Pre-Holiday Newsletter 2020

Holidays 2020!  For many of us, the holidays are going to be different this year. That doesn’t mean that they need to be any less joyful!

SHARE a tradition

What is the one food that Grandma or Mom always made? Ask that person to share their favorite recipe with you. Or share your favorite recipe.  Stop in the library to pick up a free pre-printed sheet of 4 cards. (Please call ahead and let us know when you are coming) Additional sheets can be purchased for 50 cents each.

START a new tradition

Start a new tradition.  The first year my family wasn’t able to return to my parents’ home in Vermont, I decided to do something completely different from my family’s traditional Christmas. We decided to use the  movie “A Christmas Story” as the inspiration and we decorated the dining room to look like a Chinese restaurant and served Chinese food. (yes we did have a roast duck that arrived with it’s head attached) Watch the movie if you have never seen it. Our themed Christmas was such a big hit that the tradition continues.


SEE your family and friends

Facetime or Zoom with the family.  Set your computer at the head of the table and eat dinner together even if you are miles apart. Sometimes it is nice to just hear the general banter even if you can’t hold a detailed conversation.  Do a test run before the big day if anyone in the family is new to this technology and remember to be patient.  Set up in advance so dinner doesn’t get cold.

Holiday Shopping Guide

Most of us begin our holiday shopping in earnest the day after Thanksgiving.  Make a plan to stay safe and healthy this year.

Here are some things to consider when choosing gifts:

Special Deliveries

Does it need to be shipped?

mail-and-ship-prepare-your-package.jpg (550×250)

Are you buying a gift for someone who lives out of town?  If you are buying a gift and having it shipped, here are some things to consider.

Does your loved one live someplace that it is expensive to ship to?  

Consider ordering a gift on-line and having it dropped shipped directly to the recipient… You won’t get to wrap it, but many on-line retailers offer free shipping and some offer gift wrapping for an additional fee. Remember to let the person know that it is coming and make sure they are able to receive packages at their address.

Consider a Subscription Service

There are many curated subscription boxes that you can have sent monthly or quarterly. Here are few that might be good for someone on your list. Here are some links:
Fab Fit Fun
Wine of the Month

Shop small – Shop local

Did you know the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce was established in 1945?  The chamber’s mission is to promote economic, civic, and social well-being of the people in the Watseka area, and conduct activities for the direct and indirect benefit of its members and the larger community.

See which local businesses are members of the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce at Shop local and promote local by using these businesses throughout the holiday season!

Shopping Tips

TIPS for choosing gifts

Shopping with Cyber Security: Tips and Tricks of the Trade

TIPS for shopping in person

TIP: Is your family traveling this year?   Most of us are trying to keep the holidays small this year but if you have someone coming to visit “less is more” when traveling!  Think light! Buy something small or something consumable that they can enjoy before they leave (like food). 

TIP: Do you feel like you are missing out on the joy of giving? Send out the gift cards or money with your email address or cel phone number and ask the recipient to share a picture of what they bought.  This way you can experience the joy of giving, the joy of receiving and also get some insight into what your family members would buy for themselves. (For next year)

TIP: Is your family feeling homesick this year?  Send a local product. I love getting maple syrup from my family in Vermont.

TIP: If you can’t afford a subscription box for everyone on your list; order a subscription service to be delivered to yourself. It’s a way to shop in advance and always have gifts on hand when the need arises.

1. Think before you click – beware of ads telling you to click on links.  Sometimes the enticing offer is too good to be true and ends up putting a virus on your computer.

2. Do your homework – read reviews to catch the scams

3. Consider your payment options – using a credit card is safer than using your debit card.  Typically, credit cards have more consumer protections.

4. Check your bank and credit accounts regularly. This will allow you to keep a track on people stealing your information.

5. Lockdown your login – Do not save passwords to your computer. If you save them to your computer and you get hacked you are more likely to get your information stolen.

TIP: Keep a list of size information with you when you shop! Make a list on paper or in your phone!

TIP: Many stores like Ross and Marshall’s carry Name Brands for less. Department and sporting good stores like Kohl’s, Macy’s and Dicks carry the same brands from store to store. Check the sizes of clothes that fit well and buy clothes in those sizes and brands.

TIP: Too much information? “There’s an APP for that”… check out “My Sizes” in the app store.

TIP: Lots of mens styles have a description of the fit in addition to the size, so look on the tags for words like slim fit, traditional, loose etc.  believe me when I tell you that a large slim fit and a large traditional fit shirt are completely different sizes.

TIP: The typeof fit of a pair of pants will affect the length of the inseam.  For example the inseam on dress pants and the inseam on jeans may be different.  

TIP: Bring a tape measure when you shop! If you like the way a garment fits but can’t find that specific brand,  you can measure the garment and then measure similar garments when you are at the store.

We hope you stay safe while shopping this holiday season! If you do shop in a store remember to wear your mask, wash your hands often, and smile =)

Measuring & Clothes Shopping 101

Does it require an exact fit?

#1 Know the return policy before you buy

#2 Stores in Illinois have all of their fitting rooms closed

#3 Know what size to buy!


FREE tape measures for the first 20 patrons who let us know that they watched this tutorial (you will need to set an appointment time to pick up)

MEASURING Bust (or chest) Waist, Hips


Bust = 31″

Waist = 23 1/2″

Hip = 34″



(A pant’s “rise” refers to the measurement between the crotch of the pants and its top. However, due to the curvature involved, rise cannot always be deduced from the inseam and outseam measurements. Usually, the back and front rises of a pair of pants will not be equal, to accommodate the natural shape of a person’s body)  

MEASURING Shoulder Across the Front


Disclaimer: The library is not responsible for incorrect sizing, incorrect measuring or ill fitting garments.



TIP: Always follow the size chart of the manufacturer you are buying from

TIP: If your measurements do not appear to fit within a given size chart you may need to be shopping in a different department. You may fit better in Misses Sizes than Juniors Sizes for example.

TIP: When in doubt shop for what you already know. Most large brands are pretty consistent in their sizing.  If you can’t try something on, buy a brand that you already own in the size that fits.

  1. If you are not comfortable with measuring choose something that does not require an exact fit for example pajamas, bathrobes, sweaters  and sweatpants have a lot more leeway than dresses or pants.
  2. Usually items that are sized Small, Medium, Large, ETC. require a less precise fit.
  3. Too afraid? There are now companies like M tailor and UNTUCKIT that will measure you for clothes using your cell phone and subscription services like Stitch Fix where a personal stylist selects clothing to fit your size shape and style.


Parents, are you beginning to feel overwhelmed at the thought of dealing with the approaching Christmas season? You may want to check out the book “Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Warmth Back into the Season”, by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli.  It helps you focus on what parts of the holiday season are really important to you. Although the book was written many years ago, it still is relevant today. It is now in it’s thirteenth printing!

The book reminds us that while most children are quick to give their parents a list of toys and high-price items that they want for Christmas, they have more fundamental needs than this.  From talking with children, parents, and child specialists, it’s been found that in addition to a few well-chosen gifts, children really want and need four basic things for Christmas:

These four basic things involve spending time with your children, and talking with them about your values and traditions.  One way to do this is to share favorite holiday stories with them.  The Watseka Public Library has Christmas stories for children of all ages.  There are great classic stories, new ones, and some that are just plain fun.  Check some out today!

  1. Relaxed and loving time with the family
  2. Realistic expectations about gifts
  3. An evenly paced holiday season
  4. Strong family traditions involving the children

Here is a small sampling:

  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! By Dr. Seuss
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
  • Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies
  • Gift of the Magi by O’Henry
  • The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
  • Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert E. Barry
  • Olive, the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Seibold
  • Between Us and the Border by Mitali Perkins
  • Christmas Cookies by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by John Rox

Say Goodbye to 2020!

Tips for beating the winter blues!

2020 has been a difficult year for many. Don’t let the sadness bring you down! Instead of making a bunch of resolutions in 2021, release all of the negative feelings about 2020 and concentrate on health and happiness!

Nourishing the Body

  • Get some Vitamin D! A doctor can check your vitamin D levels. You can get Vitamin D naturally from food, or from sunlight. So try to get out in the sunshine whenever you can.
  • Exercise does not need to be fancy. Take a walk! Get a hula hoop! Take an online exercise class; Youtube has several available for free. March in place while you watch TV!

Nourishing the Mind

  • Read a book! We are the library so that is our first choice.
  • Take up meditation
  • Listen to Music
  • Check something off your bucket list
  • Keep a journal
  • Paint your walls a cheerful color
  • Put essential oils in a scent diffuser. (some humidifiers have a special compartment for diffusing essential oils, but NEVER add them directly to the water tank)


(and if all else fails watch cat videos on the internet)

Wishing you every joy!

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