am very happy with her decision to celebrate in the doctors had predicted a due date of Dec. 25. Turns out that Elaina, our baby girl, didn’t stick to Santa’s schedule. She arrived three days earlier, on Dec. 22.
The Holidays Are a Balancing Act
BUT THE REWARD IS ALWAYS WORTH IT
a more grown-up fashion. Mom has no trouble getting behind a day of pampering, laughter, and fun.
the kids just want to hang their ornaments in a cluttered manner. Sure, I’d prefer a more ordered design, but seeing them take part is worth all the lack of symmetry. It’s our family tree, after all, and it’s more meaningful when everyone has a role in decorating it, regardless of what the result looks like. Another funny thing I’ve learned over the years is that the kids get just as excited about little things as they do big-ticket presents — well, almost as excited. We don’t have flavored drinks in our household regularly, so when they see a bottle of Coke, they know guests are on the way. For them, it’s just as sure a sign of the holidays as any other, and one they look forward to every year. In closing, I just want to say thanks to all the parents and relatives out there who go out of their way to make the holidays special for our young ones. It may be a lot of work, but it’s always worth it.
Giving Elaina an experience worthy of her birthday is challenging enough, but making sure her little brother, P.J., feels included adds another layer of
diplomacy. He’s a smart little guy, so he’ll often wonder if Elaina is receiving more than he is. He wants things to be equitable
and fair —maybe he learned that from his attorney mom. Of course, he tends to forget that he has his own birthday to be the center of attention and sole gift recipient. Making sure that everyone feels happy and receives their share of holiday cheer can be overwhelming at times, but it’s part of what makes the holidays magical. Take our tree, for instance. We love to decorate, and putting together our tree has become one of our favorite holiday traditions.
A very happy holidays from everyone here at Council & Associates! We’ll see you in 2019.
–Lashonda Council- Rogers, Esq.
If I had my way, the tree would look like something out of Martha Stewart’s dreams. But
THE DANGERS OF DRINKING AND DRIVING ENJOY THE FESTIVITIES WITHOUT PUTTING ANYONE IN DANGER The holidays are a festive time full of parties, events, galas, and get- togethers. Catching up with old friends and loved ones is one of the true joys of the most wonderful time of the year, but it can’t be an excuse to throw caution to the wind. But too many people do just that, getting behind the wheel after one too many spiked eggnogs or beers. It’s needless, dangerous, and could ruin many people’s holidays in a hurry. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), DUI arrests are at their highest between Thanksgiving and the first weekend of January. Some police departments even refer to the day before Thanksgiving as “Black Wednesday” because of the number of intoxicated drivers leaving the bars that night. If you’re going to enjoy a few beverages at a party, plan in advance to not drive. Assigning a designated driver (DD) is great, but it requires that person to be diligent in their sobriety for the night. You have to be willing to change plans if your DD ends up with a drink in their
STOP DONATING TO SCAMMERS HOW TO SPOT FRAUD TH I S HOL I DAY SEASON
During the season of giving, charities receive a much-needed rush of donations as people open their hearts to others. Unfortunately, criminals are all too willing to abuse this goodwill. According to a report from the Justice Department, Americans over the age of 60 lose over $3 billion a year to scams and fraudsters. As charity scams reach their peak, here’s what you need to do to ensure your donations aren’t lining the pockets of criminals. Never Give by Phone or Email. Charities regularly reach out to past and potential donors through traditional mail, email, phone calls, or text messages. This means fraudsters will mimic their approach with less noble intentions. Because it’s impossible to determine who is on the other end of a call or email, you should never hand over your credit card information to strangers. If you really are speaking to a representative from a legitimate charity, they will direct you to a secure avenue where you can give without worry. Feeling Pressured? Walk Away. A lot of charities set goals they want to reach before the new year, but even groups that are hoping to raise a certain amount of money know better than to pressure donors into giving. Donations should always come from the heart, and it’s a bad sign if someone insists there’s a deadline for giving. As the Better Business Bureau says, “Responsible organizations will welcome your gift tomorrow as much as they do today.” Only Give to Reputable Charities. Do some research before donating to charities. Look up any prospective charity on Charity Navigator at CharityNavigator.org. This service flags “high concern” organizations suspected of fraud and ranks how reliable established charities are. Even legitimate organizations can be misleading about how they spend their donations. A good rule of thumb is to avoid organizations that spend more than 25 percent of donations on salaries or administrative costs. There are many amazing charities and organizations that do good work. Stay vigilant to make sure you are bringing joy to the world and not falling for a criminal looking to make a quick buck.
hand. Luckily, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are easy to use and readily available. Sure, you may pay a premium for surge pricing during the busiest times, but that’s a whole lot better than putting somebody’s life at risk.
Even sober drivers should take extra precaution during the holidays.
Conditions can be less than ideal, and foot traffic will be higher than normal. A little patience could save you a big hassle. It’s also important to never assume you’ll know how another driver will behave. Leave space, drive defensively, and give yourself an out in the event of erratic behavior from another motorist.
When it comes to drunk driving, our advice is pretty simple: Don’t ever do it. Even one drink can impair your ability to operate a vehicle properly. It’s not worth the risk, both to yourself and to innocent drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
So, by all means, go out and have a ball this holiday season. Just do it without mixing alcohol and driving.
OUR FIRM CARES
FOR EVERYONE ON YOUR LIST
Looking for gift ideas that don’t break the bank but still show the special people in your life how much you care? Do-it-yourself (DIY) gifts are the way to go. Here are a few ideas to put together on a chilly night. Pull out your crafting supplies, turn on some holiday tunes, and get creative.
and add other decorations as they like. You can also find some fun ideas on the blog Little Page Turner, like painting a butterfly from your kids’ stamped footprints. Have fun with it!
the artistic freedom as much as they’ll enjoy your thoughtful gift.
BEST DIY GIFT FOR SOMEONE SPECIAL: MEMORY MAP
BEST DIY GIFT FOR YOUR BESTIE: PERSONALIZED MUG
Utilize a map, a pair of scissors, some glue, and your memories of meaningful places to create this sentimental gift. Choose map locations that are meaningful to you and your special person — where you met, where you celebrated special moments, where you first lived — and cut them out in geometric or heart shapes. Then, glue the cutouts to a piece of matboard. You can add kind words at each point, or let the places explain themselves. Place in a frame and gift to your loved one.
BEST DIY GIFT TO MAKE WITH THE LITTLE ONES: HANDPRINT-COVERED APRON
You only need a mug and an oven-safe or porcelain marker to create this personalized gift. Use a mug you already own, or pick one up from the dollar store or thrift store, and get expressive! You could write a sweet or funny message (“but first, coffee” or “two shots, hold the chatter”) or list their favorite beverage (“coffee, no sugar” or “green tea”). Write something that makes them think of you, or create a simple drawing. Enjoy
Aunties, uncles, and godparents will love a gift that incorporates their favorite little ones, and it’s a great way to get the kids in on the project. Choose some unadorned aprons from your local craft or home goods store and some acrylic paint in a variety of colors. Then get crafty! The kids can use their handprints as a starting point
Local Business Spotlight
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4 DAYS OF MAGIC AND FAMILY 1 SCAMMED FOR THE HOLIDAYS THERE’S NEVER A SEASON TO DRINK AND DRIVE 2 THE BEST DIY GIFTS THE HIGHLAND’S PREMIER ESTHETICIAN 3
OINK, OINK! IT’S THE HOLIDAYS 4
The History of the Pink Pig
ATLANTA’S SIGNATURE HOLIDAY ATTRACTION
Rich’s, an Atlanta landmark, closed in 2005 after more than
a century in business. While the store itself is now a Macy’s, one of Rich’s holiday traditions continues to this day. We’re talking, of course, about the Pink Pig train that thousands upon thousands of children ride every holiday season. Based on the storybook series “Priscilla Pig” by Colene Copeland, the ride debuted as a monorail that hung over the department store in 1953. It was officially dubbed The Snowball Express, but citizens quickly adopted the nickname we all know the ride by today. For a time, the trip even dropped children off at an exclusive, no-parents- allowed workshop staffed by “elves.” You can now find the Pink Pig stationed in the parking lot of Lenox Square. It’s no longer a monorail but an open-air train instead. Macy’s
has also partnered with Children’s
Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) to raise money and provide free rides to children dealing with serious illnesses. Since its reintroduction in 2003, the Pink Pig has raised nearly $1 million for CHOA. With a portion of each ride going to this worthy cause, it’s hard to complain when kids want to take more than one trip. The old monorail Pink Pigs were retired long ago, but they’re in safe hands at the Atlanta History Center. Though not on permanent display, the museum brings out the Pigs frequently, to the delight of nostalgic Atlantans.
$3, and you can purchase a three-ride pack for $7.50. That’s a small price to pay to take part in the city’s most unique holiday tradition. New York may have the tree in Rockefeller Center, but we’re just fine with our Pink Pig. If you’re interested in riding or simply checking out it, here’s where to go. Macy’s Lenox Square Mall Lenox Square Mall Upper Level Parking Deck 3393 Peachtree Road NE Atlanta, GA 30326
Pink Pig season has already kicked off and runs through Jan. 6, 2019. Single rides cost only
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