Is it the end of the world as we know it, or is orange really the new black? No matter how you see the next presidential administration, the majority of voters across the country happen to be stunned at the moment. This could be the best time to figure out how to salvage this holiday season beyond adding extra bourbon to the eggnog or feeding your grief with Aunt Claudia's Chex party mix and sugar cookies. Sure, it's called self-care, but leave it to us at the Tucson Weekly to remind you there are some other ways to celebrate this Holidaze by supporting local businesses, organizations and making community.
We Stand Together
If you're thinking about making a donation to honor those Trump supporters in your life, consider the YWCA of Southern Arizona. Located at the Frances McClelland Community Center at 525 N. Bonita Ave., this organization focuses on supporting women and children, and fighting racism. That's the organization's national mission, and locally we see that in its employment and skill-building programs, and more.
On Nov. 30, from 6:30 to 8 p.m., the YWCA kicks off We Stand Together, to address the rise of harassment and prejudice during the campaign season and after. The idea is to launch a network to help make Tucson a safe place. Joe citzens, business owners, nonprofit and faith leaders, and law enforcement and government folks are all invited to help created alliances. The project is sponsored by Southern Arizona Hate Crimes Task Force, YWCA Southern Arizona, the Jewish History Museum, Women's Resource Center (UA), and the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation.
Attend, and while you're at it, make a donation.
Put your money where your heart is
If you're going to make a donation that counts this year, think about the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, which serves a 23,000 square-mile area in Pima, Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz counties. They distribute more than 63,000 meals each day through 300 area nonprofits. More than 225,000 people are helped through the Food Bank's programs and services.
Getting food to hungry people, helping people grow their own food, bringing farm-grown food to area farmers' markets and helping people with their food stamp applications—can't think of a better way to help those in need in our community.
communityfoodbank.org Get outside, we live in f-ing paradise
Those hot hot days are behind us, which means it's fun to get back outside in the desert again, and we guarantee it will make you feel better. Yes, Sabino Canyon is always a go-to, but there are so many areas outside of Tucson that don't get enough love and day-tripping attention.
Here's what's on our list as perfect places to make Thanksgiving and the Christmas season extra special:
West of Tucson, this day trip requires you get a Bureau of Land Management day pass for $5 per person. The BLM restricts the number of people who use the canyon.
Pusch Peak Hike
Almost to Oro Valley off Oracle, this is the hike to do when the switchbacks of Tumamoc just aren't doing it for you anymore. Expect to take three hours or more going up, and about an hour going down. The views at the top, however, are worth every pain—Kitt Peak and Picacho Peak. You may see some coatimundi on the trail, and if you're really lucky, maybe some big horn sheep.
This is a great hike that takes you to the highest peak in the Tucson Mountain. One of the trail heads is across from the Desert Museum and takes you through some beautiful washes. At the top, you get views of the Catalinas and Avra Valley.
Seek out adventure, embrace life
Still thinking about the outdoors. Why not do a zip line? Relatively new, Arizona Zipline Adventures offers this kind of experience in our backyard near Oracle. For $79 you can do a day-time zip line or a moon light zip line, and yes, you can purchase gift certificates for that adventurer in your life who loves the idea of flying over the desert. Huzzah.
Get to a local farmers' market
There are almost a dozen farmers' markets in our area. They are a great place to get locally grown produce, specialty foods, area raised meats, and crafts. For many food-centric entrepreneurs, this is start-up ground, from fresh made salsas to goat cheeses to prickly pear popsicles. Our favorite farmers' market venues happen to be the Santa Cruz Farmers' Market at the Mercado San Agustin (100 S. Avenido del Convento) and St. Philip's Farmers' Market (4280 N. Campbell Ave.).
At the Santa Cruz River Farmers' Market buy everyone in your family some fresh produce, plants, farm raised eggs or some desert foods from the San Xavier Cooperative Farm. At the St. Philip's Farmers' Market, we think your family might enjoy what this new vendor has to offer—mushrooms. The Sonoran Mushroom Company is growing edible fungus locally and the Tucson Original Bacon Mushroom is pretty tasty.
Your local bookstore
Tucson is lucky in that we still have an independent bookstore in our little berg. Antigone Books on Fourth Avenue is the place to go for books by local authors, even self-publish endeavors. There's also a great section on regional interests, food and a great kids' section. There are also lots of great gift ideas from T-shirts to jewelry and more.
But consider putting these Tucson authors on your holiday gift list, and keep in mind, if Antigone doesn't have the book, they can order it and have it waiting for you in a couple of days, sometimes less:
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, Nobody Rich or Famous by Richard Shelton, Getting Naked for Money by Edie Jarolim and Chasing Arizona by Ken Lamberton.
Take care of yourself, Tucson. Read, get merry, be good to your community, shop local and get outside.