Associate Professor of Voice, Shenandoah Conservatory Artistic Director of the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute
As my soon to be four year-old has been saying all day “Tomorrow is Christmas!!!!” Yes, it is 70+ degrees outside, I just saw the cherry blossoms blooming in D.C. yesterday, and my brother is wearing shorts to Christmas Eve dinner. Regardless of the fact that it is 50 degrees hotter than usual, Christmas time is here! So here’s what you need to know on the technology front to make the best of your celebrations.
There are a number of sites that can help you track the man with the bag as you try to get your little ones down to sleep. Here are your two best options:
The Norad Santa Tracker is perhaps the most well-known. With over 60 years of experience, these guys know how to sort out Santa from the flying Christmas drones. If you are afraid Grandma may get run over by a reindeer, this is probably the best place to make sure she will be safe on the way home.
If Google can’t buy it, they just create their own. Since Norad is not up for sale, Google decided to create their own Santa tracker. While I am a fan of tradition, I do have to applaud Google for their interface. Not only does it tell you where Santa is, it also tells you how many gifts he has delivered and how far he is from your home. Well done Google.
My wife loves her fires! No, she is not a pyromaniac, she just happens to be completely in love with our wood burning fireplace and is depressed because 70 degree weather does bode well for her obsession. If you are in a similar predicament or lack a fireplace to fire-up, try these virtual ones.
Always the best source for free videos, YouTube does not disappoint. This particular fire is good for two hours and includes crackling sounds (click here).
If you prefer Christmas music with your fire, try this link.
What to do with all those gifts……
Sometimes we get things for Christmas that are not quite our style or taste. Luckily most stores will at least give you a gift card without a receipt. But what if you don’t want a gift card to that store? There are several websites that offer a simple solution – sell your cards for cash!
Gift Card Granny will buy your unwanted cards and will allow you to buy cards for the stores you like at a discount. Check them out here!
If you have all old toys or clothes that you are ready to part with, instead of throwing them away, donate. Goodwill is a great option and provides a nice end of the year tax deduction.