Thanksgiving traditionally serves as the beginning of the holiday season, and our community has much planned for our enjoyment in December.

St. John's United Methodist Church will have its annual Christmas bazaar Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church on West Seminary Avenue. The bazaar will include jewelry, crafts, "nearly new" gifts, holiday items and more. For more information, call the church at 410-825-3969.

Let the bakers from St. Paul's Lutheran Church give you a break from cookie making with homemade cookies so good you can pass them off as your own.

This year's cookie bazaar is Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to noon, in Spangler Hall on Kurtz Avenue in Historic Lutherville. The bazaar was an immediate hit when begun several years ago, and I'm sure patrons can't wait for this year's event. Get there early — I'm told last year's cookies sold out fast. For details, call 410-252-3768.


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Enjoy decorations provided by local garden clubs this season at Hampton Mansion, 535 Hampton Lane, Towson. The Lutherville and York Manor garden clubs, along with other groups from District III Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland, will provide decorating for "Yuletide at Hampton," a special showing that kicks off the season, Dec. 9-11.

Festivities include craft workshops for the children, carriage rides and the traditional art of silhouette cutting. In addition, visitors can browse the decorated rooms. For specifics about Yuletide at Hampton, visit the mansion's website at http://www.nps.gov/hamp/index.htm, or call 410-823-1309.

Speaking of our garden clubs, holiday arrangements using greens found in our gardens will be demonstrated at the Dec. 1 meeting of the Lutherville Garden Club.

Master gardener Heather Wight will present, "Think Outside the Box," and some of her arrangements will be raffled off.

The club generally meets the first Thursday of the month at 11 a.m. at Provident United Methodist Church, and sessions include a business meeting, lunch and lecture or demonstration. New members are always welcome. Call president Carol Kakel at 410-252-8662 to attend the meeting or to learn more about the club.

The Chapel Hill Music Sensations Choir will perform at the Fire Museum of Maryland, 1301 York Road, on Saturday, Dec. 10, during the museum's annual Holiday Train Garden. Visitors will be treated to modern and traditional holiday songs sung a cappella by students from the Chapel Hill Elementary School in Perry Hall. The performance is at 11:30 a.m.

The train garden opens this Saturday, Nov. 26, with a special appearance by Santa Claus. Visiting children can have a complimentary picture taken with Ol' Saint Nick, in a 1890s fire chief's sleigh, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The train display will be open Saturdays in December (except Dec. 24), and Dec. 27-31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For details, call the museum at 410-321-7500 or check the website at http://www.firemuseummd.org.

The annual Dulaney Valley Improvement Association decorating contest will take place the weekend of Dec. 17-18. Prizes will be awarded for daytime/doorway displays and also nighttime displays.

Community associations are busy with holiday plans for their residents, young and old alike. Decorating contests, luminaria and visits by Santa on the Lutherville Volunteer Company fire engines are always popular.

I'd love to share your holiday events with our neighbors. I know Santa will be busy visiting our many neighborhoods, let me know when he'll be making his ride through your community. And don't forget to send me the dates of your decorating contests and other holiday events as well.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!