Darien Christmas Trees Get Picked Up Starting Jan 2: Here’s the DPW Schedule

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From Jan. 2 through 30, neighborhood by neighborhood, Darien public works employees will be picking up Christmas trees left on the curb throughout town. Each neighborhood in town gets two periods for pickups. Here’s the schedule, as announced by the town Department of Public Works:

Some reminders from the DPW:

—Christmas trees must be at the curb by the first morning of the scheduled pick-up. —Christmas tree pick-up is conducted on public streets only.

1909 Christmas postcard

What’s Closed, Open or Has Different Times During the Long Christmas Weekend

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Is it open? Is it closed? Are the hours different? Here’s where to find out if it’s around Darien: We’ve got local pharmacies and some stores listed here, along with government offices and places like the YMCA and library:

— Metro-North schedule changes
Friday, Dec 21
Darien schools let out early

Darien Library closes early, at 5 p.m. (It’s open regular hours on Saturday and Sunday, closed on Monday and Tuesday and reopens on Wednesday). Metro-North schedule changes — “Early Christmas Getaway Service on Friday, Dec.

Train Winter

Metro-North’s Special Train Schedule Starts Friday for the Christmas, New Year’s Holidays

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Here’s Metro-North’s announcement (which we’ve edited) about train schedule changes for the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s, 2018 and 2019. It includes tips that go beyond schedule changes:

[Editor’s note: Some of this is repetitive, but you may be looking up this announcement fast as you’re rushing to the station, so repetition may be helpful.]

And to make your yuletide travels even easier, we have a special Christmas/New Year’s Holiday Timetable with schedules for Christmas Day (Tuesday, Dec. 25), New Year’s Eve (Monday, Dec. 31), and New Year’s Day (Tuesday, Jan. 1).

Free gift wrapping image from Grand Central Terminal website

Free Holiday Gift Wrapping for Customers of Shops at Grand Central

Shoppers can get complimentary gift wrapping at Grand Central Terminal from Monday to Friday, Dec. 17 to 21 at the Station Master’s Office near Track 37. Shoppers who present proof of any purchase from The Shops at Grand Central can get up to five of their gifts wrapped in custom wrapping paper featuring the iconic Zodiac mural in the Main Concourse. — from an announcement on the Grand Central Terminal website. No hours were specified.

Songs of the Season Grace Farms 2018

Series of Seasonal, One-Hour Music Concerts Coming to Grace Farms in December

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 Grace Farms Foundation offers visitors its Songs of the Season program, a series of free one-hour afternoon concerts featuring improvisational arrangements of seasonal music performed by local musicians. — an announcement from Grace Farms
Songs of the Season will take place on Dec. 19, 22, 26 and 28 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Sanctuary, which overlooks Grace Farms’ 80-acre preserve at 365 Lukes Wood Road in New Canaan. 
“Songs of the Seasons offers visitors a break from the holiday craze to reflect and contemplate in a welcoming environment,” said Chelsea Thatcher, director of communications & marketing at Grace Farms Foundation. “The diverse lineup of musicians lends unique voices to classic seasonal music, and we’re excited to showcase our community’s talented artists.” Concert Series Schedule

Wednesday, Dec.

Gingerbread house decorating Darien Community Association 2018

Girls’ Night Out Gingerbread House Decorating at the DCA

The DCA and Palmer’s Catering will provide light bites, wine, gingerbread houses and all of the decorating supplies you’ll need. on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 7 to 9 p.m. You supply the creativity! Gather your friends, neighbors, or book group! As one participant raved, “It’s like no other event of its kind—low key, lots of fun, and a really nice evening out with friends before the holiday rush begins.”
You’ll be supporting a great cause — the nonprofit mission of the DCA — which includes college scholarships for Darien High School graduates.

Darien Librarians Christmas gift guide

Still Trying to Decide on Christmas Gifts for Kids? Darien’s Librarians Have Suggestions (Only Half of Them Books!?)

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Santa’s helpers at the library’s Children’s Library have a list of books and other gifts for children ranging in age from infants to teens this Christmas.  They’ve even got a video. The library also has lots of recommended reading lists on its website, for both kids and adults. Remember: You’ve got 12 days to get the latest versions of  little tin horns and little toy drums, rooty toot toots and rummy tum tums … — Information and images in this article are from the Children’s Library newsletter, the Darien Library website and Darien Library’s YouTube account. See also:

Book lists on the Darien Library website
New books at the library (many lists)
DVD ideas

Office Christmas Party movie

Ruining Your Life by Christmas Party, Part I: The Office Christmas Party

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It’s time for the annual office holiday party. This is much more than just a celebration of the season. It’s a test, and you better believe that management is watching very carefully. How can you perform at your best? — Editor’s note: This news release on some of the avoidable pitfalls of the holiday season is from Sharon Schweitzer, billed as “an international etiquette and modern manners expert.”  See also: “Ruining Your Life by Christmas Party, Part II: Your Own Party (Happy Holidays!).”

Tucker Corporation Christmas Card

Tips for Businesses Sending Christmas Cards

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With ongoing change a mantra for today’s digital age, the importance of traditional gestures — such as sending holiday greeting cards — is sometimes in question. For example, is sending the boss a holiday card a good idea? — This article is from Allison & Taylor reference-checking firm. If so, is it better to send a quick email with holiday wishes, or is a traditional paper card the way to go? Reference-checking firm Allison & Taylor recommends that it is indeed a good idea to send your boss a holiday greeting.

Wrapped presents Christmas Holidays Darien Library

‘Wrap and Yap’ at Darien Library: Get Your Holiday Gifts Wrapped

Unwrapped presents cluttering every square corner of your home? Take the stress out of wrapping gifts by doing it in the shared company of others! Darien Library will provide the supplies, smooth music, and snacks. All you need to bring is a pile of unwrapped presents and some friendly chatter. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, a birthday, or anything in between, all are welcome.

Darien Community Association Christmas cookies

Festive Christmas English Tea at the Darien Community Association

Chef/caterer Laura Christie of Christie Caters is passionate about using high-quality, fresh and locally-grown ingredients. Join us as she brings her inventive twist on an English tea to our historic mansion this holiday season. A festive afternoon tea is the coziest way to relax and celebrate the holiday season, so gather some friends and join us for a delightful afternoon! Laura’s menu includes a variety of mini scones and tea sandwiches, with some creative updates and additions, such as goat cheese and apple scones, and mini avocado toast with micro greens. A third course of mini butternut squash and sage quiche enhances this wonderful culinary experience.

Maplewood Senior Living Maplewood Darien 06-18-17

You Can Drop Off Toys at Maplewood at Darien for Less Fortunate Kids

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Maplewood Senior Living joined forces with the Connecticut State Police to provide toys to less fortunate children in Connecticut this holiday season. — an announcement from Maplewood Senior Living

The annual toy drive now in its 18th year, is inviting anyone that wishes to make a donation to bring an unwrapped toy or toys now through Dec. 20 to any Maplewood Senior Living community in Connecticut, including Maplewood Darien at 599 Post Road. Toys will be distributed to local families across the state. “Many of our residents and our staff members partake in community outreach to help others,” said Gregory Smith, CEO and president of Maplewood Senior Living.

Christmas tree lights Eversource

Be Safe, Save Energy, Save Money: Christmas Outdoor Lighting Tips from Eversource

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As the holiday season gets into full swing, homes and neighborhoods are beginning to brighten with lighting displays, Eversource is reminding customers about ways to get into the holiday spirit while conserving energy, saving money and staying safe. — an announcement from Eversource

“Amid all the festivities, we don’t want our customers to miss out on energy savings that are better spent on their family than the energy bill,” said Penni Conner, Eversource senior vice president and chief customer officer. Save Money, Save Energy
Customers can save money and protect the planet by replacing traditional incandescent lights with an energy-efficient light-emitting diode, or LED, holiday decoration. Not only do LEDs use 80 percent less energy than conventional bulbs, they’re also brighter, eco-friendlier and safer, as they are much cooler than incandescent lights. Also, be sure to check for rebates at the ENERGY STAR rebate finder.

Mother-Daughter Nutcracker Tea Darien Community Association Christmas Christmastime 2018

Mother/Daughter Nutcracker Tea at the DCA

Our third annual Mother/Daughter Nutcracker Tea will be held at the beautiful DCA mansion, festively decked out for the holidays. A delicious menu, provided by Palmer’s Catering, will include traditional tea sandwiches (such as smoked salmon and caper), long stem strawberries dipped in dark chocolate, holiday cookies and assorted teas. For the children, festive sandwich cut-outs and raspberry lemonade will be served. Dancers from the Darien Arts Center will entertain the audience with an abbreviated Scenes from the Nutcracker, and our own DCA Blue Notes will lead a caroling sing-along. If You’re Going …

Elves Holiday Magic 2018

Santa Comes to Grove Street Plaza at ‘Holiday Magic’ Event

On Saturday, Dec. 1, Santa will come down the chimney for another pre-Christmas visit with children for this year’s Holiday Magic event at Grove Street Plaza. Families can be entertained while waiting for his arrival with Rides on the Giant Animals — Lucy the Polar Bear and Rudy the Reindeer. Carolers from Darien High School will entertain all and there will be hot cocoa. — an announcement from the Darien Chamber of Commerce

Rides on the animals begin at 4 p.m., carolers start at 4:15, Santa arrives at about 4:45 p.m. depending on the wind currents in the air.