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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: A little illumination

Special to The New Hampshire Union Leader

December 02. 2012 9:15PM

Today's the day when wed illuminates its holiday window display. As The Scene reported last month, this year's window decorating has turned into a friendly competition among members of the wed staff. They've broken up into four teams, each creating a window based on this year's theme, "The Off Season - what happens at the North Pole the other 364 days of the year." Each team has also been assigned a non-profit that must be incorporated into its window.

So far the window decor has been kept a secret. Some work-in-progress photos on the company's Facebook page show Account Director Loren Foxx with a headless, naked mannequin body and Vice President of Client Planning and Strategy Kim Griswold (no relation to Clark Griswold) sporting a bandana, Bruce Springsteen-style, around her head. Your guess as to what they are planning is as good as mine.

Everyone is invited to the big unveiling outside wed's Market Street offices tonight at 5:30 p.m. Then it will be your turn to vote on your favorite window on the company's Facebook page. When they're not working on their windows, the wed creative and tech teams have been busy designing and building the Facebook App that will be used for voting.

The participating non-profits - the Manchester Animal Shelter, David's House, Special Olympics New Hampshire and the YMCA's Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) Program - can win money by getting supporters to vote for their window. Each organization that gets at least 250 votes will get $250. The non-profit with the window that gets the most votes will win an additional $500, plus $2,000 worth of creative work from the wed team.

Once you pop, you can't stop

We all know the Boston Pops performs an exciting holiday concert at the Verizon Wireless Arena every year, but you can also hear popular songs of the season in a smaller venue for a smaller price. The Manchester Community Music School's Holiday Pops concert is Saturday at 7 p.m., at the school on Elm Street. This show features the New Hampshire Youth Symphony Orchestra and the New Hampshire Youth Jazz Ensemble.

For the $30 ticket you get festive music and seasonal desserts and beverages. You can also purchase a table of eight for $240. Your ticket purchase helps the school's Financial Aid Fund.

Purchase your tickets at or by calling 644-4548.

If the bigger Pops concert, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 15, is part of your tradition, you can always attend the music school's concert as a warm-up. You can never hear too much "Sleigh Ride" in December.

'Manchester Memories' giveaway

Okay, people. Stop procrastinating and send in pictures to our holiday lights display contest. If you don't have a display of your own to photograph, then take a picture of your neighbor's lights. I don't care where the pictures come from in New Hampshire, I just want to give away a three-hour Holiday Lights Limousine Tour from Grace Limousine to the person who sends in our favorite picture.

Send your name, contact information, and picture location to

I'm going to sweeten the deal to attract some more early-bird entries by giving away a copy of New Hampshire Union Leader's new "Manchester Memories" book. Anyone who submits a holiday lights photo by this Friday will be entered into the raffle to win this limited edition book. It's a $39.95 value and contains gorgeous pictures of the Queen City from years past. Needless to say, it will make an excellent Christmas present.

Most of the books have already been sold, but while supplies last you can purchase one at the Union Leader's kiosk in the Mall of New Hampshire, at the upcoming NH for the Holidays fair this weekend at the Radisson, or through

Our favorite display at the end of the contest will win its creator a three-hour holiday lights tour for nine people in a limousine from Grace Limousine, a $199 value. All you have to do is email your picture, name, and contact information to by Thursday, Dec. 13. Event of the Week

Sing with me. "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, an artificial Christmas tree." I love the experience and smell of bringing a real tree into the house, but this season is stressful enough without worrying about the 8-month-old munching on pine needles all month. So we purchased a lovely pre-lit artificial tree that looks real if you can ignore that giant metal pole up the middle of it.

So that's one stressful situation handled. What about the rest? Lisa Landry knows a thing or two about handling stress during the holidays and every other time of year. The mom to four boys manages to keep her sanity while also acting as president and CEO of her businesses, Print Savvy and Savvy Workshop. Women are invited to strategize with her at Twelve Stresses of Christmas - and Savvy Strategies for how to avoid them! The gathering is for those of us feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed to the max. The discussion will focus on how to navigate through the holidays with less hustle and bustle and more peace and joy. The wine and cheese provided should certainly help.

This Thursday's event will be held at the 55 S. Commercial St. Savvy Workshop headquarters. There will be a networking opportunity from 6 to 6:30 p.m. followed by discussion until 8 p.m.

The cost is $25 and proceeds go to the non-profit Girls at Work, Inc. Call 656-9009 or visit for a link to register.

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