Inflatable Santas, Christmas trees and kangaroos have popped up around town this holiday season.
Borderstan’s editors have come across these sights and other seasonal displays as they have traversed the area this month. Some of the holiday lights even have won special recognition by Adams Morgan residents.
So, pour some hot chocolate, grab a gingerbread cookie and look above. Have you seen what we’ve seen?
From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at eliza[AT]borderstan.com.
‘Tis the season of giving, and many of us choose this time to donate our time or money. If you live in Borderstan, you don’t have to go far to find non-profits that serve those in need all-year round. The holidays are a good time to give to the causes that are closest to your heart. We have compiled a list of non-profits in the neighborhood to make it easy for you to embrace the spirit of giving.
You can go to last year’s list for a full description of the non-profits that we highlighted in 2011.
We know we didn’t mention every organization worthy of your donations. If you know of a local non-profit doing great work, let us know about it in the comments section.
New to Our List this Year
- 826 DC (3233 14th Street NW Washington, DC 20010) – 826 DC is the local outpost of 826 National, a non-profit co-founded by author Dave Eggers that helps students build writing skills through after-school tutoring, classroom partnerships and workshops. You can make a donation online here. The non-profit also houses a whimsical storefront, “The Museum of Unnatural History.” Advance tickets ($60) are currently on sale for “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” 826DC’s benefit event on December 12 at 8 pm.
- Urban Alliance (2030 Q Street NW, Washington DC, 20009) – Urban Alliance operates in Washington, DC, Baltimore and Chicago. Through partnerships with businesses and corporations the Alliance matches selected high school seniors with paid internships, mentors and job training. After their senior year, participating students intern full-time and attend professional development classes. The Alliance aims to prepare its students for a successful career and a lifetime of self-sufficiency.
- Thrive DC (1525 Newton Street NW Suite G1 Washington, DC 20010) – Thrive DC works to end homelessness by providing services and programs that help the homeless and at-risk to achieve more stable lives. This includes basic items like personal care items and meals, and more complex support like job training and computer access.
- Mary’s Center (2330 Ontario Road NW, Washington, DC, 20009) – Mary’s Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides health care, education and social services to help mothers and their families get healthy and overcome financial and cultural disadvantages. Fees for medical services are based on a sliding fee scale, but all educational and social serves are free. The center accepts monetary and in-kind donations, like children’s clothes and toys. You can also volunteer to distribute guest as the organization’s Participant Holiday Party on December 27.
- Smith Center for Healing and the Arts (1632 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009) – The Smith Center for Healing and the Arts, which also operates the Joan Hisaoka Healing Arts Gallery, provides resources for cancer patients. The Smith Center takes an integrative approach to healing, offering programs, classes and workshops on how art, nutrition, exercise and other elements contribute toward a patient’s wellbeing.
Organizations on Our 2011 List
Hunger and Homelessness
- Bread for the City (Northewest Center, 1525 7th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001)
- Central Union Mission (1350 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20009)
- Charlie’s Place (1830 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009)
- Martha’s Table (2114 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009)
- N Street Village (1333 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20005)
- Garrison Elementary School (1200 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20009)
- John W. Ross Elementary School (1730 R Street NW, Washington, DC 20009)
- School for Friends (2201 P Street NW, Washington, DC 20037)
- Whitman Walker Health (1701 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009)
- The DC Center for the LGBT Community (1318 U Street NW, Washington, DC 20009)
- Trevor Project, DC Ambassadors Committee
Merry Christmas, Borderstanis, wherever you are celebrating the day. Please remember to be thankful on this day. We live in a wonderful neighborhood that offers us so much — nice neighbors, great local businesses and most of all, opportunity and hope.
In a time when too many people and families in America — and in parts of DC, too — are without jobs or are struggling to make ends meet, the Dupont-Logan-U Street area stands apart. Our community is prosperous, bustling and has a bright future. This is a day to remember that we are very fortunate, indeed.
From Matty Rhoades
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which can only mean… stolen packages. Take notice, Borderstanis, especially you new arrivals from the suburbs and rural America. Here is an ugly little fact about the holiday season when you live downtown: Packages get stolen a lot this time of year.
Thieves literally make the rounds — watching for delivery trucks — and looking for untended boxes on front steps, underneath stairs and inside unlocked doors to building entrances.
A Logan Circle neighbor emailed me yesterday that she saw a van driving slowly down a residential street — and thought nothing of it until what happened next. One of the passengers jumped out, ran up to a box sitting on a front step, grabbed it and got back in the van. Yes, she did call 911.
Always require someone to sign and take possession of your deliveries. A box sitting on a front step or inside an unlocked entryway is a tempting thing for thieves — especially in December. No doorman? No one will be home? Ship it to your office or pick it up.
Here’s my personal tale of woe.
A few weeks ago I bought a suit. I like it so much that I wanted the same suit in a different color. “No problem,” said the (wonderful, BTW) saleswoman. “We will ship it to you.” Never in a million years did it occur to me that it would be shipped without requiring a signature by the recipient. So, I did not ask about it.
I learned the hard way last week that no signature was required for the delivery of my suit. I came home and saw the top of a large box (see photos above) sticking above the window line in the front door of our building. It’s the location of our mailboxes and it is unlocked; the security door is inside the entryway. The culprits had opened the boxes — taking both the coat and pants — but were kind enough to leave the boxes and packing slip.
Who was responsible? I contacted the shipper who told me the clothing manufacturer had not required a signature. “Not us,” in other words. I contacted the clothing manufacturer that shipped my suit and was told that their contract with the retail store did not require signatures on deliveries. So, “not them,” either.
Last stop was the retailer. After explaining the situation, I was given two options: They would reship a suit to me or I could get my money back. By this point, I just wanted my money back. BTW, I explained (rather pointedly) that you cannot ship an item, especially a large one, to a downtown location without requiring a signer — especially at Christmastime!
I’ll get the suit at the store, thank you.
I have it said it on many occasions and in previous columns, having a car in the district, while at times annoying, is a difference maker. It makes the city more available and easier to escape. Last week in search of college hoops, my car became especially helpful as thanks to my father the basketball coach, I got tickets and went to College Park to see some University of Maryland men’s hoops.
Many close friends of mine went there while I was at G.W. and not a single person disliked it and with a stadium like this, how could you not? The arena felt like that of a small professional team though my courtside seats also helped with my wow factor. As the game was during academic finals, it was not exactly well attended, but judging by its size and the passionate fans who did go, I can imagine when Duke comes it’s a different story. It was also on national television (ESPN) and because I was sitting behind the Maryland bench, I got on TV.
The other great reason to go to this game was their opponent FIU is coached by Hall of Fame point guard and destroyer of the NY Knicks Isiah Thomas. Every tri-state part of my body wanted to jump the rail and aggressively ask him for my lost decade of New York City basketball back, instead I watched his team lose while eating a hot pretzel.
Hopefully I will be able to get some conference game tickets, particularly either Duke or UNC. Beautiful facility and basketball tradition, College Park is worth spending some time on the Green Line (or car) to enjoy some hoops.
Enjoy Your Holiday Weekend Lebodome Style
NFL: Giants vs Jets Saturday at 1pm, Bears vs Packers Sunday at 8:20 pm. Also realized I play my girlfriend in the semi’s of one of my fantasy leagues (after dispatching fellow Borderstan writer Laura last week); I better win.
NBA: Welcome Back says the NBA with a full slate of games starting at noon. For me, it’s all about Boston and NYKnicks (noon on TNT) actually being a competitive rivalry again and the rematch of last year’s finals with Mavericks vs. Heat (2:30 pm on ABC). The late night Clipper game may be worth a glance to see how their new team looks.
Enjoy Some Chinese Food: I like to think General Tso was a cruel warlord who spread destruction and delicious chicken everywhere he went. Also everyone loves that red sweet and sour sauce with some eggrolls.
See a Movie: Right now I’m thinkin’ new Mission: Impossible movie, but maybe out of sheer laziness I’ll go with RedBox… let’s call it a gameday decision.
Have a great holiday, Borderstan, and a happy new year!
Thought of the Week
I heard D.C. may not get much snow this year…. whooray
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
All found by roommate.
Life moves in cycles. When things are going your way for chunks of time, you better damn well expect that the next metro escalator will be broken or be stuck talking to a bland Capitol Hill employee at a holiday party. High and lows, boredom and excitement, I am convinced that the day-to-day nature of our lives moves in a circle. I take this model to what’s going on in the sports world. Sometimes your team goes through long periods of loss or mediocrity, only to then shoot up to the winner’s circle (unless you are the Pittsburgh Pirates).
I consider a great holiday season a decent movie to watch and plenty of Chinese food, but for everyone out there, here is a small guide to bringing a little extra happiness to the sports fan in your lives.
The cycle also applies to excitement. Let’s just clump October/November together as it was nothing more than a standard football time (‘cept the St. Louis Cardinals World Series win, that was great). However, in the last two weeks we have easily seen some of the more exciting news in some time ranging from the NBA orchestrating team trades, the undefeated Green Bay Packers rolling and a huge brawl in an otherwise great day of college hoop upsets.
Overall, December has been quite the month and with the beginning of the NBA season looming, the cycle must be on a high note (January will be meh, besides the Super Bowl, of course).
December is also that other time of year when all of a sudden things get brighter, people are happier, and work productivity hits a wall. I am not a Grinch but also have never really experienced the true joy of the holiday season (my holiday is about an amazing war victory over Greeks). I consider a great holiday season a decent movie to watch and plenty of Chinese food, but for everyone out there, here is a small guide to bringing a little extra happiness to the sports fan in your lives.
Extra Happiness For Your Sports Fans
Show Some Love. Give em a big hug. Everyone needs more hugs. Everyone
Create Memories. Coming from a guy with enough baseball hats to field a little league team, the average sports fan has plenty of team-affiliated apparel to keep them happy. If you want to be the unique person, the gift of game-day tickets is going that extra mile because things are just things. But experiences last forever and you never know what you may see.
Inside Scoop vs. Never Miss a Game. In the 21st Century, much of the everyday life of the sports fan goes through their laptop or some other internet driven device (PS3, XBOX, etc.). For these types of people I’d recommend two things. First, a subscription to ESPN Insider, which gives you access to every writer and stat guy ESPN has to offer. Second, a subscription to either MLB (baseball), NFL or NBA so your favorite fan never misses a game. Either of these are for more devoted fans but shows that your actually know your fan.
Enjoy the Winter. By enjoy the winter I mean get outside with your warm coat, a hat and go ice skating! There are a handful of places to skate in the district. Sure, most of us aren’t too graceful on the ice, but it’s easy going and always a fun time. Throw in some pre-skate eggnog if you are nervous.
For people you don’t really care for, every sports league has fantastic websites full of great little items that I am sure the sports fan in your life would appreciate. For everyone else, cookies and scarfs I hear make nice gifts. Look next week for the sports schedule breakdown of the holiday season.
Thought of the Day
A Marion Barry movie? Hell Yea.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links
I feel stupid. I can’t believe I did it again. I cared. I thought for some reason this season may be different, but no, it was not. Penn State’s disaster and the other usual distractions may have turned the average fan away but I could not tear myself away from college football: I thought college football would be different this year.
Despite no evidence to the contrary, I thought the results of the regular season might actually help determine who plays in which post season bowl and who goes on to the national championship. NOPE. NOT A FAT CHANCE. WHAT WAS I THINKING!
I feel even worse for all of those people at Buffalo Billiards who actually thought that their alma mater may get a chance to play in a post season game. I have ranted about this issue before and there are better writers out there who have the issue pegged (Both these links have great articles explaining why college football is a mess; worth the read).
I write about it here today because I feel that at this point, even the casual “I only care when my alma-matter plays” fan should be pissed that college football, unlike every other collegiate sport, has NO PLAYOFFS to determine a national champion. I cannot, as I think no serious sports fan should, take college football seriously for this fact alone.
In an effort to pull the wool over our eyes, the NCAA will throw out a schedule of meaningless bowls, causing us to wait for a national championship rematch of two teams whose last game was nothing more than a field goal kicking contest. Do not be fooled. This is silly. Instead, suck up your pride and anger, and enjoy a very stacked slate of NBA games on Christmas Day and an exciting conclusion to the NFL season (Packers are going 16-0, they are the real deal).
District Fun Stuff
Thanks. Now that I got that off my chest here are some fun happenings going on the District:
Washington Nationals may get a star. Wow would Albert Pujols sell a lot of seats.
DC has enough weird laws. Now add this one to the list with sport team license plates.
Thought of the Week
The Fax Machine is laughing at snail-mail
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- Moments in history with the best sports commentator in the business. A must watch.
- Texts from Bennett. Plain awesome.
- What does Amazon.com look like.
We went to the annual ZooLights exhibit/festival at the National Zoo last Saturday night. It was a cold night, but there was a light snow and the experience ended up being quite wonderful. A number of the animal houses are open, so you can duck inside and look at the animals and get warm. My partner has photos and his impressions of our visit last Saturday here at One Photograph A Day.
You can still take in ZooLights on these nights: December 12-14; 6 to 8:30 p.m. each night; and December 18-30 (except 24th & 25th): 6 to 8:30 p.m. each night. Tickets are $12; $6 for members of Friends of the National Zoo, and can be purchased online through Ticketmaster.