Avoid The Porch Pirates This Holiday Season

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Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

It’s the holidays and you know what that means? Presents go missing off the porch or even under the tree or whatever you put presents under! In the past you could have a package dropped off on the porch without a problem, but those days are long gone!

Porch Pirates or as you can call them……thieves have shown up in neighborhoods across the country!

Nothing can ruin the holiday cheer like a person walking up to your house and steal in broad daylight something from you. Here in the Seattle area there has been an increase of packages missing, outdoor objects disappearing, car and home break-ins, that have caused many neighbors to start installing security cameras and the Ring doorbell to deter or catch these people in the act.

Still, there are simple things to do to protect those packages during the holidays and year round.

1. Get a P.O. Box
It is a federal crime to steal someone else’s mail or packages. BUT, it has not stopped people! A few years ago I signed up for a P.O. Box at the local post office after mail started disappearing out of the street mailbox. Anything deemed to be important (bills, banking, birthday cards, etc.) is sent to the P.O.Box and anything not important (advertisements, catalogs, etc.) goes to the street mailbox. Any packages sent to the P.O. Box will be held securely in a locked box and the key along with the notification will be put in your P.O. Box for you. Anything that is too big would be held securely with a notification to pick it up put into the box as well.

2. Send It To Work
Some employers allow employees to send their packages to their work’s address. My current employer gives this option to all employees to send their personal packages (things consider valuable or health related) to the shipping receiving department. This option is only secure as the environment you work in. 

3. Amazon Lockers, Amazon Hub & BoxLock
Amazon Locker is a self-service parcel delivery service offered by online retailer Amazon. Amazon customers can select any Locker location as their delivery address, and retrieve their orders at that location by entering a unique pick-up code on the Locker touch screen. However, certain third-party sellers on Amazon may not be able to ship to an Amazon Locker, due to their use of other shipping services such as FedEx or UPS that require a signature. Amazon Hub is a delivery locker for apartment lobbies. The delivery locker accepts packages from all carriers (FedEx or UPS).

The BoxLock is a new app-based lock connects with delivery companies designed to prevent theft of delivery packages left by the front door. In addition to the anti-theft aspect, packages are protected from bad weather. When couriers get to your house, they scan the package for their system (they all use handheld mobile scanners) and then scan the label with the BoxLock. Once the label is approved by the lock, it opens and allows the driver to leave the package inside. After you get a notification of delivery.

4. UPS Stores
If you know the carrier is UPS, you can have it held at the UPS store location for pick up. Customers receive a notification telling them their package is ready for pickup at any of their 9,000 store locations.

5. Signature Required
By having a signature required, shippers cannot leave the package without a signature from you. UPSP recommends this for those who will not be able to receive the package at a certain location (home).

Or get a whole new security system

 Ring Doorbell System & Google’s Nest System
I have seen recent notifications on Facebook about neighbors sharing neighborhood watch videos from their Ring doorbell. If it was not for one said neighbor I may not have known there was a suspicious man walking up to people’s houses when no one was home on our block! The same goes for Google’s Nest system. I friend of mine recently installed on for her home and she has a peace of mind now after her house was broken into. I know there will be a security system in my stocking this year!

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Ring Doorbell
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Google Nest Doorbell

With these simple ways of protecting against package thievery from ruining the holiday cheer, you will have a merrier holiday season!

 

Disclosure: This post does not contain affiliate links or paid advertisement for the products mentioned above. I do not make a commission on any of the above products.  All opinion are my own!

Sugar Plum Christmas Time

The Nutcracker… that is for children and adults who are children at heart.
Because of an adult is a good person, in his heart, he still is a child.
In every person, the best, most important part is that which remains from his childhood.
~George Balanchine

There is something about the season of Christmas that brings out the child in all of us. The sugar-plum candies on brightly decorated plates, merry tunes playing from a bygone era, and magic of twinkling lights in the rain. As I have grown older there is still a part of me still in child awe at the season of Christmas. The Nutcracker is one, walking along a pathway of lights as they do in Scandinavia, and being together with those who you cherish.

George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker at Pacific Northwest Ballet:
img_2613As the quote above says, The Nutcracker has been something I have always wanted to see. This past September I saw the tickets go on sale for the day after Thanksgiving and decided it was time to see this with Nana. I will admit I did pick out great seats for this matinée performance Sunday after Thanksgiving.

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Since this version is different from the Stowell and Sendak Nutcracker many have seen before 2015, this version was brightly colorful and done with the spirit of Christmas all wrapped into two hours. Traditional Nutcracker is weaved throughout the ballet with the famous Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier performing the pas de deux at the end. A new character with some humor to the story is Mother Ginger and her Polichinelle. You just have to go to see the Nutcracker to see this part!

Green Lake Pathway of Lights:

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On a clear cold December Saturday evening, a walk around Green Lake lighted with candles sounded like something Christmas to me. Since this part of Seattle is normally busy no matter what time of day it is, I decided to leave around 3:30pm to have plenty of time to find a parking spot on one of the surrounding streets. I scored one with relative ease! When I first started out on the path, volunteers were just beginning to light the candles and the sun was setting. Halfway around the lake was done with still light, and the other half was done with light from the many candles lining the path.

On the side of the lake where the community park is located was a bunch of hot air balloons laminating the dark skies, and giving off a spectacular view. unfortunately, there were no hot air balloon rides being done at the time. With some hot free hot chocolate in hand, and keeping an extra eye out for small children, walked around the rest of the lake with the masses. I will admit this event gets very crowded fast and people as my mom was saying, can become not so smart in the dark. So if you are not for big crowds, go at the very beginning.

Lastly…..

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Christmas Lights, Sweaters & Snow

Even on a wet cold night, Christmas lights are still as pretty as in snow. On the first night the Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Garden d’ Lights, the family and I piled into the car and drove to see this neat, but best kept secret light display. It is a little more compact than the ones you see at the two zoos in the area, but it is worth a visit if you like to see a garden all dressed up in lights. I wish the Lake Washington Arboretum would do something like this with their grounds in the Japanese Garden. Favorite displays were the fish tank (picture below) in a display window and the veggie garden with a rabbit (see below).

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Garden aquarium
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Herring in the garden
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Peter Rabbit stealing carrots in the garden
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Butterfly visiting the garden

Every so many years Seattle will get snow fall ( 2-5 years). Usually it is around Thanksgiving week, but this year it decided to fall during December and a week before college finals. I will admit, I cannot drive well in snow, and the reason is hills. I did make it to class the morning after it snowed, and it was an adventure in itself to get out of the driveway to a plowed road. Once on campus after a two hour delay, the snow was a site to see with snow hanging on the trees.

Christmas sweaters seem to be in abundance these past few years. Last year around Christmas I purchased my first “ugly” sweater (really it is cute sweater) from Fred Meyers for a party. This year the church decided to have a Christmas sweater contest one Sunday to see who had the ugliest, cutest, and fun sweater. I did not win, but that does not mean my cute cat in a stocking sweater is not worth showing off. The other young ladies at church had similar “cute” sweaters on. I believe the ugly sweater is starting to become a “cute ugly” sweater the more I start to see them around.

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The sweater of ugliness!

Decorating the church this year for Christmas was in part a little sad since Nana could not stay long after Thanksgiving this year. This year’s theme was Home For Christmas, and it did not disappoint either. Christmas time is the only time of year the church looks fancy. I will say there was a whole lot of red and green colors this year compare to other years before. There is for the first time in a long time, outdoor Christmas display and lights.I guess if you want to see the whole thing you will have to make a trip to Shoreline Community Church in Shoreline to see it.

Of course this year Christmas lands on a Sunday, so this means there will be service on Christmas morning! Can’t wait to see what is going to happen!

Here is to wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays and a Wonderful New Year!