Deck the halls with boughs of holly. That's the resounding chorus which will be heard throughout West Friendship when the students and staff of West Friendship Elementary top off the holiday season with an all school sing-a-long Friday, Dec. 23 at 2:45 p.m. Classes will resume for the students Jan. 2.

The West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department has made more than a few merry making jaunts through the community with Santa Claus riding atop the shiniest of red fire engines.The elves of Station 3 will end the holiday tour Thursday, Dec. 22 with a ride through the neighborhoods of Sharp Road, Old Rover Road, Danmark Drive, Tall Ships Drive, Roscommon Drive and Appleby Court.

The North Pole entourage is expected to make rounds from approximately 6:30 to 9 p.m. on each of the designated evenings. From the members of West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department's Station 3, "Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night."

St. James United Methodist Church welcomes the community to join in a Christmas Eve service at 8 p.m. and a Christmas Day worship service at 11 a.m.


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The chapel on the grounds of the Franciscan Friars Sanctuary of St. Anthony on Folly Quarter Road will be open for a Christmas Day Mass at noon on Dec. 25. The friars wish the community, "Blessings and Peace. Today and Everyday."

The busy holiday season of local choral concerts, dance programs and club celebrations have come to a close. Members of West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department are resting up after their week long evening treks through all of our neighborhoods, where the Station 3 members escorted Santa Claus on a mission of merriment.

The merry makers are the very same individuals who responded to more than 1,000 fire and Emergency Medical Services calls, during the 2011 calendar year. All volunteer and all serving you, the West Friendship community. Thank you Station 3.

If you still haven't filled out your New Year's Eve social calendar, consider joining fans of the Columbia Pro Cantare for an intimate evening of music at a private home in Ellicott City. The soiree will include jazz selections, New Orleans classics and Poulenc's "Sonata for Trumpet, Horn and Trombone."

The evening event is set for 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. with proceeds from the ticketed event to benefit the Pro Cantare Chorus. Musical artists will include Jared Denhard on harp, trombone, euphonium, banjo and ukulele, Ronald Mutchnik on violin, Marshall White on piano and coronet and Richard Roberts on horn.

Interested music lovers may inquire about tickets at 410-799-9321, 301-854-0107 or by visiting the Pro Cantare website at http://www.procantare.org. Tickets for the event which celebrates the Pro Cantare's 35th Anniversary are $30. The evening includes music, food, beverages and a raffle.

If you still haven't had your fill of holiday train gardens, try out the unique display at Taylor's Antique Mall on Main Street in the historic district of Ellicott City. Classic Plastic Bricks is presenting a retro one of a kind Lego Christmas display with an actual running Lego train set. The set up is made up entirely of Lego plastic bricks, transforming the tiny Lego's into a Christmas landscape train garden.

Taylor's Antique Mall is at 8197 Main St., in Ellicott City. The Lego Christmas display will be on view until Jan. 10, Monday-Saturday, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sundays, noon-5 p.m.

Acts of good will were visible throughout the West Friendship area during the holidays. Whether it was West Friendship's Dennis Whittaker organizing for a local food bank, members of the Pieceful Quilters of Glenelg who hand stitched quilts for the residents of Missouri whose homes were destroyed by a tornado, or the students at West Friendship Elementary who bundled up goodies for local families in need, the spirit of giving was alive and well.

The local branch library participated with a mitten tree. Scout troops entertained residents at area senior citizen homes, local businesses such as the Pink Cabbage, Eyre Tour and Travel and Curves of Glenelg collected box loads of toys and food items for those in need.

Local churches have been extraordinary in their collective mission of reaching out to the less fortunate. Whether it was turkey collections at Thanksgiving, flannel shirt, blanket and sweater drives in early December or canned good disbursement throughout the year, these religious organizations lead in the best of ways and continue to remind us all that it is always more satisfying to give than to receive.

For all these years I always end the Christmas week column in the same way. Borrowing yet again from Charles Dickens, I will echo the final words of "A Christmas Carol." As Tiny Tim observed, "God bless us, every one!"