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Peaceful snow, hectic holidays

FamilyHoliday VacationsColleges and UniversitiesSinai Hospital in BaltimoreUniversity of Maryland Baltimore CountyUC BerkeleyBaltimore Convention Center

Those sappy carols have it all wrong.

"Let it Snow" and "White Christmas" and all the rest lead us to think snow makes this time of year more magical.

But in reality, nothing messes up holiday plans in Baltimore like a good snowfall.

Churches and schools postponed holiday concerts and plays after this week's double helping of snow. Luncheons and galas were rescheduled. Even the Mayor's Christmas Parade in Hampden was canceled Sunday for the first time in its 41-year history.

"Snow ruins everything," said Yvette Pappoe of Randallstown. "You want the snow to show up after your family's already there. Then it can snow."

Pappoe, 21, and her boyfriend had planned to travel to San Francisco on Tuesday for a long-planned vacation and a chance to check out the University of California Berkeley's school of law, to which Pappoe had applied.

But the snow caused their flight to be delayed until Wednesday, leaving the couple with a tough choice: Cut their vacation short a day, or miss out on holiday plans with family back home in Baltimore.

"I wanted to get a break from the cold, but now the cold is stopping me," said Pappoe, a recent University of Maryland Baltimore County graduate.

For students, the snow created an unexpected long weekend, just a week and a half before the holiday vacation was set to begin. While many were glad to trade pencils and books for sleds and hot cocoa, others were sad to see holiday performances postponed.

Seven-year-old Stella Hamilton had expected to spend Tuesday evening singing "Jingle Bells" to a packed crowd in the auditorium of Rodgers Forge Elementary School.

Instead, she joined her parents for dinner at a friend's home.

"I was so disappointed," said the second-grader, who has been practicing songs such as "Snow Angels" and "Holiday Parade" before school for weeks with her fellow members of the chorus club.

Her mother, Kristin Hamilton, said teachers said the concert would be rescheduled, but it was unclear whether that could happen before the Christmas break.

The Hamilton family, Rodgers Forge residents, made the best of the day off. Kristin Hamilton, an office manager, and her husband, a fundraiser, were both able to stay home from work and do some holiday preparation: The family put up the Christmas tree.

Many businesses and organizations were also forced to cancel or postpone major events.

The Greater Baltimore Committee announced it would be postponing its $85-a-plate Mayor's Business Recognition Awards Luncheon that was planned for Tuesday at the Baltimore Convention Center. Progressive Maryland said it would be rescheduling its awards gala from Tuesday evening to some time in January.

The employees of Baltimore ad agency idfive had planned to festoon co-workers with bells as part of a fundraiser for the Maryland Food Bank that they call #blingwithring. But, since most of them worked from home Tuesday, they had to put off the fun for another day.

For some families, holiday plans took a back seat to figuring out how to juggle work and bored children. Many workplaces remained open and expected employees to show up, even though most schools and day care centers were closed Monday and Tuesday.

"My husband stayed home yesterday, and I was kind of jealous," said Laura Green, as she picked up her children from a snow day arts program Tuesday. "But then day two sets in."

Green, an eye surgeon at Sinai Hospital, can sometimes bring her children to work, but she was operating all day Tuesday. Her husband, an architect, took off Monday but had to work Tuesday.

So their children, 8-year-old Anna Rousos and 5-year-old Will Rousos, spent the day at the Painting Workshop in Mount Washington, which is open on school holidays and most snow days.

Rachael Gardner, the owner of the Painting Workshop, said she sends out an early email to parents when she learns that schools will be closed.

Fourteen children worked on long tables in a cozy room at the workshop Tuesday, making collages and paintings.

Six-year-old Tara Bass, jumping up and down in her new pink boots and puffy coat, was eager to show her mother, Judy Bass, her artwork.

Judy Bass, a faculty member at Johns Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health, was returning from a conference in New York. She said her husband, a psychiatrist, had stayed home with Tara Monday but couldn't take off for a second day.

Some parents were unprepared for Tuesday's snow, which blanketed roads during the morning commute.

Anna Levin, an attorney at Sinai Hospital, said she ordinarily brings home some work if the weather looks ominous, but she hadn't expected a second snow day in a row.

When the Waverly resident learned early Tuesday that her 14-month-old daughter's child care was closed, she called three different regular babysitters only to find out none were available.

So Levin wound up staying home with her daughter — playing at home in the morning, then meeting up with another mother and toddler to play in the snow.

For those who found themselves unexpectedly at home on Tuesday, the best solution to the scheduling woes was also the simplest: Enjoy the snow.

Pappoe, the Randallstown woman whose travel plans were delayed, said she decided to spend the day indoors.

"I guess I'm just going to hang around and watch the snow fall," she said.

julie.scharper@baltsun.com

twitter.com/juliemore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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FamilyHoliday VacationsColleges and UniversitiesSinai Hospital in BaltimoreUniversity of Maryland Baltimore CountyUC BerkeleyBaltimore Convention Center
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