10 holiday activities that don't have to involve eating

Published: Monday, November 13, 2017 @ 11:03 AM

St Peter's College Oxford sing carols in Angels fancy dress shop to raise money to support the Crisis homeless persons charity on December 18, 2015 in London, England. The mixed-voice choir made of students from the college sing during the weekly Evensong services during term time.  (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)
Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images
St Peter's College Oxford sing carols in Angels fancy dress shop to raise money to support the Crisis homeless persons charity on December 18, 2015 in London, England. The mixed-voice choir made of students from the college sing during the weekly Evensong services during term time. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)(Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

While family gatherings are generally marked by an enormous amount of food, there are other things you can do instead of sitting around in carbohydrate comas.

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Here are 10 tips on throwing a holiday party that doesn’t include any food at all:

1. Give them something else to keep their hands busy

While it’s easy to stuff your face and nod during awkward conversations at a party, there are other things you can do.

Instead of snacks and drinks, put out some Rubik’s Cubes, Play-Doh or other little finger toys -- it accomplishes the same thing, and it’s a conversation starter, to boot.

2. Board and card games

With a boom in board games in recent years, there’s a game for every age, skill level, interest and time constraint, so board games are perfect for family gatherings where you have to account for both elderly relatives and young children.

Settle in for an epic round of Lord of the Rings Risk or Settlers of Catan with a close circle of friends, or if you want a shorter game, play Castle Panic or Guillotine. Monopoly and Taboo are always good go-tos.

If you need help choosing, try theboardgamefamily.com for reviews.

3. Volunteering

Giving is an important part of the holiday season, and giving time is an easy and free gift.

If you’ve got a small group, think about tasks such as raking the leaves for elderly people, who struggle to do it for themselves. Another option is have a card-making session for kids in a local pediatric ward.

4. Wreath decorating

Instead of leaving a party with discomfort from eating too much, making wreaths can have you leaving with a fun new decoration for your home.

Instead of bringing food, have everyone bring a basic wreath or garland and one packet of fun art supplies, such as mini-ornaments, glittery pipe cleaners, pine cones, fake snow, tiny figurines, strings of cranberries, etc.

5. Tea tasting

Sometimes, a warm drink is the best way to perk up a winter afternoon. Hosting a tea tasting party is one way to stave off the winter chill.

Either have each guest bring a box of their favorite seasonal tea, or get sample packs from a specialty store and test them out.

6. Surprise a friend

The holidays can be hard for some people, especially if they are going through added stress like a breakup or a job loss. Get together a group of mutual friends and come up with some things that can make their life easier, such as surprising them with a garage full of winter supplies or cooking them some meals that are freezer-ready.

7. Host a knitting party

If you have older relatives who might feel left out or isolated during parties, ask them to be the expert at a knitting party.

Engaging them and having those skills being passed between generations is a wonderful gift all by itself. Or just ask that everyone show up with their own supplies, find a how-to book and have fun figuring it out on your own.

8. Go to a performance

It’s easy to stay on the couch during the dark and cold season, but dressing up and going to watch live actors on stage is a fun and festive exercise. The late-night performances, the bright costumes and stage lights -- there’s something about being there in person that just can’t be replicated in your own living room.

Get a gang together and support your local community theater.

9. Go caroling

One of the oldest holiday traditions is singing carols to celebrate the season. You don’t have to have perfect pitch to enjoy singing to others -- you just need to enjoy it.

If you can find some like-minded friends, try calling a local care home or retirement community to see whether the residents would appreciate visits by a group of Christmas carolers.

10. Classic holiday movie night

Whether it is “A Christmas Story” or “The Muppets Christmas Carol,” this is the season to dig into the favorite holiday movies of friends and family. Get together, hang out and enjoy!

If you have a local independent cinema nearby, you could also check their showtimes to see if you can catch something on the big screen; often, they’ll offer seasonal classics that you might not have ever seen.

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21-year-old drowned trying to save child at the beach, family says

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 2:05 AM

File photo of Panama City Beach, Florida.
justinhatl / Pixabay.com
File photo of Panama City Beach, Florida.(justinhatl / Pixabay.com)

Friends and family of a 21-year-old Cartersville, Georgia, man who drowned at Florida's Panama City Beach over Father's Day weekend say he died a hero.

>> Watch the news report here

Tony Jackson Jr. was on vacation swimming with friends when a strong current pulled him under.

>> 2 Georgia men drown over Father’s Day weekend in separate incidents in Gulf of Mexico

WSB-TV's Michael Seiden spoke with Jackson's friend, Muhammad Qasim, who was at the beach with him and witnessed the accident. 

Qasim told Seiden that just before they planned to leave, Jackson had turned back in the water to try to save a child who had fallen off a float.

>> What parents need to know about 'dry' and 'secondary' drowning

“I was right next to him in the water, but when he tried to go toward the kid and the wave hit him, the wave just dragged him back 10 feet," Qasim said. "There was nothing I could’ve done.”

Rescue crews recovered his body two hours later. 

>> Children may face drowning danger 24 hours after hitting the pool

Jackson's family is now trying to raise enough money to fly his body back to Georgia so they can bury him. They say it will cost around $1,700. 

“The main thing is to just get him home; that’s the biggest thing," said Jackson's mother, Latanisha. 

>> GoFundMe to bring Tony Jackson's body home

She hopes the public will step up to help. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the expenses. They hope to raise $10,000 to pay for transportation and funeral arrangements. 

In the meantime, the family is remembering a man who they believe risked his life to help a complete stranger. 

“He had a big heart. He would do anything for anybody,” Latanisha told Seiden. 

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“He was a hard worker and he would do anything," Qasim said. "He would literally give the shirt off his back for anybody.”

Qasim says there was no warning posted about dangerous conditions in the water. A spokesman for the Panama City Beach Police said red flags were flying before the drowning, warning swimmers not to get in. 

Qasim says that isn't true. 

Click here to help the family.

Water Safety Tip

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17-year-old shot, killed by police in Pennsylvania

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 2:31 AM

A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot.
WPXI.com
A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot.(WPXI.com)

A 17-year-old was shot and killed by police in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Tuesday night after he allegedly ran away from a traffic stop on foot.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Visit WPXI.com for the latest on this developing story

According to the Allegheny County Police Department, the vehicle the teen got out of matched the description of a vehicle seen near a shooting that occurred in North Braddock around 8:20 p.m.

An officer from the East Pittsburgh Police Department was handcuffing the driver when two males ran from the car, authorities said.

One of those males was the 17-year-old who was shot and killed by police, authorities said.

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The Allegheny County Police Department is asking the other person who ran away from the vehicle to turn himself in "so that he can give a comprehensive description of what occurred."

The victim in the North Braddock shooting, a 22-year-old man, was treated for his injuries and released from an area trauma center.

The Allegheny County Police Homicide Unit is investigating both incidents. 

Related

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2 Georgia men drown over Father’s Day weekend in separate incidents in Gulf of Mexico

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 9:09 PM


Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Two men from North Georgia drowned in separate weekend incidents off Panama City Beach, police said.

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Eugene Spann, 67, of Atlanta, was declared dead after being pulled from the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday morning, authorities said.

The body of Tony Orlando Jackson, 21, of Cartersville, was found Sunday afternoon about two hours after he was caught by a large wave, according to police.

Police and emergency workers took over life support efforts from bystanders when they found Spann unresponsive on the beach behind a motel short after 11 a.m. He was taken to an emergency room on the beach, where he was pronounced dead.

A search effort involving several agencies eventually found Jackson’s body. Police originally responded to a call about a swimmer in distress about 2:30 p.m.

>> Related: Florida man chugs beer during DUI stop, deputies say

Police said surf flags were at the red “high hazard” level when Jackson drowned. That was up from the yellow “medium hazard” designation at the time of Spann’s death.

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7-month-old baby dies in hot car in Georgia, police say

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 1:22 AM

5 Ways to Avoid Hot Car Deaths

Police say they are not releasing any additional information about the death of a 7-month-old who was found in a hot car in Camden County, Georgia, near the Florida border.

>> Watch the news report here

Kingsland officers were called to a motel Tuesday after reports that an infant was not breathing, the police department said. The child was declared dead.

>> 10 ways to prevent a hot car death

Neighbors told ActionNewsJax's Amber Krycka that it was a boy who was found outside the Quality Inn in Kingsland.

Krycka spoke to a man who rushed to help and said the baby was extremely hot. He said he didn’t want to be identified because he’s in the military.

>> Mom warns of sunless heatstroke after toddler almost doesn't wake up from nap

“She was screaming. She was just saying, 'Save my baby, save my baby,'" he said.

He said the mother was lying on the ground with the baby wrapped in a blanket.

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“I got over there and unwrapped him,” said the man.

He then performed infant CPR on the baby, but it was too late.

No one has been taken into custody, the police department said.

Temperatures in Camden County reached about 90 degrees Tuesday, with “feels-like” temps near 100 degrees. 

Temperatures can rise quickly in an enclosed car. In 90-degree weather, the temperature inside a car can reach almost 110 degrees in 10 minutes. Temperatures reach almost 125 degrees within 30 minutes.

Kingsland Police Department's full statement:

"The Kingsland Police Department is investigating an infant death. In the afternoon of June 19th, 2018, officers from the Kingsland Police Department were dispatched to a local motel in reference to an infant not breathing; upon police arrival to investigate, the child was declared deceased. 

"No suspect(s) have been taken into custody at this time. 

"We are attempting to handle the investigation with the utmost sensitivity and care out of respect for the family as possible to ensure the integrity of our investigation. Dealing with an infant death is hard enough for a family to deal with without added stress from publicity. 

"We would like to ensure that our investigators have adequate time to conduct their investigation to accurately put the facts together before we release any further information. 

"No additional information will be released at this time — including the baby’s time, place and cause of death; relation to the caller — until investigators conclude the investigation."

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