7 ways to celebrate—and prepare for—the holiday season

By Health & Senior Services Librarian Rose Barnes

The holiday season can be both joyful and a stressful time of year. Your library offers virtual and on-site resources and programs to help you take care of yourself. Here are a few of my favorite ways to use the library to prepare for and celebrate the season.

1. Craft & create with Creativebug

Use your Oak Park library card to log in and get inspired on Creativebug, which features more than 1,000 award-winning art and craft video classes taught by recognized design experts and artists.

A resource for DIY, crafters, and makers, Creativebug video classes can guide you through all the steps you’ll need to craft homemade gifts, holiday decorations, and so much more. Take a class on art, sewing, food techniques, knitting or crochet, paper crafts, and the list goes on!

Ready to get started? Watch a tutorial and log in via the library’s Creativebug portal and follow these step-by-step instructions I just wrote on how to use Creativebug.

Plus, register now to join us for The Story of Stuff: Screening, Discussion, and Paper Craft on December 14 at the Maze Branch Library where you’ll make a craft bow using a Creativebug tutorial after the film screening. 

2. Design, record & digitize in the Creative Studio

Have you checked out the new Creative Studio at the library? It’s a great place to great gifts and more for the holidays. For example, you can use the Creative Studio to:

  • Make anything from 3D prints to LED lights,
  • Use the audio booth to record something,
  • Digitize your old VHS tapes to share with family and friends at the Media Preservation Station, and much more.

Ready to get started? Drop in to the Creative Studio during open hours—held every other Wednesday afternoon—when staff can help and teach you to use the equipment or sign up for a learning lab to get one one-on-one instruction for 30 minutes. Register now for all upcoming events in the Creative Studio »

3. Research gifts & other purchases with Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports is so useful when it comes to deciding what to buy. With your Oak Park library card, you can easily compare products, get in-depth reviews and recommendations, and shop for current and upcoming deals. I especially like the buying guides and the ownership advice options.

Ready to get started? Watch a tutorial and log in through the library’s Consumer Reports portal and follow these step-by-step instructions I wrote on how to use Consumer Reports.

4. Check out holiday cookbooks

The library has a plethora of cookbooks for the holidays. The library’s catalog is an easy place to start browsing, but did you know that there are many digital cookbooks available online for you to check out with your Oak Park library card?

I personally like to check out cookbooks from Hoopla, but there also are many available on Media On Demand/Libby. While you’re online, take a moment to look at all of the holiday music, ebooks, and audiobooks available, you might be surprised by all that’s available.

Not sure how to get started with ebooks? Find all the details on our Stream & Download page »

5. Attend holiday events at the library

There are some fun and interesting upcoming holiday-themed programs coming up at the library—and virtually!

I am very excited about the Healing Through the Holidays event on December 3. It will focus on self-care before the holiday season and will include a community check-in circle, Inner Peace art workshop, sound bath with reiki, and a visit from Thrive Counseling. Special wellness gift bags will be given out while supplies last.

Two virtual programs that I am looking forward to are on December 6. The first is a cooking class with Classroom Kitchen on Mexican Holiday Cuisine, and a discussion with author Lori Gottlieb and Illiniois Libraries Present about mental health in anticipation of the winter holiday season.

Another virtual program that I’m excited about is the Illinois Libraries Present presentation of the Nutcracker ballet. When you register, you’ll receive a link to view the ballet anytime December 16-17.

And mark your calendars now for the Community Kwanzaa Celebration on December 28. The evening celebration will feature poetry, dance, and musical performances in honor of this Black American Harvest celebration. There also will be a Ujamaa Market in the gallery, followed by a small version of a Karamu, or Feast of Kwanzaa.

6. Visit the Idea Box

One of my favorite areas in the library is the changing display in the Idea Box. I especially enjoy the displays that celebrate the traditions, holidays, history, and cultures, and encompass the diversity that makes up Oak Park and the Chicagoland area.

I hope you were able to visit the Idea Box last month to view the ofrenda in celebration of Día de Muertos, and that’ll you stop by to see the winter holidays displays up all December.

7. Watch Hallmark movies on Hoopla

With Hoopla‘s new BingePass and your Oak Park library card, you can get unlimited streaming for seven days with a single borrow! This year Hoopla has added Hallmark Movies Now BingePass. I’m definitely looking forward to curling up on the couch and watching a Hallmark movie on Hoopla. 

I hope you are encouraged to celebrate the holidays in the way that makes you feel most supported and cared for!

About Rose

Rose is an Adult Services Librarian specializing in health and senior services. She is a passionate reader, baker, and explorer who is always planning her next adventure.