What we like about winter…

December 24, 2019


This past month we have been discussing seasons, especially winter as the snow has come to visit us in South Dakota.  Of course with this topic comes winter safety and winter driving and all the reasons we don’t like winter.  However, I asked my students to tell me three things they like about winter weather.  Here are a few of their answers:



The Beautiful View of the Big Sioux River in December

  • I like winter because my children love to play in the snow. They make snowmen and throw snowballs. They build snow forts every winter.  Snow can be a lot of fun.
  • I like winter because snow falls down. All places are very white. Some people don’t like snow because snow is too cold, but small kids need snow because they like sledding.
  • I like the snow. It is white. I like the winter.  My kids like it a lot and play.  My kids make snowmen, snow forts, and they like sledding.  For this reason, I like winter because my kids get excited to play in the snow.
  • I like cold because it’s good for my health. I like to play with my nephews outside because it’s so fun. In the season of winter, we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.
  • I like wintertime because I get my tax return. I need money for my family. In wintertime, there are many holidays.  I like to be off and stay at home and rest from work.
  • Staying at home is good because I take time to relax and drink hot chocolate and watch movies.




  • In winter, I like reading a book in front of the window, watching the snow fall down. It feels good. I like to take pictures to remember that I was frozen and it was fun!  I like to spend time at home with my family.  It feels comfortable and warm.
  • It is fun to see the white stuff fall from the sky. The ice and snow beautify the city.
  • I like winter because I can eat a lot of food. I like to sleep at night, but it is freezing cold!
  • I like winter because it is Christmas time and I can have fun with my family.
  • I stay home all day most of the time talking together with family. We make tea, coffee, and see the outside view. I like a white Christmas.  I want Christmas time to have a lot of snow.


Here is wishing you have time to appreciate the beautiful snow, build snowmen, have snowball fights, stay warm, and drink lots of hot chocolate this winter!




Have a wonderful Christmas

this week

from all of us

here at the

Center for New Americans! 




Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


May All Your Gifts Be Valuable

November 8, 2018

So I just had my birthday.  It was the big one.  I guess I’m no longer a kid, at least physically.  That’s right, I turned the big 40.  I guess it’s time to start thinking about retirement and senior care arrangements about now.

OK, not really.  After all, I don’t really plan on ever even growing up.  Just ask my wife.  But in honor of another year, my sister asked for a list of gift ideas for both my birthday and Christmas.  I finally sent a couple of ideas almost a week later.  Sure, life is busy.  But I was also struggling to come up with anything that I really needed or wanted.

And with that, here we go right on into the Spending Season……. I mean the Christmas Season. Read the rest of this entry »

Joy to the World

December 19, 2017

And joy to the world it was – literally—as the Center for New Americans celebrated the holiday season with staff and students from four different continents on Thursday, December 14. Cultural and language barriers became insignificant as everyone sat down to taste each others’ culinary delights and share some intercultural dance moves. Even Santa couldn’t stay away!

christmas dancing 1      christmas-santa.jpg

Students spent the week learning about traditional American culture through songs, singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and performed during the World Festival Celebration.  Students also shared their traditional music and dances: Danto from Somalia, Cumbia and Bachata from Mexico, in addition to lots of Nepali dances.  And the food was bountiful.  Students, teachers, and volunteers alike brought time honored finger foods: Cheese and crackers from the United States, sambusa from Africa, pulcra from Bhutan,  and “famous roses” from Thailand.  It was a beautiful day to celebrate the end of 2017.

christmas-food.jpg  christmas food 3  christmas food 2

christmas food 4

christmas students 2

christmas dancing 2


All of us here at the Center for New Americans Wish You a Happy New Year! 

Dream Series – 5 Steps to A Black Christmas

November 2, 2017

Cheesy as it may be, it’s a tradition.  Sometime in the next two months you will hear it.  “IIIII’m dreaming……… of a whiiiiiite… Christmas….”  Come on now, everybody loves a little Bing Crosby at Christmas.  As sentimental as a white Christmas may be, there are a lot of people dreaming of a black Christmas too…… or rather, a Christmas in the black.

christmas-presentsI think most of us dream of making Christmas magical for those around us.  There are a lot of ways to do that.  It could be anything from waking Christmas morning to find stockings stuffed and a new toy train going around the Christmas tree to a new tradition of Christmas on a warm, sandy beach under a palm tree.  Either way or any in between, it’s probably going to cost you. Read the rest of this entry »

Upping Your Giving Game

December 19, 2016


‘Tis the season, or so the saying goes.  But the season for what?  cash-in-walletDuh, it’s the season of consumerism….. I mean the season for giving.  It’s the time of year when we shop to give gifts to our family, friends, coworkers, teachers, coaches, neighbors, mail carriers, garbage haulers, pizza delivery guys, and anyone else we can possibly think of.  And while we are shopping, there are the other organizations that are asking us to give to them, whether it is for a special project or for one last push to make their annual budget.  After all, giving is a great way to get a tax break, right?  No cash?  That’s ok; they’ll take stock transfers, old vehicles, and even donated real estate if you’d rather.  Man, that’s a lot of giving that is expected of us this time of year.  Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas – What You Might Not Know

December 15, 2016
Christmas gift

Photo courtesy of ChrissyMorin


Christmas – a religious holiday that has been celebrated around the world for hundreds of years. Every year around this time I get questions from my students about Christmas, about how the celebrations started, who decided how to celebrate and many more. This year, I decided to find some answers. Christmas – the anniversary of the birth of Jesus, with all the beautiful decorations, presents under the tree, children waiting for the arrival of Santa Claus, large meals shared with family and friends – has a place in everyone’s memory, it’s always been like that, it’s always been there.

Did you know? Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.

Did you know? The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking. In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.


Did you know? Today, in the Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.

Did you know? In the Middle Ages, Christmas celebrations were rowdy and raucous.

Did you know? In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.

Did you know? From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

Did you know? Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States on June 26, 1870.

Did you know? The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement.

Did you know? Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.santa begging

Did you know? The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.

Did you know? Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. The copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.

Did you know? Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.

Did you know? Christmas 2016 is right around the corner. Only a few more days.


(source: History Channel, http://www.history.com, The History of Christmas)

written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor

Steps to Prep for Christmas….Already

October 11, 2016


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….
Every where you go….
Take a look in the five-and-ten….
Glistening once again….
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow….

Sorry to do it to you so early, but you know you didn’t just read the words.  Come on, admit it, you were singing along.  And now I’ll agree as we both argue, “IT’S WAY TOO EARLY!”  But it’s coming and you can’t deny it.  The other argument I’m going to make is that you may not want to deny it.  Rather, embrace it.  Embrace it now. Read the rest of this entry »

A Happier Holiday

December 16, 2015

holidaystressshrunk25Christmas is a most wonderful time of the year: Family, friends, lights, music, traditions of faith, and presents. It’s a time to show gratitude for the gifts that have been given.  At work it’s a time to decorate, extra treats in the break room and the annual holiday party.  With the joy of the season comes extra projects, changes in work and family schedules, more financial responsibilities and return of long lost friends and family members. Read the rest of this entry »

On the Consumerism of Christmas and How We Can Use It Well (part 2)

November 10, 2015

It happened again today. I was out and about and heard Christmas songs coming over the store speakers. Somewhere a turkey shed a tear about it. Poor, poor Thanksgiving turkeys. But, to make the most of the situation, I posted the first half of this blog last week. As much as we need to give Thanksgiving its due before it is run over by Christmas, we can use the early onset of the holiday to get us ready for all of the spending that is Christmas. Click here if you haven’t read Part 1 of this blog, and then continue on for more.

What To Do About the Christmas Spending?

Make a List – Write down every last person and their dog paper & pencilthat you may need to buy a present for. If the number isn’t shocking enough, write an expected gift price next to each recipient and add that up. Then make a list of all of your other expenses as listed above, remembering ‘Gifts’ was only one of five areas I listed. Total it all up and if the amount is overwhelming to you, adjust the individual amounts accordingly to make it manageable for you. Then, when shopping, stick to the list and only the list.

Update the Budget – I’m not talking about your specifically-Christmas budget here. This is your general living budget. How much do you have coming in? How much is going out in all of the normal living expenses like housing, utilities, groceries, etc.? Subtract those expenses from your income and see how much you actually have left over to spend. If your Christmas budget is over your excess money, you now need to decide where the extra money is coming from (please do not forgo rent or mortgage payment to fund Christmas, because it really has happened). You are either going to have to lower your Christmas budget, raid the savings account you have been so good about building up, or put it all on plastic (which means you just pay more later).

Manage Your Credit – Speaking of plastic, do you have a plan for that loan you just took out when you swiped the credit card? I’m not necessarily against using credit cards. I just want people to use them with full awareness and a plan. How long is it going to take you to pay it off? How much extra will it cost you in interest? We’ve done the math on minimum payments on $2,000 of credit card debt and how long it takes to pay it off making minimum payments. I won’t scare you here with the numbers, but think ‘longer than a house’. Better to have a plan than be hog-tied to your credit card bills for the next several years.

Think Creative – Sure, everyone talks about the ‘creative’ gift giving of homemade gifts. Some of them really are good gifts, like a quilt from Grandma. But I won’t belabor that knife-edge subject any further. Instead, be creative in your other Christmas budget items. Do you really need to provide all of the food for 50 people? I’m a Lutheran from the Midwest and let me tell you, there is nothing like a good potluck meal. Why not give your family members the privilege of sharing their best culinary masterpieces? Going to the same place? Pack a little lighter and carpool. If you can shrink a caravan of three vehicles to two, you could well end up in the vehicle without the sugar-overdosed munchkins. Decorating? You would be surprised how many decorations are deemed ‘Christmas’ only by their packaging. The colors and styles may be used year-round by decorations from another season. Reuse them and I won’t tell if you won’t.

nativityPrioritize – What is Christmas really about for you? This blog is actually part two of what was originally a standalone blog post. Yep – that wordy. But at this point I am going to stop talking (figuratively, of course) and use my best creative writing skills to encourage you to take a moment to ruminate and truly consider your priorities for observing Christmas. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Funny how we get so distracted by all of the other ‘shtuff’, isn’t it? Much like prioritizing where our money goes, prioritizing everything else can help keep the budget in check as well. Recently I drove my son out of town after dark just to look at the stars. We found a field approach to park in and spent time just looking at the stars, the Milky Way, airplanes, and constellations. It was a single gallon of gas to get there and back. There was no admission, no souvenirs, no super-size snack value packs, or anything else to spend money on. Yet it was a big enough deal that, as he crawled into bed that night, he thanked me for TAKING THE TIME to take him out to look at the stars. Sometimes kids are really good at speaking the truth.

I recently saw a Facebook post that one of my friends was nearly done Christmas shopping already. OK. I can deal with that. But if your own shopping is overwhelming you, or even the thought of any extra holiday expense, come in to see a counselor at the Center for Financial Resources. We don’t judge. We aren’t humbugs. We just want to help you get your finances in a condition that they won’t ruin the holidays for you. You can schedule on our website, or call us at 605-330-2700.

Be ready for Christmas, but for the sake of the turkeys (and a lot of other reasons), don’t forget Thanksgiving.

written by Breck Miller
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

On the Consumerism of Christmas and How We Can Use It Well (part 1)

November 4, 2015

I have to admit, I threw a bit of a fit the other day when I walked into the office. There, hanging around the LSS logo on the wall, were several snowflakes and a Christmas stocking. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? Let the turkey have his day and let’s get through Thanksgiving first! Now, in all fairness, the decorations were only up for a photo shoot and have since come down (I think, I threatened to not even look that direction if they were still up).

As much as we Thanksgiving-loyalists dislike it, you don’t have to look very far at all to see the impending invasion of red and green glitz and gaudiness. It’s coming. We can’t change it. It just bothers me that, much like the presidential campaigning, it all seems to be happening earlier and earlier every time it comes around. Read the rest of this entry »

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