holidays

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

During the last few weeks of the year many people make donations to local charities, which struggle to compete for those dollars. Non-profits are using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to extend their reach and attract donors they might not have been able to before.

NORADSANTA.COM

Tonight every child who believes in Christmas is going to be wondering where Santa is. In the 1950s the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, started tracking Santa.

These days, there are multiple ways kids can track Santa. There's Google Earth and even a tracking app. NORAD's Facebook and Twitter feeds update Santa's location constantly Christmas Eve day.

PJ Mixer / via Flickr

The holiday travel season begins today. And a trend of more people hitting the road for the holidays is continuing.

Travel service AAA is projecting 98.6 million Americans will be someplace else for at least part of the holidays, a record number.

"It’s up 4 percent compared to last year. It’s also the highest travel volume on record. And AAA’s data does date back 13 years," said AAA spokeswoman Diana Dibble.

AAA recorded increases in travel for Labor Day and Thanksgiving holidays, too.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Today is the day the Salvation Army gets to play Santa Claus. The annual Christmas Bureau gets help from local organizations and volunteers to provide gifts and food for Onondaga County families who can’t afford it themselves.

Keeping families from becoming homeless over the holidays is the idea behind a program offered by central New York attorneys this time of year.

There aren’t necessarily more evictions approaching the holidays, but Michael Balanoff of Legal Services of Central New York says losing a place to live this time of year is just more difficult, especially when children are involved. That’s the idea behind the “Home for the Holidays" program, which brings attorneys from all over the region to Syracuse City Court in the days leading up to Christmas.

Maintaining a healthy weight through the holidays

Dec 7, 2014
thepeachmartini / Flickr

It happens every year. The holiday season rolls around and suddenly you can’t eat enough. Some people argue that holiday food is the best food of the year, but what can we do to make sure we don’t end up ruining a year’s worth of diet and exercise?

This week on “Take Care,” registered dietician Ashley Koff suggests strategies to eat healthy and not gain too much weight during the holiday time. Koff is a contributing editor to Prevention magazine, the author of two books and on the faculty of the Continuum Center for Health and Healing at the Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

Small Business Saturday is this weekend, and shoppers across the country are visiting local mom and pop stores in support of their communities. The event was launched in 2010 by American Express to encourage people to shop at independently-owned businesses, and also to bridge the gap between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Only days after a fire tore through her home last year, a Fulton woman wanted to make sure the men and women who saved her life were honored for their actions. Now her efforts have grown into a campaign to honor first responders with a national federal holiday.

It was the evening of June 1 when Beverly Belton's house caught fire. She was completely unaware anything was going on, even as the flames burned in the attic above her.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The Upstate New York Poison Center wants New Yorkers to stay safe this holiday season. They've provided a list of things that can turn a happy holiday into tragedy.

Some things on the list remain after the holidays are long gone, like food safety. Other listed items are seen only during the holiday, like toxic plants- think mistletoe and holly berries. There are also items that can cause choking in young children.

This holiday season we're bringing you some specials from NPR and other producers. They're sure to make you think, laugh, tear up or even sing. Holiday programs air Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. A complete list, along with air times, is below:

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The New York Public Information Research Group wants to remind shoppers to take safety into consideration when buying toys this holiday season. The group has released it’s 2013 list of dangerous and toxic toys that can be found on store shelves across New York state.

You can buy the cute Littlest Pet Shop toys in stores across central New York. But beware, the cute little seals and dolphins can be dangerous.

Central New York Community Foundation

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday focus on spending for holiday gifts, a burgeoning movement is hoping to create that same kind of fervor when it comes to making charitable donations. Tomorrow has been dubbed Giving Tuesday in the world of non-profits.

Matt Seubert, Development Director of Enable and Transitional Living Services in Syracuse had never heard of Giving Tuesday when it started last year.

Soldiers pitch in to help needy celebrate Christmas

Dec 1, 2013
Joanna Richards

The Watertown Urban Mission is busy around the holidays. Along with running its regular programs like the food pantry and thrift store, it also distributes warm winter coats and Thanksgiving turkeys, puts on a craft fair, and holds a sale of Christmas items. Fortunately, it's gotten some help from a small army of volunteers – literally.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Away from the hustle and bustle of Destiny USA and Great Northern Mall, mom and pop shops throughout the region are working hard to promote their own version of Black Friday -- Small Business Saturday.

The city of Oswego is no different. Bill Riley, owner of the River's End Bookstore, has embraced the event since its creation several years ago. His store is hosting two local authors on Saturday, including former political cartoonist Frank Cammuso and award winning author Laurie Halse Anderson.
 

US Embassy Canada / Flickr

Shoppers hitting the stores on this Black Friday expect it to be crowded, since there will probably be more people than ever at central New York’s biggest shopping venue.

A year ago, the expansion to Destiny USA was still in its early stages, with storefronts not yet filled. This year, there are 80 or so more stores, restaurants, and entertainment venues than there were a year ago, according to Mall Manager Rob Schoeneck. That’s already meant more shoppers than in the past.

Black Friday alternative at Watertown craft sale

Nov 29, 2013
Joanna Richards / WRVO

On Black Friday, people cram into stores, treating shopping like a full-contact sport. Others hold off for a calmer experience in front of their computer screens on Cyber Monday. But some people still want a fun, communal holiday shopping experience – minus the chaos.

Watertown's annual holiday craft fair is a good option for less competitive shoppers, or people searching for a few unique items. This Sunday, two floors of the Dulles State Office Building will fill with local vendors.

doviende / via Flickr

Central New Yorkers make the most trash over the holiday season, which only makes recycling all the more important this time of year, says one of the region's recycling agencies.

John Weeks discusses the types of scenes he sees on the Christmas cards he gives and receives. He notes a lack of ecological accuracy and an emphasis on cuteness.

It's a sign of the season -- holiday songs are flooding the local radio airwaves. But, it’s a holiday tradition that can be as irritating to some people, as it is enjoyable.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

With the holiday gift buying season fully underway, advocacy groups say there are toys on store shelves across New York state that are dangerous to young children. The New York Public Interest Research Group has come up with it's yearly list of treacherous toys for the season.