Giving with open hearts and helping hands—this is a spirit of community, where life is valued and service is second-nature. This is Minnesota. According to a 2015 federal report, Minnesota ranks second in the nation for volunteering.

Now that the holidays have passed and the New Year is upon us, it is time to think of those New Year's resolutions - not the ones to lose weight or to read more or to spend more time with family. We're talking about the ones to improve the home. Melinda Fulmer at hgtv.com offers their five top picks: streamline stuff, make your home safe, cut energy consumption, keep it clean, and get ready for guests.

How do you celebrate Christmas? For many people, Christmas means attending performances of Handel's Messiah or The Nutcracker ballet or visiting Santa at Macy's 8th floor Holiday Display. These are only a few of the special events available this month in and around the Twin Cities.

It's November--a month of harvest, preparation, and sharing. We all enjoy the bounty of our land. Truly, it is a special time to celebrate with family and friends. Open Arms of Minnesota (www.openarmsmn.org) invites you to help them do just that--work in their garden, prepare meals in the kitchen, work in their office, or deliver the meals yourself to those in the Twin Cities with life-threatening illnesses.