Here we are- the month of December: Our calendars packed with events, and overwhelmed with endless lists of things we need to do and things we need to buy, we seem to forget a few things: December is the last month of 2014, it goes by seemingly the fastest, and lastly, what the Holiday season truly means. There are a few ways we can remember these things, and it starts with our loved ones, the friends and family around us. Whether we spend the Holidays here in Warwick, or we travel down south, up north, out west, or somewhere in the middle, we all have one goal: to be together. And even if we can’t all be together, we find ways to cherish and hold memories close to us.

That being said, one of the biggest ways to remember what the Holidays are truly about is to simply give back. This is the Season of Giving, and there are numerous ways you can do so- it starts right here in Warwick. You may not realize the difference it makes in shopping at a small business versus shopping at a chain. But consider this: If we all spent $100 a year at small businesses, it would put an extra $3 Million Dollars into our economy each year. Plus, we create jobs. That’s certainly a way to give back, right here at home with our neighboring businesses owners and friends of Warwick. Where are some of your favorite small business to shop locally? From specialty dessert shops, to children’s clothing, to dollar stores, small businesses truly define our history and our city. Ownership is passed down to family members, and it becomes a part of our future. From Simply Kids, to Pilgrim Dollar, Borelli’s Bakery, Antonio’s Bakery, Ocean State Apparel, Retail Therapy, Beauty Bar, and don’t forget the stores in Apponaug are open this season even with the construction! You can find some truly wonderful gifts right in your own backyard.

Other ways to enjoy the month of December here in Warwick-, is checking out Meet Me in St. Louis a classic, a favorite for all, at the Ocean State Theater. Don’t miss out on A Rhode Island Christmas: from our heart to yours, a tour that goes all around Warwick, happening on December 6th, 9th, 18th, 20th, 23rd, 25th, and 27th. The Aldrich Mansion is having The Chapel Christmas Concert & Dessert Soiree on the 14th. On the 16th, at Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum, there is the Lighting of the Village Menorah. What about a horse drawn carriage? What could be more FUN or…more romantic than a horse drawn carriage ride along the Pawtuxet Village! How Instagram worthy is that? #HorseDrawnCarriage #NoFilterNeeded…Ha! The carriage leaves every half hour in Pawtuxet Village on December 6th. Then, you can grab a hot chocolate and watch the Pawtuxet Village Children’s Christmas Tree lighting at the park! Care for some festive tea? On the 13th, you can enjoy some Holiday House Tea at the Clouds Hill Victorian House Museum.

Have you ever participated in Toy or Food Drives? It’s a great way to support our state of Rhode Island, and keep it local. Pride Hyundai of Seekonk and our Toys R Us are teaming up with 92 pro fm and HOT 106 for Toys for Tots all weekend long starting December 5th! All of the toys will go to underprivileged kids right here in Rhode Island. Bring a toy, and remember that giving is what the season is about. There’s really no better feeling than giving back- it’s good for your soul. It’s the last month of the year- make it count- celebrate your family and friends, cook some delicious food, and be thankful, a feeling that should last year round, way beyond Thanksgiving.

There are many wonderful restaurants here in our city to truly get that Holiday feeling, but nothing is quite represents the timeless, Holiday season, like The Tree House Tavern- a very unique, quintessential New England barn setting- think all of your favorite comfort foods, but with an eclectic, and creative vibe. From a romantic piano room, to a tasting of wine and beer tapas, you can enjoy the Library and fire place rooms for a truly cozy experience.

Let’s start with the cocktails. The Tree House Tavern is offering an exceptional Holiday menu, featuring the “Naughty and Nice” cocktails- but which will you get? Hot mulled cider? Hot Apple Pie Moonshine? A Grinch Garita? A Gingerman-hattan? Or an EggNog Martini?! Decisions, decisions!

For a truly intimate Holiday setting, you must try their Holiday Feast for Two: Roasted whole duck confit with our fig cornbread stuffing served on a silver tray surrounded by our oven roasted vegetables. Slow roasted * Available with a 24 hours notice and a secured reservation with prepaid credit card charge.  Dinner for two $65.00, plus tax & tip. Some tasty appetizers include:

Moules Frites
Mussels in a smoked tomato broth, with garlic butter, topped with crispy oven fries

Charcuterie Board
Featuring Tree House Tavern house made dry sausage, smoked/cured meats, cheeses

Smoked Salmon Board
House smoked fresh salmon with rye toast points, capers, balsamic red onion, deviled egg and sour cream

The entrées- are extremely inviting, though hard to just choose one- these are my favorite:

Lobster Bread Pudding
8 oz lobster meat with goat cheese in a savory bread pudding served atop asparagus, finished with lobster sauce.

French Meat Pie
A blend of Veal, Pork, and Beef seasoned and cooked under a flakey crust, with a roasted parsnip puree. served with garlic sautéed Broccoli and a side of ketchup demi-glace.

The 16 OZ. Grilled Angus Rib Eye
Certified Angus, glazed with Tree House steak sauce and served with a horseradish, bacon, caramelized red onion and fingerling potato hash and sautéed fresh asparagus

For more information on The Tree House Tavern, and possibly making your New Years Eve reservations there, check out their website, and call 401-821-1105 or 821-1447 located on 1094 Centerville Road.

So remember, there’s nothing more exciting than the opportunity of a new year. We never know what 2015 will bring us, but with positivity, and the true sprit of the season, I’m sure it will be truly the best year yet. Cheers to you, your family, and friends, those who cannot be with us, but are with us every day in our hearts- Happy Holidays, & Happy New Year! I leave you with some wise words to carry us through the new year:

“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those around us. Be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”