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For the past few years, the Short North has nicknamed itself the Short North Pole during the holiday season, and this year the neighborhood has plans to cement its status as HQ for seasonal festivity in Columbus. Start shopping and browse for art at Holiday Hop, a holiday-themed version of the arts district's Gallery Hop on the first Saturday in December, then make plans to return the following two Saturdays.

Head down for brunch and photos with Santa plus holiday shopping specials throughout the district on Santa Saturday, Dec. 12 - we hear folks wearing Santa gear will get special discounts and promotional items!

Then finish up your shopping on Dec. 18 during Wrap It Up Saturday, when free gift wrapping will be offered at The Joseph hotel and in the Garden Theater. New this year, as well, are plans to light two Rockefeller Center-style Christmas trees in Poplar Park and Greenwood Park, which are spaces at the north and south ends of the neighborhood.


Kids will love visiting LuLu's Sweet Shop, an adorable new old-fashioned candy store in Westerville. Stop in to browse the selection of local products, retro-favorite candies and baked goods. Be sure to try the cupcakes - in fact, you may have already tried them. Owner Amy Sparks Gorenz's Lulu's Cupcakes are also sold locally at The Hills Market stores.

Or sign up for LuLu's monthly subscriptions and receive a variety of tasty goodies by mail for just $15 per month. LuLu's Sweet Shop is at 14 W. College Ave. in Westerville. Online, you can find them at


Speaking of fun treats for kids, MMELO is a new seasonal pop-up store at Easton specializing in marshmallows made with healthy ingredients like arrowroot in place of powdered sugar and organic inverted cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

These confections are the brainchild of Michelle Allen, who sought to find sweet treats made without typical junkfood ingredients. Kids will love vanilla and strawberry marshmallows, while adults will dig more exotic flavors like roasted mandarin and pistachio. Explore more flavors at


Who says math can't be fun? Check out Mathnasium of Dublin, a new afterschool math learning center. The center provides children in grades 2-12 with customized learning plans and personalized instruction, designed with their individual strengths and weaknesses in mind.

The approach combines mental, verbal, visual, tactile and written techniques to make math fun and interesting. In addition to mastering math skills, students can get help with homework and prepare for standardized tests. Mathnasium of Dublin is located at 6716 Perimeter Loop Road; learn more at