1. On Sunday night, dozens of people gathered in downtown Grand Rapids for the first night of Hanukkah.
The event has been going on for 33 years now. Hanukkah is Hebrew for "dedication," and as the story goes, the JEws were trying to cleanse their temple in Jerusalem after fighting off Syrian oppressors. But when they went to light the Menorah, there was only enough oil to keep the candles burning for a day, or so they thought.
The flames stayed strong for eight nights. Now, each year, they use the largest Menorah in West Michigan to spread that message. If you drive by the Calder Plaza over the next week, you can see that Menorah standing tall.
Each night they'll burn an additional light until we get to December 6, the final night of Hanukkah.
2. Get ready to help Santa deliver even more holiday cheer this year! Operation Santa is officially under way!
Operation SAnta has helped make CHildren's dreams come true for more than a century. Children are asked to write a letter, place it in an envelope bearing their full return address and postage stamp, then send it to Santa Clause at 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888.
Letters will then be posted to uspsoperationsanta.com. All letters to Santa must be postmarked before Friday, December 10.
3. Speaking of the mail, if you're planning on shipping out some packages to loved ones this holiday season, the USPS wants to remind you of shipping dates to keep in mind so gifts arrive in time for Christmas.
Take a look at the following dates:
- December 15: USPS Retail Ground Services
- December 17: First Class Mail
- December 18: Priority Mail Services
- December 23: Priority Mail Express
All information is available on their website.
4. It's Cyber Monday! When people turn to their computers to look for the best deals online for holiday gifts.
Amazon, Best Buy, and Dell have some major discounts. Retailers are dropping prices on items including 4K Televisions, second generation airpods, Nintendo's Pro controller for the Switch, and the Yeedi Robot Vacuum. You can also find deals on Dell Laptops and the latest Roku Streaming Stick.
Experts say to beware of hackers and keep an eye on accounts this time of year. They also warn people to use secure WiFi while shopping since free public WiFi may create opportunities for hackers to access your information.
5. Uptown Grand Rapids is getting ready for their annual Shop Hop event on December 2.
The Shop Hop is going to have district-wide performances all throughout Uptown. They've prepared a full schedule of entertainment and performances throughout the district, beginning at 3 p.m. including performances by Deos Contemporary Ballet Company, Opera Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Girls Choral, Strobel Singing Grams, and many more.
Find a schedule of entertainment and locations at uptowngr.com.