Best of Indiana badge It's time to vote for Best Toy and Hobby Store and Best Christmas Tree Farm.

'Tis the season for two things people love: shopping and decorating! Here in Indiana, we are fortunate to have destinations devoted to both of these activities. Specifically, we love our locally owned toy and hobby shops and the many Christmas tree farms.

My kids are mostly grown up (ages 23, 20 and 15), but we still gather together when my daughter is home from college so we can make our annual trek to the nearest tree farm. In fact, her freshman year we waited until she was home for break, and we ended up with a pre-cut tree! Now it's a Thanksgiving-weekend event. We have also enjoyed taking our exchange student and international friend with us for this special taste of Americana.Tree Farm Sometimes finding the perfect tree includes pelting your sister with snowballs!

It's also so great to be the gift giver with the out-of-the-ordinary presents under the tree. You get to see extra-wide smiles when they open it. PLUS, you know you've supported a local retailer.

Well, with my personal notes aside, I now want to invite you to vote for Indiana's Best Toy and Hobby Stores and Best Christmas Tree Farms. You'll find the long list of nominees on, and you can vote for up to five in each category. Voting is open through the end of the year, and the Top 10 in each category will be announced January 5.