A joyous and Merry Christmas, dear readers.
May your Christmas celebration be one of joy with family members and friends for the next 12 days...remember, the partridge in a pear tree? 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 Dec. 25, as are most businesses. Merry Christmas to all!
Old Man Winter and Jack Frost teamed up to blast us Dec. 8 and 10, even before the start of 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. 21.
The scrooges on our list will probably state it anyway, but tomorrow is officially Bah Humbug Day. Wish your favorite Scrooge an extra special humbug.
Happy birthday to Carmen Gamatoria and JoAnne Collins (Dec. 21) and Harford County First Lady Melinda Craig (Dec. 26). Happy anniversary wishes to Jack and Wanda Schaffer, their 62nd on Christmas day, Dec. 25. Congratulations all!
Our combined First Friday/Winter Wonderland/Christmas Parade/Tree lighting in Havre de Grace on Dec. 6 was rained out. Still Havre de Grace is ablaze in bright, silvery blue lighting and Christmas finery for the winter wonderland season. Thank you and cheers to the Winter Wonderland committee.
Santa and Mrs. Claus will return to Santa Land on Washington Street in Havre de Grace Saturday from noon to 1:30 p.m. for his last visit before returning to the North Pole. There will be a drawing for two new bicycles and accessories. Also the winter wonderland group chorus will tour Havre de Grace and carol from 6 to 8 p.m.
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 principals 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.
Grace Place Serving Center will serve a free, hot meal Dec. 24 from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to St. John's Episcopal Church, 114 N. Union Ave., 410-939-2107, to anyone in need who comes through the doors.
On Saturday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m., Boy Scout Troop 967 will be holding a dinner commemorating the closing of the troop. This will be a "Canada style" dinner to be held at the Havre de Grace United Methodist Church, which has sponsored the troop for more than 50 years. There is no charge; however, seating is limited to 120. Bring your memories and stories. Please RSVP to Clark Old, Scoutmaster, at firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 30. Please pass this message on to others who may not receive this information.
For your information, Cub Scout Pack 967 continues to be sponsored by the church and meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Planning for after Christmas?
On Dec. 29, 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.
Fifth in the series of limited edition St. Patrick Christmas ornaments shows the beautiful stained glass window of the historic church featuring images of the betrothal of Mary and Joseph and Jesus giving the Eucharist, $10 each or three for $25. Call the parish office, 410-939-2525.
The Havre de Grace Arts Commission's 2013 citation ceramic horse medallion ($10) are available at the Havre de Grace Visitor Center, 450 Pennington Ave., 410-939-2100, for purchase.
Lastly, a sad note. Goodbye Bridge Diner on Pulaski Highway at the Hatem Bridge, which closed Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. The owner stated the lease was completed.
Happy holidays! Please keep me informed at 410-939-6462 or 226 N. Union Ave. See ya!