Awesomesauce Roundup & Linkfest

There’s no denying it, the holidays are approaching (even if we are having one hell of an Indian Summer here in NE Ohio).  As usual for this time of year my thoughts start turning towards gifts and parties and outings. Lucky for me there are a lot of great Cleveland bloggers out there who have done a ton of the legwork for me.  So, instead of doing my own post about what we are getting and what we will be doing I’m just going to highlight some of the awesome that is out there right now (with some of my own additions, of course). And while a lot of this is Cleveland-centric I want to encourage you to look around your own area to see how you can get involved in a local activity and support local shops.

What We’re Doing
Kyle at Northcoast Lifestyle has a great post with all the holiday happenings in the area.  Just like the summer months, the CLE is a busy place in December and if you say there is nothing to do you aren’t looking around. M is very excited about all things Christmas this year so here are the things that Kyle highlighted that we are doing for sure:

The Night of Lights @ Legacy Village, This Friday November 20
Okay, this is a freakin’ “lifestyle mall”, the kind of which I pretty much hate with the heat of a thousand suns.  But, this is close by, free and has 3 marching bands (a huge favorite of M’s), including the famed Shaw High School Band and fireworks (a favorite of mine) so we are going.

Tower City Holiday Show & all the other activities, especially the awesome (and kind of creepy-looking) Kringle’s Inventionasium; starting November 27.

Holiday Circle Fest, December 6.  If it’s happening in the Circle, you know it will be awesome !

We will also be doing some sort of giving back.  I’m thinking of something involving the Cleveland Foodbank.  If nothing else I’ll grab one of those $10 bags of canned goods at the grocery store to be donated everytime I shop in December.

Shopping
There is really no excuse not to buy local for just about all of your gifts.  No matter where you live I bet there are shops and artists that have what you are looking for.

It’s no secret that I have a bit of a blog-crush on Chef’s Widow and all things Widow, GHT & Chef Sawyer (psst – go vote for him to win the Jame’s Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award). Her recent post has all kinds of great info for shopping around the CLE.  Cool Cleveland adds to the party with a list of their own.  If you can’t get all your holiday shopping done between these 2 lists then something is seriously wrong. And if you’re not in CLE, take on the 3/50 project in your own area. Here are some of our must-do’s shopping-wise for holiday 2009:

C.L.E. Clothing Co. –  Mark & I love their shirts and want every last one.  Mark picked up the Brown’s one at a WOW concert this summer and I really want Hot Rod Williams, Bingo Smith and Cleveland’s A Plum to show up under our tree this year.

Bazaar Bizarre – I missed it last year but with their new East-side location a mere minutes from my house I will not miss it this year!

Made in the 216 Holiday Shoppe – A collection of locally-made goods.  Enough said.

And you know you can always shop local on Etsy.com, right?  Discover cool goods and amazing talent right in your backyard, no matter where you live!

For foodies on the list send them to one of the dozens and dozens of fantastic local restaurnts with a gift certificate or let them explore our entire culinary landscape with a Cleveland Independents Deck and they can save $10 at 52 locally-owned Cleveland restaurants. You know there are great independents wherever you live, and they’re so much better then giving a gift certificate to Red Lobster!

My brother told me my nephew wants books – “anything for a 12 year old boy will be fine” he said. Uh, yea…how am I supposed to know what 12 year old boys like?  Thank goodness for this list from the Cuyahoga Library! I’ve marked ideas for M and my other nephew and niece, too, and will be headed to The Learned Owl to pick up a few selections and check off a bunch of my list.

Winnings
While I will be shopping local, I will also be trying to win from 3 local bloggers  this season. Think you’ll never win anything? So did I until I won 3 blog-contests this past year – a book and $50 to Gymboree from Classy Chaos and 2 restaurant gift certificates from Trish’s Dish.  I’m sure this is just the beginning of blog-giveaway season, as PR companies seem to be scrambling for an audience, so enter, enter, enter! You may get a few gifts knocked off your list for free, or even better – score an indulgence for yourself.  Here are some biggies that I am keeping my fingers crossed that I win:

Alexa is giving away an HP dm3 notebook PC (worth over $500) on Cleveland’s A Plum.

Pauline is giving away all kinds of stuff on her review page.  Right now she’s giving away Wii Fit Plus board+ Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum, worth over $130 …I know someone who would love to get this from me this year!

And the grand-daddy of all giveaways this season is from the Widow herself .  Amelia has amassed an amazing assortment of CLE prizes for one lucky winner.  (Commenter JMH should probably enter this one and win it for me).  And go check Widow’s sexy new style…her blog redesign was done by my hubby!

What are your favoraite holiday haunts? Where do you shop? What are the contests you are hoping to win this year?  I hope you are starting to get into the spirit of an awesome Chrismakwanzika!

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