First Saturday December

Virtual Hometown Celebration 2020

Rocks with Cops 2020

ROCKS WITH COPS GOES VIRTUAL!

This year for Rocks with Cops we are encouraging you to find a rock, paint it, and place it somewhere in Ridgefield.

Snap a picture once its decorated and post it on social media with #RidgefieldRockswithCops by December 20th.

Then, Ridgefield Police will go through the posts and pick their favorites!

Hometown Staycation Activities

Holiday Craft: Make A Gift!

Family Coupons

Custom coupons are the perfect gift to give your family! Show your loved ones you care by making them a custom coupon book full of coupons to exchange for favors.

Materials:

  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Crayons, colored pencils, markers, or other writing utensil

Instructions:

  1. Decide how many coupons you want to make and what favors you will be putting on them.
  2. Cut your paper into equal sized coupons (make the same number that you decided on in the first step!). These can be any shape or size, get creative!
  3. Write your favors on the coupons. Decorate with drawings, stickers, and more to make them extra festive.

Coupon Ideas: Think about the recipient and what you can do for them. Help with a chore, cook dinner, play a game, have a fun adventure, the possibilities are endless!

Family Photo Memory Game

Put a personal spin on the classic matching game by using family photos and faces!

How to Play Memory Game: The Memory Game is played between two players who alternate turns flipping over pieces. Turn all pictures face down on a table and mix them up. Align in rows, face down. On their turn, a player flips over any two game pieces. If the pieces match, keep them. If they do not match, flip them back over. Remember what was on each card and where they are. Watch and remember during the other player’s turn. The game ends when all pieces are matched, the player with the most matches wins.

Materials:

  • Printed Photos
  • Index cards
  • Glue stick (or other adhesive)
  • Crayons, colored pencils, markers, or other decorating supplies.

Instructions:

  1. Gather photos. If printing new photos, order 2 copies of each in wallet size. If using photos on hand, consider matching faces rather than exact photos.
  2. Glue photos to index cards. Decorate the opposite side the same on each card.

Counting Down to a Special Day? Make a Paper Chain!

A Paper Chain is a great way to count down to an exciting date, and this one adds even more fun with an activity for each day!

Materials:

  • Pen, Pencil, Marker, anything to write with
  • Stapler or tape
  • Slips of colored paper

Instructions:

  1. Decide on the date you are counting down to and determine how many days remain before that day.
  2. Pick that number of activities from our suggestions below or add your own!
  3. Write one activity on each slip of paper. These are activities that you will try to complete each day as you countdown.
  4. Build your chain: Make a loop from the slip of paper provided and tape or staple it to secure. Then, attach the next slip by looping it around the first one. Continue until you have one long chain of paper loops!
  5. Each day, gently tear one link off of your chain and read the activity written on it. Complete that activity at some point during the day! Watch the chain shrink as it gets closer to your countdown day!

Activity Ideas:

  • Make hot cocoa from scratch.
  • Make hot spiced apple cider or caramel apples.
  • Make a homemade gift
  • Make homemade holiday decorations.
  • Hang mistletoe in every doorway.
  • Make a homemade card to give to someone.
  • Memorize a simple holiday poem and recite it to your family.
  • Write letters to Santa.
  • Do a family photo shoot.
  • Make popcorn & cranberry garland.
  • Grab some hot cocoa and walk around downtown to see the decorations & lights.
  • Decorate a door in your house like a present.
  • Make a colorful, candy coated Gingerbread House.
  • Drive Around to View Holiday Lights and Decorations
  • Make Paper Snowflakes.
  • Have a Family Game Night.
  • Make a playlist of your favorite holiday songs.
  • Make some cookies or cupcakes.
  • Donate to a local toy or food drive.
  • Go for a walk and sing some holiday songs.
  • Start a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Read a book together.
  • Have a holiday movie night (or morning or afternoon)
  • Roast chestnuts.

Bake A Holiday Treat to Share

Drop Sugar Cookie Recipe (w/ Frosting Recipe & Video!) from Killa Bites

Would You Rather Make Cut Out Cookies? We’ve got another great recipe to share!

Spend Time Together – Play A Game with Your Household!

Holiday Minute To Win It

What better way to spend the holidays than quality time with family?
Minute to Win It is played with a series of challenges that each individual is given a minute to complete. Make a day out of it, or stretch the fun out by completing a few challenges each night!

Each task can be completed by either one individual at a time or in a head to head competition. A minute is the limit for each challenge. Record results and compare for a full competition, or just have fun with the silly challenges.

Click here for our printable Minute to Win It games list!

Enjoy the Magic of Sparkling Lights and Holiday Decorations

Downtown Winter Wonderland

After the Drive Thru Tree Jubilee on Saturday, December 5th many of our lighted decorations will move to downtown to create a wonderful walk through or drive through experience throughout the month of December! 

Find bright lights, wreaths, ribbon, a giant tree, photo stations, a lighted tunnel, and more! Grab a warm drink, bundle up, and enjoy the holiday small town charm. 

Bonus! Ridgefield Main Street and the City of Ridgefield will be running the annual Downtown Business Holiday Decorating Contest again for 2020 – Click here to vote online for your favorite decorated business!

Decorating Contest Tour

This year we asked residents to raise spirits in Ridgefield by finding some way, no matter how small, to decorate their homes. Residents within the city limits were invited to submit their addresses to enter a decorating contest! To help you find beautiful lights all around Ridgefield, we have included the map of those submitted addresses. Go for a tour of Ridgefield and enjoy those lights!

Click here to download and print the map.

Learn Something New

Explore the traditions and celebrations for holidays from around the world!

We have gathered some basic information on holidays celebrated around the world this time of year. Take some time to read and learn about other cultures.

October 29: Mawlid el-Nabi

Mawlid is the observance of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad was an Arab religious, social and political leader and founder of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet, sent to preach and confirm the monotheistic teachings of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus and other prophets. The revelations that Muhammad reported receiving until his death form the verses of the Quran, regarded by Muslims as the verbatim “Word of God” on which the religion is based. Besides, the Quran, Muhammad’s teachings and practices are also upheld and used as sources of Islamic law.

Mawlid is celebrated in almost all Islamic countries, and in other countries that have a significant Muslim population, such as Ethiopia, India, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, France, Germany, Italy, Iraq, Iran, Maldives, Morocco, Jordan, Libya, and Russia. The only exceptions are Qatar and Saudi Arabia where it is not an official public holiday and is forbidden.

Mawlid is celebrated in a carnival manner, large street processions are held and homes or mosques are decorated. Charity and food is distributed, and stories about the life of Muhammad are narrated with recitation of poetry by children. Around the Islamic world, Muhammad’s birthday is celebrated with religious lectures and recitals of verses from the Qur’an, in mosques decorated with lights to mark the occasion.

The main significance of these festivities is expression of love for Muhammad.

November 14: Diwali

Diwali is a five-day festival celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists. The name comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “rows of lighted lamps.” Although the festival marks different historical events and stories for each Faith, it represents the same symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.

Major celebrations occur on the third day of the festival. People illuminate their homes, temples and work spaces with diyas (oil lamps), candles and lanterns creating a “festival of lights.” Floors at homes and offices are decorated with rangolis, (intricate colorful designs made from rice flour, flower petals, colored rice or colored sand) to create feelings of strength and generosity and to bring good luck. Food is a major focus with families partaking in feasts and sharing mithai (sweets). In the evenings, family members light up firecrackers, which some interpret as a way to ward off all evil spirits and the inauspicious, as well as add to the festive mood.

Depending on the region, celebrations also include puja (prayers) before one or more Hindu deities, the most common being Lakshmi who symbolizes three virtues: wealth and prosperity, fertility and abundant crops, as well as good fortune. For some, Diwali is considered to be the start of the new year, so many people purchase new clothes and clean out their homes.

The festival is an annual homecoming and bonding period for families. The day after Diwali is a time to exchange gifts and check in with family and friends. The last day is meant for siblings to celebrate together. Diwali also emphasizes engaging in service, or seva, and charitable giving.

December 5: Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas is a legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children, celebrated in The Netherlands. Dutch tradition says that St. Nicholas lives in Madrid, Spain. He traditionally rides a white horse and carries a big, red book which records whether each child has been good or bad in the past year. Sinterklaas is assisted by Zwarte Piet (“Black Pete”), a helper who carries a bag of candy for children. Sinterklaas is celebrated in the Netherlands on December 5.

The festivities begin in mid-November when Sinterklaas arrives from Spain in a steamboat. When Sinterklaas comes ashore, all of the local church bells ring, he parades through the streets on his horse, welcomed by children singing traditional songs and Zwarte Piet throwing candy and small gingerbread-like cookies into the crowd. On the same evening, children leave a shoe out by the fireplace or sometimes a windowsill. They hope that Sinterklaas will come during the night with presents. Sinterklaas and Piet make weekly visits, so children leave their shoes out every Saturday until the main party on December 5. Treats include mandarin oranges, speculaas (gingerbread cookies), banketletter (pastry filled with almond paste), a chocolate letter (first letter of the child’s name) and marzipan figures.

On December 5, Sinterklaasvond (“Sinterklaas evening”), is the chief occasion for gift giving during the winter holiday season. Zwarte Piet delivers large burlap bags full of presents for everyone. On the next day, Sinterklaas leaves by steamboat and travels back to Spain.

December 10-18: Hanukkah

The eight-day Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah or Chanukah commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew, begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar.

The Hanukkah celebration revolves around the kindling of a nine-branched menorah, known in Hebrew as the hanukiah. On each of the holiday’s eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah after sundown; the ninth candle, called the shamash (“helper”), is used to light the others. Jews typically recite blessings during this ritual and display the menorah prominently in a window as a reminder to others of the miracle that inspired the holiday. Traditional Hanukkah foods are fried in oil: potato pancakes (known as latkes) and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot) are particularly popular in many Jewish households. Other Hanukkah customs include playing with four-sided spinning tops called dreidels and exchanging gifts.
The events that inspired the Hanukkah holiday took place during a particularly turbulent phase of Jewish history. Judea—also known as the Land of Israel—came under the control of the Seleucid king of Syria. The Jewish religion was outlawed and Jews were ordered to worship Greek gods. In 168 B.C., soldiers descended upon Jerusalem, massacring thousands of people, desecrating the city’s holy Second Temple and turning it into a shrine to the Greek God Zeus. Soon after, the Jewish priest Mattathias started a large-scale rebellion. After his death, Judah (his son) took over the freedom fighters and after two years drove the Syrians out of Jerusalem. Judah called on his followers to cleanse the Second Temple, rebuild its altar and light its menorah—the gold candelabrum whose seven branches represented knowledge and creation and were meant to be kept burning every night. According to the Talmud, there was only enough untainted olive oil to keep the menorah’s candles burning for a single day, but the flames continued flickering for eight nights, leaving them time to find a fresh supply. This wondrous event inspired the Jewish sages to proclaim a yearly eight-day festival.

December 25: Christmas

Christmas, a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus, has evolved into a worldwide religious and secular celebration, incorporating many pre-Christian and pagan traditions into the festivities. The Nativity of Jesus, delineated in the New Testament says that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. When Joseph and Mary arrived in the city, the inn had no room and so they were offered a stable where the Christ Child was born. Angels proclaimed the news to the shepherds who then further disseminated the information. For Christians, believing that God came into the world in the form of man to atone for the sins of humanity, rather than knowing Jesus’ exact birth date, is considered to be the primary purpose in celebrating Christmas.

Although the month and date of Jesus’ birth are unknown, the church in the early fourth century fixed the date as December 25. This corresponds to the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. Most Christians celebrate on December 25 in the Gregorian calendar, However, part of the Eastern Christian Churches celebrate Christmas according to the older Julian calendar, on January 7.
The celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have a mix of pre-Christian, Christian, and secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift giving; completing an Advent calendar or Advent wreath; Christmas music and caroling; viewing a Nativity play; an exchange of Christmas cards; church services; a special meal; and the display of various Christmas decorations, including Christmas trees, Christmas lights, nativity scenes, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe, and holly. In addition, several closely related and often interchangeable figures, known as Santa Claus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, and Christkind, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season and have their own body of traditions and lore.

December 26: Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a public holiday celebrated in the United Kingdom and other British Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The exact roots of the holiday name are unknown, but there are two leading theories, both of which are connected to charity traditionally distributed to lower classes on the day after Christmas.

One idea is that December 26 was the day centuries ago when lords of the manor and aristocrats typically distributed “Christmas boxes” often filled with small gifts, money and leftovers from Christmas dinner to their household servants and employees, who were required to work on December 25, in recognition of good service throughout the year. These boxes were, in essence, holiday bonuses. Another popular theory is that the Boxing Day moniker arose from the alms boxes that were placed in churches during the Advent season for the collection of monetary donations from parishioners. Clergy members distributed the contents of the boxes to the poor on December 26, which is also the feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr and a figure known for acts of charity. (Ireland celebrates December 26 as St. Stephen’s Day.) These days, December 26 is a popular holiday in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries for watching sports such as soccer and cricket, shopping and visiting friends.

December 26-January 1: Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a seven day festival that celebrates African and African American culture and history. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” or “harvest” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, and poetry reading. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31.

During Kwanzaa a special candle holder called a kinara is used. A kinara holds seven candles, three red ones on the left, three green ones on the right with a black candle in the center. Each night during Kwanzaa a child lights one of the candles and one of seven principles is discussed. The principles, called the Nguzo Saba are values of African culture which contribute to building and reinforcing community among African-Americans. Kwanzaa also has seven basic symbols which represent values and concepts reflective of African culture.

Each day of Kwanzaa emphasizes a different principle including:

1. Umoja (Unity):To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
2. Kujichagulia (Self-determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
5. Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
6. Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
7. Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

The seven symbols of Kwanzaa are:

1. Mazao (Crops): The fruits of collective planning and work, and the resulting joy, sharing, unity and thanksgiving. To demonstrate mazao, people place nuts, fruits, and vegetables, representing work, on the mkeka.
2. Mkeka (Place Mat): Just as the crops stand on the mkeka, the present day stands on the past. The mkeka symbolizes the historical and traditional foundation for people to stand on and build their lives.
3. Muhindi (Ear of Corn): Corn represents fertility and the idea that through children, the future hopes of the family are brought to life. One vibunzi is placed on the mat for every child.
4. Mishumaa Saba (The Seven Candles): Candles are ceremonial objects that serve to symbolically re-create the sun’s power, as well as to provide light.
5. Kinara (The Candleholder): The kinara represents our ancestry, and the original stalk from which we came.
6. Kikombe Cha Umoja (The Unity Cup): On the sixth day of Kwanzaa, the libation ritual is performed to honor the ancestors. Every family member and guest will take a drink together as a sign of unity and remembrance.
7. Zawadi (Gifts): On the seventh day of Kwanzaa, gifts are given to encourage growth, achievement, and success. Handmade gifts are encouraged to promote self-determination, purpose, and creativity.

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