What do Blake Shelton and Lake Oswego, Oregon Have in Common?

Top 10

In this season of list-making, I’d like to point out that Blake Shelton is a List Maker. People Magazine just named him the Sexiest Man Alive. He has also been listed as the Favorite Male Country Artist in 2016 and the Male Vocalist of the Year in 2012.

The City of Lake Oswego, Oregon seems to share Shelton’s penchant for making lists. Check these out.

●Recognized as the #1 School District in the Nation by StartClass, an education research website.

●Named one of Top 10 Best Towns for Families by Family Circle magazine in 2012.

●Awarded the National Planning Excellence Award by the American Planning Association in 2013 for a three minute video, “We Love Lake Oswego” video to introduce the city’s comprehensive plan to the public and stimulate conversation and involvement. The message of the video was that “cities like Lake Oswego don’t happen by accident.”

●Ranked the smartest city in Oregon by Zippia, a career resource site for young professionals, based on the percentage of adults over 25 with at least a high school education (97.8%) and the high school dropout rate (0.5%).

●Earned the #3 spot in Zip Realty’s 2014 “10 Best Places for Families to Live” list, based on educational standards and housing costs.

●Recognized with a Civic Livability Award in 2012 by the U.S. Conference of Mayors for its Lake Oswego Reads program.

●Ranked #5 nationally in the 2011 Forbes survey of cities that give you the most educational bang for your real estate buck.

●Named one of 30 safest cities in Oregon by SafeWise based on both violent and property crime reports. Came in at #12.

●Listed as third most family friendly city in Oregon by real estate blog, Estately. Lake Oswego was noted as having the best public school system in the state. Other considerations factored in included youth populations, commute time, libraries, housing affordability and cost of living.

●Named the most educated town in Oregon by Business Insider based on census bureau data gathered in American Community Survey 2008-2012 for places with at least 1,000 people.

●Donned a winner in the America in Bloom contest in 2003, scoring a 5 out of 5 for its floral displays.

●Even the city government has bragging rights. It was listed in the Top 100 workplaces in Oregon and Southwest Washington in 2016 by The Oregonian and was the only city government to make the list!

●Designated “Fabulous” upon joining the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities Campaign. Since the city already had programs in place to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle for residents, it earned the top ranking the program awards.

 I’ve also shown up on a few lists myself, like being recognized as a Diamond Platinum Member in the Portland Metropolitan Realtors Million Dollar Club, a consistent top producer with the Hasson Company Realtors, and the recipient of the Lake Oswego Community Leader of the Year award. Let me go to work for you buying or selling your home. Contact me.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net.




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15 Ideas for Things to Do When School’s Out for Winter Break

There are several places to check out Christmas light displays in the Portland metro area during winter break.

School’s out for two weeks starting next Monday so in addition to shopping, wrapping, cooking and baking, you might want to plan some activities for your family to enjoy.

Take a look at what’s going on during Christmas break both right here in Lake Oswego and just nearby in the greater Portland area.

Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation Winter Break Camps. If you need a place for your kids to hang out when not in school or you’re wanting a little more time to get ready for the big day, check out the offerings with our Parks and Rec. Week-long camps are designed to appeal to the budding engineers, musicians, singers and fencers in your family. Check online for dates and fees. 503.675.2549.

Craft Workshops at Nic and Figs. In the week before Christmas, kids can learn how to make clay bowls and beads, snowman macaroons, peppermint marshmallows, doggie treats, Santa pillows and edible gifts. Check online for dates and fees. 425 2nd St., 503.479.8596.

Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy a french toast breakfast, carolers and a visit with Santa. Tuesday, December 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Palisades, 1500 Greentree Road. $14/Adults; $10/Youth; Kids under 3 are free. Pre-registration required.

Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Watch what happens when a teacher casts the worst kids in school to star in the Christmas play. Performances at 7:30 p.m. on December 14-17 and 19-23 and at 2:00 p.m. on December 16,17, and 23. Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street. Purchase tickets online, at the box office or by calling: 503.635.3901. Fee: $15/adults; $12/youth 18 and under.

Winter Village at Jerry Willey Plaza at Orenco Station. Bundle up and enjoy open-air ice skating while taking in the sounds of carolers and Christmas lights. Rink is open from 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday with 90 minute sessions followed by a 30 minute break to resurface the ice. Tickets go on sale 15 minutes prior to the start of each session—no pre-sale or online sales. Cost is $12 which includes a $2 skate rental ($10 if you bring your own skates. Kids 9 and under are $9; 3 and under are free. 943 NE Orenco Station Loop, Hissboro. 503.615.3410.

Pittock Mansion. Visit this popular spot all decked out for the holidays. It’s open through December 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Closed on Christmas day). Prices: $10/General; $7/ages 6-18; $9/Seniors 65 and older. Children under 6 are free. 3229 NW Pittock Drive. 503.823.3623.

The Grotto’s Festival of Light. With nearly 160 indoor holiday concerts, this is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. In addition to the five indoor concerts each night in the 600 seat chapel, you can enjoy outdoor caroling, puppet shows and a live petting zoo. Open through December 30 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission: $11/General; $10/Senior; $6/Youth 3-12. 8840 NE Skidmore Street, Portland. 503.254.7371.

Lighting of Madax Woods. The kids will enjoy spotting representations of the 45 creatures known to inhabit these woods. A lighted accessible path takes you through the woods to a viewing platform on the Willamette River. Open through December 31 from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. 5785 River Street, West Linn. 503.722.2137

Christmas in the Garden. There’s lots to entertain the kids at Silverton’s Oregon Garden. Over 600,000 lights put on quite a show with the likes of a 100 foot candy cane tunnel and 22 foot tall flowers. Other activities include live music, artisan vendors, ice skating, snowless tubing, carolers and Santa visits. Open through December 31 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Activities and pricing vary by night so check the website. 879 W. Main Street, 503.74.8100.

The Amazing Bubble Man. Louis Pearl knows his bubbles and delights audiences with the art, magic, science and fun of this phenomenon. What kid (let along his/her parent) wouldn’t be wowed by square bubbles, bubbles inside of bubbles, bubble volcanoes and people inside bubbles?! December 17-24 and 26 at 11:00 a.m. with an additional 2:00 show on December 23. Tickets: $10/General; $6/Children. Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton St., Portland, 503.238.5588.

Nutcracker. There’s a good chance this is already part of your holiday tradition, but if not, there are plenty of opportunities during the break to see the Oregon Ballet’s rendition at Keller Auditorium. Performances at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on December 17, 20-23 and at 12:00 p.m. on December 24. Check online for ticket prices. 222 W. Clay St., Portland, 503.222.5538.

Peacock Lane. Crowds flock to this short street in Portland where peer pressure gets everyone to light up. There are two ways to see it—by foot and by car—just expect crowds either way. On display through December 31 from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Located between SE Stark and SE Belmont.

Winter Wonderland at the Portland International Raceway. Baby, it’s cold outside so load up the kids in the car and head out to the “largest holiday light show west of the Mississippi.” Open through December 26 (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Sunday through Thursday: 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday through Saturday: 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. $22/car. 1940 N. Victory Blvd.

Oregon Zoo Lights. More than a million and a half lights are sure to dazzle you as you visit your favorite animals after dark. Santa will be on hand and the train will be all lit up. On display through January 7 with closures December 24-25 and January 1-4. Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Admission: $14.95/Adult; $9.95/Youth 3-11; $12.95/Senior. Train rides are $4.00. 4001 SW Canyon Road, 503.226.1571.

OMSI Gingerbread Adventures. See what five local architectural firms and bakeries came up with in this second annual OMSI tradition and vote for your favorite for the “People’s Choice Award.” In addition to the designer gingerbread houses, you’ll find DIY gingerbread building activities, holiday-themed illusions, brain teasers and more. Admission is included with general admission tickets: $14.50/Adult; $11.25/Senior; $9.75/Youth. Parking is $5. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Open MOndays when the Portland Public Schools are closed. Closed Christmas day. 1945 SE Water Avenue, 503.797.4000.

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The Search for the Perfect Christmas Tree in Lake Oswego Starts Here

Tracking down the perfect Christmas tree has been part of our family tradition since these three would beg to hitch a ride with the tree in my trailer at Wheeler Tree Farm. It has since closed so we sought out a new tradition this year.

The Christmas tree hunt is on as my blog analytics tell me. So I’ve done my best to update last year’s post on finding the perfect Christmas tree in or around Lake Oswego.

This year there are some new additions as well as some omissions–some farms have closed permanently; others are closed for the season to allow for regrowth. You’ll also notice that a couple of the farms have dramatically shortened their seasons for the same reason.

So I’d suggest you get out there–seems the early bird gets the tree!

Boy Scout Troop 127. Local Boy Scouts have been selling trees as a fundraiser since 1947, starting at the local Piggly Wiggly before moving to George Rogers Park. Once again, Scouts will be on hand but in a new section of the park—next to the Iron Smelter. Over the 2½ weeks the lot is in operation, they will get six to seven fresh shipments of 100 trees each, traveling from a farm near Estacada.
Address: George Rogers Park, 611 S. State Street, Lake Oswego
Hours: Opens Wednesday, November 29 until December 9. Closed December 4 and 5.
Wednesday-Friday: 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Varieties: Pre-cut Noble Fir
Cost: $35 to $100+
Other: Scouts make a fresh cut, bale if wanted, carry it to the car and tie it on. Wreaths, garland by the foot, free cookies and hot chocolate

Parsons Farms. The family that brings us local produce also brings us trees. Pre-cut and close-in makes this spot very convenient.
Address: Lake Bible Church (Tree Lot), 4565 Carman Drive, Lake Oswego
Hours: Monday-Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., except for Friday, December 8, closes at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., except for Saturday, December 9, closes at 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Varieties: Noble and Nordmann Fir. The second weekend after Thanksgiving they’ll be bringing in Doug Fir and Grand Fir.
Other: Handmade fresh wreaths, fresh cut greens, pine cones, and centerpieces also available.

Kids to College Oregon Holiday Greens. Local kids volunteer to work this tree lot and in exchange receive a cash donation towards their educational expenses both at the high school and college levels.
Address: Oswego Village Shopping Center, next to Ace Hardware at 11 S. State Street
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. until Christmas Eve
Trees: Trees freshly cut each week
Other: Wreaths, swags, decorations Will deliver for a fee as well as setup your tree.

Stroupe Christmas Tree Farm. This is the closest spot for u-cut trees. It’s located right across from one of the family’s other businesses: S&H Landscape.
Address: corner of Stafford and Borland Roads
Varieties: Douglas, Grand, Nordmann and Noble
Cost: $25-$144
Other: Handmade wreaths and swags


Watch for this sign when you’re looking for Ron’s place.

Ron’s Christmas Tree Farm. This place is a bit off the radar–it has no name but Ron operates it and there is no address posted. But you’ll see a sign that says, “Christmas Trees.” It’s at roughly 4400 Borland Road, between Stafford and SW 65th.
Address: See above. (about 3 miles from Lake Oswego)
Hours: Opens November 24 and then Fridays through Sundays from 9:00 a.m. until dark.
Varieties: Mostly Noble Firs, a few Douglas and a couple Blue Spruce. Sizes range from 3 feet to 30 feet.
Cost: $6/foot
Other: This place is u-pick, Ron-cuts. He has rope to tie it on to your car.

Little Z Christmas Tree Farm. This family farm prides itself on quality, variety and service.
Address: 842 Rosemont Rd., West Linn. 503.453.0573 (about 4 miles from Lake Oswego)
Hours: Opens Friday, November 24 and then Saturdays and Sundays 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by appointment.
Varieties: U-cut Noble, Douglas, Fraiser, Nordmann, Shasta Fir
Cost: Price varies, but generally $10/foot
Other: The Zerkels are ready to serve you, including cutting down the tree you want with their chainsaws, carrying it to your car, and loading it or tying it down. If you’d rather cut your own, they recommend bringing your own hand saw.

Lee Farms. Talk about tradition! The Lees have been farming in Tualatin since 1869 over seven generations with three generations currently involved in the family farm. This is a year-round operation so if you want to get out there early to tag your tree, you can.
Address: 21975 SW 65th Avenue, Tualatin. (about 4 miles from Lake Oswego). 503.638.1869.
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. Closed for Thanksgiving. 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on December 24.
Varieties: Fresh cut and u-cut Noble, Grand, Douglas, Nordman and Fraser
Cost: Price varies. Check website.
Other: They will cut, shake, bale and load your tree free of charge. Will also install Davis Tree Stand. Also available: wreaths, garlands, swags, centerpieces, custom wreath and centerpiece orders, ornaments, decorations. Visit the bakery for donuts and espresso and place an order for a Christmas pie.

Nob Hill Christmas Trees. If sloshing through the mud to find your perfect tree isn’t your idea of fun, visit this indoor seasonal lot located in the historic JA Freeman and Sons building on Northwest Wilson in Portland. Radiant heat and hot apple cider will keep you toasty.
Address: 2638 NW Wilson Street, Portland. 503.770.0493 (14 miles from Lake Oswego)
Hours: Friday-Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., starting November 24
Varieties: Pre-cut Noble and Grand Fir and Nordmann, from 2 to 12 feet
Cost: Prices vary so check website.
Other: You can pre-order a tree through November 27. Special events include: Black Friday special late night hours, closing at 10:00 p.m., so you can pick up your tree after shopping and party to the music. Christmas movie night on December 5 at 5:00 p.m. with a small donation for Red Dress Portland. PopUp Happy Hour and Holiday Bazaar on December 8 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ($25)

Sleighbells. This is a one-stop shop for Christmas with gift shop packed with holiday décor and Santa on hand from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for photo opps.
Address: 23855 SW 195th Place, Sherwood. 503.625.6052 (10½ miles from Lake Oswego)
Hours: 7 days a week, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for trees; gift shop stays open until 5:00 p.m.
Varieties: Noble/Nordmann and Douglas/Grand Fir
Cost: Prices vary so check online. Example: 8 ft. Noble is $65; 8 ft. Grand Fir is 53.
Other: You can pre-tag for additional fee. Food carts are open on Saturdays and Sundays. Complimentary cocoa and coffee.

Sunny Days Tree Farm. If you want a tree with a view, this is your place set atop 80 hilltop acres in Tualatin and overlooking the Willamette wine country.
Address: 25100 SW Neill Rd., Sherwood. 503.860.1562 (15 miles from Lake Oswego)
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ; Friday-Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  starting November 18 (closed for Thanksgiving) through December 22
Varieties: Turkish Fir, Nordmann Fir
Cost: $50 u-cut all trees; $55 pre-cut
Other: Saws and twine provided, but you might want to bring your own handsaw in case it’s crowded. No baler or shaker. Also available: wreaths, garland, log reindeer and snow people

Historic Kirchem Farm. This natural, no spray farm has a very limited cutting season this year to allow for regrowth.
Address: 19723 South Bakers Ferry Rd., Oregon City (19 miles from Lake Oswego)
Hours: Weekends through December 3 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Varieties: 5-6 foot Douglas Fir and 9-20 foot Noble Firs u-cut. There are some pre-cut Nordmanns and Grands while supplies last.
Cost: $30 for Douglas Fir; Tall u-cut nobles are $10/foot. Check their website

Merrywood Farm. Christmas trees-have them your way at Merrywood: u-cut, pre-cut or they-cut. The “Men of Merrywood” are at your service.
Address: 12328 South Casto Rd., Oregon City. 503. 307.2495 (20 miles from Lake Oswego)
Hours: Opens Friday, November 24 and then Tuesday through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays  from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Varieties: The Keysers grow 10 varieties of trees including Noble, Nordmann, Grand, White Fir, White Pine and Douglas from table toppers to 14 footers. Tall trees can be reserved in advance as they go fast.
Cost: Prices vary. 
Other: Complimentary hot cider. Twine and hand saws are provided but no baler. Free pony rides for the kids on weekends.

Redland Family Farm. This Oregon City farm is only open three days this season: November 24, December 2 and December 3 but it has a lot to offer so if you’re in the market this coming weekend, you might want to head over.
Address: 19400 S. Redland Rd., Oregon City (19 miles from Lake Oswego)
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. November 24, December 2 and 3.
Cost: $55 for both u-cut and pre-cut
Varieties: Call to confirm 503.462.4636
Other: Warming fire with free hot cocoa, s’mores, wagon rides, petting zoo, bounce house, kids’ craft station and Santa visits. Free shaking and baling.

Furrow Farm. These trees are celebrities–they’ve appeared in multiple Christmas episodes of Grimm.
Address: 25877 NW West Union Rd., Hillsboro (20 miles from Lake Oswego) 503.647.5288
Hours: Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to dark; Saturday and Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to dark
Varieties: Noble, Nordmann, Grand, Balsam, Douglas
Cost: All trees are $7/foot except for Douglas Fir which are $4/foot
Other: Enjoy a warming fire and free hot cocoa and candy canes as well as tractor rides. Tree baling is $2 extra. Mistletoe, wreaths, garland and tree stands also available.

If you have any Christmas tree recommendations, please leave them here! And be sure to subscribe to 52 Reasons to Love Lake Oswego to receive weekly updates. Just click the “Sign me up” button in the top right hand column.

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Add These Experiences to Your Shopping List for Happier Recipients

Gift recipients will be happier with experiences, like yoga classes, than things according to recent research.

As we all rush around to buy gifts for loved ones on our Christmas lists, it might be wise to take the advice of Cornell psychologist, Dr. Thomas Gilovich—buy experiences, not things.

Seems things only satisfy us for a while, once we adapt to them. Experiences on the other hand linger and provide a residual glow as we remember them, talk about them, and incorporate them into our identity.

With that in mind, here are some suggestions for experiences you can purchase right here in Lake Oswego.

Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation. Gift certificates purchased online can be used towards tennis lessons as well as recreation classes and activities. This is a one-size-fits-all gift as offerings range from Fairy Tale Ballet to Boomer Bootcamp. 503.675.2549

Step It Up Studios. Got a Dancing With the Stars fan on your gift list? How about a gift certificate to Lake Oswego’s very own ballroom dancing studio. There’s an online special for 6 lessons for $129, but you can also walk in and talk with the owner, Kristy Higgins, to arrange the right package for your recipient.503.744.0105

Lake Theater & Café. Perfect for movie and/or music buffs who can cash in their gift certificate for first run films, popular Music Monday concerts, and/or food in the café. Available online in amounts from $10-$100.

Twist Yoga. Give them something to help them unwind from the holiday hoopla. Classes in this locally owned boutique studio run the gamut from Restorative Yin to Hot Power and Twist Shred (a combo of power plus High Intensity Interval Training plus core plus cardio). Gift cards can be purchased online. 503.303.4195

Rumi Simone. Here’s another way for them to unwind. Treat them to a spa or salon treatment from this downtown Lake Oswego retreat. Choose from a wide assortment of services including facials and massages, including a menu of treatments for men. 503.699.8899.

Nic and Figs. This community gathering spot offers “the gift of making.” A gift certificate here will provide your recipient the opportunity to learn how to cook, sew, knit, make jewelry, bake, even mix her own cocktails! Gift cards are available to purchase online in amounts ranging from $25 to $100. 503.479.8596.

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9 More Ways to Add More Ho Ho Ho to Your Holidays in Lake Oswego

There are lots of reasons to be merry this holiday season in Lake Oswego. Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of the holidays (and be sure to check out part 1 of this guide here).

Acoustic Guitar Summit Christmas. Treat yourself to music which one critic described as “rich and heady as a rum-soaked eggnog laced with varied spices.” Award-winning fingerstyle guitarists will delight you with the jeweled sounds of the season. Monday, December 11. Lake Theater and Café, 106 N. State Street. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., Music begins at 7:00 p.m. $20/person; $100 VIP table for four. Buy tickets online.

High School Holiday Choir Concerts. Holiday carols have a way of bringing out the merry in all of us. Let local high school students work their magic as they perform in their auditoriums over the next couple of weeks. Lake Oswego High School on Wednesday, December 13 at 7:00 p.m. 2501 Country Club Rd., 503.534.2313. Lakeridge High School on Wednesday, December 13 at 7:30 p.m. 1235 Overlook Drive. 503.534.2319.

Creative Gift Making for ages 6-10. Take out some of the commercialism of the holidays and let your kids get inspired to create gifts from the heart using a variety of media. Saturday, December 16 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Palisades, 1500 Greentree Road. $44/Resident; $66/Non-Resident. Register online for class #16150.

Christmas Ships Parade. Catch a glimpse of up to 60 boats decked out in holiday lights as they make their way from the River Place Marina in Portland to George Rogers Park in Lake Oswego. Boats due to pass by Foothills Park around 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 16. 199 Foothills Drive. 503.675.2549.

Jingle and Swing Holiday Concert. Get all jazzed up with sounds that will take you back to Nat King Cole and The Dorsey Brothers featuring Pete Krebs, special guests from The Stolen Sweets and swing dancers, Melissa Roane and Colin Livesay. Saturday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:15 p.m.) at Lakeridge High School, 1235 Overlook Drive. General admission tickets: $23/Adult;$16/Youth. Register online for activity 16514 or call 503.675.2549.

Holidays Around the World for ages 5-12. School’s out and Santa’s coming—keep the kids entertained the week leading up to the big day. They’ll learn about how the holidays are celebrated in different countries, make crafts to give as gifts, and bake cookies. Monday through Friday, December 18-22 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Luscher Farm, 125 Rosemont Avenue. $185/Resident; $231/Non-Resident. Register online for #16442.

Sugar and Spice, a Holiday Treat with LaRhonda Steele, Julie Amici, Dean Mueller, Dave Fleschner and Alan Hager. This group has got you covered no matter your musical taste: jazz, blues, R&B, soul and a touch of Christmas. Monday, December 18. Lake Theater and Café, 106 N. State Street. Doors open at 6:00 p.m., Music begins at 7:00 p.m. $20/person; $100 VIP table for four. Buy tickets online.

Breakfast with Santa. Enjoy a french toast breakfast, carolers and a visit with Santa. Tuesday, December 19 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Palisades, 1500 Greentree Road. $14/Adults; $10/Youth; Kids under 3 are free. Pre-registration required.

Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Watch what happens when a teacher casts the worst kids in school to star in the Christmas play. Performances at 7:30 p.m. on December 14-17 and 19-23 and at 2:00 p.m. on December 16,17, and 23. Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street. Purchase tickets online, at the box office or by calling: 503.635.3901. Fee: $15/adults; $12/youth 18 and under.

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Ideas for Paying It Forward This Holiday Season in Lake Oswego

With the holidays approaching, it might be reassuring to know that it truly is better to give than receive…according to a Harvard Business School 2008 study.

Professor Michael Norton and his colleagues researched the money habits of 632 American men and women—how much they earn and how they spend their earnings.

What they found was that those who reported spending more money on others also reported higher levels of happiness. How much they spent on themselves seemed to have no impact on their happiness.

So if you are looking for ways to increase your happiness quotient this holiday season, here are some ideas where you can make an impact on our local community.

Hasson Company Dress for Success clothing drive. Help local disadvantaged women who are trying to become more economically independent by supporting the Dress for Success clothing drive. Donations can be dropped off at any of the Hasson Company Portland Metro offices, including mine at 15400 Boones Ferry Road, from November 13-17. Items needed include gently used dresses, pants/slacks, blouses/professional tops, blazers/jackets/winter coats, professional shoes, handbags, jewelry, accessories (belts, scarves, gloves, umbrellas), scrubs, new and packaged bras, hosiery and cosmetics. Please make sure donations are freshly laundered/drycleaned and either on hangers or neatly folded in a box or shopping bag. Financial contributions are also being accepted–$500 supports one woman’s services through the program for an entire year. Clothing is just one piece of the package that Dress for Success offers. Women also receive résumé, job search, and interview preparation as well as job success services. Dress for success is definitely not just a “help out” program but a “hand up.”

Lake Oswego Toy Drive. Starting Thanksgiving week, you can drop off new, unwrapped toys to either the Lake Oswego Fire Department Main Station (300 B Avenue) or the Lake Oswego Library (706 Fourth Street). Donations will go to the Elks Club who will distribute them to local families in need. Currently there are 125 families, some with multiple children, hoping to receive your donations. Please drop off toys by December 18.

Fill a Stocking, Fill a Heart. Brighten the holidays for clients of Clackamas County social service agencies. Pick up a handmade stocking or two at one of several city locations and fill with unwrapped needed items like socks, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and gifts for kids ages 9 and up. Once the basics have been met, you can add age appropriate extras like stuffed animals, art supplies, movie tickets, bus passes and store gift cards. Then return the stockings by December 2. Many agencies request stockings in early December so November drop-offs are especially appreciated. You can also just drop off donations without a stocking and leave them in the drop-off box. Pick-up and drop-off locations in Lake Oswego include:

Bank of America, 16209 Bryant Road

D.A. Davidson and Company, Two Centerpointe Drive, #325

Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue

Lake Oswego City Hall, 380 A Avenue

Lake Oswego Parks and Recreation, 1500 Greentree

Another way to help this organization is to link them to your Fred Meyer Rewards card. You will continue to earn your Fred Meyers rewards while at the same time helping Fill a Stocking Fill a Heart earn a donation from Fred Meyer.

Coats, Blankets and Gloves. The City is collecting these essentials for distribution by Hope Sparrow Services to families in need in our community, especially children. Drop off lightly used items at City Hall, 380 A Avenue, through the south entrance from November through January.

Hunger Fighters Oregon. Three years ago when students at Lake Oswego Junior High realized that food insecurity is an issue even for Lake Oswego families, they started a club to address it. Today this official nonprofit distributes food from a pantry located at Lakeridge Junior High School, 4700 Jean Road. Donations are always welcome during business hours every Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Current needs include canned fruit, canned meals (chili, pasta), and personal hygiene like toilet paper and paper towels.

Canned food drives at local high schools. Both Lake Oswego and Lakeridge High Schools will be sponsoring canned food drives during the holidays—Lakeridge from December 1-13 and Lake Oswego December 4-15. You can drop donations off at the high school main office, or if you know a student, send your cans in with him or her. Lakeridge: 1235 Overlook Drive, 503.534.2319; Lake Oswego High School: 2501 Country Club Road, 503.534.2313.

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12 Ways to Add More Ho Ho Ho to Your Holidays in Lake Oswego

It’s never too early to start booking your holiday festivities in Lake Oswego. Popular events like the Tinseltown Trolley, Holiday concerts at the Lake Theater and Holidays Around the World school’s-out camp sell out quickly. So start making a list and book the festivities that require reservations.

Luckily there are lots to choose from–so many that I’m covering them over two different weeks. Here’s the first installment.

Lakewood in City Lights. This annual event is returning to downtown Portland to the Sentinel Hotel. Enjoy dinner catered by Jake’s Grill, entertainment, and silent and oral auction. Attendees who don’t want to drive can take a coach from Lakewood’s parking lot to the event ($20/person) or choose to make a night of it and stay at the hotel at a special rate. Saturday, November 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 89:30 p.m. Tickets are $100/person and can be purchased at the box office, online or by calling 503.635.3901.

Reunion Farmers Market. Local farms bring autumn’s bounty to downtown Lake Oswego. Enjoy shopping in the crisp fall air and pick up some fresh ideas for your Thanksgiving feast. Saturday, November 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Millennium Plaza Park, First and Evergreen.

Horse Drawn Wagon Rides. Here’s another opportunity to slow the season down and take in the sights as you ride through downtown Lake Oswego and the First Addition neighborhood while the Reunion Farmers Market is taking place. Saturday, November 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Limited reserved seating ($8/Adults; $5/Youth) is available by contacting jinglis@lakeoswego.city or 503.675.3985. The rest of the seats are first come, first served: $5/adults; $3/children. Rides are scheduled every 20 minutes from Millennium Plaza Park, 200 First Street.

Lake Oswego Arts Council Holiday Gallery. Finding the one-of-a-kind gift starts here where local artists from all media bring their handcrafted work for you to choose from. Things kick off at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 24 and run through 6:00 p.m. Saturday, December 23. Regular museum hours are 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. 510 Museum and ARTspace, 510 First Street. 503.675.3738.

53rd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Enjoy one of Lake Oswego’s longest standing traditions which includes tree lighting, caroling, treats, and a visit from the big guy decked out in red and white. Friday, November 24 at 5:30 p.m. Begins at Bigelow Plaza on the corner of 5th and A Avenue and proceeds down to Millennium Plaza Park.

Michael Allen Harrison and Friends Holiday Show. Michael Allen Harrison calls on Julianne Johnson and his Super Band to help ring in the holiday spirit. Monday, November 27 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Lake Theater and Café, 106 N. State Street. $20/General Admission; $130/VIP table for four. Buy tickets online.

Dennis’ 7 Dees Reindeer Magic. Bring the kids to meet Santa and his reindeer. New this year is ticketed admission ($5 for everyone older than one) which gives you access to view and take pictures with the reindeer, ride the holiday train, sit on Santa’s lap, enjoy holiday music and other festivities. There are additional costs for some activities like face painting, food and beverages and professional pictures with Santa. Bring new and used blankets to donate to the Human Solutions Winter Shelter. Tickets are on sale online now until sold out. Saturday, December 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Lake Oswego Garden Center, 1090 McVey Avenue. 503.636.4660.

Tinseltown Trolley. It’s Lake Oswego’s version of the Polar Express. Hop aboard and let your imaginations soar as you enjoy carols, story time, treats and more! Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3 with rides leaving at 1:00 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:45 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Reservations required and tickets sell out fast. Tickets are $18/Adults; $15/Youth 12 and under. 503.675.2549.

Holiday Magic Breakfast Theatre. Enjoy a special holiday continental breakfast ½ hour before the curtain goes up for this holiday production featuring area high school student performers. Geared for ages 3-12. Performances are December 2, 10, and 17 at 11:30 a.m. and December 9, 16, 22, and 23 at 9:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. in the Lakewood Center Community Meeting Room at the Lakewood Center for the Arts, 368 S. State Street. Advance reservations are required by purchasing tickets either online, at the box office or by calling: 503.635.3901. Fee: $15/adults; $12/youth 18 and under.

Holiday Card Workshop. Get the inspiration, materials and guidance to create personalized greeting cards for your family and friends. Wednesday, December 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center, 505 G Avenue. Registration: $24/Residents; $36/Non-Residents. Sign up for Class #16234.

Holiday Gift Show at Oswego Heritage House. Get your holiday shopping done early and local with selections that include hats, jewelry, puppets, wine and more. Wednesday, December 6, 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Oswego Heritage House. 398 10th Avenue. 503.635.6373.

Gingerbread House Workshop for ages 6-13. Who needs a boxed kit when you can bake your own gingerbread? Luscher farmhouse Chef Laura Content will help kids bake gingerbread, decorate a keepsake house and send them home with dough to bake. They’ll finish up by making holiday cards. Saturday, December 9 (#16454) and Sunday, December 10 (#16455) from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Luscher Farm, 125 Rosemont Road. $52/Resident; $78/Non-Resident. Register online.

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