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Winter has arrived and Christmas is coming in HdG

By Ron Browning, 410-939-6562; fax 410-939-1833

1:31 PM EST, December 19, 2012

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It's winter; brrr, dear readers,

Old Man Winter and Jack Frost are teaming up to blast us this winter. Get prepared for a possible snowy, blowy, cold, white winter. The winter solstice and the shortest/darkest day of the year is Saturday, Dec. 22.

The Scrooges on our lists will probably state it anyway, but today (Friday, Dec. 21) is officially Bah Humbug Day. Wish your favorite Scrooge an extra special humbug today.

If the Mayan calendar and all predictions are correct, this should be the last day of Earth; alas, my last column to write! Nonetheless, I think I will appease my editors and the powers to be (could be one and the same?) by writing a column for Dec. 28 just in case The Record newspaper is still around then. Otherwise...

Happy birthday celebrations Carmen Gamatoria (Dec. 21); former resident and gallery owner Leon Kalas (Dec. 23); and Melinda Craig (Dec. 26).

Merry Christmas and joyous holidays! May your Christmas celebration be one of joy with family members and friends? In Great Britain and Canada, folks celebrate Boxing Day (Dec. 26) with an exchange of gifts.

Historians date the Christmas holiday to 336 AD, when Christian leaders met to honor the birth of Christ. Celebrated today as a religious and secular event, Christmas is marked by church attendance and gift-giving. Federal and state governments will be closed as are most businesses. Merry Christmas!

If winter's chill has cast your sights for warmer lands farther south, be prepared to gnaw the radish in our southern neighbor, Mexico, where they will honor the Feast of the Radishes (Dec. 23), prior to all their "Feliz Navidad" festivities.

Kwanzaa begins Dec. 26 and runs until Jan. 1. A uniquely African-American celebration created in 1966, this seven-day festival reinforces connectedness to African cultural identity and is dedicated to the principles of unity (umoja); self-determination (kujichagulia); collective work (ujima); cooperative economics (ujamaa); purpose (nia); creativity (kuumba) and faith (imani).

Created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of the Department of Black Studies of California State University at Long Beach, Kwanzaa, meaning "first fruit" in Swahili, is a celebration of African-American heritage. Each day of Kwanzaa highlights a principle, represented by a candle, colored black, green or red, the colors of African unity. The colors represent Africa's people, their blood and the earth. Visit http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org for more information.

I attended the combined First Friday/Winter Wonderland/Christmas Parade/Tree Lighting in Havre de Grace on Friday, Dec. 7. Havre de Grace is ablaze in bright, silvery-blue lighting for the winter wonderland season. Thank you and cheers to the Winter Wonderland Committee.

Many thanks to Brigitte Peters, Cathy Vincenti and Lauri Orzewicz who hosted a holiday/thank you party for the volunteers who staff the Havre de Grace Visitors Center. Dinner and treats were provided by area businesses: Laurrapin Grille, the Bayou Restaurant and MacGregor's Restaurant. As a volunteer myself, thanks ladies and businesses.

Planning for New Year's 2013?

On Dec. 30, the Susquehanna Ministerium hosts an open house of Havre de Grace churches, 2 to 4 p.m., 410-939-2464 or 1-800-851-7756. Included are Havre de Grace United Methodist Church (101 S. Union Ave.); St. John's Episcopal Church (114 N. Union Ave.); St. Patrick Catholic Church (615 Congress Ave.); First Baptist Church (108 S. Stokes St.) and St. James AME Church (617 Green St.). Thanks Ray Astor, 443-690-6068.

On New Year's Eve, Dec. 31 enjoy at midnight the New Year's Eve Duck Drop at Havre de Grace Middle School grounds, 451 Lewis Lane, sponsored by Susquehanna Hose Company. For details, call the visitor center, 410-939-2100.