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Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sandra McGuire (left) and Chamber President Dona Bonnett (right) at Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama/Business Council of Alabama Annual Meeting. Photo submitted

With Christmas just around the corner, it's the perfect time to participate in National Safe Toys and Gifts Month. That's right, another monthly national holiday in December, and it's just in time! Everyone is shopping for just the right gifts for their loved ones so let's keep safety in mind while we shop. After all, we're mostly buying for those that we love, and their safety is of utmost importance to us.

To observe this national holiday, be sure to inspect any toys before you purchase them. You'll want to avoid toys that have sharp edges or can be easily pulled apart. If you're shopping for a baby or toddler, be sure not to buy anything that has too many tiny parts that could accidentally be swallowed.

Another way to buy safely is to be sure the age and skill level that is displayed on the toy's packaged matches up with the age and skill level of the little one you're buying it for. Also, the toy's package should display an ATSM (American Society for Testing and Materials) label.

Keep up with and recalls on popular toys and gifts, too. While a recall may have been issue, all of the items may not have been pulled from the shelves yet. You certainly don't want to buy a toy that's already been proven to be a hazard to children. Play it safe and keep your eyes on those updates.

Lastly, if choosing food items for your gifts, be sure to check to see if your intended recipient has any food allergies that you'll want to avoid. There are plenty of alternative food gifts that can be given which will not cause harm for your loved one to enjoy. Happy gift shopping!

There are plenty of Christmas and holiday events to plug in to so enjoy every moment!

Moody Area Chamber of Commerce will host their monthly chamber luncheon at 11:30 a.m. this Thursday, Dec. 12 at Moody City Hall. In lieu of a guest speaker, plenty of Christmas fun with holiday games and entertainment is planned. Lunch is $12 for members with reservation and $15 for non-members and no reservation. RSVP to Andrea Machen at 205-640-6262.

Leeds Alzheimer’s Dementia Monthly Support Group will meet at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 12 at The Episcopal Church of the Epiphany hosted by Lakeside Hospice.

Bring your entire family to historic downtown Leeds for the annual Christmas Parade this Friday night, Dec. 13. Experience the magic of Christmas and holiday festivities with the Leeds community as we celebrate Christmas on the Parkway at 7 p.m. There is no charge to ride in the parade, but registration is required for parade line-up. For more information and to download parade application, please visit https://leedsareachamber.com/leeds-christmas-parade-2019/

Your child can have Breakfast with Santa at The Outlet Shops of Grand River this Saturday, Dec. 14 between 9 am and 11 a.m. in Suite 672 across from VF Outlet. Breakfast includes water, soda or juice, and a breakfast sandwich. Activities include photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Storytime with Mrs. Claus as well as arts and crafts.

Moody Civic Center will host Holly Jolly Gift Shop this Saturday, Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Plan some shopping at this event for those on your Christmas gift-giving list! Great selection to shop from including art, clothing, make-up, toffee and more. View list of vendors on Moody Civic Center's Facebook page and grab a few friends to come and shop!

The City of Moody will have their Christmas parade this Saturday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. The theme will be “Christmas in Whoville.” To find out more information, or to complete an application to be in the parade, visit www.moodyalabama.gov.

Blue Light Special Art Show is celebrating its 30th anniversary this Saturday, Dec. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is the last show of the Christmas season at Earthborn Studios and over 50 artists will be represented. This event is indoors - so come on rain, shine, or snow! Don't miss this unique event!

Moody Lions Club will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 16 at White's Chapel.

Join us at the Leeds Jane Culbreth Library on Monday, Dec. 16 at noon for a fascinating lecture about Antique Alabama Furniture given by the Alabama Humanities Foundation Road Scholar Christopher Lang. You'll learn about the strong and diverse cabinetmaking community that existed in North America during the antebellum period. The lecture will focus on the work of specific cabinetmakers and groupings of furniture. A light lunch will be provided.

The Leeds City Council will meet at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 16 in the Leeds Civic Center Meeting Room.

Bring your babies and preschoolers to Tot Time with Mrs. Ramona for a story time hour that includes songs, dancing, stories and crafts. Make it a kid date on Tuesday, Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Leeds Jane Culbreth Library.

Moody Kiwanis Club is scheduled to meet at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at Moody City Hall.

Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce Corporate Ambassadors will meet at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at Leeds First United Methodist Church Family Life Center. Lunch is $10 and RSVP to Sandra McGuire at sandra@leedsareachamber.com.

Join the Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce for their annual Awards Luncheon at 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19 at Leeds First United Methodist Church Family Life Center. Program will include chamber and civic awards, great holiday lunch and introduction of 2020 Board of Directors. Come early to meet and greet. Investment: $12 payable at the door by cash or check. RSVP Required ($15 without RSVP) and submit your reservation to sandra@leedsareachamber.com.

Leeds Jane Culbreth Library will host an After School Special on Thursday, Dec. 19 from 6 to 7 p.m. in the library's meeting room to learn all about Sign Language. A light dinner will be served for the young attendees.

I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting and small business awards with the Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama/Business Council of Alabama at The Harbert Center with Sandra McGuire, Leeds Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. It was a great lunch and a wonderful opportunity to meet other chamber of commerce professionals.

Thought for the Week: “The gospel of Luke tells the Christmas story and just happens to be 24 chapters long. Read one chapter every day and it will take you right up to Christmas Eve!”

I thoroughly enjoy sharing information, news and calendar items with you each week and I thank you for reading my column. Please remember to send any news to me at leedsmoodynews@gmail.com and have a great week!

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