Media Maven: Grab Bag of Holiday Goodies

Media Maven: Grab Bag of Holiday Goodies

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Hello Cincy Chic readers! Instead of the usual movie review, I would like to offer you an eclectic assortment of local activities in which to indulge at the start of this holiday season.

Celebritree Sightings

The first item that comes to mind is a lovely display of holiday trees that are enchantingly decorated for the season. Besides getting into the holiday spirit it also serves as a fundraiser benefiting the nonprofit program for displaced adults known as Tender Mercies.

The name of this festive display is called Celebritrees. This program is in its fifth year and has become a fine opportunity for Cincinnati businesses to show their talent and generosity. I would suspect it also is an opportunity to get in the holiday spirit ahead of everyone else.

will showcase over 60 trees, shimmering with more than 30,000 holiday lights! It will be held downtown at the Carew Tower Place Mall in the former Gap Store site. All 60 trees have been sponsored by Cincinnati groups. Many are corporate sponsors and some (such as my favorite coffee place on the west side of town), The Front Porch, are smaller community venues around Cincinnati. These Cincinnatians donate all of the decorations and design the trees with clever images of Christmas.

These trees are a magnificent sight! One is more festive than the other. Some are playful. Some are serene; all are beautiful. The “elves” who decorate these trees will do so over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Then on Nov. 30 through Dec. 10 all trees will be on display for the public to enjoy. There will be certain hours to browse and maybe even get a decorating idea or two for yourself.

I will be volunteering Thursday Dec. 6 and Friday Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Stop by and say "hello." On Dec. 11, all of the trees will be gone, so don’t wait too long to get downtown to enjoy. Prior to its public opening the trees will be auctioned and then delivered to the new owners on the final day of Celebritrees. All proceeds go to Tender Mercies. Further information can be found by contacting Michael G. Reardon, M.Ed., Volunteer Services Manager, Tender Mercies, Inc., at (513) 639-7027.

Catch the Crèche

Another place to visit while downtown would be St. Peter in Chains Cathedral. Every year the Cathedral offers a display of crèches and nativity sets from around the world. This display is located at Eighth Street and Plum. Call (513) 421-5354 for more information. If you can’t make it downtown, there is the annual Grailville Crèche Luncheon Series and Exhibit near Loveland, Ohio. Grailville is a retreat and program center located on over 300 acres of woodlands and organic gardens. Over 50 nativity scenes from around the world, including those by internationally-known sculptor Trina Paulus, will be on display beginning Dec. 2. For more information, contact Joy France, Grailville, (513) 683-2340 or at

Nativity Festivity

And a third suggestion is dear to my heart. I share it with you, my friends, because it is a simple display that is always touching and very powerful. (This Christmas display works best with little children.) May I suggest you visit The Comboni Missionary Center at 1318 Nagel Road in Anderson Township? There you will see a handmade city of Bethelehm and hear a voice tell the story of one child’s birth. It lasts all of 10 minutes, and has been a tradition open to the public for over 60 years. This nativity scene came to Cincinnati from Italy in 1947. Beginning Dec. 10 it can be viewed nightly from 6 to 9 p.m. Call (513) 474-4997 for more information. There are plenty of eateries nearby so make it a family outing that will be remembered and treasured.

OK, so you’ve done some Christmas sightseeing and you need something for you! These next two books have been wonderful companions that have brought me much calm and reflection during this busy season: Let it Be Advent and Christmas Meditations for Women, edited by Therese Johnson Borchard, and Loving Yourself More: 101 Meditations for Women by local Cincinnati author Virginia Froehle.

Perhaps the saying, “The older you get the wiser you become,” could at times, be amended to “The older you get the more stressed you become.” The busier my days are I find I need something more than just light reading to nurture my need for understanding the miracles and disasters that come with each new day. What I like about these two books is that they offer a short mediation. It’s simple. It’s solitary, and for me during this hectic time, it can be profound. Just giving myself three to four minutes alone to read and think or just breathe in the words written in either one of these treasures has been a gift that cannot be measured in money.

Now, readers — I have more holiday goodies to share. There is enough for another stocking full of goodies for next week. For those of you who must have a movie review, I am including these two quick picks:

Enchanted: darling family movie — best for children 10 and under. Parents and grandparents will enjoy all of the references to the many Disney cartoon films from their own childhood. Amy Adams as an innocent fair maiden plucked from her fantasy fairyland world into Manhattan is charming. Patrick Dempsey as a single father who tries to help her find her “True Love” is engaging.
Rating: Four Chic Stars

Love in the Time of Cholera: An artistic feast for the eyes. An unrequited love story spanning over fifty years. Kudos to the makers of this film and their decision to show septuagenarians tastefully loving each other. The youth driven culture in films seems to glorify nudity and equate beauty with chronological boundaries. This film defies the premise that love scenes will only be created if gorgeous young women portray the leading ladies. The actor, Javier Bardem, gives a credible performance as the focal character in this film. Although it is a bit bodacious to believe that he had over 600 romantic “conquests” in his life as he waited for his one true love to accept him. My only other caution for this film is that it is long and meandering. Yet, if you have the time and enjoy historical romances, then this film will satisfy.
Rating: Three Chic Stars

I hope you try something new just for you from these goodies!