As many of us finished the last piece of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, it was time to become immersed in preparations for the next holiday.

Our own neighborhood associations are gearing up for the season.

In Rodgers Forge, Lawrence Swoboda, Santa's local travel coordinator, has received word that that jolliest of elves will visit children on the afternoons and early evenings of Dec. 15 and Dec. 18.

Parents, please consult the December edition of Rodgers Forge newsletter for the registration procedures.


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Gaywood's North Pole contact, Pat Palm, tells us that the Gaywood Green will be the setting for Santa's visit on the afternoon of Dec. 17.

He will listen to the children's wishes as they visit him in the Green's gazebo.

Naturally, the winter break is looming large in the minds of our neighborhood young people but holiday programs are also big events.

Rodgers Forge Elementary School students have been busy putting the finishing touches on their Winter Concert, which they presented for parents and friends on Dec. 13.

Meanwhile, St. Pius X students will entertain parents and friends with their Christmas show on Dec. 14, at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Towson High School is leaving no stone unturned when its present students' music shows. The orchestra was scheduled to perform Dec. 13, the band on Thursday, Dec. 15; the choral ensemble on Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 19-20; and the jazz ensemble on Dec. 22. All performances begin at 7 p.m., and parents and friends are invited.

St. Pius X School always keeps tabs on its graduates and is delighted to note that several alumnae recently "trod the boards."

Maryvale Preparatory School's performance of "Cats" featured Anna Cuffari, St. Pius X Class of 2010 and Sara Connell, 2011, and benefited from the work of Anne Hutchinson, 2010, with the stage crew.

Meanwhile, Lauren Romagnano, Class of 2009, played Helen Keller, and Emily Gentry, 2011, played her mother in Mercy High School's production of "The Miracle Worker."

On the academic side, St. Pius X alumnus Will Wieprecht, 2005, was awarded an University Honor Citation from the University of Maryland, College Park. The University of Maryland Honor College is a nationally recognized, and is a highly selective program.

This is certainly a traveling season, and thus an apropos time to continue our excerpts from the Chris and Dave Batten's cross-country trip.

"Our next stop was South Dakota. We were blown away by the beauty of that state. From Lewis and Clark's Camp Pleasant on the Missouri River to the Badlands, to the Black Hills with Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial to Spearfish Canyon, we were thrilled. After a night in Custer, South Dakota, we drove through a corner of Wyoming on up to Bozeman, Mont. … That state truly lives up to its name, the 'Big Sky Country.' "

May our Jewish friends find peace, health and joy as they begin the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah at sundown on Dec. 21.

Till we meet again …