7 Ways to Give Back in Columbus By Doing Things You Already Do

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Here are 7 ways to give back in Columbus by doing things you’re probably already doing!

In this age of social media and instant news, it can be overwhelming to figure out how to help when there are so many important causes, major issues and people in our own community who need help! Here are 7 ways you can help others in Columbus by doing things you’re already doing!

1. Light a Candle

Burning Candle from Eleventh Candle Co

Everyone likes their home to smell good, right? We’re already buying candles, diffusing oils and boiling cinnamon sticks on the stove, so put your money towards a good smelling candle or room spray that provides jobs for women who are at risk of or survivors of human trafficking right here in Columbus! The factory that makes the candles employs these women in Columbus and the profits from the company then go on to support an orphanage and at risk women in Ethiopia. Shop here (referral link): Eleventh Candle Co. Use my referral code “todaycolumbus” to get 10% off your purchase! They will also soon have a retail space at The Madery in Worthington!

2-4. Go Out for Coffee

Well, this is a no-brainer! If you’re planning a coffee date with your BFF, choose one of these 3 coffee shops where a portion of the profits are being given to a good cause:

Third Way Cafe

coffee mug at Third Way Cafe

Third Way Cafe is a venture of CleanTurn Enterprises whose mission is to “strengthen communities with an empowered workforce by creating profitable social enterprises.”

The cafe hosts a variety of community meetings, classes and informational sessions! Examples include: Entrepreneurship 101, Homework Clubs for neighborhood kids and meetings for parents of addicts. Join them for an open mic night, brunch pop up, card making class and more! Or just stop in for a bottomless cup of coffee for just $2 and browse their large book collection! Follow Third Way Cafe on Facebook to stay in the loop about all of their upcoming events.

Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op

Outside of Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op

Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op is on a mission to reduce infant mortality in Columbus! The coffee shop is also part co-working space and you can rent a work space in the form of a desk or an office on a monthly basis. A portion of the proceeds are given to local non-profits that are working to reduce infant mortality.

Bottoms Up is actively involved in the Franklinton neighborhood and the coffee shop offers coffee, speciality drinks (my favorite is the Canary Island) and baked goods. Read more about them in 5 on Friday: Kid-Friendly Coffee Shops.

Roosevelt Cafe

Coffee mug at The Roosevelt Coffee House

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse is a coffee shop with a mission. Proceeds from the coffee shop support efforts in the areas of clean water, hunger and human trafficking. The coffeehouse partners with local and international organizations who are making a difference in these three areas.

Examples of local organizations the coffee shop supports are: Faith Mission, She Has a Name Cleaning Services (also part of CleanTurn Enterprises), Gracehaven, The Central Ohio Rescue and Restore Coalition and the Salvation Army. Read more about the causes and organizations your coffee dollars support here.

5. Bring a Snack to Share

Plate of brownies from Fourteen Twenty Nine

Next time you have to take a birthday treat to school, bring dessert to a potluck or just want to surprise a friend or family member with a special treat, consider ordering your baked goods from Fourteen Twenty Nine. Owner Amanda’s goal is to open a bakery that will support, train and hire women who are survivors of human trafficking and who don’t have easy  access to traditional avenues of employment.

Order your brownies here! All proceeds from the sale of brownies will go towards procuring a commercial kitchen space where Amanda can bake her brownies and begin to accept women who want to volunteer to learn baking skills. As the business grows, Fourteen Twenty Nine will be able to hire women to work in the kitchen space! Read more about Amanda and Fourteen Twenty Nine at Fight Human Trafficking in Columbus One Delicious Brownie at a Time!

6. Have a Family Night Out

Bowling Alley at Ten Pin Alley, Hilliard, Ohio

Ten Pin Alley has recently been remodeled and provides tons of family-friendly fun! There’s bowling, an arcade, laser tag, bocce ball and a full kitchen! (See New and Improved Ten Pin Alley Provides Family Friendly Fun in Hilliard!) But a night out can be more than just that. Ten Pin Alley has instituted Heart & Bowl, a way to give back to local non-profit organizations! For all of 2018, 2% of all sales will be given to Hilliard Food Pantry, Action for Children and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio! You can see all of the information about Heart & Bowl here.

7. Take your Kids to the Library

baked goods at Freedom a la Cart

You’re already taking your kids to the library to pick out books and I’m guessing you’re swinging through the Starbucks drive-thru on the way for your coffee fix. (Why do I assume that? Because I do it ALL. THE. TIME. 😉 ) Next time, save yourself the drive thru wait and check out Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Northside Branch. This newly rebuilt library has a fun and bright children’s area AND it’s home to Annie Maude’s Café, named after Annie Maude Battelle, the first woman to serve on the Columbus Public Library Trustee Board, and run by Freedom a la Cart.

Freedom a la Cart employs survivors of human trafficking here in Columbus and by doing so gives them job skills and a safe place to learn, grow and heal. The cafe serves One Line Coffee drinks, snacks, cookies, brownies and other sweet treats. Read more about Freedom a la Cart here!

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ICYMI:  Everything You Need to Know about the Butler County Donut Trail

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51 Things to Do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus

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Thanksgiving week is here! Maybe you have family in town and/or a few days off of work and are looking for something to do this week? If there’s a chance you’ll need to walk off an extra piece of pie (or two) or get bickering family members out of the house….tuck this list away! And have a happy week of thankfulness!

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PLAY

1. Looking for more turkey? Watch the PBS movie, My Life as a Turkey, at Battelle Darby Metro Park on Friday at 11:00 PM.

2. Clifton Mill Lights opens the day after Thanksgiving! Gates open at 5:00 every night and the display runs through New Year’s Eve!

3. Participate in a Photo Scavenger Hunt on Friday at Blacklick Woods Metro Park! Use your digital camera or phone and get a prize for photographing all of the items on the list!

4. Olde Worthington Holiday Open House is on Sunday from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM and it includes horse drawn carriage rides, live music and a visit from Santa! The evening ends with the tree lighting ceremony on the Village Green!

5. Everyone who enters the Columbus Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day gets a pumpkin pie! There’s also a Kids Tot Trot 100 yard dash!

6. Visit the Huntington Holiday Train display at Main Library!

7. If you’re looking to partake of something other than the usual turkey and pumpkin pie, Columbus Food Adventures has several tours going on this weekend!

8. Wildlights is in full swing all weekend at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium!

9. Need something for the kids to do on Wednesday? Check out the Harvest Party – School Break Program at Sunbury Urban Farm. It’s a drop off program where kids can participate in Thanksgiving activities! Must preregister!

10. Take the kids to SuperGames Winter Open Play! on Wednesday from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Arrive early because the play space is first come, first served! Cost is $10 for the first child and $8 for each additional child.

11. Friday through Sunday you can take a Holiday Carriage Ride at Easton Town Center!

12. Blue Monkey Parties & Events is celebrating their 1 year anniversary with a 1 Year Anniversary Open Play event from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM on Sunday! $5/child.

13. Kick off Thanksgiving Eve with a family meal deal and a glow skate at Skate Zone 71! They’re also offering $.99 admission on Thanksgiving Day and 50% off admission on Black Friday!

14. On Sunday, kids and adults alike can participate in the Make & Take Metal Stamping Event at The Smithery from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Check the link for pricing options. No registration needed.

15. Another option for the kids that are out of school on Wednesday is the Open Swim at Worthington Pools!  $5 to enter.

16. Get out of the house for a CBus: Thanksgiving Eve Back to the Future Trivia Night on Wednesday at 16 Bit Bar + Arcade! Winner gets a ride in the Delorean – among other things!

17. Get your shopping done kid-free after dropping the kids at Parents Day Out at Worthington Pools on Friday from 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM!

18. When the Thanksgiving leftovers run out, head to Piada for Friendsgiving! Show the cashier that you follow Piada on Instagram and get a buy-one-get-one free entree from November 24-28!

19. Roller skate all week with these special deals at United Skates of America happening Wednesday through Sunday!

20. Visit the holiday lights at Columbus Commons from dusk to 11:00 PM each night and post a photo on Instagram using #CCHolidayLights or post the pic to their Facebook page using the hashtag to enter their photo contest. One winner each week wins a $25 gift card to Condado

21. Take a free tour at Anthony-Thomas Candy Company on Wednesday from from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM! (Regularly $2/person.)

22. See the amazing lanterns, watch cultural performances, shop and eat Chinese and traditional fair food at the Ohio Lantern Festival! Nightly from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

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MUSEUMS

23. Family Friday Night at COSI is this weekend – meaning they will stay open until 9:00 PM and admission is reduced!

24. Make a Gingerbread House Craft at Franklin Park Conservatory on Friday! This activity includes a hayride!

25. Friday, attend Thanksgiving Family Friday at Ohio History Center where you can visit with live animals such as an owl, wolf and snake and dissect an owl pellet! Also on Saturday and Sunday there are special activities like the Terrific Turkey Table and exploring Animal Bones!

26. Think Outside the Brick is now on display at Columbus Museum of Art! This LEGO set up shouldn’t be missed and would make a great weekend outing! Don’t forget the museum is free on Sundays!

27. On Saturday, head to Pizzuti Collection Family Day from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM for free admission, art inspired activity books, crafts and family tours!

THEATER

28. Mr. Scrooge starts on Friday at Columbus Children’s Theater! This 60 minute performance is recommended for ages 5 and up!

29. The Central Ohio Youth Ballet puts on Nutcracker this weekend only in Newark!

30. A Christmas Carol is playing this weekend only at Ohio Theatre!

31. Uptown Scrooge  is a unique walking tour performance taking place this weekend in Uptown Westerville! The production is 90 minutes and is suitable for ages 5 and up! Begins on Saturday!

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SHOPPING

32. Moonlight Madness and After Thanksgiving Sale takes place at Tanger Outlets Columbus! The first 200 shoppers receive a swag bag!

33. Christmas Trees will be on sale at the North Market on Saturday!

34. Shop Small Business Saturday at Never Grow Up Boutique in Grove City!

35. Small Business Saturday at Columbus Idea Foundry means a Maker Market from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM offering locally made goods like art, furniture, jewelry and more!

36. Get a Short North collectable tote while supplies last at Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in the Short North Arts District!

37. Visit the Small Business Saturday Market at Re:work Furnishings to shop for local goods from vendors like Plantropothy, Ridiculously Good Salsa, Pluma Jewelry and more! Pizza, beer and plenty of discounts will be available too!

38. More local shopping is available at Shop Local Saturday with the Marysville Art League!

39. Small Business Saturday in Powell is full of special offers!

40. Historic Dublin  is ready for the Holiday Shopping Weekend!

41. The Christmas Market at Canal Market District takes place on Friday and will feature music, food trucks, holiday treats, free family photos, the lighting of the Licking County Courthouse and a visit from Santa!

42. On Small Business Saturday in Downtown Lancaster, there are tons of special deals going on from free goodies and gifts, prizes, demonstrations and discounts!

43. At the Holiday Open House at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center on Saturday and Sunday, you can pick out your Christmas tree while you enjoy refreshments and a festive atmosphere!

44. While you pick your your Christmas tree at HTH Farm Market, you can help support and learn about a local dog rescue at the Stop the Suffering Bake Sale taking place on Sunday!

45. Shop for the trendiest kids clothing at the mrly popup shop at the Hart Room at Creekside Gahanna! There will be complimentary holiday treats and kids are welcome!

ROAD TRIP

If taking a road trip sounds like a fun way to spend your extra days off this week, here are some special events going on around Ohio!

46. Thanksgiving at the Zoo is FREE at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

47. Head to Newark for Holiday Homecoming 2017 at The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology on Friday to learn about the heritage of the community! The event includes 3D ornament printing, a science show, glass blowing and more!

48. Santa will arrive at Brickopolis on Friday at the Cincinnati Museum Center with live music and a tree lighting! Visit Holiday Junction to see model trains, LEGO displays and a ride on train!

49. Christmas at the Castle, a Kingdom of Lights! at Landoll’s Mohican Castle features over 100,000 lights, a Christmas tree, holiday music and visits from Santa! This is a free event! This event happens every night starting Friday!

50. Head to Mansfield for the Grinch Scavenger Hunt at Little Buckeye Children’s Museum! Find all the hidden Grinches and receive a prize! Then spend a fun day at the museum! Starts on Saturday!

51. The Mt. Vernon Christmas Parade and Walk is on Sunday and includes train and carousel rides, photos with Santa and shopping!

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ICYMI: 10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*

 


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10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

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These are 10 Holiday and Christmas events we make sure not to miss every year! If you’re looking to start some family-friendly Christmas traditions around Columbus, start here!

Every year I feel slightly overwhelmed by all of the Holiday events I really don’t want to miss. A few years ago, I sat down and wrote them out on a calendar. And THAT is pretty much where the idea for this blog began! 😉  Now we’ve come full circle and, though there are probably hundreds of holiday events going on around town, today I am sharing 10 things my family loves doing at Christmastime in Columbus!

Here are 10 of our favorite family-friendly Christmas Events in Columbus!

1. Village Lights

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Hands down, this is my favorite Columbus tradition of the entire year. Wow, did I really just say that? I did. I look forward to this probably more than anything else. I honestly don’t know how much my kids like it, but there are teddy bears and free cookies and hot chocolate, so I haven’t heard any complaints! The streets of German Village are lit with luminaries and restaurants, shops, and even a few private homes along the route are open late with special deals, free goodies and live music! Designated parking areas and shuttles are available.

When: December 2, 2018, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Where: throughout German Village

2. Wildlights

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You have to see Wildlights! The light shows are spectacular and the zoo becomes an (even more) magical place for about 6 weeks leading up to New Year’s Day! The first time we ever attempted to go to Wildlights, there was so much traffic that by the time we got there it was too late for my 1 yr old and we just drove right on by the entrance and back on home! Weekends are very busy, so if you can, I suggest trying a week day evening and arriving before 5:00 PM! If you’re a member, you can also avoid the crowds by catching the Member Preview on November 16th.

When:

November 16 , 2018 – January 6, 2019 (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) (Wildlights begins at 5:00 PM)
Where: 4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

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3. Gardens Aglow (Formerly Merry and Bright)

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Gardens Aglow offers special holiday decorations, performances and evening hours at Franklin Park Conservatory. Throughout the season live music and special events are scheduled and the Conservatory is decorated beautifully (that goes without saying)! There are lights throughout inside and outside and it’s breathtaking! From December 1-31 (except for the 24th and 25th) they are open until 9:00 PM. There will be special family-friendly activities happening all through the season!

When: November 17, 2018 – January 2, 2019: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, December: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203

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4. Bicentenial Park

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Throughout the holiday season, the Scioto Mile is awash in light – Christmas lights, that is! What was previously The Grand Illumination will be replaced by WinterFest this year! Taking place on Saturday, December 2, 2017, it will include live performers such as Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, food trucks like Paddy Wagon and Pitabilities, as well as the opportunity to purchase soup from Milestone 229 in a handmade bowl as part of the Empty Bowls initiative. The park will be full of lights beginning November 17th!

When: Mid November 2018 through Early January 2019
Where: 233 S. Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215

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5. Columbus Commons and the Lazarus Windows

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When you’re at Bicentennial Park, make plans to walk a few blocks to Columbus Commons where the park will be filled with holiday displays and lights! Just across the street (at the corner of High and Town) in the old Lazarus building, the windows will be filled with scenes from the 12 Days of Christmas!

When: Late November through early January from dusk until to 11:00 PM
Where: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

6. Huntington Holiday Train

Main Library is home to the Huntington Holiday Train and every year this amazing display is set up during the holiday season! This year, the library will begin set up of the train in mid November and is usually up through New Years!

When: Mid November, 2018 – Early January, 2019
Where: 96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215

7. Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

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If you happen to have kids that like trains, there is a also holiday train set up at the Ohio History Center. Granted, it’s not quite as elaborate as the Huntington Train, but since we’re members at Ohio History Center, this one is still a no-brainer for me and two boys who love trains! We don’t miss it!

When: Late November – Early January
Where: 800 E. 17th. Ave., Columbus OH 43211

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8. Think Outside the Brick

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This exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art isn’t even holiday themed, but it arrives in November and says goodbye in March, so in my mind it’s associated with Christmas! If you have kids on Christmas break, this would be a great reason to take them to the Art Museum! The LEGO replica of Columbus is awesome and we love to visit at this time! There are usually blocks for free building in the Big Idea Gallery, too! Admission is free on Sundays and on Thursday nights you “pay what you want” from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM! See more pictures from our visit here!

When: November 10, 2018 – February 22, 2019
Where: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

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9. Easton

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We always enjoy going to Easton at Christmastime – and not just to do our Christmas shopping! There is a life-sized nativity and a humongous Christmas tree (an all-new, 50 ft tree covered in 28, 680 RGB LED’s arrives in 2017!)! There are carriage rides, live music performances and the lighting ceremony takes place on Friday, November 17, 2017 beginning at 6:00 PM and includes a parade, a fireworks show, a visit from Santa and more!

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When: beginning November 17, 2017 (2018 dates TBD)
Where: 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219

10. State Auto Christmas Corner

Christmas Corner is something we love to do close to Christmas Eve! You can walk through a life-sized nativity following the Christmas story! The Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 5:30 PM. There are choirs scheduled on Friday and Saturday evenings through December 23rd and free hot chocolate (donations accepted!) will be available on those evenings!  There are ample parking lots designated for viewing this display!

When: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 through Christmas Day when baby Jesus is placed in the manger. (2018 dates TBD)
Where: 518 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

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I hope that whatever you chose to do, you have a special season with your family!

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Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio

ICYMI: Top 10 Things to do with Your Kids in Columbus, Ohio


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