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The Morning Groove KISSmas brought by COUNTRY Financial

All across the country families are having to deal with not having enough money to give their children the basic needs they require. This year, KISS 104.1’s The Morning Groove, COUNTRY Financial, and The Urban League of Greater Atlanta have all teamed up to give 3 families in need the Christmas they deserve. Help us by donating today, for every dollar you donate COUNTRY Financial will match up to $3000.  

The Urban League of Greater Atlanta has been all about economic empowerment since we opened our doors more than 98 years ago, as part of a broader, National Urban League network of 98 historic civil rights organizations throughout the United States—all dedicated to fostering economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically under served urban communities. Their mission is to enable and empower African Americans and others to achieve their highest human potential and secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. Find out how COUNTRY Financial is helping the Atlanta community.

Your guide to Christmas tree lighting events around metro Atlanta

Light the night (and the tree) with these metro Atlanta Christmas tree lightings. 

The season opens with tree lightings at Atlantic Station and the classic Macy’s Great Tree Lighting at Lenox Square.

»RELATED: 9 of the most delightful holiday light displays in Georgia

We’ve gathered the details on metro Atlanta’s most dazzling tree lightings, and we’ve included some of the smaller tree lightings in communities outside of Atlanta.

Let there be light this holiday season in Atlanta!

Atlantic Station Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. 1-8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17. Live music, entertainment, and kids activities all day. The tree lighting (and fireworks) will top off the big day around 8 p.m. atlanticstation.com.

The Lighting of Avalon. 1 -8 p.m. Nov. 18. The annual lighting of Avalon’s 40-foot Christmas tree will kick off the holiday season. This family-friendly event will feature seasonal music, entertainment and free activities throughout the day. Santa will light the tree around 7 p.m. www.experienceavalon.com.

Lilburn Tree Lighting. 6-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, Lilburn City Hall, 340 Main St. Live music including a brass band, hot chocolate, kid’s crafts and real reindeer (6-8 p.m. only).  cityoflilburn.com.

Macy's 2018 Tree Lighting Atlanta. 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, Lenox Square Mall. Hosted by Jovita Moore and Zach Klein. Performances by Adrienne Bailon Houghton, Russell Dickerson, Francesca Battistelli and former “The Voice” finalist, Kyla Jade. You can also catch it live on WSB-TV

Light Up Dunwoody. 3 p.m. Sun. Nov. 18,  Dunwoody Christmas Village at Cheek Spruill Farm House. Village opens at 3 p.m., tree and menorah lighting closes out the evening around 5:45p.m. Vendors will sell gifts and food and beverages, photos with Santa and his sleigh and reindeer! Bring your own camera, or phone. 5455 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody. Light Up Dunwoody.

Hapeville for the Holidays: Tree Lighting.  5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, Jess Lucas Y-Teen Park, Annual event includes music, games, crafts, Santa Claus visit and tree lighting ceremony (around 8 p.m.). 680 S. Central Avenue, Hapeville. hapeville.org.

The City of Hampton Downtown Tree Lighting. 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 22, Depot Park. Event includes Christmas carols, cocoa and cookies. hamptonga.gov.

RELATED: Schedules and locations of major holiday light displays from Callaway Gardens to Lake Lanier, Stone Mountain to Marietta.

38th Annual Snellville Christmas Tree Lighting. 5-9 p.m.  Saturday, Nov. 24.  Christmas Parade starts at 5:30 p.m. at Wisteria Plaza and ends near the Towne Green. Visits and photos with Santa Claus, Christmas carolers. See their site for ticketed events which can be paid for with canned goods for the Southeast Gwinnett Co-op. Tree lighting 7 p.m. www.snellvilletourism.com/events/christmas-tree-lighting.

Avondale Estates Annual City Christmas Tree Lighting. 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 26, Clarendon Avenue and South Avondale Road. Festivities begin with Boy Scout Troop 6 giving away cookies and a Christmas lantern parade. The Avondale Estates First Baptist Church and other carolers begin caroling at 6:30 p.m. Tree lighting around 7 p.m. Cider and doughnuts to be served after the lighting. Santa Claus will make an appearance. There will be another tree lighting at Lake Avondale at 6 p.m. on Dec. 1 avondaleestates.org.

Coming home for the Holidays in Smyrna. Smyrna Community Center. 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27 on the Village Green, 200 Village Green Circle SE. Holiday festivities and musical performances. Parade begins at 7 p.m. Santa will light the Christmas tree around 7:15 p.m. smyrnacity.com.

Marietta Square Christmas Tree Lighting. 4-8 p.m.  Thursday, Nov. 29, Glover Park (50 North Park Square). Festivities include caroling by local school choruses and visits with Santa. This is also the kickoff for the Festival of Trees, so after the tree lighting at 6 p.m. many themed trees will light up as well. 

Light Up Brookhaven. 6-8 p.m. Nov. 29, Blackburn Park, 3493 Ashford Dunwoody Road. Music, free crafts and refreshments, Girl Scouts selling hot chocolate, pictures with Santa, food trucks and more. Hanukkah decorations will be lit as well as a big ol’ tree. Bring an unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. www.facebook.com/events/1764428280346654/

The 2018 Vinings Jubilee Tree Lighting.  6 p.m.- 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, 4300 Paces Ferry Rd SE, Atlanta. Family-friendly event includes holiday music and dance from local schools, food, activities, train rides on the Vinings Express, face painting, balloon twisting, and pictures with Santa Claus. www.facebook.com/events/194718141346116/

Flowery Branch Polar Express Block Party.  5-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, Main St., downtown Flowery Branch. Gift market, food trucks and downtown businesses Polar Express train rides and photos with Santa. Tree lighting around 6:30 p.m. www.facebook.com/events/344613969633287/.

Jolly Holly Day Suwanee. 6:30-10 p.m., Nov. 30, Suwanee Town Center Park, 330 Town Center Ave. Performances by local schools, visits with Santa (bring your camera or phone). Holiday crafts and free hot chocolate, cookies and smores. www.facebook.com/events/1579632378809987/.

City of Conyers Hometown Holiday Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting. Olde Town Conyers. 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. 4 p.m.-7 p.m. Parade (theme: "Christmas in the South") begins at 4 p.m. at Rockdale County High School and winds its way to the Courthouse on Milstead Ave. www.facebook.com/events/546794812427804/, 770-602-2606.

Alpharetta Light the Night. 4-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Activities include free pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus (with your camera or phone), snow play area, marshmallow roasting, food trucks, holiday crafts for the kids, a live broadcast of the Georgia SEC Championship game and more. Tree lighting at 6:15 p.m. alpharettaga.ga.us

Deck the Hall. 2-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, Duluth Town Green. A tree lighting will happen but there’s a lot more. Music, decorations, face painting, inflatables, snow playground and slide. Santa will be there. www.duluthga.net.

Annual Downtown Fayetteville Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting. 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Starts and ends at Heritage Park in downtown Fayetteville. Parade starts at 5 p.m. Free hot chocolate and popcorn. Tree lighting around 7 p.m. downtownfayetteville.org

Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting in Sugar Hill. 5:30-8:30 p.m., Dec. 1 on the Dawn P. Gober Community Plaza in downtown Sugar Hill. Santa and the Grinch will balance out good and bad karma. Holiday market, fake snow, ice skating, food vendors, music and free carriage rides. Tree lighting around 6 p.m. cityofsugarhill.com.

City of McDonough Tree Lighting Celebration. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. It’s a full day in McD. with Santa on the Square, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Bring your camera or phone. Tree lighting at 5 p.m. Christmas Parade follows at 6 p.m. www.mcdonoughga.org.

Peachtree City Hometown Holiday.  5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, The Fred-City Hall Plaza/ Fun starts at 5 p.m. at The Fred (Amphitheater, 201 McIntosh Trail) with music, firepits and s'mores. Then it’s into your trusty golf cart and head over to City Hall for the tree lighting around 6:30 p.m.  visitpeachtreecity.com.

City of Riverdale's Annual Tree Lighting & Holiday Celebration. 3-7 p.m. Dec. 1, Amphitheater Plaza, 7210 Church Street, Riverdale. Christmas parade, 3-4 p.m. Tree lighting celebration from 4-7 p.m. riverdaleculture.com, 770-909-5300.

Tyrone Christmas Tree Lighting.  5-7 p.m., Shamrock Park. Sunday, Dec. 2, lantern parade and Christmas Tree lighting tyrone.org.

Caroling in the Park. 3-4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 3, Woodruff Park in downtown Atlanta, 91 Peachtree St. NW. Two choirs, the Atlanta Homeward Choir and the Georgia State University Choral Union will be caroling in Woodruff Park to call attention to homelessness. There will be a free hot chocolate bar and Santa will be there along with a photo booth Park lights and a Christmas tree light up for the finale. 

Decatur Tree Lighting. 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6., on the Decatur Square. The 4/5 Academy Choir provides the music, and snow is guaranteed by snow elves. Organized by Little Shop of Stories. This is about a week later than past years.

East Point Celebrates the Holidays. 5:30-7 p.m. Dec. 7, East Point City Hall, 2777 East Point Street. Musical performances will lead up to the tree lighting. Santa will be there along with hot chocolate and cider. www.facebook.com/events/2156503701257405/

Union City Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. 6-8 p.m.  Monday, Dec. 10, Mayor's Park. Featuring live music, train rides, moonwalk and pictures with Santa Claus. unioncityga.org.

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Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas Tree 

Outdoor ice skating during Christmas in Atlanta

Debate settled: This is the right time to put up your Christmas tree

While it may never reach the level of controversy of how to hang the toilet paper roll or which way to load the dishwasher, the right time to put up the Christmas tree is a heavily-debated household topic.

»RELATED: It’s not all about the turkey: 9 things you didn’t know about Thanksgiving

There are answers to this question that depend on everything from Prince Albert to the opinion of tree growers to something called Adelaide Pageant Day.

Whether you're undecided on the best time to put up your Christmas tree or are merely looking for reinforcement for your preferred date, at least one of these timing traditions is bound to work for you:

Forbidding the tree before turkeys

The ultimate etiquette authority, Miss Manners, doesn't specify when you should put up the tree, but does note succinctly that it isn't done before Thanksgiving.

The nouveau 12 days of Christmas approach

In days of yore, the 12 days of Christmas started with Christmas Day and wrapped up on January 6, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. Apartment Therapy suggests a more modern 12 Days of Christmas tree strategy, putting up the tree for around 12 days beginning in mid-December and taking it down right after Christmas.

This dovetails nicely with advice from the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, which noted in The Telegraph that while it's cool to buy live trees from December 1 onwards, the middle of the festive season, around the third week of Advent, is a good compromise between putting the tree up immediately and waiting for Christmas Eve.

Prince Albert

Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, is widely heralded as the man who lit up the Victorian Christmas tree tradition in the 1840s, bringing it to Britain from his native Germany. If you want to stick with the original Christmas Tree timeline of Albert and his German forebears, go with Christmas Eve. 

The Aussie approach

According to Monash University religious diversity professor Gary Bouma in The Age, the established guideline in Australia is not to put up the tree before December, but not everyone abides by it.

By "not everyone," he may mean the full 14 percent of Be a Fun Mum blog readers, who said they put up the tree in early November. They did restrain themselves until after something known as Adelaide Pageant Day, the second Saturday of November. And they are in solidarity with the Fun Mum herself, who says she put her tree up in early November because, "My mum always did. I love Christmas and like to string it out."

Viva Italiana

You may be leaning towards putting the tree up the first week of December anyhow, but this Italian tradition provides a godd reason for it. According to Italy Magazine, Italian Christmas traditions begin on December 8 with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a date set in the Catholic calendar in 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV.

Since December 8 is a public holiday and most Italians get the day off, it has become the day when many of them put up their Christmas trees and other holiday decor.

The final word on when to put up your tree

Assuming your own family tradition isn't already firmly in place, Southern Living gets the last word on the best time to put up the Christmas tree. That's because the ultimate authorities on Southern taste on all things mayo and wicker are also so darn sensible and inclusive on this topic: "We pass no judgement, but here are the times for when to put up your Christmas decorations. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the earliest that you should set up a Christmas tree or put up Christmas-specific decorations."

The reason you shouldn't do it earlier? "It is inconsiderate for your beautiful tree to steal the thunder from your big turkey dinner."

As for the latest time to put up the tree, that would be Christmas Eve, a nod to bygone, less holiday-crazed times.

Black Nativity: A Gospel Christmas Musical Experience

Black Nativity is a soul-stirring rendition of the Christmas Story that fills the theatre with thrilling voices, exciting dance and glorious gospel music. It is a powerful retelling of the Nativity story from an African-American perspective 

The original Black Nativity was written in 1961 by poet Langston Hughes.

Witness is first hand on November 30th – December 9th at the Ferst Center for The Arts. 

Listen to Good News Gospel with Twanda Black on Sunday from 7AM – Noon for a chance to be the first to win tickets!

Tickets are on sale at tickets.arts.gatech.edu

KISS Cares Turkey Drive 

All across Atlanta many families struggle to provide a decent meal for their family for the holiday. This year, KISS 104.1, Wayfield Foods, and HOSEA Helps have teamed-up to help bring some holiday joy to these families. On November 16, 2018 from 10AM – 5PM, Join KISS 104.1 at Wayfield Foods located at 5432 River Station, College Park, GA 30349 and help us by donating a turkey or food for Thanksgiving.

Celebrate black history, culture and food during Juneteenth in Atlanta

African-American history will be championed in a major way during this weekend's Juneteenth celebration.

From the Black History Parade to live performances, the 5th annual Juneteenth Atlanta Parade & Music Festival will be a multi-day event to go down in the history books. Already, more than 10,000 people have chimed in on the Facebook event page so far.

9 iconic black history landmarks to visit near Georgia

"The vision has really developed into building one of the largest parades in the world that displays African American history pre- and post-slavery," Juneteenth Atlanta Director Bob Johnson said.

Prepare for the event happening June 16-18 by knowing what to expect from the fun-filled jubilee at the historically-black college Morris Brown College, 643 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30314.

The festival celebrates a pivotal moment in American history. 

Juneteenth is named for the day when the last slaves in American Confederate states were freed on June 19, 1865, which was years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863.

Each year, Juneteenth Atlanta, which is a local nonprofit organization, honors African American accomplishments that go back over 150 years by holding events that showcase black culture and history.

The festival welcomes black-owned businesses, local artists and genealogy researchers to help encourage family and community unity. Since the celebration falls on Father's Day weekend, dads are also honored and those who share the Gemini zodiac sign are encouraged to "do the Boogie."

Expect eye-catching moments each day. 

From 1-9 p.m. Friday, the festival will be in full swing with Family Friday, which includes a poster-making project, and vendors will open for business at the festival grounds at Morris Brown College.

On Saturday at noon, the Juneteenth Black History Parade, which is the main attraction for the weekend, will travel east from Mosley Park to Morris Brown College. During the parade 11 floats will ride the route including ones dedicated to black history leaders, such as Harriet Tubman, Madam C.J. Walker and Fannie Lou Hammer.

These are the five largest black-owned business in Atlanta

"The parade tells our stories and the contributions and the achievements that have occurred," Johnson said.

The Atlanta Mass Band, Band of Champions and Atlanta Public School bands will march in the parade, and dance teams, such as the Memphis Mystique, will shimmy to the sounds.

On Sunday, the celebration will continue with an Afro Fashion Show & Swimsuit Review. Throughout the weekend, a variety of other things are planned such as book signings, massages, yoga in the park and a Freedom Run.

Prepare to hear lots of live music.

Over 100 artists have signed up to perform at Juneteenth Atlanta, with sounds including opera, spiritual, hip-hop, funk, jazz and blues. Even young kids will hit the Main Stage as entertainers. Some performers include singer-songwriter DeAnna Dawn and rock-soul band NubAtomic. Each day of Juneteenth Atlanta has its own lineup of artists that will be sure to get you dancing along.

Get ready to be immersed into culture.

The vendor market will feature African-American, family-owned businesses that sell items such soaps, jewelry and fashions. African inspired clothing store Nubian Goods will be one of the vendors, along with African-American head wrap shop Wrapper Delights.

"It's like a treasure. It's the ultimate shopping experience for the public," Johnson said.

Expect foods that will peak your taste buds like frozen treats from Dolphins Water Ice Factory, jerk chicken and Caribbean food. Food trucks will abound, and even an 11-year-old will be serving up renowned hot dogs.

Read more about the Juneteenth plans in Marietta and more here.

Win Tickets to The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill

All week listen to KISS 104.1 from 9AM – 2PM for a chance to win tickets to see hip-hop royalty Lauryn Hill.

National Public Lands Day 2018: Get free admission to national parks Saturday

Want to experience the great outdoors this weekend? You're in luck: Hundreds of parks across the country are offering free admission Saturday, Sept. 22, for National Public Lands Day.

According to the National Park Service, the event, held each year on September's fourth Saturday, "celebrates the connection between people and green space in their community, inspires environmental stewardship, and encourages use of open space for education, recreation and general health." The event is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

>> See a list of participating parks here

Although participating parks will waive admission fees Saturday, they may still charge for concessions, camping, tours or other services, KGUN reported.

Several parks also will be holding volunteer projects. If you'd like to participate, "you will receive a fee-free day coupon to be used on a future date," the National Park Service said.

>> Read more trending news 

Park-goers are encouraged to share photos on social media with the hashtags #NPLD, #FindYourPark and #NPSVolunteer.

Read more here or here.

Join us for free movies & a block party 

It’s the FINAL KISS @ The Movies, presented by Butler Lexus of South Atlanta! Join us for free family movies and a block party at parks all over the Atlanta area.

The block party starts at 7:30pm and the movies start at dusk.

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