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Newton Holiday Gift Guide 2011, Part Four: Families

The final installment in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide for buying presents right here in Newton.

Editor's note: This is part four in our four-part Newton Holiday Gift Guide series, where we present holiday gift suggestions you can find right here in Newton. Check out ,  and .

You've bought gifts for the kids, and those special women and men in your life. Why not now treat the whole family to some special presents for the holidays? Or, how about a gift to a local charity. Either way, you and the whole family will wind up feeling good!

For outdoors

Creative Playthings Play System- Sure, you might have to wait until spring to have it installed and it’s going to be too cold to use it for a while, but can you imagine the look on your kids’ faces when you tell them you’re putting in a backyard playground? Creative Playthings will work with your family to design just the right system for your space and your family’s needs. And you never know how your play set might come in handy- after a stressful day, wouldn’t it be fun to just go “swing it off?”

Available at Creative Playthings. Play Systems range in price (from $750 – upwards of $4,000).  Call manager Kyle Martin at 617-243-9700 to set up an appointment.

Snowshoes – What could be more fun than going walking in a winter wonderland, especially if you’re sure footed and well outfitted? The folks at EMS can set the entire family up with snowshoes that will make your going over the river and through the woods easy and safe. They take into consideration the type of terrain you’ll be hiking (gentle, rolling or steep), your gender and age (they sell snowshoes for men, women and kids) and your weight (so that you don’t go crashing through that ice bank). Get out and enjoy winter!

Available at . From Tubbs and other manufacturers ($79.95 - $299.95)

For indoors

Games­ – Whether you’re stuck inside because of the snow or housebound at Grandma and Grandpa’s, nothing makes indoor time more fun than some whole-family games. Blue Orange makes two really fun sets – Spot It (a memory and/or “slap jack” type game) and Trigger (a combination of Trivial Pursuit and Truth-or-Dare…the clean version). Spot It can be played by kids as young as three, while Trigger requires some reading skills (and a good poker face).

Available at . From Blue Orange- Spot It and Trigger (each $12.99)

Holiday staycation- After the family has left, the presents have been opened and the madness has ended, why not treat yourself to a little in-town getaway? The Hotel Indigo is offering a Holiday Shopping Package that includes an overnight stay with parking, Charlie Cards to get you into Boston, shopping passes for the Prudential Center, $25 vouchers for breakfast at BOKX 109 in the Hotel Indigo and some wrapping paper and cards in case you want to get an early start on next year’s shopping and wrapping.

Available from . Holiday Shipping Package ($154 + tax -through January 21)

For the pets

Treats & Chew Toys- So maybe your dog or cat doesn’t actually know it’s a holiday (aside from all of the fun, attractive boxes hanging around). It doesn’t really matter as long as you enjoy getting him/her a little something special. Christmas chew toys and specially packaged treats make your furry family members feel festive – just make sure to keep them away from poisonous plants and ribbon/bows that they can choke on!

Available at . Treats and chew toys from an assortment of companies (from $3.79 - $18.99).

Costumes – While it might be too late to dress up Spotnik or Fluffy for the family Hanukkah picture, you can still capture their whimsical sides with these costumes specially made for the Festival of Lights (and lightheartedness). The yarmulkes come in sizes from tiny cat to huge dog, and the tulle collar is embellished with Stars of David and shines in the light like the candles of the menorah.

Available at . From Flytes of Fancy - Doggie/kitty yarmulkes ($9.99); from Charming – Party collar  ($12.49).

For others

Make a Charitable Donation – There are many worthwhile organizations in Newton that could use a little extra help this holiday season (and in the aftermath, when their funds are often depleted). . Another wonderful local organization is the John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton. If you donate before year’s end, you can even claim it on your 2011 tax return!

Donate through website – any amount will be welcomed and appreciated

Volunteer – In addition to the food pantries and Boys & Girls Club, there are a number of Newton charitable organizations that need you. If you search check out the volunteer section right here on Newton Patch, you can get the latest information about who needs help, what sorts of assistance is needed and when you can lend a helping hand. The also lists volunteer opportunities on its website. During (and after) this holiday season, one of the best gifts to give our families is helping out others who aren’t as fortunate or who may have fallen on hard times – after all, we’re all part of the family of humankind. 

See websites for ongoing updates for volunteer opportunities.  

Have a joyful holiday season!

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