The first day of winter is nearly upon us, so that means a lot of winter and holiday favorites are about to make a comeback. So before we let it snow, let's take a look at some things to do or buy in Three Village for $20 or less.
Go Back in Time. Revisit the covers of the "Saturday Evening Post" at the Norman Rockwell Exhibit at the Ward Melville Heritage Organization's Educational and Cultural Center. Free admission.
Soup's On. Take a break from the shopping, wrapping and general holiday chaos and enjoy a warm bowl of soup. Stone Soupe's Chicken Pot Pie soup is $4.95 for a 16-ounce serving. "If I don't have the soup, I get phone calls asking me when I will have it. It is a nice, wintery hearty soup. If you get the soup and panini combo ($4.99), anyone of the paninis will compliment the soup," said owner David Rodriguez.
Santa's Gone to the Wolves. See the jolly red man at Wolfie's Winter Wonderland during the Stony Brook men's basketball game vs. Sacred Heart on Dec. 11. Cookies and hot chocolate provided free courtesy of Fratelli's Market Place. Pictures with Santa are $2, game tickets are $12 each. Don't forget the women's basketball season is in full swing, too. Tickets are $5 each.
Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown! Help celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Start by getting your own little tree that just needs a little love. Pick up a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, complete with its one red ornament, at Target for $14.99. At CVS, you can get a Peanuts Nativity Set for $19.99. Rite Aid has 3D lighted versions of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, both 18 inches high, for $19.99 each.
Build a House. Made out of gingerbread and you do not even have to do it from scratch (unless you want to). CVS has one ready to assemble, Rite Aid has a few as well, and so does Stop and Shop, King Kullen and Target. Prices vary from $8.99 to $16.99 each.
Indulge in Caffeine. By way of Starbucks holiday flavors like Caramel Brulee Latte, Eggnog Latte, Gingerbread Latte and Peppermint Mocha (sizes and prices vary from $5.99 to $9.99). Or buy four pounds of your favorite Dunkin' Donuts flavored coffee for $19.99 until Dec. 26.
Buy Martha Stewart. Ornaments, that is. Home Depot (yes, Home Depot) now carries her shatter-free ornaments. A box of 71 is $19.97. If you need more ornaments than that, pick up the box of 100 ornaments for only a little more money ($21.97).
Good Things Come in Three's. Godiva Chocolates has over 30 stocking stuffers under $20. If you buy any of the sets of three, you can give two away and keep a treat for yourself. Some of your choices include a set of three foil-wrapped milk chocolate Santas ($15), a set of three milk chocolate Gingerbread Man lollipops ($15) or the holiday mini cocoa tin trio ($20).
Tea Time. Not on the green, in a cup. has cards for the holiday season and any other occasion that come complete with its very own tea bag. At $2.75 each, you can invite six friends to a tea party or have a different flavor of tea yourself for a whole week.
Meet the Little Fockers. Robert Deniro and Ben Stiller are back with a third installment in the "Meet the Parents" franchise. Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand reprise their roles as Stiller's parents, so with two sets of grandparents visiting two little Fockers, you can almost hear yourself laughing before the movie even starts. (Coming out Dec. 22. Check for local theaters.)
Suds It Up. Fair Trade Winds has several different soap products to try for yourself or to buy as gifts. Choose from their seasonal Menorah Seascape Soaps ($2.50 each), Glycerin Soap Bars ($5 each), or the set of four Galilee Olive Oil Soaps ($25) which will give you four gifts that cost $6.25 each.
Garden. Show off your green thumb or learn how to get one, even in the winter. The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages is holding a botanical workshop arrangement with fresh greens. $20 non members, $15 members. Dec. 12.
Spy a Spy. Learn how spies helped George Washington win the Revolution at the Three Village Historical Society. $5. Sundays or by appointment in December.
Have a Nightmare While You're Awake. The Velvet Lounge presents "The Nightmare Before Christmas," featuring DJ Bruce Katt and Trotter Veck on Dec. 10. Special shows scheduled throughout the month of December also at $5 per show per person.
Have a Drawing. Gallery North is hosting two drawing weekend workshops for children kids in grades K-6 on Dec. 18 and one for middle school and high school kids on Dec. 19. $5 materials fee per child.
Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before. Billed as not just for kids, the Staller Center invites all you Trekkies to "live long and prosper" at "Star Trek Live" on Sunday, January 20. $12.
Teens at the Library. December is looking like it was designed just for you at the . Learn how to make beaded barettes on Dec. 27, play Wii on Dec. 28, or make a winter wonderland cake on Dec. 29. A family-friendly movie screening (film to be announced) will also take place Dec. 29. All free.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at . Signature ice cream pies like "Caramel Te More Pie" are only $12.99 for a limited time. Treat yourself before that New Year's resolution to lose those holiday pounds kicks in.
Better to Give Than Receive. Don't forget about ways to give back. Pick up some nonperishable food items for a church pantry like Our Daily Bread at ; buy a tot a toy or two ( and have plenty to choose from for around $10); or send a $20 iTunes gift card to a soldier overseas, or pick out something else to send at www.give2thetroops.org/items.htm.
Take in the Season. Don't miss a second of the things that make this season bright – which also happen to be free. Take a stroll or a drive through your neighborhood to see the lights; go caroling on Skype for the people you won't see in person this year; set your DVR to record favorites like Elf, It's a Wonderful Life, and A Charlie Brown Christmas; wrap presents in the Sunday comics; and sing along with holiday songs on the radio.