Saturday, November 25, 2006

What's a putz?

A putz, pronounced with a long 'u' like pootz (not to be confused with the Yiddish word for idiot - "putz"), is a miniature of the nativity scene. Traditionally the Moravian "putz" (from the German word putzen, meaning, "to decorate") is a highly personal display, not confined by time or geography. The essence of the putz tradition is found in the way in which each putz is built to tell the Christmas story. Figures and many other items, pine cones, pieces of drift wood, stones, houses and animals, are collected over the years by the whole family and may include a replica of their home. Moravian parents will use the putz as a visual aid to review the Christmas story with the children, to see and hear the age-old story.

The Central Moravian Church has the best putz in the area. The practice of putz building is uniquely Moravian. Bethlehem's first settlers brought their putz figures with them in the 18th century. In Victorian days a century ago, it was the custom in Bethlehem for Moravian to "go putzing" during the week between Christmas Eve and New Year's. Families would visit each others' homes, view their respective putzes and enjoy refreshments. Each year, the putz has its beginning on a moss-gathering Sunday in early November. Members of the congregation travel to the Pocono Mountains to gather the moss which forms the base of the putz. Construction, later in November, takes about week. Entire families participate, and while the age-old story remains the same, the placement of the scenes varies from year to year.

Across from the putz is a Star & Candle Shoppe selling traditional Moravian goods like Moravian Stars, beeswax candles and Lovefeast coffee.

When: Friday, Nov. 24 - Saturday, Dec. 23, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Thursday - Saturday, 1 p.m. - 8 p.m. Sunday; Daily, December 26-30, 1 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., December 31 1 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.

Where: Christian Education Building, 40 W. Church St., Bethlehem

Macungie Holiday

Come experience the holidays in one of the Lehigh Valley’s small historic towns. Browse Main Street businesses, do a scavenger hunt and stop at the parks for entertainment. Stop at the Macungie Institute (510 East Main Street) for a Craft Fair and to pick up information about the events taking place throughout the borough.

: Saturday, Dec. 9, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Where: throughout Macungie

Cost: FREE!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Where do you go to get into the holiday spirit?

All of us have a favorite place we go to get into the holiday spirit. Some of us go to the Mall and people watch, others go and see a neighborhood light display, and still others stop in their favorite local shop. The better known shops, that serve as honorary spreaders of holiday cheer include:

  • In Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem nearly half the store is dedicated to Christmas, and there's no place else that has a better selection of Moravian Stars
  • The Christmas Barn in Bethlehem Township which has a Christmas display which takes up an entire floor of their very large shop. Coupon.
  • Neighbors in Hellertown which specializes in things for the outdoors including plants and lawn furniture has a really nice display in which they create little theme "rooms" with several trees
Those of you who grew up in the area will remember the glorious days of Ice City in Allentown which had wonderful displays of Christmas trees and moving lights. And those of you a little older will remember Hess's in downtown. If you're looking for some Hess's nostalgia, check out Pip the Mouse at the Liberty Bell Museum at Zion's Reformed United Church of Christ which has been buying up many of the Hess's displays. The display runs from Nov. 24th until December 30th.

Where's your favorite place to go?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

NET December First Thursday

If you've heard about the NET and would like to check it out, this is the event for you. Come meet and network with NET members.

Come alone, bring your friends, introduce someone new to the NET, introduce yourself to someone new. Expand your network.

December's First Thursday will be at Starters Riverport in the upstairs lounge.

When: Thursday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Where: Starters Riverport, 17 W. 2nd Street, Bethlehem

Admission: Members: Free (Non-Members $3)

Not a member? Join here.

To get the latest news about NET events and more sign-up for our weekly e-mail list here.

Betcha didn't know...

Jaindl Farms, located in Orefield, provides the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner at the White House and has for over 40 years.

What's Love Got to Do with It?

Todd Welch, developer of the concept of Cooperative Entrepreneurship, talks about how love is the basis for a healthy organization. It's the word nobody in business talks about, but it's the mojo behind every successful leader with integrity. Using this philosophy, Todd brought together 200 independent business owners (in many cases, competitors) to form a long-term viable solution to the insurance crisis and share best practices. The results: increased profitability and independence for the members. Co-founder of Charter Partners, Welch offers: insights into how love is actually a viable route to business success; how to recover when others in business don't show love; and the six rules that fiercely competitive entrepreneurs agreed upon to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.

When: Thursday, Dec. 7

Where: Wood Dining Room, Iacocca Hall, Lehigh University, Bethlehem

Admission: Members $25, Non-members $30

Not a member? Join here.

RSVP to Helen Bobeck 610-758-3401.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ethnic Eats: Bacio Restaurant

Bacio Restaurant
1259 South Cedar Crest Boulevard

Food type: Italian

A hip, urban, up-scale Italian restaurant, Bacio would make a great date restaurant or place to meet up with friends.

Morning Call review.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Traveling this holiday? Then this post's for you.

We must be crazy.

We pay through the nose for plane tickets on the busiest travel weekend of the year, brave crowded airports and long security lines, and endure bickering kids and clogged highways just so we can sleep on a lumpy sleeper sofa and overeat. No wonder a recent Expedia survey showed that 42 percent of us would prefer to stay in a hotel rather than with our families when making an out-of-town visit during the holiday season.

Opt for a hotel nearby, especially if quarters will be tight. There's nothing like too few bathrooms to ruin everyone's holiday mood. There's room to spread out at Homewood Suites by Hilton ( or Embassy Suites ( at rates that shouldn't bust the budget, plus free breakfast. Check or for deals.

The American Automobile Association says that more than 65 million Americans — a record number — will be traveling this Thanksgiving, with many of us making the trip by car. (Visit to find the best routes.)

There's not much you can do about heavy traffic or bad weather except get your car checked before you go, stock up on CDs and audio books from the library, and remember to bring plenty of snacks. And wherever you're going, allow plenty of extra time.

You'll need even more extra time if you're flying. I can tell you from personal experience that airlines don't necessarily bump you to the front of the line if you're short on time. We've been chided for not getting to the airport earlier (we thought two hours were sufficient), and we missed our flight. We weren't able to get home until the next day.

Check the Transportation Security Administration Web site ( to see the latest rules for carry-on bags (remember: no liquids or gels that weigh more than 3 ounces), and be mindful of the weight of your other luggage (more than 50 pounds and you'll be assessed a fee). Don't be surprised if your suitcase gets lost, either.

Unfortunately, holiday gatherings are never like those warm and fuzzy commercials. But they're not all bad, either. There are those Kodak moments — maybe one or two — when everyone at the Thanksgiving table opines what they're thankful for this holiday, when the grade-schoolers help grandma with the stuffing she's made for the last 50 years, when the older kids teach the younger ones how to play poker, when the aunts and uncles meet the new baby.

Those moments are why we're willing to put up with the craziness that Thanksgiving travel entails. Last year, we traveled cross-country to be with the family; this year we're the hosts. And honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way, no matter how aggravated and tired I get.

So whether you're hosting or traveling, pat yourself on the back for making the effort. We love our families, no matter how annoying, and we want our kids to grow up with that sense of belonging, especially when we live so far apart.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Summary of a Morning Call article here.

Buy Local this Holiday Season

Did you know according to the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce that 50% of every dollar spent by Valley residents is going out of the Lehigh Valley? As a result, the Lehigh Valley is losing over $8 million a day in outside purchases. That's a lot of money.

The Chamber says if each of us shifts just $50 of outside spending back to area businesses this year, our local economy will grow by $25 million. And for every $250,000 spent locally a new job will be created.

So the NET is asking its members to do their part by buying local this holiday season. The following are business groups offering specials, events and promotions during December.
  • First Friday (Dec. 1) and Miracle on 3rd and 4th Streets window displays (ongoing through Dec. 25), businesses open until 9 p.m. in Southside Bethlehem
  • Twelve Days of Chirstmas window displays (ongoing through Dec. 25) in Northside Bethlehem
  • Second Saturday in downtown Easton surrounding Centre Square, a regular event held in Easton with special discounts and entertainment
  • Third Thursday in downtown Emmaus, a regular event held in Emmaus with extended hours and entertainment
  • Old Fashion Christmas Emmaus (Dec. 1 and Dec. 2)
  • Macungie Holiday (Dec. 9)
  • Hometown Hellertown Shopping Spectacular (Dec. 16)
Watch the blog for further details on these events.