Ho, Ho, Ho! Holiday Traditions Abound in Wells Branch!

990508-039As holiday traditions in Wells Branch continue to grow, we hope you’ll take this opportunity to reconnect with family, friends and neighbors and reach out to new folks who’ve recently joined our community. To all the regulars, we look forward to seeing you and if you’ve never attended a community event here, please make time to come and join your neighbors in the festivities.

Luminary Festival • December 12 & 13
Experience the glow of the holidays as our trails light up with luminaries around Katherine Fleischer Park on December 12 & 13. Once again, the WBNA will be hosting Friday night’s events and the Wells Branch MUD will host Saturday evening. Santa will be visiting the Homestead Cabin both nights from 6-9pm with FREE photos provided by Wells Branch Community Church.

WBNA sponsored craft tables and face painting will be set up both nights inside the Community Center and children will have the opportunity to make jewelry boxes for gifts, decorate ornaments, and color. Dianne Koehler and numerous volunteers will be on hand to assist the children with crafts and MUD staff will keep refreshments flowing.

Join us outdoors for a caroling hayride or a trip around the trails on the holiday express train to see the luminaries up close. We’ll be starting the hayride and train at 5:30pm so bring the little ones and come early.

Saturday night, the MUD will have live entertainment and children’s karaoke with Jessica Shepherd inside the Community Center. There will also be live entertainment outside both nights and indoor refreshments for all to enjoy in the newly renovated Community Center.

Holiday Most TraditionalHoliday Home Decorating Contest • December 15
Break out the tinsel and holly! Deck the halls, yard, trees, cars, dogs, cats… Let’s show some good ole WB spirit! The WBNA is sponsoring the Holiday Home Decorating Contest! Judging will begin on Sunday, December 15. For more details, please visit our website at wbna.us. If you’d like to help judge or nominate a home, email lights@wbna.us. Be sure and watch for the “Winners” as we post signs in their yards and feature the homes on Facebook and wbna.us!

Categories include: Most Original, Most Traditional, Most Elaborate, Best Use of Lights, Most Energy Efficient and new this year: Visible from Space & Most Patriotic. Winners in each category receive bragging rights and a gift card from Lowes.

Bell colorPolar Express Pajamarama • December 19 All aboard, for WBCL’s yearly Polar Express Pajamarama! Enjoy holiday crafts, hot cocoa and cookies, a bedtime reading of The Polar Express and a special visit from Santa Friday, December 19 at 6:00pm & 7:30pm! Advance online registration required.

Volunteers are needed to assist the FOL with decorations on Dec. 18 and to serve hot chocolate and supervise the snack table on Dec. 19 (two shifts). Sign up at http://www1.mysignup.com/cgi-bin/view.cgi?datafile=wb-fol

An Evening of Christmas Music for the People of All Ages • December 21
People of all ages are invited to join us for a festive evening of Christmas music on Sunday, December 21, beginning at 6:00pm at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 14311 Wells Port Drive (at the corner ofSnowmen Caroling Color Wells Branch Pkwy & Wells Port Drive. The program will include a wide variety of both sacred and secular seasonal music and is open to all without admission. Tom Mitchell, Director of Music at St. Andrew’s said: “It is our intention to offer this delightful program as a gift to everyone in the St. Andrew’s community to help us all join more fully in the celebration of love, peace, joy, and hope in this special season. We hope that everyone will attend and bring friends, family, and neighbors with them.”

Holiday Safety Tips

Santa Sneaky on Roof ColorWith the bustle of the holidays just around the corner, now is the time to make sure we’re taking every precaution to keep our homes and ourselves as safe as possible. We usually see an increase in opportunistic crime this time of year; we need to be especially vigilant.

  • Keep your blinds and drapes closed when away, even if only for a short period of time.
  • Keep your house well lit at night (backyard included). A motion sensor activated light is an inexpensive deterrent.
  • If your Christmas tree is displayed in front of a window, don’t pile the presents around it. Store the gifts in another area away from view when the blinds or drapes are open.
  • Do NOT put the empty boxes for the new computer, TV, stereo system, etc. on the curb for the trash. Take the time to break down every box and put it inside your trashcan/recycling bin so that it is concealed, even if you have to hold it over to the next week. People start cruising our neighborhood on Sunday afternoons to see what has been put out. The less they know, the better.
  • Door-to-door solicitations increase tremendously this time of year. Always look out the window or peephole before opening the door or answering a knock. Never open the door all the way, especially if you have a Christmas tree and/or presents in plain view.
  • While shopping this holiday season, remain aware of your surroundings at all times. If unsure of your safety, ask a store attendant to have security walk you to your car. You can’t be too safe. This goes for trips to the grocery store as well. When unloading your car at home after a day of shopping, lock it between trips to and from the car.
  • Always lock your car. Never leave your car running unattended or leave your keys in the car or ignition. If you keep a garage door remote control in your car and don’t park it in the garage each and every time you return home, hide the remote. Thieves check visors and this gives them instant protected access to your home.
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain view, even if your car is locked. Take them in the house or put them in the trunk out of sight BEFORE arriving at your destination.

If you plan to be away:

  • Let a neighbor and/or block captain know you’ll be out of town and when you’ll return. They should have the following: your emergency contact information; contact information for anyone with access to your house (pet sitter, etc.); when they should be expected; what they look like and a description of their vehicle(s).
  • Let only those who NEED to know, know when you are going out of town.
  • Don’t share vacation plans on social media.
  • Arrange to have your lawn cared for if you are going to be away.
  • Don’t hide keys under doormats or flowerpots or in similar places.
  • Put your lights, stereo or TV on timers.
  • Leave a car in the driveway or ask a neighbor to park in it.
  • Don’t cancel your paper or mail deliveries; ask that your neighbor pick them up every day.
  • Leave a key with a friend or neighbor; ask that the house be checked at regular intervals.
  • Keep your house well lit at night (backyard included). A motion sensor or photocell activated light is an inexpensive deterrent.
  • Store all your valuables.
  • Consider asking friends or relatives to live in your home while you are away.
  • Ask your neighbor to put trash in your trashcan and to put it out for collection and away when they put theirs away.
  • File a Close Patrol Request. The filing of this form alerts patrolling officers so that they may pay close attention to one’s residence. To do so: Contact the Travis County Sheriff’s Office at 854-9721. Ask to make a Close Patrol Request. You will be asked for information on those caring for your home while you’re away i.e. make and model of their vehicles, name, description and times they should be at your home.

A comprehensive list of Safety Tips as well as numerous articles by the Travis County Sheriff Deputies are available on our website, wbna.us under Safety.

If you are not already, become a Wells Branch Neighborhood Association member. “Like” us on Facebook for community updates. The more community involvement and connectedness there is, the safer we all will be.

Most of all, be aware of your surroundings and look out for your neighbors. If you see or hear something suspicious, call 911. The Sheriff’s Department would much rather answer a false alarm than deal with a tragedy later.

We live in a GREAT community AND a SECURE neighborhood. Let’s all do our part to keep it that way. Here’s to a safe and happy holiday season!

*For information about starting your own Neighborhood Watch Group, please call Debby Thompson at 512-656-0654.

Thanksgiving Potluck – November 22

turkey_wavesWells Branch kicks off the holiday season with its annual Thanksgiving Potluck dinner hosted by Wells Branch MUD.   Fellowship will be held from 6-8pm at the Recreation Center, located at 3000 Shoreline Drive.  Everyone is encouraged to bring a side dish or dessert to serve 10.  The turkey, ham, dressing, potatoes, bread, and beverages will be provided and served by the WB MUD.

This is a wonderful Wells Branch tradition!  We hope you’ll be able to join us!

As a side note, Brown Santa bins are in place in the Rec. Center.  Donations of new or gently used toys are welcome.  The WBNA will be collecting non-perishable food items for St. Andrew’s Food Pantry as well.  Thank you!

Due to the threat of heavy rain, WB MUD has rescheduled the Paver Dedication to take place during Luminary Festival on Saturday, December 13 at 3:30pm.

Thanksgiving Potluck is still ON for this Saturday, November 22, from 6-8pm! Bring a side dish or dessert and COME ON OUT!