DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

December 2017

Dec 18 2017

A Sweet Tradition

by Dea Anne M

If there are two things that I can be sure of…right this moment…with a reasonable degree of certainty it’s that:

  1. Change happens.
  2. The holiday season is here.

In terms of the second point, I have a pretty relaxed attitude toward the “must dos” of the season. I decorate but just a bit. I cook a fancy dinner too. Generally though, I don’t travel this time of year, and I’ll do just about anything between Black Friday and December 25th to stay out of any retail operation that isn’t a grocery store. As far as the first point goes…well…what is there to say? Change happens. It just does and usually I find more to be amused about than dismayed. I have to admit though that there are a few contemporary holiday phenomena that sometime give me pause: inflatable lawn decorations, dogs in holiday sweaters, reservations required in order for one’s child to meet Santa. At the risk of sounding like the type of person who would say “Things weren’t like that when I was a kid,” let me just say that well, things weren’t like that when I was a kid.

Not that I have anything against dogs in sweaters. I mean, it’s not like I’m a complete grouch about this stuff.

One tradition that a lot of people can get behind, and one of which I thoroughly approve, is the baking and sharing of special holiday treats. I used to do a fair amount of baking this time of year but sugar is a very rare pleasure at my house these days, so I have only my fond memories of choosing recipes, baking up batch after batch of special cookies, and giving them to (presumably) delighted recipients. Christmas will be here soon but you still have time start your own sweet tradition or to pick up some new ideas if you already do holiday baking. Either way, DCPL has resources to help.show stopping

Holiday Cookies: showstopping recipes to sweeten the season by Elisabet der Nederlanden is a gorgeous book and includes recipes for special candies and fudge along with cookies that are truly showstopping. Also included are original and fun ideas for packaging your lovingly crafted 50 recipescreations.

You won’t find many surprises in Lisa Zwirn’s Christmas Cookies: 50 recipes to treasure for the holiday season but you will find lots of wonderful ideas for classic cookies including sugar cookies, gingerbread people and chocolate crinkles. Zwirn also includes fun ideas for hosting a holiday cookie swap or a cookie baking party.perfect

The Perfect Cookie: your ultimate guide to foolproof cookies, brownies and bars by the editors at America’s Test Kitchen includes far more than merely holiday cookies but there is a full chapter full of tempting sounding treats like Black Cherry and Chocolate Linzer and Stained Glass Cookies. And many of the “everyday” cookies, such the luscious looking Cranberry, White Chocolate and Macadamia Cookies would still make festive additions to your holiday array. America’s Test Kitchens are known for their rigorous testing of recipes so when they present you with a recipe for something called Foolproof Holiday Cookies, you can be sure that they mean what Doriethey say.

Finally, I highly, highly recommend Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Greenspan is a five times James Beard Award winner and is renowned as a world class guru of baking. The recipes in this book are definitely ones that you won’t see everyday (there are even recipes for savory “cocktail cookies”!) and I guarantee that they’ll all be sure to please. By the way, that gorgeous thing on the cover of the book is a World Peace Cookie. Greenspan says of this particular treat, “If everyone had it, peace would reign o’er the planet. I’m convinced of this.” And you know what? If Dorie believes it then I do too.

A happy, and peaceful, holiday to all of you!







Dec 7 2017

The Season Of Giving

by Camille B

Wrapped Gifts 4

The Christmas season is upon us once again, and with it comes that good old feeling of Christmas cheer. We’re all in great spirits as we walk through the malls shopping. Our favorite holiday music filtering through the airwaves as we decorate our houses and Christmas trees or spend time cooking and baking with family and friends.

This is also the time of year when people seem to be even more generous with their giving, wanting to spread that good cheer to those around them by giving to charities, churches or food banks across the country.

While folks may be eager to dig deeper into their pockets during the holiday season, they can also be a little weary of those fake charities that pop up quite frequently from year to year, leaving many good Samaritans completely hoodwinked. And believe me, no one wants to be swindled out of their hard earned cash, especially while trying to do a good deed for someone else. They want to know that their generous donations are going to the right places and into the hands of the right people. People want to know their donations are being used for the purposes they were intended.

Fortunately, there are still many legitimate organizations out there that you can depend on to have your contributions make a difference in someone else’s life this Christmas; whether it be a child or another family who find themselves in less fortunate circumstances this year.

Some of them you’re probably already familiar with since they’ve been doing charitable work for years, and you’ve more than likely used them in the past. But if perchance there’s an organization out there that you’re not quite familiar with and need a bit of assurance about their work, you can always check first with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance at give.org to see if it’s a reputable one, before making your donations. Below are a few examples: 

Walmart Fill The Truck Toy Drive- this year will be Walmart’s fourth annual Fill the Truck Toy Drive. In partnership with The imagesSalvation Army, they collect hundreds of thousands of toys for children in need. Shoppers visiting participating Walmart stores on select weekends from November 27 through December 13, will have the opportunity to drop off new, unwrapped toys and coats for children who take part in The Salvation Army programs year-round. Lists of suggested gifts for local children will be provided to shoppers at participating Walmart locations. Once the truck or bin is full of donations, the Salvation Army will distribute the gifts to families in need. Find a Walmart near you at by visiting  http://www.walmart.com/store/finder.

toys for tots 2Toys for Tots Foundation-  the aim of Tots for Tots is to help kids throughout the United States who are less fortunate experience the joy of Christmas, by partnering with businesses such as Hallmark, Toys R Us and The Walt Disney Company. Their mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December of each year and distribute them as Christmas gifts to the less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. So you can purchase a new toy now and take it (unwrapped) to a Toys-for Tots drop off location. For more information visit  www.toysfortots.org

Clark’s Christmas Kids- every Christmas, Clark Howard and News/Talk WSB join with the Georgia Department clarkschristmaskids2017of Family and Children’s Services to provide gifts for the foster kids all across Georgia. This is their 27th year collecting toys and gifts. You can participate by donating online or visiting locations hosting this year’s toy drive. Clark Howard will be onsite at these locations. Click here on the link for a list of them www.clark.com


ChildOperation Christmas Child-  is part of the Samaritan’s Purse International Relief organization. It provides opportunities for giving abroad and providing gifts for children in Tanzania. The National Collection Week has passed, but it’s not too late to pack a box for the Operation Shoe Box program. Shoe box gifts collected in the United States in 2017 will be delivered to 114,240 children in Tanzania.

Just find a regular size shoe box, decide if you want to donate your gift to a boy or girl and choose the age category. Then select a medium to large “wow” item like a soccer ball with a pump or a stuffed animal, and complete it by filling it with other toys, hygiene items and school supplies. Click here to get an idea of some of the items you can include. If you don’t have time to shop for and pack an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift, with a few clicks of your mouse or swipes on your touchscreen, you can build one online. Make it your own by choosing from a list of gifts, then add a personal letter and photo. Your shoe box will be sent for you for a suggested donation of just $25.  www.samaritanspurse.org

The Empty Stocking Fund- the Empty Stocking Fund purchases brand new items for kids of different ages up to the age of 12 years old. The parents and guardians of these kids are invited to visit Santa’s Village and select gifts for their children. The organization is in great need of, not just monetary gifts, but also support from volunteers and sponsors to keep it going. If you are interested in supporting this Fund you can make your contribution here  www.emptystockingfund.org          Baby

The Christmas Spirit Foundation’s mission is to advance the Christmas Spirit for kids, families and the environment through programs and activities is a charitable organization. They work to recognize and support the true meaning of Christmas for U.S. troops and military families through the Trees for Troops program. This year, support Trees for Troops by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Christmas Spirit Foundation (some employers would match your donations), or by purchasing a collectible Trees for Troops teddy bear from their online store.                                            For more information visit www.christmasspiritfoundation.org

Remember, there are many kids and families out there whose Christmases would not be as merry and bright without our generous contributions. Even if this year might be a financially binding one for you as well, you can always give of yourself and your time. Many of these organizations function mainly with the help of volunteers and sponsors, so find out how you can lend a helping hand.

Get your kids, grand kids or nieces and nephews involved too., They can experience the side of Christmas that’s not just about getting presents on Christmas morning but also about giving to someone else who is not as fortunate as they are.







Books at DCPL about Giving: 




Giving, the sacred art: creating a lifestyle of generosity– Lauren Tyler Wright

Book 2



Give a little: how your small donations can transform our world– Wendy Smith



Book 3

The Power of giving: how giving back enriches us all– Azim Jamal


Book 4

In a Heartbeat; sharing the power of cheerful giving– Leigh Anne Tuohy